Week 1 questions worth asking
August, 31, 2012
By Kevin Gemmell | ESPN.com
It's Week 1, Game 1. And while most people aren't expecting tonight's opener against San Jose State to produce too much drama, there are still some questions surrounding the Cardinal, who enter the game ranked No. 21 in the AP poll and No. 18 in the coaches' poll.
- How will Josh Nunes respond? Not to the fact that he is now Stanford's starting quarterback, but to a negative play. And he's going to make some. Even Andrew Luck -- his predecessor -- wasn't perfect in any game last season and Nunes won't be either. There might be an interception, or a missed read or a missed opportunity to a wide open receiver. What about tipped passes? Luck had a few of those that went for picks last year. How will Nunes respond the first time something doesn't go his way?
- Running back rotation? We know Stepfan Taylor is going to get his carries -- probably more (at least early on) than he did last season. Wouldn't be shocked if he breaks 120 yards tonight. And, per the depth chart, Anthony Wilkerson will be the first guy off the bench in relief of Taylor. I'm curious to see who the Nos. 3 and 4 backs will be. Remound Wright or Ricky Seale?[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Paul SakumaJosh Nunes replaces Andrew Luck as the Cardinal's starting quarterback.
- Vanilla? Assuming the Cardinal are the superior team to San Jose State, and we're going to work under that assumption for now, the question is how much do David Shaw and Pep Hamilton open up the playbook? We know they don't want to put too much on film early -- especially with USC looming just a couple of weeks away -- but I'm sure they also want to test drive Nunes and see what he can do.
- Which freshman makes an impact? Andrus Peat and Kyle Murphy are locked in a battle for the starting tackle spot. But it could be Alex Carter who breathes life into a revamped secondary. A lot of people are also wondering if we're going to see Barry Sanders this season.
- What will the offense look like? We know what Stanford wants to do -- and what they are probably going to do. But what will it look like? Will they pull out the three-tight end sets that worked so famously last season? With the versatile Ryan Hewitt out with an ankle injury (he saw some spot duty as a tight end last year in some formations) you wonder how multiple will the Cardinal be in Week 1? And that takes us back to question No. 3, do they even need to be multiple in Week 1?
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