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Wednesday, May 9, 2012
David Shaw: There is no kicker competition

By Kevin Gemmell

For all the different competitions spilling out of Stanford this spring and into the fall -- quarterback, safety, offensive line -- head coach David Shaw made it clear that kicker is not one of them.

"Jordan is our kicker," Shaw said on Tuesday's Pac-12 conference call, referring to kicker Jordan Williamson.

Williamson, some might recall, had a rough outing at the Fiesta Bowl, missing three of four field-goal attempts in the 41-38 overtime loss to Oklahoma State. Most notable was a 35-yarder as time expired that would have given Stanford the victory.

Shaw was asked if there is a competition between Williamson and Eric Whitaker, which led to his decisive declaration for Williamson.

"Eric Whitaker is ready when called upon, just like a year ago when he was called upon to go at USC and was the special teams player of the week for the conference," Shaw said.

Jordan Williamson
An ugly Fiesta Bowl doesn't appear to have cost Jordan Williamson (19) his job as Stanford's kicker.
Williamson opened the season by converting his first seven field goals and 11 of his first 12. An injury forced him to miss three games -- USC, Oregon State and Oregon. Whitaker filled in and was 4 of 5 during that stretch.

"Jordan Williamson is an exceptional kicker who is athletic, who has a strong leg, who has been consistent up until the point he got hurt," Shaw said. "He came back and his timing was a little off and his technique was a little off."

Shaw said Williamson isn't lingering on it -- so neither is he.

"He and I have had one conversation about the Fiesta Bowl, and that was the day after," Shaw said. "All I told him was anybody that is any good at anything has always hit a low point. That was his low point. Scars heal, but they don't necessarily go away. He can use it as motivation or however he wants to use it. All I told him was when we go back to school, we go back to work. Your everyday activity, your everyday work ethic, how you carry yourself, your confidence, all of those things are things I'm going to observe. And when you're dedicated and work your tail off, and use the talents that you have, I said I'll never hesitate to put you back in that situation."

Speaking of "that situation" Shaw took the conference call as an opportunity to reiterate his decision to kick a field goal on the final drive in regulation. He was asked (full disclosure, by me) to reflect in general on his first year as a head coach -- whether he felt he was too aggressive or conservative in any situations or if he'd change anything moving forward.

"I don't know if you are referring to anything specific [for the record, I wasn't], if we're in a situation where we're driving the ball in a 2-minute drill against the team that leads the nation in interceptions, I don't give a doggone who the quarterback is. We're going to run the ball, get down to field-goal position and kick the field goal," Shaw said.

Sounds like coach and kicker have both moved on.