Harbaugh: QB Luck might playStanford quarterback Andrew Luck might play Thursday against Oklahoma in the Sun Bowl, Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh said. Luck suffered a broken finger Nov. 28 against Notre Dame in Stanford’s regular-season finale. Luck underwent surgery but had the pins removed Monday. Harbaugh, speaking at the final Sun Bowl press conference, said Luck is "progressing nicely” and that he and the medical staff are hopeful Luck will be able to play. Senior Tavita Pritchard, who made 19 career starts before Luck won the job this season, is expected to start vs. the Sooners.
Stoops: Focus not to blameGoing into today’s Sun Bowl, Oklahoma has lost five of six, including three straight bowl games. Inevitably, Bob Stoops was pressed this week for a common thread among the bowl losses. "Yeah, playing other really good teams,” he said. "Florida wasn’t any slouch last year. In the end, you’re playing other championship teams, if you’re not playing your best and/or they’re hot, you’re going to lose. It’ll be the same this year.” Stoops insisted that citing lack of focus or any other reason for the bowl slump is a "cop-out.” "I don’t see our guys that they weren’t focused,” he said. "I don’t buy that. The 2003 LSU (national championship) game, that’s a heck of a game, 21-14. So we weren’t focused? LSU was a good football team, and we played them in their backyard, right? So, in the end they made a few more plays than we did. That doesn’t mean our guys weren’t focused.” Stoops was adamant that how he’s run his team this bowl trip is no different than any other. "The same things that worked for us in 2000 when we were national champions and went 13-0,” Stoops said, "are still pretty similar to today.”
At Stanford, it’s all relativeStanford’s roster is filled with players who are related to famous people. →Freshman tailback Michael Spanos is the grandson of San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos. →Junior center Bert McBride’s parents both have run for governor of Florida, dad Bill McBride in 2002 and mom Alex Sink in 2010. →Pritchard is the nephew of former NFL quarterback Jack Thompson, the "Throwin’ Samoan” at Washington State. →Luck is the son of former Houston Oilers and West Virginia U. quarterback Oliver Luck. →Freshman tight end Levine Toilolo’s uncle is former NFL nose tackle Dan Saleaumua. →Senior safety Bo McNally and redshirt freshman fullback Liam McNally are the grandsons of late Baltimore Orioles pitching star Dave McNally. →Senior offensive tackle Matt Kopa is the grandson of France’s1958 World Cup star, Raymond Kopa. →Wide receiver Griff Whalen’s great uncle is Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver.
Playing time for Cale GundyIn 1993, current OU running backs coach Cale Gundy quarterbacked OU to a 41-10 Sun Bowl victory over Texas Tech. But Stoops joked this week that Gundy would struggle finding playing time for the Sooners this past decade. "He’d have a hard time playing for us right now,” Stoops said. "Jim (Harbaugh) could play for us. That’s probably not fair to say, we’d probably work Cale a little bit different. He would be one of those guys we’d throw in all the quarterback zone-read and run game. He’s a tough guy.”
More praise for BeelerOne of the major Sun Bowl story lines has been Stanford center Chase Beeler, who transferred from OU in 2007. Beeler has emerged as an all-conference performer. "Chase has been phenomenal for us,” Stanford offensive coordinator David Shaw said. "He’s as smart a center as I’ve been around in a long time. He has to make the calls up front, and we put a lot on his shoulders for him to see defensive fronts and make calls. I think he’s done a great job in the run game and the pass game. He’s even more athletic than we thought when he first got here. I think he’s been a godsend.”
Harbaugh tells Gerhart to go proStanford coach Jim Harbaugh said he told Toby Gerhart, who has a season of eligibility remaining, to go pro. Harbaugh has talked to his brother, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, about Gerhart and said the star tailback will be a first-round draft choice. "I’m recommending he does go to the NFL,” Jim Harbaugh said.
Another branch on Harbaugh treeNot only are both of Jack Harbaugh’s sons head coaches at the highest levels of football — Jim at Stanford, John with the Ravens — his son-in-law is an elite coach, too. Joani Harbaugh married Tom Crean, who now is the basketball coach at Indiana. "She’s a good coach’s wife and a great mom,” said Jack Harbaugh.
Stanford’s strong QB legacyHow good is Stanford’s quarterback legacy? John Elway, who some consider the greatest QB in NFL history, isn’t the best in Stanford history. In 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle produced a list of the 10 best Stanford QBs ever. Elway wasn’t No. 1. Or No. 2. The Chronicle’s 2004 list shouldn’t be outdated since only Trent Edwards could be viewed as a contender for the list, and he probably deserves only honorable mention: 1. Jim Plunkett (1968-70): Bay Area’s only Heisman Trophy winner. 2. Frankie Albert (1939-41): Pioneer of the T-formation revolution. 3. John Elway (1980-82): Strange but true; Stanford was 15-18 with Elway at QB. 4. John Brodie (1954-56): Long-time 49er quarterback was consensus all-American QB in ’56, when Notre Dame quarterback Paul Hornung won the Heisman. 5. Bobby Garrett (1951-53): Won the Voit Trophy as top player on the Pacific coast. 6. Don Bunce (1969-71): Plunkett’s successor led Rose Bowl upset of Michigan. 7. Mike Boryla (1971-73): Almost took Stanford to a third Rose Bowl in four years. 8. Steve Stenstrom (1991-94): Four-year starter. 9. Gary Kerkorian (1949-51): Led the only Stanford bowl team between Albert and Plunkett. 10. Steve Dils (1977-78): Started only one year, but it was a doozy, under coach Bill Walsh. Note: Not making the list were NFL veterans Trent Edwards, Guy Benjamin, Todd Husak, Chad Hutchinson, Dick Norman, Turk Schonert, Randy Fasini and Dave Lewis.
Gerhart comparisonsOU defensive coordinator Brent Venables was asked this week who Gerhart’s running style reminded him of. "The type of backs you saw from the really good, downhill running Nebraska teams with coach (Tom) Osborne,” Venables said. "They played with great pad lean. Of course (former Sooner) Adrian Peterson was a different type of animal. But that type of physicality is what Gerhart brings.” Jim Harbaugh has told Gerhart his running style is reminiscent of former Washington Redskins great John Riggins.