Who will replace Kevin Hogan?
This question has loomed large since the fifth-year senior quarterback threw his last touchdown pass in the Cardinal’s 45-16 blowout Rose Bowl victory over Iowa.
Two options have emerged since last season: redshirt sophomore Keller Chryst and senior Ryan Burns.
This past Saturday, fans were treated to the first glimpse of the battle at Stanford’s open practice ,and head coach David Shaw addressed each quarterback's play with the media after practice.
He also talked about how his experience with prior positional battles, particularly at quarterback, has helped shape his decision-making process.
While Shaw insists that both quarterbacks will continue to clash all the way through spring, it appears that Chryst might have an edge over his senior teammate. After all, he was named the backup behind Hogan last year. We saw Chyrst get minutes in four games last season, including the Arizona matchup, where he went 4-4 for 39 yards and one touchdown. He also laid a block so hard that teammate, and roommate, Christian McCaffrey got excited, issuing several fired-up slaps on the back as congratulations.
Chryst’s motion and movement during the first spring practice Saturday looked great, and his physical presence is undeniable.
Burns also looked good on Saturday, albeit a little less accurate, with passes missing some of their intended targets. Burns saw action in only three games last season but never attempted a pass, and only ran the ball for a total of 13 yards.
Stanford returns several solid players at the wide receiver position, including senior Michael Rector, who finished last year with 34 catches for 559 yards and seven touchdowns.
Luckily, if it takes either player time to assimilate into the role of head of the offense, Stanford has a pretty solid alternative to the passing game. In fact, offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren told fans Saturday that McCaffrey will be held out of live play for all of spring ball, presumably to preserve his body for the fall.
One thing we know for sure – Shaw loves his positional battles so while coaches like Bloomgren would love a starter to be named today, expect the debate to drag on all the way until Stanford squares off against Kansas State on Sept. 2.
Sports writer. Avid fan, former player, once-upon-a-time coach, reluctant referee. I do digital media things with my friends. I also jinx kickers. Bay Area born & raised.