This man will replace Andrew Luck at Stanford

This man will replace Andrew Luck at Stanford

From Comcast SportsNet
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- There will be no hiding from Andrew Luck's legacy this season. Every time Josh Nunes walks into the Stanford football offices he will see the trophies Luck helped win. When he runs through the Stanford Stadium tunnel for the first time as the starting quarterback, No. 12 jerseys will be littered throughout the crowd. And if he reads the record books, there's one name dominating the top. "It's the biggest shoes I think you could have to follow," Nunes said. Cardinal coach David Shaw announced Tuesday that the junior quarterback beat out sophomore Brett Nottingham, ending a lengthy and close competition to replace Luck, the NFL's No. 1 overall pick and two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up. Shaw informed both in his office before the morning practice. "Over time, Josh has been the most consistent," Shaw said. "Make no mistake. This is not about wild plays, it's not about doing something outside the framework of the offense. This is about consistency. This is about executing the plays that were called. It's not about who hasn't played well. All of our quarterbacks have competed. All of our quarterbacks have approached this with a workmanlike attitude. But Josh has been the most consistent over this time." Experience is still a major concern. No. 21 Stanford will open the regular season against San Jose State on Aug. 31 with a quarterback who has thrown all of two passes and completed only one -- for all of 7 yards -- in his college career. Both also came two years ago. Nunes (pronounced Noon-es) also will have little time to transition. After playing Duke the following week, a monumental matchup looms against top-ranked Southern California at Stanford Stadium on Sept. 15. "The great thing is the path has been laid for how to be a successful quarterback here at Stanford," Nunes said, referring to Luck's career. "So, really, it's just following that pattern and emulating the kind of player that he was and the kind of person that he was here. I also got to realize I'm not Andrew Luck, and by no means am I trying to be exactly him. I'm trying to come out here and run this high-powered offense that we got and get it to the playmakers that we got." Luck left Stanford as the school's leader in touchdown passes (82), completion percentage (.670), passing efficiency (162.8) and total offense (10,411) -- among other marks -- despite playing only three seasons. A year after rolling past Virginia Tech 40-12 in the Orange Bowl, Luck didn't quite have the finish he had hoped. Stanford lost 41-38 in overtime to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2. Replacing Luck is a task even Shaw had to address the first day of spring practice. "I told them all flat out: Don't try to be Andrew Luck because you can't. It's impossible," Shaw said. "I don't know there's a guy in the nation right now, young or old, that's where Andrew was when he left here. So for us it's about managing the game." While Luck is replacing four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning with the Indianapolis Colts, Nunes is facing a task equally daunting in the college ranks. Nunes missed most of last year with a right turf toe injury and never saw game action. The native of Upland in Southern California played in four games in 2010. He worked with the first-team offense in Stanford's spring game and started last Sunday's scrimmage, and coaches believe his knowledge of the playbook and game management top Nottingham's strong arm. Nottingham replaced Luck in six games last year, finishing 5 of 8 passing for 78 yards. The quarterback, who played at Monte Vista High School in San Francisco's East Bay, was not made available by Stanford to speak to reporters. A message left at his parents' house seeking comment also was not returned. Shaw wouldn't commit to Nottingham being the backup, insisting redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan will continue to challenge for the spot. But he said the months-long competition made each quarterback and the team better. "It's a very good thing," Shaw said. "If I had to make this decision the first week that would have meant that we didn't have competition. We had a serious competition." Former Stanford tight end Coby Fleener and wide receiver Griff Whalen, both rookies along with Luck in Indianapolis, said they had just one preference for the next starter. "Whoever wins us games," said Fleener, drafted 34th overall. "They're not throwing me balls, so it's whoever wins games. I'm a Stanford fan forever." Whalen also recognizes the parallels for Luck and Nunes as they try to replace such standouts at quarterback. "It's going to be tough because, whoever it is, is going to be in a similar situation to what Andrew has here," Whalen said before the official announcement. "The important thing is to go one day at a time and focus on the things you can control." While there is no bigger hole to fill than replacing Luck, Stanford has built depth over the last two seasons -- both of which ended at BCS bowls -- and Shaw refuses to call this a rebuilding year. Stanford has a talented mix of tight ends and running backs, including back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher Stepfan Taylor, one of the Pac-12's top defenses and the league's Coach of the Year. The program also has a proven record recently of overcoming key losses, including 2009 Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart and coach Jim Harbaugh before last season. If Nunes can be a steady hand at quarterback, perhaps there's no reason Stanford should slip. "Being behind Andrew Luck was pretty much the biggest blessing I think you could ever ask for," Nunes said. "I learned a lot from him and I feel like I'm ready to lead this team."

Former Terp Davis honors former Redskins great with jersey number

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Former Terp Davis honors former Redskins great with jersey number

Sean Davis wore No. 21 at Maryland to honor late Redskins great Sean Taylor. But after getting selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, he ran into an issue. 

No. 21 already belonged to fellow safety Robert Golden, so Davis improvised. As he showed at rookie minicamp on Friday, he is now wearing No. 28. Why? He shared on Twitter that he wanted to honor another great former Redskins defensive back -- Darrell Green.

Pittsburgh doesn't need Davis to produce like Green right off the bat, but he could end up with a starting spot in the secondary. The Steelers ranked 30th in the NFL in pass defense last season and, paired with fellow draftee Artie Burns out of Miami, the team will likely be looking to them as rookies.

Trotz looks to spark offense by switching up offensive lines

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Trotz looks to spark offense by switching up offensive lines

The Caps have stayed pretty consistent with their offensive lines this postseason, but if Friday's practice is any indication, that's about to change. Head coach Barry Trotz changed his offensive look as his team prepares for a critical Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Here's a look at the top three lines from practice on Friday:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie

Andre Burakovsky - Nicklas Backstrom - Marcus Johansson

Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Justin Williams

Evgeny Kuznetsov took line rushes on the top line at practice with Nicklas Backstrom moving down to the second. Trotz has matched his top line against the top lines of both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh this postseason with success...at least defensively. Sidney Crosby has only one point this series, but the trade-off has been less offensive production from the Caps' top weapons. T.J. Oshie managed a hat trick in Game 1, but since then Oveckin, Backstrom and Oshie have combined for only three points.

RELATED: Caps need more production from 'certain guys'

With both the power play and the secondary scoring dried up as well, the Caps need to find some way to spark their offense. Switching up the lines appears to be Trotz's solution.

"We've got last change so they give me a little different matchups," Trotz said. "We don't have anything to lose right now."

As the Caps return home for Game 5, they will get the last line change, allowing Trotz to get the matchups he wants more easily. If he does find success, it will be difficult to replicate that in Game 6 as Pittsburgh will get the last change, but right now the Caps are just focusing on getting to Game 6.

The move allows Trotz to continue matching Backstrom against Crosby while freeing up Ovechkin and Oshie. It also could spark more offense from Kuznetsov.

A year after a breakout postseason performance, Kuznetsov has been largely absent throught the playoffs with only two points, none of which came at even strength.

When asked about the move, Kuznetsov said he was comfortable playing with Ovechkin and it would be an easy adjustment for him.

"We know each other and we know what we need to do on ice and all," Kuznetsov said. "Maybe some small areas we will correct a little bit, but it's still same hockey. We just have to play our game."

Williams also moves down to the third line after a surprisingly rough postseason performance.

"I know I'm counted on to support this team offensively and defensively among other things so I certainly put onus on myself to be better," Williams said.

Williams has contributed four points in the playoffs, but he's also a career low minus-5 and has 12 penalty minutes in just 10 games.

The third line may change a bit for Game 5 as Mike Richards was not at practice. According to the team he was under the weather, but Trotz said he should be OK for Saturday. Whether he would take Jay Beagle's spot at third line center or move down to the fourth line remains to be seen. Richards has also underachieved this postseason with zero points.

"Using the other side of your brain once in a while when you get someone different in the lineup," Trotz said. "That's really what we're trying to do tomorrow."

MORE CAPITALS: Trotz named Jack Adams finalist

First video of former Terp Sean Davis in Steelers uniform

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First video of former Terp Sean Davis in Steelers uniform

Rookie minicamp for the Pittsburgh Steelers opened on Friday, which meant the first look at second-round pick and former Maryland Terrapin Sean Davis in black and yellow.

As shared by the team's official Twitter account, below is Davis tracking a ball during a drill. And it looks like he'll be wearing No. 28, which is a departure from the No. 21 he wore at Maryland

Pittsburgh made the secondary a priority in the 2016 draft, taking defensive back Artie Burns of Miami in the first round and Davis in the second. And it's not out of the question that one or both could start when the season begins.

That will be determined in time. And there's a lot of it between now and the opener.