Stanford’s Sarell returns to his roots

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By Ana Kieu

Foster Sarell will return to his home state when Stanford takes on Washington State on Saturday in Pullman at 1:30 pm PT.

“It’s the east side of Washington and I’m a west side guy,” said Sarell, who was recruited by the Huskies and hails from Graham, a town of just more than 23,000. “If it was up at UW, I would definitely feel a little more. I know lot of people that go to school there (WSU), so that will be fun playing around people I grew up with my whole life.”

Sarell and Drew Dalman are the lone upperclassmen on a Cardinal offensive line that has been hit hard by injuries. The rest of the starters are true freshmen.

“It’s definitely gotten better as we’ve progressed,” Sarell said of the line’s cohesion. “Just trying to understand each other’s tendencies and how we see things.”

The good news is that the same group will start for the fourth consecutive game. Sarell will line up at right tackle for the seventh straight contest; Jake Hornibrook goes at right guard for the fourth-straight game; Dalman, the only member of the unit to start every game, makes his 10th-straight start; Barrett Miller draws his sixth straight start at left guard; and Walter Rouse goes for the ninth straight week.

“I feel really comfortable having Jake next to me and having Barrett and Walter on the other side,” said Sarell. “It’s not going to be perfect but what we’ve got right now has done a good job.”

Sarell appeared in 14 games as a freshman in 2017, but was limited to three last year due to injury. He has missed one game in 2019 and wants to keep it that way as the Cardinal (4-5, 3-4 Pac-12) looks to right the ship from last Saturday’s final play loss in Colorado against the Cougars (4-5, 1-5 Pac-12).

While David Shaw, the Bradford M. Freeman Director or Football, complimented the play of Dalman and Sarell this season, both continue to refine their crafts and provide daily advice to the freshmen.

“A little bit,” said Sarell. “It’s just naturally going to happen because they’re young and haven’t been through the ringer like Drew and I have. But I actually really enjoy it because I love the young guys that are with us. They’re super-cool, awesome kids and to be able to coach and help them in any way possible only makes me better.”

Sarell said the toughest part was losing Henry Hattis for the season against Washington.

“When Henry went down, because of how close I am with him, my heart ached for him,” Sarell said. “That stuff hurts because you are brothers and you care for them. But in terms of an athletic mindset, it’s always the next man up.”

Sarell had high praise for run game coordinator and offensive line coach Kevin Carberry for his positive attitude and constant adjustments.

“He’s coached so well with what he’s had to deal with,” said Sarell. “There haven’t been many games where the offensive line has played together consecutively. He’s done a great job handling that and coaching us. You can tell he just loves ball and doesn’t care who’s in there. He’s just going to coach them as hard as he can.”

What makes Carberry special?

“He brings the juice and is a high-energy man,” Sarell said. “That’s great to have because sometimes you have those days where you are just mulling around, and he comes out firing. He coaches hard and you can tell he cares for us and loves the game. That makes you want to push yourself and love the game as well.”

Paulson Adebo and junior tight end Tucker Fisk sustained injuries against Colorado and are out “for a while”, Shaw said. Malik Antoine and K.J. Costello are doubtful; and Curtis Robinson is probable.

Costello took a hard hit against the Buffaloes, but was cleared to return and threw a fourth quarter strike to Simi Fehoko, which resulted in a 79-yard touchdown. Costello, who has missed 3 1/2 games this season, hasn’t practiced this week.

Davis Mills returned to practice last week and could’ve played against Colorado.

“He’s looked really good,” Shaw said Wednesday night.

Additionally, Shaw said Trevor Speights will not play this season but remains hopeful Devery Hamilton will return.

Stuart Head said preparing for the WSU offense can be stressful. The task will be made tougher without Adebo, the Pac-12 leader and tied for fifth in the FBS in passes defended with 14, and Antoine.

“It’s probably the most hectic preparation week in the whole season, for the DBs specifically,” Head said. “We like to invite that challenge for ourselves – they always have the leading passer in the country and a great group of receivers. We know we can affect the game in a positive way if we’re prepared and ready on Saturday.”

The Cougars’ quarterback Anthony Gordon leads the FBS with 3,794 passing yards. His closest pursuer has 3,198 — a difference of 596 yards.

While Cougars head coach Mike Leach is outspoken, quirky and loves putting the ball in the air, Shaw is more even-tempered and believes in a balanced attack. That said, they’re more similar than you think.

“Commonalities-wise, we enjoy the game, we enjoy the chess match on game day,” said Shaw. “My call (play) sheet is 10-times bigger than his. But when you watch them, you don’t see that because he’s the master adjuster. He’ll say he’s got five pass plays in a game, but they look like 25, because he’ll call one and then tag a receiver and do something different. The manipulation on that 3-by-5 card is always different than it seems.”

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A public celebration of former Cardinal head coach John Ralston will be held on Monday, November 18, at 4:30 pm PT at Stanford Memorial Church. Limited parking is available near the Campus Oval, and a shuttle service will run between the Stanford Faculty Club (439 Lagunita Drive) and Memorial Church starting at 4 pm PT.

Ralston revitalized the Stanford football program and guided the team to consecutive Rose Bowl victories in 1971 and 1972. Known for his outgoing personality, relentless work ethic, innovative play calling, organization and positive attitude, he coached at Stanford for nine years from 1963-1971 and compiled a 55-36-3 record. Before his arrival, the team had recorded five straight losing seasons.

In the late 1960’s, Ralston changed Stanford’s offensive philosophy from a power running game to a pro-style passing attack. Recruiting local quarterbacks Jim Plunkett from James Lick High and Don Bunce from Woodside High, Ralston won consecutive Pac-8 titles in 1970 and 1971.

Plunkett engineered the upset of Ohio State (27-17) in 1971 and was named Stanford’s first and only Heisman Trophy winner. The following year, Bunce took the reins and helped Stanford shock Michigan 13-12.

Prior to Stanford’s Rose Bowl triumph in Pasadena in 1971, the program’s last visit was 1952, when it fell to Illinois (40-7). Stanford’s most recent Rose Bowl win was 1941, when it defeated Nebraska (21-13).

“Growing up on the West Coast in a football family, John Ralston was one of those iconic coaches to me,” said Shaw. “His name was synonymous with teaching, positive energy and class.”

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A member of the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame, Ralston was a linebacker at Cal from 1947-50 and played in the 1949 and 1950 Rose Bowls for legendary head coach Lynn “Pappy” Waldorf. Ralston graduated from Cal in 1951.

Gifts in Ralston’s memory can be made to a new fund established in his name at Stanford University to help support leadership development and education.

To bolster the secondary, Shaw said Zahran Manley and Nicolas Toomer could see playing time. Manley has appeared in five games. “They’re great young corners,” said Head. “Whoever we put on the field will be ready.” … Shaw said 25 players have missed significant playing times due to injuries – only two with similar issues. “It’s been one of those crazy years,” Shaw said … Asked what he expects from his team in the final three games, Shaw said, “Effort and execution.” … Saturday’s weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and a temperature of 50 degrees … Kickoff for the 122nd Big Game against Cal on November 23 at Stanford Stadium has been set for 1 pm PT.

“We go from triage to gameplan.” — David Shaw

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