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Stanford QB Davis Mills uncertain to return vs. CU Buffs

Cardinal starting quarterback still out due to COVID-19 protocols

Stanford quarterback Davis Mills missed the Cardinal's opening game loss against Oregon.
Stanford quarterback Davis Mills missed the Cardinal’s opening game loss against Oregon.

As the Colorado Buffaloes prepare to visit Stanford on Saturday, they don’t know which quarterback they’ll face.

Stanford isn’t even sure who will be under center when the teams square off.

In its season-opening, 35-14 loss to Oregon on Saturday, Stanford played without starting quarterback Davis Mills, starting receiver Connor Wedington and defensive end Trey LaBounty because of COVID-19 protocols.

On Tuesday, head coach David Shaw said the Cardinal still have “four COVID-related situations that we’re waiting to be resolved” as they prepare to face the Buffs on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. MST (TV: ESPN2).

“We’re waiting on our medical professionals, our county officials, as well as our on-campus administration and the Pac-12,” Shaw said during a virtual press conference. “We’ll see how all that gets resolved on whether or not those young people will remain isolated or be able to work back. That’s not in our hands, but we’ll work with whatever comes our way there.

“This is professionals doing their jobs in order to keep our community safe. We’ll just listen and wait for them to let us know what’s going on and the rest of us will prepare for Saturday.”

Mills, a junior, was a part-time starter in 2019, throwing for 1,960 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Mills prepared all last week to be the starter before being ruled out.

Without him last week, the Cardinal gave sophomore Jack West his second career start. West completed 13-of-19 passes for 154 yards. Third-string quarterback Tanner McKee also played, completing 3-of-7 passes for 62 yards.

“We’re very pleased with these two guys and if Davis does not come back, I would anticipate seeing both of them perform again,” Shaw said.

Although Mills’ status is unknown at this point, CU head coach Karl Dorrell said the Buffs will prepare for the possibility of him playing.

“He’s probably back this week to play and I would assume he’s going to probably play pretty well,” Dorrell said. “Like any of those David Shaw offenses he’s had in the past, he’s had real good quarterbacks that really manage the game well and perform their systems very well. I was impressed with the number two guy (West) that came in and played; I thought he played well.”

Anglen leaves team

True freshman safety William Anglen has decided to leave the Buffs and enter the NCAA transfer portal.

Anglen, from Cleveland, signed with the Buffs in February, recruited by former head coach Mel Tucker. After Tucker left for Michigan State, Anglen considered other options, but elected to stay with the Buffs. Now, he has decided to move on.

A three-star prospect, Anglen did not play in Saturday’s opener against UCLA. However, with starting Star backer Chris Miller injured, Anglen came into the week listed second on the depth chart at that position.

Gaining experience

Against UCLA, the Buffs played without two of their main receivers, senior KD Nixon (injury) and La’Vontae Shenault (suspension). Without them, true freshman Brenden Rice and Montana Lemonious-Craig got a chance to play.

Both played about a dozen snaps on offense. Rice caught the only ball thrown his way, for five years, while Lemonious-Craig wasn’t targeted.

“Both those guys, I felt, played solid for their first game,” Dorrell said. “I won’t say they played great; they played solid, but we were expecting any of our freshmen that played in the game, they’re going to be learning as they go, so to speak, at this level of play.”

Dorrell said Nixon has guided the young group.

“KD has done a great job with his leadership, his experience in that room, just telling them that it doesn’t matter who’s playing,” Dorrell said. “We expect high standards and expectations of being productive, doing your role and performing the way that the offense was supposed to perform. Right now I think the mentality in that room is next man up.”

Shenault is expected to return this week, while Nixon is “day to day” and close to a return.