<
>

While you were on vacation... Stanford

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

The sixth of 10 quick hit updates of off-season Pac-10 goings on.

In a sentence:

  • With 16 position players returning -- most in the Pac-10 -- from a team that beat USC and California, Stanford has the experience to move out of the bottom third of the conference in coach Jim Harbaugh's second season.

The big question:

  • Sure, seven starters return on offense, but how can much be expected from a crew that ranked last in the conference in yards and points per game and is unsettled at quarterback?

Quick hit news:

  • It's questionable whether a pair of injured starters, offensive tackle Allen Smith (knee cap) and tight end Jim Dray (knee), will be able to suit up this season. The hopeful official word is Smith and Dray might be able to return at some point, though Thebootleg.com has reported that neither will be available in 2008.

  • The void left by Dray might be partially filled by Konrad Reuland, a Notre Dame transfer whose younger brother, Warren, signed with the Cardinal this winter. Konrad, one of the nation's top-rated tight ends in 2006 out of Mission Viejo, Calif., won't be eligible until the fourth game of the season, Sept. 27 at Washington.

  • Stanford is starting to resemble other programs that try to keep players on or near campus during the summer, according to a San Francisco Chronicle story, which reported 14 freshmen -- out of a class of 18 -- were enrolled in summer school. Two years ago, only one freshman took summer classes.

  • Sophomore Corey Gatewood's switch from receiver to cornerback is now permanent under first-year defensive coordinator Ron Lynn. He's competing with junior Kris Evans for the starting job.

  • Defensive lineman Sione Fua, a touted recruit from the 2006 class, returned early from a church mission at the end of spring practices and is expected to work his way into the rotation on the defensive line. Fua saw limited action as a true freshman.

  • If the three-man battle at quarterback between Tavita Prichard, Jason Forcier and Alex Loukas doesn't produce a clear winner, it's always possible that top-rated quarterback recruit Andrew Luck [Insider] could see action.