SOUTH BEND IN - SEPTEMBER 25: Shayne Skov #11 of the Stanford Cardinal hits Dayne Crist #10 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish forcing Crist to fumble at Notre Dame Stadium on September 25 2010 in South Bend Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
We all knew that Shayne Skov would be getting punished for his DUI. The punishment is as expected. One game, one week. Skov will be back in time for the Week 3 showdown with USC.
Skov is coming off a pretty serious knee injury, so it remains to be seen what type of player we’ll see on the field next year. I do remember the player that was on the field before the injury, and it was someone who was a serious contender for every major national award a defender could possess. Skov was a three-down linebacking demon who could rush the passer, back off and find his man in coverage, and just lay down the wood whenever he had the chance to meet his man head-on.
Skov and Chase Thomas figure to be the lynchpins of what figures to be a very strong Cardinal defensive unit, one that our very own Bill Connelly believes could be one of the best in the conference.
Honestly, if Skov returns to full health by the fall, there is no reason why Stanford's front seven couldn't be one of the two or three best in the country. The depth is astounding, and that's before we even get to newcomers like five-star end Aziz Shittu, four-star tackle Jordan Watkins, or four-star linebacker Noor Davis. The only players lost from last year's front seven are end Matthew Masifilo (8.0 tackles for loss, four passes broken up) and reserve linebacker Max Bergen. If ends like sophomore Henry Anderson and junior Josh Mauro can match Masifilo's good-but-not-irreplaceable production, then Stanford should rank in the Top 10 of both line categories. Thomas and Murphy were incredible last year, combining for 27.5 tackles for loss, 15 sacks and five forced fumbles. Junior Blake Lueders threw in another 3.0 tackles for loss in garbage time. And while Skov's loss was painful in the present tense, it has created impressive depth this time around; junior Jarek Lancaster and sophomore A.J. Tarpley combed for 11 tackles for loss and eight passes defended in his absence. Sophomore inside linebackers Joe Hemschoot and James Vaughters are probably ready for more playing time than they will likely receive this fall as well.
Stanford starts off the season playing mighty San Jose State. This development could really make the difference between Stanford letting the underdog cover or not.