Hogan is almost certain to be the starter based on the Cardinal's 2012 surge after he displaced Nunes, but backup quarterback can end up being the second most important player on your team -- just as soon as your starter gets hurt. And, seeing that Hogan isn't shy about running the ball, a backup who inspires confidence is critical.
It also appears that Stanford's super-sophomore class of offensive linemen is making its move.
Andrus Peat, a freakish specimen at a lean 6-foot-7, 310 pounds, is making his move to become the starting left tackle, which is allowing David Yankey, the 2012 Morris Trophy winner as the Pac-12's best offensive lineman, to move inside to his natural guard position. Further, with fifth-year senior Kevin Danser getting action at center, that is allowing Josh Garnett to see time at guard with the first-team.
The takeaway here is that Stanford is likely to have the most physically talented line in the Pac-12 in 2013. Again.
James Vaughters, long touted but sometimes lost behind a deep corps of linebackers, seems to be finding a home on the outside in the Cardinal's 3-4 defense. Whoever wins the job opposite Trent Murphy figures to have some good opportunities to get to the quarterback as offenses fret Murphy's presence.
Stanford lost its two top tight ends from 2012: Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo. Both are likely NFL draft picks, with Ertz probably getting tapped in the first round. Sophomore Luke Kaumatule is presently running with the starters.
Sophomore receiver Kodi Whitfield, son of former Stanford and NFL offensive lineman Bob Whitfield, is playing with junior Ty Montgomery on the first team. Speedy sophomore Michael Rector also has made some notable plays.
Fifth-year senior Usua Amanam and junior Ronnie Harris are pushing starting cornerbacks Alex Carter and Wayne Lyons. That's good, because Carter and Lyons are all-conference sorts of talents, and a team can never have too much depth in the secondary in the Pac-12.