Graduation took its biggest toll on Stanford's passing game, where 88 percent of the program's 2012 production departed. But the rushing attack also took a big blow with Stepfan Taylor's departure. The Cardinal's all-time rushing leader accounted for more than two-thirds (68%) of the team's ground production in 2012. Entering this 2013 campaign, quarterback Kevin Hogan is the Farm Boys' leading returning rusher.
There seems to be less uncertainty in the backfield than in the passing game, though. For one, Stanford's recruiting at the running back position has been excellent over the past half decade, and that has produced a 2013 stable that includes Anthony Wilkerson, Tyler Gaffney, Remound Wright, Ricky Seale, Barry Sanders, and Jackson Cummings. And even despite the medical retirement of Geoff Meinken, David Shaw's fullback room is still stocked with bruising, experienced talent. Ryan Hewitt, Lee Ward, and Pat Skov are all more than capable of supplying muscle there.
Stanford's 2013 rushing attack will look to rediscover the efficiency that left it when the Andrew Luck-driven passing threat graduated to the NFL. The 2012 team averaged only 4.44 yards per carry (4.3 under Josh Nunes, up to 4.6 when Hogan took over as quarterback), a figure considerably short of the 5.29 yards per carry recorded by the 2011 team. Rushing explosiveness also took a hit, as evidenced by the table that we've assembled below.
Don't miss Part 1 and Part 2 of our extensive Stanford podcast preview, which focus on the Cardinal's quarterbacks, offensive linemen, wide receivers, and tight ends. The series will continue with an extensive three-part look at the defense.
Stanford Rushing Offense: Explosiveness Through the Years
|Yards Per Carry
||% Runs > 10 Yards
||% Runs > 20 Yards
David Lombardi is the Stanford Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.
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