Record-setting senior running back Stepfan Taylor has been one of the most productive - and durable - running backs in Stanford history. Not only has Taylor consistently led the Cardinal offense, he's done so without suffering a major injury.
The upside to Taylor staying on the field is obvious -- one of the best backs in school history gets more touches. The flip side is that Stanford's other talented running backs haven't had much opportunity to showcase their skills.
That will change next season. Taylor's departure will open the door for any number of Cardinal running backs to stake claim to the starting job. One of the primary candidates is redshirt sophomore Ricky Seale. Seale received 13 carries in the 2012 regular season and gained 57 yards. He was also one of the top performers of spring ball earlier this year.
Cardinal Sports Report caught up with Seale after Thursday afternoon's Rose Bowl practice to discuss the season and next year's running back competition.
Cardinal Sports Report: What's it been like this year to get on the field, kind of get your feet wet back here playing more?
Ricky Seale: It's been good, especially when you have a running back like Stepfan Taylor. You get to watch him every day you get to see how he runs. You get to see how he practices. I'm pretty sure every running back in our group would say watching (Taylor) helps elevate their game. So to even get carries is more of a privilege for us because (Taylor) is out there doing his thing and we don't want to take away from that.
CSR: What you been working on the most in your few years here? I imagine you've had some time to refine your technique?
RS: The biggest thing I've been working on is just staying patient just hitting the hole when I see it, not really slowing my feet down.
CSR: How critical is this time, the bowl practices and spring practices, for what you're going to want to do next year?
RS: It's real critical. We have a lot of good running backs so you have to make a statement before you go into the season, make the coaches evaluate you even before the season starts. You want to get your looks in, you want to be looking good.
CSR: As a running back practicing behind six of those offensive line recruits they brought in last year, the Kyle Murphy's, Josh Garnett's and Andrus Peat's, is that something that puts on a smile on your face when you think about how the offensive line could be next year, a few years from now potentially?
RS: Yeah, it puts a big smile on my face, especially with a coach like Coach Bloomgren. He demands the best out of them so you know you're going to get the offensive line's best every single day, and as a running back that's what you want - an offensive line that's going to be out there blocking for you through thick and thin.
CSR: What is your primary focus for bowl practices and spring practices? Is there one particular thing for that you're looking to work on or is it more generally rounding things out?
RS: Pretty much it's just general rounding everything out. Just compete with all of the running backs, because like I said we have a lot of good running backs so it's going to be a great competition this year.