Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Who will step up at tight end?
Outside of quarterback, tight end has become the most important position in the Stanford offense in recent years. Last year, the Cardinal replaced Coby Fleener with Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo and didn't miss a beat. Ertz and Toilol were first and third, respectively, in receiving for Stanford in 2012. They take with them 93 receptions, 1,291 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
Sophomore Luke Kaumatule gets the first opportunity. Kaumatule impressed coaches in the spring and certainly has the size and athleticism Stanford covets in their tight ends. Junior Davis Dudchock will also play a lot.
Keep an eye on true freshman Eric Cotton. At 6'6", 230 pounds, Cotton has ideal size to play right away. His blocking will determine when he will play, if at all, in 2013.
Will Barry Sanders Jr. contribute?
When you are the son of one of the greatest running backs of all time, expectations are high. While no one will confuse the younger Sanders with his father, at least not yet, he was one of the top recruits of 2012.
Of all of the Cardinal running backs, Sanders is the only one who has true game-breaking ability. If he doesn't receive significant carries this year, he could see action as a punt returner.
Who will replace Chase Thomas?
Thomas was a three-time all-conference selection. He was second on the team in tackles and sacks last season. Fortunately, linebacker is one of the deeper positions on the team. James Vaughters and Blake Lueders get the first crack at replacing Thomas, but don't rule out freshman Peter Kalambayi.
Progression of Kevin Hogan
Hogan had an excellent finish to the 2012 season. Can he repeat that momentum from start to finish in 2013? He certainly has the talent. It will be up to Hogan to raise the play of those around him, something all great quarterbacks do.