Sports

You say 'Fua' and we say 'Pouha' to nose tackles

Luck shuns the ESPN spotlight; cites lack of interest

By Rick Eymer

Palo Alto Online Sports

Stanford nose tackle Sione Fua has a doppelganger in the NFL. Or, at least, someone whose name sounds a lot like Fua.

Sione Pouha, who wears uniform number 91, plays nose tackle for the New York Jets. The Utah grad is in his sixth NFL season.

Fua, who wears uniform number 92, is in his sixth season with the Cardinal, including his years on a religious mission. They are both starters for their respective teams.

"I think it's pretty cool that a guy on the Jets has the same name," Fua said Tuesday as 10th-ranked Stanford (4-1, 7-1) prepares for Saturday's 5 p.m. contest with visiting Arizona (4-1, 7-1) in a critical Pac-10 contest.

Pouha has recorded 28 tackles for the Jets this season while Fua has recorded 17 tackles for the Cardinal. Fua would like to catch up a little bit when he squares off against the same Wildcats' offense which scored 43 points on Stanford last year in a come-from-behind victory.

Two of the signature Arizona players return in Nic Grigsby, who went 57 yards for the final touchdown with under three minutes to play, and quarterback Nick Foles, who threw for 415 yards.

"That whole game eats at us," Fua said. "That was not acceptable. Foles definitely has a big arm, he's accurate and can make big plays. Their offensive linemen are maulers, probably the biggest we'll face all season. We have to come out, play physical, use our hands and knock them back."

Maybe not as extreme as some of the young Washington offensive linemen, who found helmet instead of body to block. Chase Thomas and Matt Masifilo each finished tackles without their helmets.

"I think it was a freshman who got Matt," Fua said. "I don't think he knew what he was doing. He was frustrated and reaching for whatever he could grab. They weren't playing dirty; it was more like a last resort."

Not a reality TV star

Stanford redshirt sophomore Andrew Luck turned down an opportunity to have his life chronicled by ESPN cameramen leading up to the Washington game. Huskies' quarterback Jake Locker was also offered the chance.

"It was one of those day-in-the-life segments," Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh said. "He didn't want cameras in the classroom. He wants to play well on the field."

The exposure could have given Luck a boost in determining legitimate Heisman Trophy candidates. He just shrugged it off though.

"I thought it would be a distraction to other guys," Luck said. "Plus, I honestly don't think my life is that interesting."

Harbaugh did a little campaigning for Luck in regards to the Heisman race. Following the win over Washington he suggested his quarterback should be part of the Heisman conversation.

"He's deserving of being in that conversation," Harbaugh said. "There are many deserving youngsters."

Double duty

Harbaugh said he would use every quarterback on the roster, expect for Luck, on the scout team in preparation for Arizona this week. Starter Nick Foles has missed the past two weeks with an injury but the Wildcats have not missed a beat with back-up Matt Scott.

"You have to prepare for both of them," Harbaugh said. "Scott is very athletic and more of a run threat. Both of them play at a high level."

Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov said there are subtle differences between the two quarterbacks.

"Foles is more experienced and that might help them out on the road," Skov said. "Scott is a little more mobile. But it's the same offense."

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