STANFORD — The race to replace Andrew Luck ended Tuesday when coach David Shaw named junior Josh Nunes as Stanford’s starting quarterback.
Shaw said Nunes beat out sophomore Brett Nottingham by consistently demonstrating that he would be the best manager of the Cardinal’s pro-style offense. He said 80 percent of the job is keeping the offense away from negative plays.
“This is not about ‘wow’ plays, it’s not about doing something outside of the framework of the offense,” he said. “This is about consistency, this is about executing the plays that are called.”
The competition started with five quarterbacks in spring camp, but Nunes and Nottingham quickly emerged as the frontrunners. Redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan made a late push this summer, but Nunes ultimately proved to be the most reliable decision maker.
“Brett Nottingham has made huge strides, Kevin Hogan has made huge strides,” Shaw said. “We feel real good about our quarterback position for the next few years, honestly.”
Nunes was Luck’s backup in 2010, but he lost the job to Nottingham last season after suffering a foot injury. Nunes said he learned that he’d won the gig Tuesday morning when Shaw called him into his office.
“I was hoping [for] good things, but it’s football,” he said.
At the end of spring camp, Nunes was said to have had a better handle of the Cardinal offense while Nottingham had the edge in arm strength. But Nunes improved his body strength over the summer and he said he also benefitted from getting out and slinging the ball around with his offensive teammates.
“I had a great opportunity to just get out and throw with guys like Levine [Toilolo] and Zach [Ertz],” he said. “[We] focused on route timing and stuff like that. I think that made a huge difference, I think we got a lot better over that period.”
Nunes said it was a blessing to play behind Luck, but he can’t try to fill the former Heisman Trophy candidate’s shoes.
“I’ve got to realize, too, that I’m not Andrew Luck and by no means am I trying to be exactly him,” he said. “I’m going to try to come out here and run this high-powered offense that we’ve got and get it to the playmakers.”
Shaw declined to say who would be Nunes’ backup when the Cardinal kicks off the season against San Jose State at Stanford Stadium on Aug. 31.
“I never talk about two’s and three’s,” he said. “We have guys that have different talents, but they’re going to compete.”