- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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Stanford head coach David Shaw has been relatively subdued this season when asked about quarterback Andrew Luck and his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy. But on this morning's Pac-12 coaches conference call, Shaw defended and then stumped for his signal caller after he was asked about Luck's national perception possibly slipping.
"I think it's a joke. I think it's an absolute joke," Shaw said. "There is nobody in college football that is doing what Andrew Luck is doing. Don't forget, I spent nine years in the NFL. I evaluated every single quarterback that came out in the NFL during that time and have seen all of the good ones since then. There is nobody that I've heard of that does as much at the line of scrimmage in college football. There are not that many guys in the NFL that are doing as much as Andrew is at the line of scrimmage. The guy is running the game at the line of scrimmage. He's controlling the protections. He's controlling the running game. We're calling three, four plays in the huddle, which most guys can't even think about handling and he does that."
That's a pretty good sales pitch. But Shaw didn't stop there.
"I keep hearing all of this stuff about all of these other quarterbacks and how great they are doing," he continued. "We don't have two first-round draft picks playing receiver for us. We don't. We have a very good, solid team.
"I was talking to somebody the other day. It's like Charles Woodson. Charles Woodson didn't win the Heisman Trophy off of stats. Charles Woodson won the Heisman Trophy because he was doing something that nobody else in the nation was doing and nobody else has done since then, which is play two positions at a high level. To me, that's what Andrew is. Andrew is doing something that I have not seen anybody do in college football."
His pro-Luck speech went uninterrupted for about a minute and a half. But he was less wordy when later in the call, he was asked about USC quarterback Matt Barkley and his Heisman chances.
"I think based on the stats he's put up he should be in the conversation," Shaw said.
Cue the crickets...
Shaw has always touted his quarterback, but this was the first time there was extreme passion in his voice and a touch of anger at the assertion that the national perception of Luck might be trending downward.