Harbaugh mum on Whalen status for No. 16 Stanford

Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh would not reveal any information

Tuesday about the injury that knocked star receiver Ryan Whalen out

of last week’s game against Wake Forest.

”I’m not going to tell you anything,” Harbaugh said when asked

about Whalen’s status at his weekly news conference. ”As soon as

we tell you, you tell Notre Dame. There’s no advantage to doing

that.”

Harbaugh has taken a tightlipped approach to injuries this

season, revealing as little information as possible in

interviews.

That’s the same approach he is taking with Whalen, who appeared

to hurt his left arm while being tackled following a short catch in

last Saturday’s 68-24 victory over Wake Forest.

Whalen was not listed on the three-deep depth chart for the

16th-ranked Cardinal (3-0). But Harbaugh wouldn’t say anything

about his status for Saturday’s game at Notre Dame, saying it would

give the Fighting Irish a competitive advantage.

”I would want to know that about the status of every player on

their team, whether they’re going to play, what percent they are,

how many plays they’re going to play, how they’re going to be

used,” Harbaugh said. ”That’s valuable information.”

Whalen had 10 catches for 113 yards and one touchdown before

being sidelined. Whalen led the team with 57 catches for 926 yards

last year and has 109 career receptions for 1,558 yards and six

touchdowns.

He provides even more intangible help to an offense that is

averaging 51.7 points and 475.3 yards per game this season.

”Whales is the leader on offense for us. He’s our captain,”

quarterback Andrew Luck said. ”He’s been there and done it all at

Stanford. It will be a serious blow if he’s out for a while. We

have guys who can step in and fill that role. He knows he’s going

to have to be out there coaching the guys up. Whatever happens I

think we’ll be fine.”

Cushioning any blow that Whalen’s absence would present was last

week’s healthy return of big-play receiver Chris Owusu, who missed

the first two games with a reported knee injury.

Owusu caught touchdown passes on his first two drives of the

season last week against Wake Forest. He turned his first reception

into an 8-yard score and also made a leaping 35-yard touchdown

catch later in the first quarter.

Owusu added a diving 22-yard catch over the middle as his speed

brings an added dimension to an already high-powered offense.

”It was great to get him into the mix early, get him a

touchdown, get him in the end zone,” Harbaugh said. ”It was

really good to have him back. He’s just one of our best players.

You try to put him in as many situations as you can for him to have

success.”

Owusu had five touchdown catches last year and also returned

three kicks for scores. He did not return kicks in his first game

back but Harbaugh said that could come soon as Stanford looks to

get him even more involved heading into the toughest stretch of the

season.

”He has a lot of speed and explosiveness that adds a lot to the

offense,” Luck said. ”I don’ think the wide receiver corps was

lacking with him out, but he definitely brings the level of play

up.”

After visiting Notre Dame on Saturday, the Cardinal travel to

No. 5 Oregon next week and host No. 20 Southern California the

following week.