The helmets are on, the pads are crashing, and the sweat is pouring, which means only one thing – we are in the dog days of “double days” of Card Camp 2016.
The first week of Card Camp is officially in the books and there are many answers to whom will be starting in certain positions for the 2016 campaign, but also several questions that may linger right up until kickoff on September 2nd.
The biggest question so far: who will be replacing 4-year starter Kevin Hogan at the QB position?
As of right now, neither Redshirt Sophomore Keller Chryst nor Junior Ryan Burns has separated from the pack as the lead candidate to replace Hogan as the main signal caller under center. Head Coach David Shaw has repeatedly said that both QB’s are working hard in camp, both have shown great improvement, but both have also shown some ugliness in camp. The main difference so far is that it seems that Burns has more mobility and is not afraid to get out and run, while Chryst has a great arm and likes to showcase it. Coach Shaw had said that he was hoping to have a QB declared at this point with less that 9 days left in camp, but there is no clear winner at this point. Both will share reps with the 1st team for the foreseeable future, and Coach Shaw may not tip his hat in either way up until the week of the Kansas State game.
Next lingering question: who will be replacing the Outland trophy winner Joshua Garnett and stalwart Tackle Kyle Murphy on the left side of the Offensive line?
Big Casey Tucker was a sophomore starter at Tackle on the right side last season, and has taken most of the 1st team reps at the left side during camp. Tucker is big and has a lot of power, but will need to step up his game this season as the anchor of a mostly inexperienced line. Junior David Bright has moved from the Tackle position over to the Left Guard position, and is in a heated battle with Sophomore Brandon Fanaika for the job. Coach Shaw has complimented both Bright and Fanaika, and has even gone on record to say that Fanaika “has had a tremendous camp,” and “may push to start at another position on the line this season.” The starting five on the line is however still in doubt, and the answer to whom will be starting game one more than likely will not be answered until camp is over.
With these positions still in a state of flux, what positions have been solidified through camp?
First and foremost, Junior and runner up Heisman Candidate Christian McCaffrey have been awesome in camp per Coach Shaw. Its been stated that McCaffrey has been working on so many different facets of his game, that Coach Shaw believes the Junior will be even better this season. Head Coach David Shaw has characterized sophomore Running Back Bryce Love as a “special player” that will be raising his game to another level in 2016. The one-two punch of McCaffrey and Love will be a terror for opposing defenses in the coming season.
The Defensive Line for the Cardinal has been dominant in camp so far with Sophomores Solomon Thomas and Harrison Phillips leading the way. Thomas has raised his game, and will be a force on the line this season. Phillips is returning from injury, but has looked impressive in camp, and has quickly earned his way back into first team reps. Thomas and Phillips will be needed along with pass rush extraordinaire Peter Kalambayi this season for the Cardinal to be successful.
The Defensive Secondary has been uber impressive in camp with Senior Dallas Lloyd manning the backfield with returning tackle machine Zach Hoffpauir and lockdown corners Quenton Meeks and Alijah Holder. Stanford has adapted their defensive schemes to match the high-powered pass attacks of the schools in the Pac 12 by recruiting several athletic corners and safeties. The Defensive Secondary has grown from an inexperienced and young group, to the core of the defense that will look to be the heartbeat of the defense in 2016.
The next 10 days will surely answer all lingering questions, and will provide a blue print on where the Cardinal program will be heading in the 2016 season.
For all fans looking to see how the Cardinal are shaping up, the program cordially invites you all to come out to the Elliott Practice Fields for the annual Open House on Saturday from 5:30pm until 7pm where fans will get to see an open scrimmage, hear Head Coach David Shaw address the crowd, and get to meet the players after the practice for an autograph signing opportunity.
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