No. 16 Stanford's Garnett thriving at left guard spot

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) No. 16 Stanford put up huge offensive numbers in beating Arizona 55-17 on Saturday and yet the team's player of the game on that side of the ball never had his name called.

Left guard Josh Garnett, who plans on a career in medicine following his football days, earned the honor through his ability to help spring running backs like Christian McCaffrey and protect quarterback Kevin Hogan to the tune of 452.6 offensive yards per game, divided fairly evenly between rushing (209.8) and passing (242.8).

The preseason All-America and team captain made an immediate impact at Stanford (4-1, 3-0 Pac-12), becoming the first freshman to start on the offensive line in 12 years, replacing David DeCastro, an NFL first-round draft pick in his fourth season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He's been compared favorably with DeCastro, a two-time All-America.

''David is in rarefied air,'' Cardinal coach David Shaw said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. ''Let's give Josh this season at least. The one thing is Josh is getting to play consistently at a high level. He has a high ceiling and he's not there yet.''

Garnett (6-5, 321) is particularly adept at getting out on screens and pulling on run plays to confront linebackers.

''He does a great job on the linebackers and he's good at hunting down the smaller guys,'' Shaw said. ''He's so big, physical and athletic.''

As for the comparison to DeCastro?

''He's one of the greats,'' Garnett said. ''If I can be close to him, I'd be happy.''

Stanford is in a bye week, with preparations for a Thursday night game against No. 20 UCLA in the early stages.

''I appreciate the bye week,'' Garnett said. ''I can sit back and relax a little bit.''

Shaw said the bye week came at a good time. The defensive line is beat up and Hogan is still bothered by an ankle sprain suffered three weeks ago against Southern California.

Defensive end Nate Lohn and outside linebacker Kevin Anderson both missed Saturday's game and Anderson remains questionable for the Bruins.

''I anticipate Kevin Hogan being closer to 100 percent,'' Shaw said. ''We'll take it easy with him this week. He'll continue to rehab and rest. I'm looking forward to him having a full week of practice.''

Garnett said he'd like to work in the emergency room when his career is over.

''I like the rush,'' he said. ''Just like football you all have to work together in a high-paced environment and yet you have to be calm and relaxed.''

The block by backup quarterback Keller Chryst, the son of San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst, that flattened Arizona cornerback Cam Denson (5-11, 168) remains a hot topic. Chryst (6-5, 233) was the lead blocker on a reverse play that had been put in that week.

''I talked to him before the game,'' Garnett said. ''He told me `I don't want to miss.' I told him to just go right through him, don't hesitate.''

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AP college football site: www.collegefootball.ap.org

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