Stanford's season of promise opens with SJSU


Stanford's season of promise opens with SJSU

STANFORD (AP) -- Heisman Trophy runner-up Andrew Luck opted not to turn pro and returned for his junior season at Stanford. Coach Jim Harbaugh did leave, taking over as coach of the 49ers.

Luck's return has buoyed expectations for the seventh-ranked Cardinal, who host local rival San Jose State on Saturday in coach David Shaw's debut as Harbaugh's replacement.

Considered a lock to be the top quarterback selected in the 2011 draft, Luck bypassed the NFL and decided to come back to The Farm. He set school records with 32 TD passes, a 70.7 completion percentage and a 170.2 passing efficiency rating last season to help Stanford go 12-1 and finish fourth in the final AP poll - the school's best ranking since the unbeaten 1940 team finished second.

RELATED: Spartans banking on experience vs. Stanford

Luck sought out the advice of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning before making his decision. Manning surprised many when he chose to return to Tennessee for his senior season.

"Every kid's got to make their own decision, but I do tell kids that if you want to stay ... it's OK to stay. I stayed," Manning said. "So I was proud of Andrew for making that decision."

It has been pointed out to Luck that Manning failed to win a national title after returning and that Tim Tebow was unable to lead Florida to a second straight BCS crown after coming back. In addition, Sam Bradford came back to Oklahoma after winning the Heisman as a sophomore and endured a difficult season due to a shoulder injury.

"Peyton said two things that really struck me. One was, 'Don't look back. Don't regret and don't worry about injuries. You'll get yourself in a world of trouble if you worry about injuries or wonder what could have been, or don't not go hard because you could get injured,'" Luck said. "The second was don't expect teams to lay down because you came back."

The return of Luck, who is drawing comparisons to Stanford greats John Elway and Jim Plunkett, has made Shaw's job easier. Shaw served as Harbaugh's offensive coordinator the previous four seasons.

"With Andrew coming back, it's led to some nights where it felt pretty good going to bed," Shaw said.

Luck lost his top receivers from last season in Doug Baldwin and Ryan Whelan, while three starters from his offensive line are also gone. Stanford's defense, however, brings back its top four tacklers.

Although Stanford will be favored to win its season opener for the fourth straight season, this matchup dubbed the "Bill Walsh Legacy Game" could be intriguing. Walsh was a San Jose State graduate before he became famous for coaching Stanford and the 49ers.

The Spartans upset the Cardinal 35-34 five years ago, and also pulled off a 1982 upset of Stanford in Elway's senior season. They insist they won't be standing around watching Luck.

"I don't think they'll be in as much awe because they're right here in the backyard with him," coach Mike MacIntyre said. "I think they just learned how to handle all the extra activities, the pregame hype. All it is is football. And what happens between the lines is all that matters."

RELATED: San Jose State names Faulker the starter

San Jose State went 1-12 in 2010 in MacIntyre's first year. These teams last met Sept. 19, 2009, with Luck completing nine of 12 passes for 170 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a 42-17 victory that was his home debut.

MacIntyre's starting quarterback will be fifth-year senior Matt Faulkner, who played in 10 games last season and threw for 206 yards.

Faulkner and defensive tackle Travis Raciti are the only projected starters for the Spartans who have yet to start in their careers.

Staley sits out 49ers practice with hamstring injury

Staley sits out 49ers practice with hamstring injury

SANTA CLARA – Left tackle Joe Staley, who has not missed a game since 2010, did not practice Thursday due to a hamstring injury.

The 49ers’ five-time Pro Bowl performer has the third-longest active streak among offensive tackles with 92 consecutive starts. Only Cleveland's Joe Thomas (156) and Oakland's Donald Penn (152) have started more consecutive games.

Staley’s availability for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets at Levi’s Stadium is in question after he was held out of practice on Thursday after going through the full workload on Wednesday.

If Staley is unable to play, the 49ers would likely move left guard Zane Beadles to left tackle and insert Andrew Tiller at left guard. Tiller started the first five games of the season at right guard before rookie Joshua Garnett took over.

Did not practice
T Joe Staley (hamstring)
DT Quinton Dial (elbow)
DT Glenn Dorsey (knee)
RB Shaun Draughn (ribs)
LB Eli Harold (toe)
LB Aaron Lynch (ankle)
Full participation
DT Ronald Blair (hamstring)
C Daniel Kilgore (hamstring)

Did not practice
S Antonio Allen (concussion)
T Breno Giacomini (back, calf, shoulder)
WR Jalin Marshall (concussion)
DT Steve McLendon (hamstring)
RB Khiry Robinson (lower leg)
LB Lorenzo Mauldin (ankle)
S Calvin Pryor (concussion)
DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle)
Full participation
RB Matt Forte (knee, foot)
WR Brandon Marshall (knee, foot)
CB Nick Marshall (ankle)
DE Leonard Williams (illness)
CB Marcus Williams (ankle)

Pearl Harbor speech: Admiral calls out Kaepernick, others for anthem kneeling

Pearl Harbor speech: Admiral calls out Kaepernick, others for anthem kneeling

Wednesday was the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Although he didn't call out Colin Kaepernick by name, Admiral Harry B. Harris gave a speech that included a message intended for a certain group of athletes and/or entertainers.

“You can bet that the men and women we honor today, and those who died that fateful morning 75 years ago, never took a knee and never failed to stand whenever they heard our national anthem being played."

Many of those in attendance gave the Admiral a standing ovation.

During the preseason, Kaepernick remained seated on the 49ers' team bench during the national anthem.

After sparking a national controversy, Kaepernick began kneeling as opposed to sitting.

After the 49ers' loss to the Bears on Sunday, Kaepernick said he will continue his demonstration moving forward.

"Today we have a precious opportunity to reflect -- to reflect on what it means to be a patriot, to reflect on what it means to be a nation tested by war, and to reflect on both the costs and the blessings of liberty," Admiral Harris added. "To America's World War II patriots here and watching at home -- we will never forget your courage under considerable fire and seemingly insurmountable odds.

"Because of you, our future remains bright. We owe you an immeasurable debt and we can't thank you enough for answering the call of duty when Lady Liberty needed it the most."