How the Injury Retirement of Josh Nunes Affects Stanford QB Depth

Lisa HornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterApril 30, 2013

Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes
Stanford quarterback Josh NunesEzra Shaw/Getty Images

Stanford announced Monday that quarterback Josh Nunes has retired from the football program after completely tearing his right chest muscle during an offseason workout in February, according to an Associated Press report.

Nunes' father, Tim, said that his son ruptured his pectoralis major tendon while doing his normal bench-press routine during an offseason workout in February. He dropped the weights on his chest—though the tendon had already ruptured—and had surgery a few days later to reattach the tendon with screws.

No further damage was caused by dropping the weights other than some bumps and bruises. Nunes is expected to make a full recovery, which can take up to 12 months following surgery, but it's not worth risking an even more serious injury.

Nunes began 2012 as the Cardinal starting quarterback, but he lost the job to Kevin Hogan eight games into the season. Nunes threw for 1,643 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2012.

With his departure, Stanford's depth at quarterback just got a little thinner. Evan Crower is the official backup to Hogan, according to this updated depth chart, and Dallas Lloyd will likely fill in the third spot. 

Lloyd is a sophomore and has never thrown a pass in a college game. Crower is a redshirt sophomore and,  like Lloyd, has no game experience. There should be considerable concern, right?

That depends on Hogan.  

He sparked the Cardinal offense last season in part due to his field awareness. Hogan can dance around the pocket to buy his receivers time and can also gain positive yardage in a potential sack situation. But with those great attributes comes a great price—the risk of injury while running between tackles or pushing upfield while being chased by linebackers. 

The lack of experience by both reserves is concerning, but Hogan also had no experience when he was tabbed the starting quarterback last October. 

This is a team coached by David Shaw, the same man whose team went 12-2 last season, including a 20-14 Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin last January. This is the coach who inserted Hogan as his starting quarterback against Colorado despite Hogan having only one collegiate pass under his very green belt.

This is a quarterback who reeled off six consecutive victories, including an overtime win over Oregon at Autzen Stadium. He's gutsy and accurate: Hogan threw for 1,096 yards, completing 71.7 percent of his attempts while throwing nine touchdown passes and three interceptions. 

If Hogan stays healthy, the Cardinal's depth won't be much of an issue. If Shaw is pressed to call upon one of his few reserves, it'll be gut-check time for Cardinal fans.

But Crower will probably be ready to go. 

Because if there's one thing we've learned about Shaw, it's that he's an elite coach. He prepares his players well and has already proven to the college football world that losing a starting quarterback isn't necessarily bad luck—no pun intended.