Stanford coaches had a well-defined plan last year for quarterback Kevin Hogan and stuck to it. Hogan was given a small package of plays, mostly read-option and other looks designed to highlight his mobility as a change of pace. Even when the redshirt freshman was thrust into the starting lineup late last season, Hogan was managed very closely as he led the Cardinal to the Pac-12 title and first Rose Bowl win since the 1971 season.
Now, head coach David Shaw will take the opposite approach with his young quarterback.
"We want to overload him and give him as much as humanly possible, because we're going to push the limits," Shaw said last week at Pac-12 Media Day.
The biggest progression must come in the passing game. Even though Hogan completed nearly 72 percent of his attempts, with nine touchdowns against three interceptions, most of those throws were very safe with the occasional deep shot off play-action mixed in. Without running back Stefan Taylor in the screen game and tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo as primary targets, Hogan will have to shoulder more responsibility.
He might also have to dial back his running, as former starter Josh Nunes took a medical retirement this spring and no other quarterback on the roster has ever attempted a pass in college.
Shaw expects Hogan, who he called a "budding super star," to be able to handle it and thrive, showing the same progression that led to four consecutive wins over ranked opponents, including the road upset of top-ranked Oregon.
"His package got bigger every game," Shaw said. "The better he played, the more he got."
Stanford opens their training camp on Aug. 12.