Shaw: Time for Stanford to spring forward
The Orange Bowl trophy is displayed inside Stanford’s football
offices, a powerful, glistening symbol of the rapid resurgence of
the program that new coach David Shaw passes every day.
If it was up to him, he’d rather his players put all those
memories in the closet for now.
”Those oranges from the Orange Bowl, they rot, they die. It’s
over,” Shaw said Friday. ”We’ve got to put a stop on it at some
point and say, ‘Who will we be going forward?”’
That question will soon be answered.
The Cardinal begin their first spring practice session Monday,
officially kicking off the Shaw Era with a ton of talent and lofty
expectations. And any chance of erasing one of the best seasons in
school history from the minds of players and fans won’t be
Just upstairs from where Shaw held his first roundtable with
beat reporters, sitting in the same seat his predecessor, Jim
Harbaugh, once used, sat the Orange Bowl trophy from last season’s
40-12 victory over Virginia Tech. Everywhere else he turns on
campus, he is reminded of that success.
Students across the school sport Orange Bowl championship
T-shirts. Football posters cover walls and light posts, and
football chatter can be heard in the dining halls at the
historically academics-first school.
Not that there aren’t reminders on the field.
Andrew Luck returns at quarterback after putting off being the
NFL draft’s likely No. 1 pick and several starters are back from a
12-1 team that finished fourth in the final AP poll, the school’s
best ranking since the unbeaten 1940 team finished second.
Certainly, this is no ordinary spring on The Farm.
Shaw’s job is to convince his team otherwise.
”We’re the same place everybody else is,” he said. ”Every
year is a capsule. It has a start and an end. The next year, every
team is different. Your leadership is different. Different guys are
stepping into different roles, it will effect schematically what
you do. Every year you have to grow, add, delete, change. And
that’s where we are right now. We need to establish who we
That process is just beginning.
There are still some key spots to fill and position battles to
work out when the Cardinal hit the practice field. Among the most
glaring spots are receiver, offensive lineman and kicker.
All-American center Chase Beeler is gone. So are leading
receivers Doug Baldwin and Ryan Whalen and reliable kicker Nate
Whitaker. Shaw expects Luck to alleviate some of the
”With Andrew coming back, it’s led to some nights where it felt
pretty good going to bed,” he said.
Shaw is also counting on his reassembled coaching staff to pick
up any slack.
Shaw, the former offensive coordinator, said he is hiring Mike
Bloomgren – the former New York Jets assistant offensive
coordinator – as offensive line coach and running game coordinator
and Mike Sanford as running backs coach. He still has to hire a
tight ends/tackles coach, the last of his vacancies since Harbaugh
left for the San Francisco 49ers and took some of the Stanford
staff with him.
The Cardinal are again holding their NCAA-allotted 15 spring
practices over two sessions. The first session will include eight
practices over two weeks beginning Monday, and the remaining will
be held in late March and conclude with the annual spring game
April 9 in San Francisco.
”I can’t wait to get on the field,” Shaw said. ”I can’t wait
to get back to football. Offseason conditioning and winter
conditioning drills have been going well and are necessary. But at
the same time, there’s nothing like getting on the field for those
15 days that we get.”