STANFORD -- Josh Nunes was named Stanford's starting quarterback Tuesday because of his ability to put coach David Shaw to sleep.
Shaw said before training camp that the outcome of the competition between Nunes and Brett Nottingham would hinge, on the most basic level, on which quarterback enabled him to sleep best, secure in the knowledge that the offense would be managed properly and mistakes kept to a minimum.
Nottingham, a sophomore from Alamo, has the stronger arm. But Nunes' command of the playbook and steady hand were the difference in the competition, which began in spring practice and lasted through two weeks of training camp.
"All the empirical evidence we collected (showed) Josh was the most consistent," Shaw said.
So it has come to this for No. 21 Stanford: The quarterback charged with replacing Andrew Luck has played sparingly in four games -- all of them in 2010 -- and thrown just two passes.
"Being behind Andrew is the biggest blessing you could ask for," said Nunes (pronounced: Noon-es). "It's the biggest shoes to follow. But the great thing is that the path has been laid here for how to be a successful quarterback at Stanford.
"But I am not Andrew Luck, and by no means am I going to try to be him.''
Nunes was a member of Stanford's well-regarded 2009 recruiting class, which included star tailback Stepfan Taylor and linebacker Shayne Skov. A four-star prospect from Upland, Nunes reportedly had
Nunes redshirted as a rookie in 2009, then played sparingly in four games the following year. Expected to be Luck's backup last season, he instead missed the season because of a foot injury.
The competition with Nottingham began the day Stanford reported for winter conditioning drills, lasted through spring practice, into summer workouts and then two weeks of training camp.
Shaw informed Nunes, Nottingham and redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan of his decision before Tuesday's practice.
"It's time," Shaw said. "It became clear, and I'm not one for waiting."
There's one aspect of Luck's game that Nunes will attempt to emulate: Identifying potential problems before the snap and using Stanford's audible system to create advantageous situations.
Luck was the master at spotting trouble, the primary reason the Cardinal had the fewest number of negative-yardage plays in the nation last year (3.2 per game).
"The main thing is efficiency,'' Shaw said. "The job of the quarterback is to get us into the right play at the right time."
"If it's close, we'll probably hold him out,'' Shaw said.
A junior from Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, Danser is competing with junior Khalil Wilkes.