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Like Tech, Stanford starts a freshman QB

Edwards has only one game of experience

PROVO — Call it "deja pre-vu" for the BYU football team going into Saturday's home game against Stanford.

Preparing to defend against Stanford redshirt quarterback Trent Edwards is somewhat similar to what BYU faced in its opener last month, when Georgia Tech started Reggie Ball — a true freshman — at quarterback.

Even though Ball was starting in his college debut, the Cougars had the benefit of game films from some of his high school games because BYU assistant Todd Bradford had been active in recruiting in the Atlanta area where Ball played.

There is no such luxury with Edwards. The only film BYU has on him is Stanford's 31-10 season-opening victory against San Jose State two weeks ago. The 1-0 Cardinal had a bye last week.

In his debut, Edwards completed 21-of-37 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns, relieving senior starter Chris Lewis and leading the Cardinal to 31 unanswered points.

MORE ON LESS FILM: While it's hard enough to prepare for a quarterback with just one collegiate game under his belt, the Cougars are finding preparing for the Cardinal to be just as challenging.

Yes, Buddy Teevens is in his second season as Stanford head coach, so game film from his inaugural season may be helpful. However, Teevens brought in new coordinators on both offense and defense this season, so last year's film won't contain the new looks and schemes Stanford has since implemented.

"We're going to look at it," said BYU head coach Gary Crowton of Stanford's 2002 game film, "but we're not sure how much it's going to help us."

NEW GUYS: Saturday's game will be a rarity in the starting quarterbacks for both teams will be freshmen — Edwards and BYU true freshman John Beck, who is stepping in for starter Matt Berry, who injured his throwing hand in last week's 10-7 victory at New Mexico.

The pairing of freshmen QBs will be a new experience for Crowton. "Before I came to BYU, I had never even played a freshman," he said, adding that when starting such a young signal-caller, "there's a certain unpredictability, but there's great optimism, too."

INJURY UPDATE: Tailback Marcus Whalen (foot fracture), center Scott Jackson (knee injury) and tight end Justin Jory (ankle sprain) will be ready to play Saturday, Crowton said Wednesday.

Jackson, who damaged a medial collateral ligament last weekend at New Mexico, will be ready to play Saturday. "I don't know how much," Crowton said, "but he's ready to go."

The coach was less certain about the status of nose tackle Manaia Brown, who has been bothered by shoulder woes.

FAMILY TIES: Wouldn't you know it that Berry's first game to miss is against Stanford — one that the sophomore quarterback and his family certainly had circled on the calendar. His father, Robert, played football at Stanford and received his undergraduate degree there.

"Next year, we're going to Palo Alto, so that will be good," said Berry. "But I was really looking forward to it, and so was he."

THE BIG HURT: Berry admitted being a bit woozy and having to take a knee Tuesday afternoon after getting his first glance at his spiral-fracture injury when his right hand was redressed of its initial bandaging following Sunday morning's surgery. Inserting tiny screws to aid the healing resulted in a long incision from his pinky finger to near where the hand connects to the wrist.

"About 14 stitches," he reported. "I don't get grossed out by blood or anything, but I just didn't know that it was that big of a cut and that extensive."

BACK IN THE BEEHIVE STATE: Stanford is making its first trip to the state of Utah since its 27-20 victory in 1997 at the University of Utah. Besides a 2001 win at San Jose State, the 1995 game at the U. was Stanford's last nonconference road triumph.

Also, the Cardinal have two Utah players on their roster — both seniors and the two oldest players on the young Stanford squad. Fullback Cooper Blackhurst is a 1997 Brighton graduate, and left tackle Kirk Chambers, who has started every game he's played at Stanford, is a '97 Provo High alum.

Stanford has sported several Utah players on its roster during the past decade or two, but many have gone to Palo Alto via Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho, which has since dropped its football program). Crowton said he hasn't competed against Stanford in recruiting the same high school players since he has been in Provo.


E-mail: taylor@desnews.com