Heading into spring practices, there wasn’t too much question about who would be the Stanford Cardinal’s starting quarterback. After a breakout year in 2012, junior Kevin Hogan has the No. 1 gig all but locked up.
The question that hasn’t been answered yet is who will be his primary backup.
If the first few practices of spring football have told us anything, it’s that fellow junior quarterback Evan Crower is ready to take that role and run with it for the Cardinal.
The biggest boost that Crower has received this year is the continued rehab of fifth-year senior Josh Nunes, who is working his way back from an undisclosed injury that he suffered during workouts. With Nunes unable to see the field and get reps, Crower has taken the majority of the No. 2 snaps and is quickly proving to coaches that he’s ready to be the main backup quarterback.
“He’s gotten more reps, and what we’ve always said about Evan is we know he can play, we just needed him to practice and play with a sense of urgency, and he’s had that…” Stanford head coach David Shaw said.
The biggest hurdle that Crower faced this offseason was improving on the mental aspects of his game, from grasping the Stanford playbook to understanding reads and making smarter decisions with the football. By all appearances, he’s moving in the right direction.
“Now that he knows the offense better, he’s making quicker decisions, which helps accuracy,” Shaw said. “A lot of times when you’re not sure what you’re doing, you’re a little bit late. Right now he’s on time.”
As Shaw also mentions, the No. 2 quarterback is always “one play away” from being in the game. If Crower continues to impress through the spring, the Cardinal shouldn’t be too hesitant with him under center should Hogan fall to injury this upcoming season.
Crower’s maturation from last season to now has been impressive. If he can continue to grow as a quarterback and leader, there’s no reason he can’t be a significant part of the Cardinal offense at some point this season.