It was proven last season that the Stanford Cardinal could be dominant with a freshman quarterback. Stanford this season will have to replace another key position with the graduation of Stepfan Taylor at running back. The Cardinal need to find someone who can produce like Taylor so there won’t be as much pressure on Kevin Hogan at quarterback with a player who can control time of possession. This will be a decision that makes or breaks Stanford this coming season.
Hogan was the team’s second leading rusher in attempts last season followed by Anthony Wilkerson, who appears to have taken the inside track towards the job in spring practice. Wilkerson finished with 224 yards rushing on 50 carries last season. He also has the look of a bruising running back that will allow Stanford to control the clock, and with Hogan being in his first full year starting, this is an important decision. I’m sure that Wilkerson will do a solid job if he ends up being the starter, but I’m not sure he can be the next Taylor at least right away.
Taylor had 1,530 yards rushing in 2012 with 13 touchdowns. He was the rock of the offense for a Cardinal team that probably should have had only one loss if not for a questionable call in overtime. The next five months are going to show a lot about where the Cardinal decide to go with this decision, but I would hope that it is made before fall practice actually begins. You don’t want these players going into an uncertain situation. You want players to know their role well ahead of time to prepare. I think the decision to have Wilkerson at running back is the right one to make to replace Taylor.