As the Stanford Cardinal look to secure their third straight Pac-12 title in 2014, they will take the field with a much different looking roster than in previous years. The most experienced group on the team will be in the passing game with quarterback Kevin Hogan and a receiving corps highlighted by All-American Ty Montgomery. With a required emphasis on the passing game, Montgomery will be a key to providing some explosive offensive production this fall.
More than ever under head coach David Shaw, Stanford could be forced to open up the playbook in 2014. The defense lost a ton of experienced playmakers, the running back situation is a complete mystery, and the offensive line replaces four of five starters. While the Cardinal will undoubtedly stay true to their identity that has helped them win back-to-back conference titles and run the football while relying on the defense to hold opponents in check, the lack of proven playmakers in those areas is a definite cause for concern.
Montgomery, meanwhile, returns as one of the Pac-12′s most explosive and experienced receivers. Even in the limited opportunities to make plays down the field that he got in 2013, Montgomery flashed some serious playmaking ability, catching 61 passes for 958 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns. He also showed off his explosive ability in the return game, where he earned All-American honors, where he averaged 30.31 yards per kick return with two touchdowns. He even took a few handoffs out of the backfield, racking up 159 yards rushing on just 13 carries with two touchdowns.
While the Cardinal find out just what they have in the abundance of newcomers to their starting lineup on both sides of the ball, Ty Montgomery provides a proven option that can create big plays whenever he gets the ball in his hands with space to operate. If Stanford hopes to repeat as Pac-12 champs, they’ll need some big-time plays from Montgomery and the overlooked Cardinal passing attack.