Stanford Cardinal tight end Zach Ertz sustained a lower leg injury during the opening kickoff of last week's 56-48 victory over the USC Trojans. Ertz will miss at least two weeks of playing time, according to a report by the San Francisco Gate.
The injury deals a big blow to an Andrew Luck-led Stanford offense that likes to use the tight end extensively. The Cardinal use several two- and three- tight end sets with Ertz, Coby Fleener and Levine Tiolobo. The loss of Ertz could prompt head coach David Shaw to use fullback Ryan Hevitt as a tight end during certain plays.
Ertz is averaging 38.5 yards per game and has three touchdowns on the season. He has further contributed to Stanford's offense with his blocking ability, a skill that won't be easy to replace in the coming weeks.
Stanford will have one week to adjust to the absence of Ertz before next week's big Pac-12 showdown against No. 6 Oregon. Expect the Cardinal to try out several different looks with their remaining two tight ends and Hevitt when they play Oregon State.