Stanford has more issues to solve this offseason than at any point in the David Shaw era, but the list doesn't include finding a replacement for All-American Trent Murphy.

Kevin Anderson has it handled.

The redshirt junior from Palo Alto High School is locked into Murphy's outside linebacker position, as entrenched in the 2014 lineup as the returning starters.

"The way he played last year was good enough to start if he didn't have a first-team All-American in front of him," Shaw said.

Anderson was a mini-Murphy on the field, pressuring quarterbacks and causing disruption in his limited role.

He did his best to emulate Murphy off the field, too, by making football a lifestyle that governs how he eats, sleeps and cares for his body.

Stanford Cardinal Kevin Anderson (48) intercepts a pass by Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook and returns it for a 40-yard touchdown in the second
Stanford Cardinal Kevin Anderson (48) intercepts a pass by Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook and returns it for a 40-yard touchdown in the second quarter of the 100th Rose Bowl Game Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

Now the question is whether Anderson can approach Murphy's production as an every-down player, whether it's as edge-rusher extraordinaire or defensive end in passing situations.

"I want to emulate him on the field," Anderson said, "but at the same time, I can't think to myself, 'I have to lead the nation in sacks like Trent did.'

"My job is to work as hard as I can and block out all the external stuff."

Anderson played for legendary Palo Alto coach Earl Hansen, who informed the Cardinal coaches early in Anderson's prep career that he was a potential scholarship-caliber player.

The staff was impressed with his toughness, instincts and relentless pursuit of the ball, and Anderson committed to Stanford in the spring of his junior year (2010). Initially projected as a defensive lineman, he was eventually slotted as an outside linebacker.

His first fall was spent as a redshirt, and he played sparingly in 2012. The ensuing offseason was spent honing his pass coverage skills and tackling in one-on-one situations in the open field.

When the 2013 season began, Anderson was the No. 3 outside linebacker, spelling both Murphy and James Vaughters. His year is best remembered for a Pick-6 in the Rose Bowl -- he also dropped an interception -- but Anderson was a force throughout, finishing No. 4 on the team in tackles for loss (6.5).

Stanford Cardinal Kevin Anderson (48) intercepts a pass by Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook and returns it for a 40-yard touchdown in the second
Stanford Cardinal Kevin Anderson (48) intercepts a pass by Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook and returns it for a 40-yard touchdown in the second quarter of the 100th Rose Bowl Game Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

"He was probably our next-best pass rusher after (Murphy)," defensive coordinator Lance Anderson said. "He goes 100 miles an hour, and he has no fear of contact."

  • Former Stanford cornerback Richard Sherman attended practice Tuesday and had some advice for Kodi Whitfield, a former receiver who has moved to safety. "He has to get used to tackling and seeing the game from the other side of the ball," said Sherman, the Seattle Seahawks' All-Pro who played receiver before switching to defense late in his college career.

  • Receiver Michael Rector (ankle) is probably out until the second session of spring practice, which begins March 31.

  • Stanford's practice Saturday (9 a.m.) will be open to the public. It's expected to conclude before the men's basketball game against Utah at 11:30 a.m.

    For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner's College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports.