Thursday, January 13, 2011
Shaw hits all the right notes on day one
By Ted Miller
If David Shaw is as good a head football coach as he is handling a news conference, then Stanford is in excellent hands.
Let's start with this: "Two years of good football is not enough," said Shaw, a former Stanford player.
David Shaw says Stanford will now set its sights on a conference championship.
Shaw, 38, isn't planning on just maintaining what Jim Harbaugh built before he bolted for the San Francisco 49ers. He wants to take the program another step forward.
A dominant victory in the Discover Orange Bowl over Virginia Tech? Old news.
"We're going to put it in a box, we're going to put a ribbon around it, and we're going to put it up on a shelf for everybody to admire," he said. "But we're going to get back to work. We're going to let everyone else admire and talk about how great it was. Our goals are not done. ... We did not win our conference. Oregon did that."
Why did athletic director Bob Bowlsby hire Shaw, Stanford's offensive coordinator since 2007, over the other three members of the Cardinal staff he interviewed (associate head coach Greg Roman, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and special teams coordinator Brian Polian)?
Bowlsby said Shaw's hiring was "logical" and a "perfect fit." Among Shaw's strengths, Bowlsby listed recruiting, experience at the NFL and college levels, an understanding of Stanford's academics, organizational skills, continuity from Harbaugh's tenure, high character, the support of the locker room, and good motivational skills.
There's also this: Shaw was adamant that this is his dream job. Stanford won't be a coaching stepping stone for him, he said.
"Since the day I started coaching, this is the job I always knew I wanted," he said, then added later. "I wanted this to be my last head coaching interview ever."
But Shaw wouldn't talk about his staff or assistants. Fangio and Roman are going to leave. It is unclear which members of the current staff stick around, though a handful almost certainly will.
As for as what he wants to continue from the Harbaugh Era, Shaw mentioned being aggressive and physical on both sides of the ball. Shaw also might have said the words "compete" and "competitive" 20 times. That's very Harbaughian.
He said the schemes won't change. And then again they will. "We're going to push the envelope with scheme," he said. Also a Harbaugh trademark.
Shaw's hiring will be popular with the current players. Just after Harbaugh's departure was announced, receiver Doug Baldwin told the San Jose Mercury News that, "All the players want David Shaw as the head coach."
Shaw said he doesn't "plan on disappointing them" when he was asked about this, but he also added something that very much sounded like a grumpy, veteran head coach.
"I was not happy it was in the paper," he said.
Shaw has a lot on his plate, starting with a big recruiting weekend, when he must keep an outstanding recruiting class on board. Next, he must fill out his staff. Then, once the boxes are unpacked and he turns his attention to X's and O's, he will be freighted with the high expectations that come with a likely preseason top-10 ranking.
It won't be easy to replace a larger-than-life -- and slightly eccentric -- personality such as Harbaugh, particularly after the Cardinal's success this year. But Shaw's first day on the job was impressive.