Sports

Next year can wait until after the Notre Dame contest

 
Simi Fehoko makes this catch against Cal. Photo by Bob Drebin/ISIPhotos.com.

There might be a next year but Stanford coach David Shaw is not yet thinking about it. There's still a game to play and it's a big one, regardless of Stanford's record and knowing that there will be no bowl game this season.

"We have to grow this week," Shaw said. "We're not looking at next year, we're looking at Notre Dame. There's finishing on a good note and that's great for the players. I'm looking toward 1 p.m. Saturday and what we can do to be ready to play. That's my focus."

Stanford (4-7) hosts 15th-ranked Notre Dame (9-2), which will be going to a bowl game, at 1 p.m. Saturday and a victory would send the Cardinal into the offseason flying high and motivated.

"We have the ability to win this football game," Shaw said. "We have the ability to make it a tight game in the fourth quarter and find a way to win. The question is will we? This game is about execution and effort. If we can give great effort and execute in all three phases, we'll be in the game and have a chance to win in the fourth quarter."

The Cardinal will again be without the services of quarterback K.J. Costello, corner back Paulsen Adebo, safety Malik Antoine, kicker Jet Toner, offensive lineman Walker Little and add wide receiver Connor Wedington to the list.

Wedington hardly got a chance to play against Cal before he was forced to the sidelines. He's merely the latest in a long line of injuries that have tested Stanford's depth and given rise to a forced youth movement.

Even without the extra practice time usually given over to the younger players before a bowl game, Shaw feels sure this season will not have been wasted.

"Everyone in our program knows what we are capable of and knows what we have in the building," Shaw said. "The team that's going to come back and play on our field has a chance to be real good."

Think Davis Mills, who has already set a program record with his 504 yards on 33 of 50 against Washington State, and his receiving corps.

A junior, with two years of eligibility remaining, Mills has appeared in eight career games and one doesn't really count (0 for 2 in a game as a sophomore). He's thrown for at least 237 yards in five of them.

Of the 14 wide receivers on the roster, 11 of them are eligible to return, including Wedington, Michael Wilson, Osirias St. Brown, Simi Fehoko, Brycen Tremayneand Elijah Higgins, who started his first game against Cal.

Until next year, though, there's still a winnable game.

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