STANFORD -- Stanford opened spring practice Monday with the meet-and-greet portion already crossed off its lengthy to-do list.
A series of team meetings and conditioning workouts over the past six weeks provided the foundation for an offseason recalibration.
The next, devilish step involves the details: filling holes on the depth chart created by the loss of 12 starters -- six on offense and six on defense.
The process is complicated by the fact Stanford is replacing three assistant coaches, including highly regarded defensive coordinator Derek Mason, who became the head coach at Vanderbilt.
All of which means significant progress this spring is mandatory for Stanford to contend for the Pac-12 title with early favorites Oregon and UCLA.
Here are three areas of focus:
Stanford lost four starters up front -- everyone except left tackle Andrus Peat.
The situation isn't quite as dire as the numbers indicate because two of the presumed replacements, left guard Joshua Garnett and right tackle Kyle Murphy, played extensively last season when the Cardinal used its jumbo formations.
That said, Garnett and Murphy must adjust to new roles, and the coaches must locate two other starters. Sophomore Johnny Caspers is the heavy favorite at right guard, while sophomore Graham Shuler is an option at center.
"We'll have bumps early because of our inexperience," coach David Shaw said Monday. "But by midseason, we should be in (top) form."
Tailback Tyler Gaffney and versatile fullback Ryan Hewitt have departed, creating a substantial void behind veteran quarterback Kevin Hogan.
All Gaffney did last season was account for 22 of Stanford's 51 offensive touchdowns and produce 59 percent of its rushing yards. (Backup tailback Anthony Wilkerson also has moved on.)
The top candidates to replace Gaffney are junior Remound Wright (102 rushing yards last season) and sophomore Barry Sanders (42). Receiver Kelsey Young will get significant reps at tailback, as well.
Most likely, the competition will spill over into training camp and, perhaps, the regular season.
Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov formed one of the best inside-outside tandems in school history.
Murphy was a one-man, quarterback-wrecking crew off the edge, while Skov doubled as Stanford's top tackler and undisputed leader.
Skov's inside position will be fiercely contested, with junior Blake Martinez and senior Joe Hemschoot as the leading contenders.
Kevin Anderson, a junior from Palo Alto High School who had a Pick-6 in the Rose Bowl, is in line to replace Murphy.
"We feel really good about Kevin," defensive coordinator Lance Anderson said. "With the opportunities he got last year, he did a good job producing."