There was more interest than usual in Stanford's first scrimmage of the fall training camp Sunday, so it was moved to a bigger venue on campus. That can happen after winning an Orange Bowl, watching your quarterback become the Heisman Trophy runner-up and opening the season ranked seventh in the nation by The Associated Press.
Fans certainly got their money's worth, with junior redshirt quarterback Andrew Luck looking just fine running the first team offense, and getting to see three other quarterbacks who are in contention for the role of Luck's backup.
Cardinal coach David Shaw couldn't ask for anything more than what he saw at the Steuber Rugby Stadium: crisp, efficient play coupled with just enough teachable moments to keep the team honest during upcoming film sessions.
"I thought we played very fast as a team," Shaw said. "We played hard and through the whistle, sometimes a little too much, but we played our style of football which was good to see."
Stanford opens the regular season on Sept. 3 with a home game against San Jose State at 2 p.m.
Luck completed 12 of 16 passes for 115 yards, and redshirt freshman Brett Nottingham looked sharp running the second team offense. He completed 6 of 8 passes for 49 yards, including one of 20 yards to Ricky Seale.
Sophomore Robbie Picazo also saw action running the third team offense, completing three of eight passes for 71 yards, 60 of which coming on a 60 yard touchdown pass to Corey Gatewood.
Last year's backup quarterback Josh Nunes was held out of the scrimmage with soreness in his foot.
"I'm not ready to say who is second at this point," Shaw said. "Brett's number of reps today is indicative to his rise over the last two weeks of practice. Robbie played his butt off today, as well. Nunes will see a lot of reps this week and then we will make a decision before San Jose State."
On the first drive of the scrimmage, Luck methodically marched the first team offense down the field for a touchdown, culminating with an 8-yard scoring toss to Ryan Hewitt.
Luck completed passes to nine different receivers, with tight end Zach Ertz om the receiving end of three pass receptions.
"Andrew is the same everyday; very consistent," Shaw said. "He manages the game very well. What I love about him is he gets into a situation like today and doesn't think he needs to throw the ball on every down. He doesn't care about statistics or run-pass ratio. He just wants to manage the game and make good decisions."
Stanford needs to fill three starting positions on its offensive line and one of the most hotly contested battles is being waged at right tackle, where redshirt freshman Cameron Fleming took the majority of reps with the first team offense.
"It was his turn," Shaw said. "We've been using a three-man rotation and Cameron's turn just happened to fall on today. Tyler Mabry (a redshirt senior) will see plenty of reps on Tuesday."
Shaw was also impressed by the play of some of Stanford's freshmen who expect to make contributions this season, including wide receiver Ty Montgomery, linebacker James Vaughters and defensive back Wayne Lyons.
"I thought Ty Montgomery was outstanding, as was Vaughters," Shaw said. "He (Vaughters) played really physical. It took him a little while during the first week to get comfortable and learn different schemes, but you can see his confidence growing each and every day. Wayne Lyons has played like a veteran since he arrived on campus."
Stanford's depth at running backs was also apparent as freshmen Kelsey Young and Remound Wright gained 52 and 25 yards, respectively, while Anthony Wilkerson had 16 and Tyler Gaffney finished with 14.
"Our running backs, all the way down to our freshmen, played really well," Shaw said. "We have outstanding depth at that position."