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Notebook: Preseason Camp, Cardinal Off and Running

Posted August 3, 2018 by in

August 3, 2018

Notebook: Preseason Camp
Cardinal off and running

By Mark Soltau

STANFORD, Calif. – Defending Pac-12 North champion Stanford opened fall training camp Thursday, holding the first of 20 preseason camp practices to prepare for the Aug. 31 opener against San Diego State.

The Cardinal, picked to finish second behind Washington last week at Pac-12 Media Day, returns nine starters on offense and six on defense. Led by explosive senior running back Bryce Love, the reigning Doak Walker Award winner, Stanford expects to put points on the board, and hopes to surprise on defense.

“We have a ton of weapons,” said junior quarterback K.J. Costello.

Costello missed spring practice with an injury, but threw Thursday and should be 100 percent for the first game.

“He was outstanding,” David Shaw, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football, said afterward.

Costello started seven games last year, throwing for 1,573 yards with 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He engineered victories against No. 9 Washington and No. 9 Notre Dame.

“He’ll be out there taking all the reps he can take,” Shaw said. “He has pushed himself the entire offseason and has done everything our trainers, doctors and rehab specialists have asked him to do. He’s not getting hit yet, but he can throw it and do everything we need him to do athletically. Now its conditioning his body for the season.”

Backup Davis Mills is also practicing.

“Hopefully by the time we play games he’s ready to go,” Shaw said.


Bigger load: Last year, Love ran for 2,118 yards – the most of any Power 5 running backs, despite sustaining a nagging ankle injury in the seventh game against Oregon. Just the 10th consensus All-America in school history, he ripped off an NCAA-record 13 runs of 50 yards or longer.

Love has gotten stronger by adding about 10 pounds of muscle and now weighs 202. When he wasn’t attending classes, Love was often catching passes on the practice field.

“Having Bryce back there really takes the weight off a lot of our shoulders,” said Costello. “Then again, it’s our responsibility to take the weight off his shoulders as well. He’s worked really hard this offseason, getting his body back, building his body up, working out of the backfield, working on his routes.”

Questions: Defensively, Stanford looks to shore up the line and secondary after losing all-conference standouts Harrison Phillips and Justin Reid. The lone returning starter up front is senior Dylan Jackson, but juniors Jovan Swann and Michael Williams, and sophomore Dalyn Wade-Perry contributed last season.

“Diron Reynolds is an outstanding football coach,” said Shaw of his line leader. “We have some talent in that room, but how far during training camp can some of these young guys get before we play that first game? Can they really grown and mature?”

As for the rest of his defense, Shaw added, “I love our linebackers. We have some competition at the safety position and corner. We’re big on rotating guys, so if we have three safeties and three corners, great.”

What’s new?: Former Cardinal quarterback Tavita Pritchard is now the Andrew Luck Director of Offense. This marks his eighth season on the coaching staff.

Kevin Carberry has joined the program as offensive line coach. He brings extensive NFL experience from Dallas and Washington. In 2016, he helped the Redskins produce two Pro Bowl selections. Carberry was a four-year letterman and All-MAC defensive lineman at Ohio.

Also new to the staff is Bobby Kennedy, who oversees wide receivers. He has 26 years of coaching experience, the last four in the same role at Colorado. Kennedy has coached in 16 bowl games and four BCS contests.

Thinking big: Starting his eighth season at the helm, Shaw has posted a 73-22 record (.769 winning percentage) while guiding the program to seven consecutive postseason appearances. His ultimate goal is to win a national championship. Coincidentally, this year’s title game will be played 20 miles south at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on Jan. 7, 2019.

“I think it would be huge for us,” he said. “I have said many times through the years that a Stanford football team getting to the playoff would be one of the biggest accomplishments in this era. Given our academic standards, for us to be able to accomplish one of the goals from the beginning of this program, which is to prove that you can have biology majors like Bryce Love, engineering majors like Andrew Luck and David DeCastro, and still be able to have a consistent winning football program that ran reach the playoff. It could be the culmination of that dream to make sure we’re doing things the right way . to be able to accomplish our goals without sacrificing academics.”

Stepping up: Senior wide receiver Trenton Irwin has taken it upon himself to inspire his teammates on and off the field. “I want to set the tone for the team, whether it’s a sleeper game that we might get stuck and let the team know what we have to do,” he said.

Like most Stanford players, he worked hard during summer conditioning with Shannon Turley, the Kissick Family Director of Sports Performance.

“I feel like a track star,” said Irwin. “You go out there in the mornings, you’re hardly awake, out there running a ton. You’re trying to build that base in order for that to last for the season.”

Summer job: Senior wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside is interning this summer for Dr. Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State. An international relations major, Arcega-Whiteside is considering politics after Stanford.

“I’m getting her mail, picking up her phone calls and responding to her emails,” he said. “On any given day, I can talk to anybody around the world. It’s pretty cool.”

Providing opportunities: Shaw is a big supporter of helping women receive more opportunities in football, and works closely at Stanford with Callie Seidman Dale, associate director of football operations.

They were invited to speak to a group of 50 vetted women at the Pro Bowl last year by Samantha Rapoport, senior director of football development in the NFL. All aspire to work in football operations and were seeking internships on the pro and collegiate level.

“They were not just there to speak and lead,” Rapoport said of Shaw and Dale. “They committed to interviewing qualified females for positions, which is what we have been discussing. Both of them really walked the walk.”

From those sessions, Shaw offered internships to Abby Desai and Phoebe Schecter. Each thrived and have moved on to training camp internships with the San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills, respectively.

“Both of them landed immediately, which is incredible,” said Rapoport. “It speaks to the experience they had at Stanford and what that experience means to a future employer.”

Rapoport, who spoke at the Stanford Women’s Football Clinic last summer, praised Shaw and Dale for being proactive.

“There’s no question Stanford was at the forefront of leading this at the collegiate level,” she said.

Extra Points … The Cardinal was ranked No. 13 this week in the USA Today preseason poll … Shaw celebrated his birthday this week and received a surprise video tribute from men’s soccer coach Jeremy Gunn on Pac-12 Network. When he was hired, Shaw walked into Gunn’s office, introduced himself, then answered questions for almost two hours about what to expect and how to succeed at Stanford. Gunn has done pretty well, claiming three straight NCAA crowns . Open practices will be held on Sunday, Aug. 12, at 2:45 p.m. PT and Sunday, Aug. 19, at 3 p.m.

Quotable … “We have a lot of unselfish guys that are willing to do their jobs, me included.” – K.J. Costello

— #GoStanford —

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About the Author

Alforde Joaquin

ALF’s passion for shooting and editing has earned him several awards including an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2006 for Videography. He was also a nominee for the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Videography. A 6-time Emmy recipient for five different categories: Director/Producer, Videography, Editing, Feature Segment and Sound Mixing, Alf has produced over 1,000 video segments and is committed to developing GetSportsFocus as one of the best sports video magazine on the web.