NCAA

Stanford WR Owusu likely out for Fiesta Bowl

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Stanford WR Owusu likely out for Fiesta Bowl

STANFORD (APCSN) -- Chris Owusu's college football career is likely over.

Whether he ever plays football again is still to be determined.

Stanford coach David Shaw said Friday night that the senior wide receiver will "probably not" play in the Fiesta Bowl for the fourth-ranked Cardinal against No. 3 Oklahoma State on Jan. 2, adding, "it's not going to happen, it's not going to happen."

Owusu sustained at least three concussions in a 13-month span and absorbed several other blows from defenders this year. He didn't see active duty in the final three games after leaving Oregon State in an ambulance Nov. 5, dressing for the season finale against Notre Dame and entering for the final play when Stanford downed the ball in the final seconds to cap a 28-14 victory.

Also a speedy kick returner, Owusu had high hopes coming into this season. He was expected to be one of Andrew Luck's top targets and was a projected middle- to-late-round NFL draft pick.

Owusu finished his senior season with 35 catches for 376 yards and two touchdowns. He was limited to seven games his junior due to various injuries - including at least one concussion.

The receiver also was hit hard in the head by Southern California safety T.J. McDonald on Oct. 29. The Pac-12 suspended McDonald for one half of USC's next game for the hit.

Owusu first became concussed this season in what Shaw has described as a "minor concussion" in a win at Washington State in mid-October. Through all the injuries, once cleared to play, Owusu had always come back.

The receiver won the Jim Reynolds Team Award, given to the senior with the most courage, at the program's annual banquet voted on by players.

"It's a combination of toughness and character, he's battled so much going back to his freshman year hurting his knee right before the season started (Aug. 19)," Shaw said. "He and I had the conversation four or five games in, Gosh, if you really want to redshirt, we'll hold you back. We don't know that you're completely ready, this might take a while. He said, Coach, the first moment I can get ready to play, I need to play.'

"And he's just been one of those guys," Shaw said. "And he's gotten beaten up and knocked out, and he comes back. He's been beaten up and knocked out, and he comes back. And the players recognize that as the guy that they look to for courage."

Owusu played five games as a freshman, catching five passes for 80 yards. He had 682 yards receiving as a sophomore, including 1,167 yards as a kick returner and eight total touchdowns that year.

The human biology major was ranked by many recruiting services as the No. 34 best wide receiver in the country coming out of Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, California.

Memory of the late Bob Murphy will live on the heads of those who heard him

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STANFORD.COM

Memory of the late Bob Murphy will live on the heads of those who heard him

Bob Murphy, who was the voice of Stanford athletics when such titles truly mattered in the Bay Area, died Tuesday after a long fight with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 86.

Murphy was viscerally connected to the university in ways that were once in vogue across the nation but are now reserved only to the Midwest and Southeast. He was a walking ambassador for the school’s athletic history, a familiar face to the army of alums who linked to his voice and presence early and ultimately grew old with him, even when coaches and players and athletic directors came and went with unsettling frequency.

And while his time as the alternate face to Hoover Tower eventually faded, he was still Murph – to be honored and respected by all generations, even the ones who never heard him or saw him. If anyone below the age of 25 asked about him, he was spoken of with the reverence reserved for architectural structures or hundred-year-old trees. He belonged to the place, and the place belonged to him.

He mattered at Stanford, because Stanford is an insular community, watching the world outside with a palpable sense of “Thank God we’re safe in here.” He attended the school, he worked as its sports information director, and he was the radio voice who fought for Stanford when only a few people were listening. He had proven his devotion decades ago, until his devotion became part of the background noise and scenery.

And he didn’t even leave after he became ill, and then absent. Only the most successful coaches and athletes get to attain that omnipresent aura in college athletics, and in truth, Murphy reached more people in the community than any coach or player the school has ever had, simply by being at the place, and of the place, longer and more happily than anyone.

Sometime soon, we suspect, he will be remembered with a statue, either near the football stadium or near Maples Pavilion. He will be bronzed, wearing a polo shirt with the S-with-the-interlocking-tree and glasses wedged against the bridge of his nose. He will be seated, with a desk before him and microphone perched atop it, and there will be a plaque with a Wikipedia-ized list of his contributions.

But without the voice, it will be incomplete. That will have to be recreated inside the heads of those who heard it most often, and cared most what words it carried. It is there where Bob Murphy’s memory will thrive – as someone who defined Stanford in ways that no marketing campaign ever could.

David Shaw is quietly the second-best coach in the Bay Area

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USATI

David Shaw is quietly the second-best coach in the Bay Area

Steve Kerr has been the standard by which all other coaches have been measured in these parts since he arrived in Oakland – rescued as it was from the nine hells of the New York Knickerbockers. He is indeed so good that he is still getting credit for the 50 wins he actually didn’t fully merit – the 39 that belong to Luke Walton and the 11 that are Mike Brown’s.

But this is not to slag Kerr’s record – which even if you eliminate the 55 games he hasn’t coached in his three years because of his back issue is still the best in NBA history – but to remind you that David Shaw still exists, he still is supervising the golden age of Stanford football, and he is just as unavailable to pro teams as he ever was.

Shaw, whose team opens its season on Saturday night in Australia against Rice, has been beneath the radar since the day he arrived, for no better reasons than (a) the Bay Area doesn’t hold much stock in college football and (b) he likes it that way. His excellence is indisputable, but he is also in the perfect place to do his job without any of the irritants that surround most college coaches – media, embittered alumni, NCAA investigators, the late night call from the cops about your outside linebacker overturning a minivan, that kind of thing.

He has worn down all attempts to question him on his next job because, while he could get one at the snap of a finger, he was not infected with the standard coach’s ambition to see and be seen. He has seen the sport’s many excesses and has decided to ward off the ones that directly touch him.

He still believes in the game’s virtues, and can probably be considered a fairly doctrinaire figure on most issues confronting the sport and its practitioners, but does not have to pretend that he is too focused on the job to be interested in mundane things like eclipses, political turmoil, social justice and all the other noxious things that happen outside the cocoon.

But be not fooled. He likes the cocoon that is Stanford, and he has the sense to understand that the chance of a better job existing is almost infinitesimal. He may someday want something more public and lucrative, but until money and fame get a long winning streak going at his house, he’ll sit quietly, the second-best coach in the Bay Area and the first-best at making you not remember that he is just that.