Remember when we were so angry about the Big Game being moved to October? Well, here is some positive thinking:
It's great, because it means that we get the Axe back one month early. Let's pump that sunshine! Of course, Cal and Stanford have a spirited rivalry dating back to the 1800s when Cal rejected Leland Stanford from being awesome, so he created a monument to his dead son. That isn't creepy at all.
Also, not creepy the fact that they've renamed the Offensive Coordinator position, the Andrew Luck Director Of Offense. Is that the most Stanford thing ever? I guess the only thing more Stanford would be if it was renamed the Sir Andrew Luckington The Third Director Of Yachting.
To find out more about how much Stanford is going to lose to us a lot going forward, we decided to contact Scott Allen at Rule Of Tree. Those guys know the Stanford fan and were able to get some info to us about Stanford in the post-spring camp world. Their answers to our questions after the jump. Many thanks and GO BEARS!What were the core questions that you had hoped would be answered by Spring Practice? Were conclusions reached?
The biggest question coming into the spring was who would replace Andrew Luck at quarterback. The candidates have seemingly been whittled to two, but we'll have to wait until the fall to see if it'll be Josh Nunes or Brett Nottingham.
Any major style changes coming our way in the fall? New offense or defense installed?
The offense and defense will be the same. With a new QB under center, I expect the Cardinal to rely even more on their power running game. Andrew Luck spent a lot of his first season as a starter handing the ball off to Toby Gerhart. The Cardinal's 3-4 defense should be strong again, with one of the best linebacker corps in the Pac-12.
What players emerged on offense? On defense?
Running back Ricky Seale, who will compete for playing time in a crowded backfield, made quite the impression on David Shaw. Defensively, highly touted linebacker James Vaughters, who played sparingly as a true freshman last season, showed he ready for an increased role.
What are your biggest worries coming out of spring ball for the fall?
The QB situation. To a lesser extent, our kicking game. Shaw says the job is Jordan Williamson's. I just hope he can regain his confidence.
Project your season. Contender? Pretender? Middle of the pack?
8-4 seems reasonable and 9-3 isn't out of the question. I'd say that makes Stanford more of a contender than a pretender.
Any frosh you can't wait to get on campus?
I think everyone's looking forward to seeing Barry J. Sanders.
Who will you miss the most from last season? Who will be stepping up to fulfill those shoes?
No offense to David DeCastro, Jonathan Martin, Coby Fleener, Chris Owusu and others, but it's gotta be Luck. See above.
Any particular Pac12 match-up/rivalry you are looking forward to this Fall?
I'm looking forward to the early-season showdown with USC. It'll be a great measuring stick-whipping stick?-for how good Stanford can be in 2012. It sucks that the game, like two home games before it, takes place before Stanford students are back on campus. Thanks, Pac-12. I'm also looking forward to beating you guys.
What are the specific injury concerns coming out of this spring?
Shayne Skov's rehab from the major knee injury he suffered early last season is supposedly going well. That's probably the Cardinal's biggest injury question mark heading into the fall.
Based on what you've seen, who is ready to take a major leap this fall?
I didn't get to see any of spring practice, but from what I've read, Vaughters is poised to make the leap. I also expect wide receiver Ty Montgomery to make great strides as a sophomore, but his potential could be limited this season by the new QB's development.
Who do you want to punch in the face?
Who's got the best nickname on the team?
Stepfan Taylor goes by Kulabafi. Brett Nottingham could be The Sheriff.
Which one of your assistant coaches is in the hot seat?
LOSE TO US DAMMIT! Not a question, just wanted to put that one out there.
It would help if you played better.
Has the recruiting been strong enough to deal with such a major talent drain on offense, or will next year's team be led by the defense as the offense rebuilds?
We'll see. Stanford landed several studs on the offensive line and one or two of them could see playing time in the fall with the departures of DeCastro and Martin. Offensively, Stanford should lean heavily on Taylor and the running game, but the new QB will have some experienced targets in Zach Ertz, Levine Toilolo and Montgomery. I expect the defense to be a little stronger than the offense next year, but I don't think the Cardinal will struggle to score points.