A.J. Tarpley's time in Stanford spotlight arrives

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — A.J. Tarpley heard all offseason how Stanford would need to replace the production and locker room leadership linebackers Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy provided on defense.

He heard how the departures of defensive coordinator Derek Mason and inside linebackers coach David Kotulski to Vanderbilt could complicate the Cardinal's transition. And he heard how the linebackers left behind, most notably himself, could be set up for a major setback this season.

Tarpley's response? He has heard this all before.

The fifth-year senior is expected to become a more proactive leader and public face of Stanford's defense this season, especially with the Mohawk-sporting, eye-black wearing Skov gone. Tarpley says he's ready to take on whatever role is needed to help make the latest power shift for the two-time defending Pac-12 champions a smooth one.