Stanford prepares for Colorado with players set to return

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Stanford began the week still reeling from having four players held out because of coronavirus concerns, including quarterback Davis Mills, who missed the season opener.

On Friday, the Pac-12 cleared them all and acknowledged there were errors in the testing protocols that led to an inconclusive test result for one player that resulted in the four being sidelined at Oregon last week based on contact tracing requirements. All were asymptomatic and quarantined, had negative follow-up tests and can now return immediately.

Coach David Shaw had remained uncertain even Thursday about who would be available for the Cardinal (0-1) in their home opener Saturday against Colorado (1-0).

Colorado is coming off an impressive 48-42 home win against UCLA last Saturday to start the shortened season. The Buffaloes were certainly preparing to see Mills under center.

“I’m sure the starter, he’s probably back this week to play. I would assume he’s going to probably play pretty well,” coach Karl Dorrell said. “Like any of those David Shaw offenses he’s had in the past, he’s had real good quarterbacks that really manage the game well and perform their system very well.”

VERSATILE OFFENSE

Jarek Broussard will pose a challenge for Stanford’s defense after he ran for three touchdowns and carried 31 times for 187 yards last week.

Colorado had five receivers with at least one catch of 21 yards or greater and three with five or more receptions, led by Brady Russell’s five catches for 77 yards and six for 66 by Dimitri Stanley. Quarterback Sam Noyer completed 20 of 31 passes for 257 yards and a touchdown.

DORRELL & SHAW

Although this is the first time they’ve faced each other as head coaches, Dorrell and Shaw have some history being on opposite sidelines. They met on five occasions when both were NFL assistants — Dorrell with the Broncos and Shaw with the Raiders and Ravens. Dorrell’s teams went 3-2 against Shaw’s squads.

“We’ve been kind of around each other here and there being in the Pac-12 at different times,” Shaw said. “Since the first time I heard his name over a decade ago I’ve never heard anybody say anything negative about him.”

In addition, Dorrell was the head coach at UCLA in 2007 when Shaw was a Stanford assistant. The Bruins won that matchup, 45-17.

NO EXCUSES

Sure, Stanford was shorthanded and missing Mills while losing 35-14 at Oregon but Shaw expects far more after his team scored a touchdown in the first and fourth quarters but nothing in between.

The Cardinal amassed more than 400 yards of total offense as junior backup Jack West led the way despite not getting the majority of practice reps during the week. Freshman Tanner McKee also saw his first college action and “didn’t look like a freshman out there,” Shaw said. “We’re very pleased with these two guys.”

Austin Jones carried 20 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns while Nathaniel Peat accounted for 93 yards on just six rushes.

“We’re not satisfied playing a good team close,” Shaw said. “That’s never been our goal. I know we had a difficult situation but bottom line for us is we played OK. I believe we can play a lot better. That’s kind of consensus from our coaches, consensus from our team.”

KICKING GAME

Stanford kicker Jet Toner missed all four field-goal tries in the opener. Two of those were from 40-49 yards as he went wide right on the opening drive of the game and wide left from 40 yards early in the second quarter.

He also missed wide left on a 35-yard attempt in the third quarter and again wide left from 27 yards in the final quarter.

“He had a bad day, an unprecedented day probably for him in his life. He’s never had a practice like that,” Shaw said. “… I’ve never worried about Jet’s psyche. He’s a cool, Hawaiian breeze, so I don’t expect him to change, I don’t want him to be anybody other than who he is, because I think who he is is one of the best kickers in America that just had a bad day.”

INJURY UPDATE

Stanford was missing inside linebackers Ricky Miezan and Levani Damuni to finish Saturday’s game and Miezan will be out this weekend “and for an extended period of time,” Shaw said.

Linebackers Gabe Reid and Tangaloa Kaufusi missed the first game but Reid also is able to play, Shaw said.

Cornerback Kyu Kelly is set to play after he returned to practice Monday.

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AP Sports Writer Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this report.

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