Friday, December 30, 2011
Stanford news and notes
By Kevin Gemmell
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Stanford University has always prided itself on being at the forefront of social change – and that’s evident with its history of hiring minority coaches.
At Friday’s Fiesta Bowl media day, David Shaw, the third African-American head football coach at Stanford, said he’s proud of the progress minority coaches have made across the college football landscape.
“I am. I really am. … No question,” Shaw said. “I give a lot of credit to Bill Walsh. He has always done a lot for minority coaches. And Stanford likes to be at the forefront of a lot of different things. And it is kind of the way we do business. I’m very proud of my school.”
Shaw said much of his upbringing and influence to become a football coach comes from his father, Willie, also a longtime coach in the NFL and college.
“It’s something I follow with my father being a coach,” he said. “I credit my father, Tyrone Willingham, Denny Green, a lot of those guys that, gosh, did a good job and showed that they could win games so that opportunities for the rest of us are more prevalent than they were before.
“I think the athletic directors, there has been, gosh, last seven or eight years, a hard push by athletic directors to make more guys like me available, get to know more guys like me and give them opportunities when they deserve them.”
Asked what the ranking landscape of college football will look like should Alabama beat LSU in the national championship game, Shaw said he didn’t know, nor did he really care.
“That is a great question that I don’t have an answer for,” Shaw said. “For us, we just concentrate on this game. We don’t care where we are ranked after this game. We don’t care what happens where anybody else says that we are. It just means that we are Fiesta Bowl champs. That’s all we can care about. As far as the championship game, that’s great, people will watch that and enjoy that, but we are just concentrating on our game.”
WARY OF TURNOVERS
While Oklahoma State’s defense gets knocked for the yards it gives up, one stat that is indisputable is turnovers. With 23 interceptions on the year and 42 total turnovers, the Cowboys rank second nationally in turnover margin. That’s a scary thought, said Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
“Forty-two takeaways is a statistic that doesn’t lie,” Luck said. “When they have to make a play, they’ll make a play. They can swing momentum. We have to take care of the football or else you see a guy in the other jersey going the other way.”
Oklahoma State wide receiver Tracy Moore didn’t know that Stanford’s secondary hadn’t allowed an opposing receiver to gain 100 yards this season. He does now. He also didn’t know that only eight wide receivers have reached the end zone against the Cardinal this season. He does now.
“That definitely sounds like a challenge to me,” Moore said. “I know plenty of guys on this team, Justin (Blackmon), Coop (Josh Cooper), knowing that, now we’re licking our chops.
“All of that happened before. They gotta play us now.”