The Stanford Cardinal have a tough job this season in replacing quarterback Andrew Luck. But somebody has to do it and it seems that head coach David Shaw has found his guy.
On Tuesday Shaw announced that Josh Nunes will be the starting quarterback for the 2012 season and he will be saddled with the weight of replacing an NFL first round draft pick. Nunes was able to come away from the lengthy and close competition between him and sophomore Brett Nottingham with the starting nod.
Nunes missed the majority of last season with a right toe turf injury. He played in four games in 2010 in mop up duty and completed two out of four passes for seven yards. Shaw went with Nunes because of his extensive knowledge of the Cardinal playbook and his sound game management. The coaches felt like those two attributes outweighed Nottingham’s stronger arm. Nottingham did see some playing time in six games last season late in blowout wins and went 6-8 for 78 yards.
Shaw praised Nunes’ consistency throughout spring practices and so far during fall camp and ultimately beleived that was enough to grant him the starting job.
“Over time, Josh has been the most consistent,” Shaw said. “Make no mistake. This is not about wild plays, it’s not about doing something outside the framework of the offense. This is about consistency. This is about executing the plays that were called. It’s not about who hasn’t played well. All of our quarterbacks have competed. All of our quarterbacks have approached this with a workmanlike attitude. But Josh has been the most consistent over this time.”
The toughest thing for Nunes, besides having to fill the shoes of one of the best quarterbacks in Stanford history, will be the short amount of time he will have to get comfortable before Pac 12 play begins. Stanford opens with San Jose State August 31 and then will matchup with Duke a week later before their monumental showdown with No. 1 USC on September 15.
Unlike other first year starters, Nunes won’t be able to ease his way into the season especially with only two games under his belt before the USC game. However, he won’t have to carry the load himself as he will have the ability to rely on running back Stefan Taylor, a top-notch defense and not to mention the reigning conference coach of the year.
As long as Nunes does not try to play outside of himself and try to do too much the Cardinal should be ok. They do have experience replacing big names before, Toby Gerhart in 2009 and then Jim Harbaugh before last season, and they faired well in those seasons. Stanford should be able to continue their recent winning success and Nunes will be just another part of the winning formula.