August 27, 2012

David Shaw Press Conference Notebook

There were a few interesting takeaways from the first roundtable discussion with coach David Shaw Monday as Stanford prepares for its season opener Friday against San Jose State in the Bill Walsh Legacy Game.

Left tackle unsettled: Shaw still has not settled on a left tackle, but it looks more and more like the job will go to one of two true freshmen: Andrus Peat or Kyle Murphy. Shaw left open one other possible scenario for the starting lineup against San Jose State. Stanford could move redshirt sophomore left guard David Yankey to left tackle and play redshirt junior Khalil Wilkes at left guard.

At minimum, Shaw said both Peat and Murphy will play a significant amount snaps on Friday.

Redshirt Sanders?: Barry Sanders is not a sure thing to play as a true freshman this season. In fact, Shaw made it sound like the coaching staff was leaning towards redshirting him.

The decision hasn't been made and his readiness is not in question. Shaw hasn't decided if it would be worth burning the redshirt for minimal game action. With Stepfan Taylor, Anthony Wilkerson, Remound Wright and others, there isn't a dire need for another running back.

Shaw said if there was an injury, he wouldn't hesitate to play Sanders and that he'll have a conversation with him and running backs coach Mike Sanford in the near future about the situation.

Vaughters will start at ILB: Jarek Lancaster, who led Stanford in tackles last year, has lost his starting job to sophomore James Vaughters. Shaw said Lancaster will still play a big role on defense, but it's unclear in what capacity.

Vaughters has been one of the top performers in camp.

"It's uncanny what the guy can do," Shaw said. "We can't have a guy like that on the bench."

Lancaster will likely be an important contributor on special teams.

Lyons will rotate in early at CB: Wayne Lyons will be the third corner to rotate in for Stanford against San Jose State. He sits behind Barry Browning and Terrence Brown on the depth chart, but is expected to push both players. True freshman Alex Carter will also play against San Jose State, but not to the extent as Lyons.

Nottingham not expected to play: Shaw said sophomore QB Brett Nottingham would only play if "Josh Nunes broke a shoelace."

Amanam at nickel: Usua Amanam is working strictly as the nickel -- the role occupied by Michael Thomas last year. Shaw said they're happy with him in that role and it's unlikely he'd play corner before guys like Carter and Lyons.

Five Stanford players survive first round of 49ers cuts: TE Konrad Reuland, OL Derek Hall, WR Chris Owusu and S Michael Thomas all survived the first round of cuts by the San Francisco 49ers, who trimmed their roster from 89 to 75 players Monday.

Reuland has the best chance at making the 53-man roster as the No. 3 TE behind Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. None of the others are expected to survive the final cut, but all are strong candidates for the practice squad. The 49ers must get to 53 by Friday at 6 p.m.

Owusu has played well for the 49ers in the preseason and is now practicing as a kick returner. He was back for two kickoffs against Denver on Sunday, but both kicks went through the back of the end zone.

"It was one of the best feelings I've had in a long time to go out there and be back there seeing 10 guys in front of you that are willing to block and willing to sacrifice their bodies for you," Owusu said. "Hopefully I'll get some opportunities to be back there again.

Thomas has been praised by former Stanford and current 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio throughout camp about his ability to play the nickel -- where he played a lot for Stanford last year.

Owusu has faith in Nunes: Owusu had a lot of good things to say about newly-minted starting QB Josh Nunes, Monday.

"[Fans] can expect a consistent hard worker. [Nunes is] going to play mistake free," Owusu said. "Great leader. Not the most outspoken person, but he leads by example."

Owusu also said he was saddened by the injury news to David DeCastro: "I sent him a text to say 'I've got your back, I'm sorry this happened,' but he's one of the most competitive, hardest working people I know."

Shaw said that he has not spoken with DeCastro since the injury, but Shaw said others have spoken with him and that spirits are good and DeCastro is hoping to make it back this year.

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