Stanford's contingent steps up to the podium at Warner Brothers just after high noon to discuss the upcoming football season. Coach David Shaw, Blake Martinez, and Kyle Murphy will represent the Cardinal as they get their first close-up of 2015. We talked about the burning questions the Cardinal face as they head into the season, but yours truly is headed across the 134 to partake in the festivities, and having asked for questions from the Booties and Thunderdomers, I figured it was only fair to put what's on my mind out there on the eve of Pac-12 Media Day. What follows are questions I'd ask the trio if I were the only one in the room and had access to them beyond the 40 minutes prescribed by the Pac-12 Agenda. I expect to get at least some of these questions out there tomorrow, but don't expect to get them all asked or answered.
Questions for Coach Shaw:
1. Setting aside physical attributes, compare the level of mastery of the Stanford offense of Kevin Hogan and Andrew Luck at this stage in each's career. How much ground would Hogan have to gain to get a game like Andrew did against UW where he calls the plays?
2. Has the playcalling procedure changed in any way headed into this season? Will it still be you calling the plays in the Red Zone?
3. You mentioned being comfortable with Christian McCafrey as a full-time running back. From the standpoint of the running game, to what extent will the run game be customized for his strengths as compared to a Toby Gerhart or a Tyler Gaffney?
4. How committed are you to finding consistent time for whoever wins the backup quarterback job?
5. Can you identify which of the incoming freshmen has the best chance of playing substantially this year on both sides of the ball?
6. What is the best case scenario for working out the kicking situation and how deep into camp will that competition go?
7. Who is the departed Senior you'll have the most difficulty replacing?
8. Replacing only one O Lineman this year vs. four last year. Talk about your expectations for this offense from the start.
9. Stanford had the second-most fumbles in the Pac-12 last year after finishing in the top half in ball security the year before. How much emphasis do you anticipate putting on not fumbling during camp?
10. Your reaction to the implementation of stipends that vary from school to school and the O'Bannon Ruling?
Questions for Kyle Murphy:
1. Talk about why you expect the offense to look more like the last three games of 2013 than the first ten?
2. What adjustments are required to switch from RT to LT in this offense?
3. Who do you see as being the biggest break-out player on offense this year?
4. How much onus do you as players put Red Zone execution on yourselves and how much on the coaches?
5. Talk about how much John Flacco's speech resonated with the players and how much did it really spark the great finish on offense?
6. Talk about Shannon Turley's impact on the program and how in your mind did offseason workouts go this year?
7. How do you guys as a line evaluate yourselves after each game? In how many games last year would you say you met your expectations as an offensive line?
8. How much of a difference does it make on you guys to have one primary ball carrier vs. a committee?
9. How much of a chip is there on your shoulders to get Stanford back to the playoff or Major Bowl Game?
10. What's the legacy you want to leave as a player/team when this season's done?
Questions for Blake Martinez:
1. What adjustments do you anticipate making on the field as one of the few returners on defense?
2. How can Stanford compensate for the loss of experience on defense this year?
3. To what extent do you allow yourself to look at the whole schedule and pick out games that may have a greater meaning to your guys as a team?
4. Which loss from last year do you most eagerly anticipate having a chance to avenge?
5. How much do you expect the VR Technology to play a role on defense?
6. What are Coach Anderson's primary strengths as a coach?
7. Any thoughts on the first female linebacking coach in the NFL?
8. Coaches in the past have talked about preparing for Oregon to a certain extent every week, not just the week before playing them. Can you talk about how you guys go about doing that?
9. You mentioned last year a preference for a simplified defense as a player. Have the coaches streamlined things any more considering the relative inexperience of the defense compared to previous years?
10. Who's the best QB in the conference in your opinion? (Excluding Hogan)
So that's what I've got for the fellas. Keeping in mind the tendency of all Stanford players and coaches to reveal as little as possible, I feel like these questions stand a fair chance at eliciting a decent response. They're not necessarily listed in order of importance in my mind, but as I said, if I got the chance to sit down and talk to them, these are the areas I'd be sure I'd cover. Feel free to tweet me at @RJ_Abeytia with your thoughts on these and any questions I've missed that you want to have asked. The interesting thing about this part of the season is that it's the zenith of optimism for the entire conference. Even after summer camp, there will unfortunately but inevitably be injuries that dampen spirits and outlooks. Right now, everybody feels like 2015 is their year. For Stanford, there is the reality of an absolutely brutal schedule considered one of the toughest in the country regardless of the seven home games. There are also so many variables the Cardinal must contend with in order to reach its potential. Maxing out this season means finding legitimate answers to most of the questions above not tomorrow, but certainly by the time we all gather in Evanston to watch Stanford take on Northwestern. How many of them will Stanford have answered tomorrow?
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