Spring practices are a time used for young players to prove that they belong on the team or for players to show that they can start. Stanford’s do-it-all guy Christian McCaffrey is certainly not one of those players after finishing second in the 2015 Heisman voting.
McCaffrey was the biggest reason why the Cardinal won their third PAC-12 championship in the last four years and then dominated in the Rose Bowl. He was given a break in the team’s spring game on Saturday and head coach David Shaw said it was because they don’t want to burn him out.
“He went through all the practices,” Shaw told the team’s official website. “For me, it was just a mileage thing. We tried to make sure that we got him completely recuperated before we starting beating him up again.”
During the 2015 season, Christian McCaffrey rushed for 2,019 yards, caught 45 passes for 645 yards, returned 15 punts and 37 kickoffs. He closed out the season with a NCAA-leading 2,664 offensive yards, 1,200 special teams yards, and 15 total touchdowns.
He talked about how he wanted to be out there with his team, but that he also understands that it is best for his health.
“I wish I could be out here, but it makes sense,” McCaffrey said. “I feel great, and excited to be a part of this team.”
As for the team’s focus, they used McCaffrey’s absence allowed them to feel out both Ryan Burns and Keller Chryst, the quarterbacks in competition to replace Kevin Hogan, a four-year starter. The former was 17 of 23 pass attempts for 153 yards and two touchdowns, while the latter completed 16 of his 25 attempts for 156 yards and he led two scoring drives.
“Hard to say who had the upper hand,” Shaw said. “We have to see what the decision making looked like. I was excited to see both guys come back and make some big-time throws. There were a lot of positives for both guys.”
Needless to say, the Cardinal certainly look like a team that could make a run at the 2017 College Football Playoff.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports