Stanford Football: 3 Burning Questions for the Cardinal's Spring Game

Burning Questions for Stanford's Spring Game

4/10/14 in NCAAF   |   chris901   |   24 respect

The Stanford Cardinal's spring game is approaching quickly, set for this coming Saturday, April 12. There are still a few questions the team must begin to answer before the regular season begins: Blog Photo - Stanford Football: 3 Burning Questions for the Cardinal's Spring Game

1. How Will the Cardinal Replace Tyler Gaffney?

Stanford will no longer have the luxury of handing the ball off to running back Tyler Gaffney, who finished his fourth season with the team in 2013. Gaffney exploded for 1,709 yards and 21 touchdowns, both of which amounted to more than the yards and touchdowns he had in his other three seasons combined.

The Cardinal are not empty at the running back position, despite Gaffney’s departure. However, coach David Shaw will need to decide which of the returning rushers will take the bulk of the carries. Perhaps the Cardinal will decide that dividing the carries among the remaining running backs is the best option. 

Barry (James) Sanders, Remound Wright, and Ricky Seale all saw playing time last season and could all potentially step in for Gaffney; however, only Wright amassed over 100 yards on the ground, and all three combined for two touchdowns all year. Obviously Gaffney took most of the repetitions but the fact is that these returning backs don’t have a large body of work. They simply have some experience so it is anybody’s guess as to who will become the next standout running back for Stanford, if anyone does at all. With the way that Gaffney performed early in his career, all three of these backs have a chance to become the next great one. 

2. Can the Old Veteran Outlast the Young Buck at Quarterback? 

Kevin Hogan took control of the Cardinal offense in 2013, but did not put up numbers that jumped off the paper. He ranked 11th in the Pac-12 in passing yards per game with 187.9, and his touchdown-to-interception ratio was exactly 2-to-1, but his touchdown total of 20 sat in the middle of the conference. 

In 2012, Hogan was a redshirt freshman and found a way to replace Josh Nunes, who was the starter for the majority of the season. Hogan shined during a crucial stretch in Stanford’s season, and he did not lose a game with the team for the rest of the year. 

The same thing could happen to Hogan this season if he does not have a statistically great year. Without Gaffney, Hogan will need to take on a bigger role in the offense. If he doesn’t, a recruit from the 2014 class is in the wings, and that recruit goes by the name of Keller Chryst. His talent and skill set have created the hype that he will compete for the Heisman Trophy at some point in his college career with Stanford.

If Chryst does not redshirt in his first year, he could compete for the starting job and uproot Hogan from his current role on the team. The spring game would present a perfect opportunity for Chryst to showcase his skills. 

3. Will Experience Bring Performance?

Stanford's defense has plenty of experience to spread around to all positions. Despite the loss of Pac-12 sack-leader Trent Murphy, the Cardinal should have enough veterans on the team to make opposing offenses feel miserable. They have seven returning starters on defense, and all of them are upperclassmen.

Currently the defense has openings for the inside linebacker and free safety position after losing Shayne Skov and Ed Reynolds. This spring, the Cardinal need to fill these holes. They will also have to wait and see if their veterans can perform at the level they did last season when they allowed opponents to score 19 points per game, which was the lowest in the conference. 

Finding answers to all three of these questions will give Stanford a clear picture of how good it can be this season.

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