Stanford Football: 6 Items on the Summer To-Do List

TCorrespondent IIIJune 16, 2011

Stanford Football: 6 Items on the Summer To-Do List

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates after he threw a 38-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Virginai Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miam
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Stanford was a surprise out of the Pac-10 in 2010. 

    Quarterback Andrew Luck led the Cardinal to an Orange Bowl victory and stunned the college and pro football worlds by electing to return to school for his senior year.

    However, Jim Harbaugh could not resist the pro temptation and accepted the head coaching position with the San Francisco 49ers.

    What does Stanford have to do to stay atop the new Pac-12?

Continue Last Year's Momentum

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  The Stanford Cardinal huddle on the field prior to playing against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40-12.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Success from season to season is hard to project, especially in college football where the turnover is from year to year.

    With Luck returning, Stanford should be able to continue the momentum they built in 2010.

    It will be interesting to see how much impact a coaching change will have on this resurgent program.

Adapt to New Conference Format

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    With the addition of divisions and a championship game, the landscape of the PAC has changed dramatically.

    Stanford finds itself in a division with the likes of Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, and Washington State.

    Its not exactly the heavyweight division, but Stanford will face tough challenges from Oregon and Oregon State for a chance to play in the title game.

David Shaw Needs to Establish Credibility

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    Shaw had been the offensive coordinator at Stanford since 2007. 

    That familiarity with the offense and the personnel will go a long way towards a smooth transition. 

    Harbaugh's departure won't be too big of an issue with Shaw can pick up where he left off and continue their progress.

Stepfan Taylor Needs to Step Up

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Stepfan Taylor #33 of the Stanford Cardinal runs the ball against the Virginai Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40-12. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/G
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    In his sophomore season, Taylor eclipsed the 1000 yard mark on the ground after stepping out from the shadow of Toby Gerhart.

    In his junior season, with the numerous changes, Taylor needs to continue what made him successful in 2010.

    Teams will be looking to stop Andrew Luck and the Stanford passing game.

    Taylor will need to be on top of his game to counter the opposing defense's mindset of stopping the pass.

Chris Owusu Becomes the Main Target

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    PALO ALTO, CA - OCTOBER 09:  Chris Owusu #81 of the Stanford Cardinal catches a ball over the outstreched arms of Jawanza Starling #29 of the USC Trojans at Stanford Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    With three of their offensive weapons from 2010 gone, Owusu will have to step up as the main target on offense.

    As a junior, he caught 25 passes for 396 yards and three touchdowns and was the kick returner.

    At 6'2", 200 lbs, Owusu has the size to become a dominant pass catcher in this offense.

Andrew Luck: Don't Change a Thing

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal throws pass against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40-12. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The Heisman favorite and consensus number one pick needs to stay the course he charted for himself in 2010.

    By deciding on returning for his senior season, Luck takes a risk on his draft stock dropping due to injury or a down season statistically.

    However, it is a calculated risk that may pay off for Stanford in the form of the Pac-12 championship.