Let's get one thing out of the way. The Stanford Cardinal are NOT going to lose to San Jose State. They are going to win, they are going to win big, and the majority of Stanford fans will be halfway home to Wine Country or the Palace of Versailles or whereever they live by the time Brett Nottingham is taking snaps in the fourth quarter. So enjoy your preseason matchup before the real season starts.
That being said, if you are a Cardinal fan, there are certain things you can look out for on Saturday.
How Stanford deals with the loss of Owen Marecic. The throwback fullback gave the Cardinal great versatility, as he could catch passes, run with the ball, and of course, block. Now Stanford will either have to rely on sophomore Ryan Hewitt or use a tight end in the backfield.
How well Stanford blocks with the loss of three starting offensive linemen. Will there be a dropoff from the power run game and pass protection that was pretty much the best in the country? How well the new guys handle their assignments against a thoroughly mediocre San Jose State team will tell us a lot about how far this unit can keep Andrew Luck comfortable.
How does Stanford use their tight ends? With Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo, the Cardinal have perhaps the best group of tight ends in the country. With the receiving corps losing Doug Baldwin and Ryan Whalen, could we see a lot more multiple tight end sets to make sure Stanford stays versatile in their looks and formations?
Keep in mind this is the opening game, and Stanford won't show any extra cards if they don't have to. But there are a few things you can probably figure out about Stanford's offense and their personnel based on their performance opening weekend.
For more on Stanford football, go to Rule of Tree.