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Spring wrap: Stanford

5/8/2011

2010 overall record: 12-1

2010 conference record: 8-1

Returning starters

Offense: 5, Defense: 6, punter/kicker: punter

Top returners

QB Andrew Luck, RB Stepfan Taylor, WR Chris Owusu, OT Jonathan Martin, OG David DeCastro, LB Shayne Skov, OLB Chase Thomas, SS Delano Howell

Key losses

C Chase Beeler, FB Owen Marecic, WR Doug Baldwin, NT Sione Fua, OLB Thomas Keiser, CB Richard Sherman

2010 statistical leaders (*returning starter)

Rushing: Stepfan Taylor* (1,137 yards)

Passing: Andrew Luck* (3,338 yards)

Receiving: Doug Baldwin (857 yards)

Tackles: Shayne Skov* (84)

Sacks: Skov, Chase Thomas* (7.5)

Interceptions: Delano Howell* (5)

Spring answers

1. Loaded at tight end: It's hard to believe any team in the nation is as good at tight end as Stanford. Zach Ertz dominated the spring game with three touchdowns. Coby Fleener dominated the Orange Bowl with three touchdowns. You might recall that Levin Toilolo beat both of them out for the starting job last year but blew out his knee before the season began. Receiver is a question, but these guys are all big -- 6-foot-6 for Ertz and Fleener to 6-8 for Toilolo -- targets for Andrew Luck.

2. No worries at LB: The Cardinal must replace two of their four starting linebackers -- one inside; one out -- but that didn't seem a concern by the end of spring. Shayne Skov is an All-American candidate inside, and Chase Thomas is an all-conference candidate outside. Trent Murphy, Alex Debniak and Blake Lueders are in the mix on the outside, while Max Bergen likely steps in for Owen Marecic. And touted true freshman James Vaughters arrives in the fall and is likely to quickly move into the picture.

3. Luck: Want an answer? Andrew Luck returning. No team in the country got a better answer this spring.

Fall questions

1. D-line depth? Two of three spots on the defensive line need to be filled, with end Matt Masifilo the only returning starter. Terrence Stephens and Ben Gardner finished spring No. 1 at nose tackle and end. Henry Anderson is the backup at nose tackle and Josh Mauro and Jacob Gowan are No. 2 at the ends. It's possible, however, D-coordinator Derek Mason might mix-and-match a bit schematically to take advantage of his depth at linebacker and the uncertainty on the D-line.

2. Ready to receive? If receiver Chris Owusu comes back healthy -- and stays that way -- the Cardinal will be solid at receiver. Without him, things are a bit uncertain, though Drew Terrell, Darren Daniel, Griff Whalen and Jamal-Rashad Patterson each had their moments this spring.

3. Center of interest? Who will replace All-American Chase Beeler at center? Junior Sam Schwartzstein owned a lead over sophomore Khalil Wilkes at the end of spring. Further, the Cardinal will also need to replace LG Andrew Phillips and RT Derek Hall. Kevin Danser and Tyler Mabry were the leaders at the end of spring.