Backup quarterback Crower could become key for Cardinal

  • Stanford quarterback Evan Crower in action against Washington State in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in Seattle. Stanford won 55-17. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

STANFORD — Kevin Hogan hasn’t missed a game due to injury — hasn’t even missed a meaningful series, in fact — since he took over as Stanford’s starting quarterback late in the 2012 season.

If that should change this season, Evan Crower is ready. Finally.

The redshirt junior has made significant strides in his understanding of the playbook and established himself as “a guy who’s ready to play for us,” according to coach David Shaw.

Crower, who grew up in San Diego, committed to the Cardinal under former coach Jim Harbaugh in the fall of his junior year at St. Augustine High.

His experience to this point consists of four mop-up appearances last season in which he threw just 15 passes — hardly an indication of his ability to execute in pressure situations against top-tier opponents.

But the 6-foot-5 left-hander was sharp in spring practice and distanced himself from redshirt freshman Ryan Burns. Crower is aware of the unique role of the backup quarterback, who is the least important player on the roster until he’s the most important.

“He’s really playing well,” Shaw said. “He’s continuing what he did in the spring ... If Kevin breaks his shoelace, Evan is going in to run the whole show.”

Shaw confirmed Friday what has been assumed since the first day of training camp: Redshirt sophomore Johnny Caspers will start at right guard.

The starting tailback, inside linebacker and safety will be announced next week with the release of the depth chart.

Receiver Ty Montgomery has not been cleared by the medical staff to participate in the Aug. 30 season opener against UC Davis. A decision is expected early next week.

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