David Shaw would have liked his quarterback situation to have been resolved after Fall Camp when the coach pegged Josh Nunes as the starting quarterback for the Stanford Cardinal. Shaw even stood behind the junior after some early setbacks. However, with Nunes struggling to consistently move the offense after eight games, Shaw has announced that redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan will be taking more snaps during games going forward.
Nunes was tagged as the man to replace Andrew Luck this August when he beat out the strong-armed Brett Nottingham in fall camp. Since then, Nunes has started all eight games for the Cardinal, with varying degrees of success. Last week, against the last place Washington State Cougars, Nunes completed just 7-of-15 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown as Stanford squeeked by24-17 at home. The defense gets the credit for bailing the team out in this one, as they recorded a school-record 10 sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
On the season, Nunes has struggled more often than not. He’s completed just 53-percent of his passes with only 10 touchdowns to seven interceptions. He’s thrown for less than 200 yards in four games this season and couldn’t his offense to a touchdown on the road until their win over the Cal Bears on October 20. Nunes has fluctuated from looking uncomfortable to completely lost under center.
Those struggles have forced Shaw to re-evaluate his philosophy on two-quarterback systems. In the spring, the coach said he didn’t like them because it negatively impacted the rhythm of the offense. But with the offense having no rhythm to disrupt, Shaw has embraced turning more of the offense over to Hogan.
Over the last two games, Hogan has seen limited action, getting on the field for about six downs in each of the last two weeks. Most of that playing time has been as a read-option or wildcat-style quarterback, but Shaw believes that the young QB is ready to handle more passes and different packages soon.
According to Shaw, Hogan will see about 12 to 20 snaps when the team travels to face the Colorado Buffaloes this Saturday. Shaw says that Hogan isn’t “ready to take it all right now,” and that he’s “not ready to take it all away from Josh (Nunes),” just yet.
But that could change quickly. Shaw says that he would consider starting Hogan down the stretch if Nunes continues to struggle. For the beleaguered junior Nunes, his performance in Boulder will determine his status as the starter the rest of the way. The pressure is on him to improve after several sloppy starts or he will have to watch the rest of this season from the sidelines.
The Cardinal will need to find answers to their sluggish offense quickly before they face off against the No. 11 Oregon State Beavers and No. 4 Oregon Ducks in the next two weeks. Shaw has to find someone who can make this offense go, and so far that hasn’t been Nunes. Watch for Hogan to provide a spark with his athleticism and add a new dynamic to the stagnant Stanford offense.