Andrew Luck’s replacement finally has a name: Josh Nunes will be Stanford’s starting quarterback heading into the 2012 season, coach David Shaw announced Tuesday.
Shaw said Nunes was more consistent, had a better understanding of the playbook and did a better job of managing the running game.
Nunes winning the job is somewhat of an upset, considering sophomore Brett Nottingham backed up Luck in 2011 and seemed to be the favorite when spring practice began five months ago. Nottingham threw for 78 yards and a touchdown in six appearances as Luck's backup in 2011.
Nunes hasn’t seen game action since 2010 when he threw two passes over the course of four games. The junior redshirted his freshman year (2009) and has two seasons of eligibility left.
Shaw was originally set to pick his starting QB last week, but the race was so tight, the second-year coach delayed the decision until Tuesday.
The competition was won behind closed doors, as almost all of Stanford’s fall practices have been closed-off to both the public and media. However, in the few instances when practice was open, it was Nunes who was taking the first-team snaps. Nunes also took most of the first-team reps in Stanford’s spring game.
Ah, the spring game. The spring game actually raised more questions than answers as neither Nunes nor Nottingham were able to distinguish themselves. Nunes threw for 167 yards and two touchdowns in the April game, but completed only 37.9 percent of his passes (11 of 29). Nottingham didn’t fare much better; the sophomore completed 12 of 19 passes for 118 yards, but threw an interception.
All Nunes has to do now is replace Luck.
Luck holds so many passing records at the school that Stanford may want to name the record book after him. Luck is the school’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (82), completion percentage (68.7 percent) and total offense (10,387 yards).
But before you start comparing Nunes to Luck, Nunes wants to make one thing clear. “I’m not Andrew Luck and I’m not going to try and be him,” Nunes said.
Although no one can really replace a No. 1 overall NFL draft pick, the Cardinal have the all-around talent to be successful without Luck. With Stepfan Taylor, Stanford will have a strong running game and with three Butkus Watch List linebackers, the defense could be even stronger than the unit that ranked second in the Pac-12 last season.
Nunes will see his first game action in almost two years on Aug. 31 when Stanford opens the season with Bay Area neighbor San Jose State.
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