Comments From Offensive Coordinator David Shaw at Today's Stanford Football Media Luncheon
Oct. 7, 2008
Here's a sampling of some of offensive coordinator David Shaw's comments from today's Stanford football media luncheon as the Cardinal prepares to meet Arizona this Saturday at Stanford Stadium.
On the improvement of the running game
First of all, I think we have to recognize what kind of talent we have back there carrying the ball. We have some very talented runners and we're pretty deep there. We made a conscious decision as a staff to put the ball into the hands of the players who can make a difference for us and get positive yards. It also helps us with our overall team attitude.
On the play of quarterback Tavita Pritchard against Notre Dame
It was a tale of two halves. The Tavita in the fourth quarter who went 10-for-11 with two touchdown passes was outstanding. He knows that's our standard for him and that's his standard for himself. We need him to play like that for 60 minutes.
The quarterback is dependent on a lot of things going right around him. There's some things he (Pritchard) can do better and there are some things that can be done better around him.
One of his interceptions was a deflected pass that was a little high. Another one, there was a defender he should have seen. The other one came on a play action where they had a little stunt going on and he missed the defender. It's all part of the game.
We cannot turn the ball over and be successful. You can ask any coach at any level of football and they will tell you the same thing. It's something we take very seriously.
They are very active and very athletic. They rally to the ball very well and it's not just one player. The entire team has great speed and they play well together. They are rarely out of position. They are a very well-coached, athletic team.
On looking at the next six games and getting bowl eligible
We try not to get ahead of ourselves. We have three wins with six to go so we're concentrating on the next three games. Like Coach Harbaugh says, we break up the schedule into quarters. I think that helps our kids focus. We have to focus on Arizona and what we need to do to be successful against the University of Arizona.
On the possible return of Chase Beeler
I know he's going to try (to play). He's shown some significant signs of coming back, but it will all depend on what happens in practice.
On determining the snaps between Toby Gerhart and Anthony Kimble
One is by feel. I think everyone in the stadium can feel when Toby Gerhart is churning. We let him go. The other is by the play. There are certain plays that each guy has a great feel for.
They both are versatile and can run a lot of different plays.
On Gerhart's workload against Notre Dame
It was a function of what was happening during the game. Toby made some great runs. On our touchdown drives, there were really no third downs. We got chunks of yards. On the other drives, we had setbacks--penalties hurt us really bad. We would have liked to tack on an extra 10-15 runs to Toby, but when we got down by three scores late in the game, we couldn't quite get the amount of carries for him or any of our other backs.
On allowing five sacks against Notre Dame
There were individual errors here and there. There were a couple of sacks where guys got beat. I'll take credit for one of those on an untimely, bad call against the defense we had. There were not a lot of options for Tavita. When we play well and everybody does their job, those sacks go down, as they did the previous two weeks.
Give Notre Dame credit, they came ready to play. They played well up front. They got to us. As any defensive coach will tell you, if we are made to be one dimensional, the sacks will always go up. If we have to pass the ball to get back into the game, or face a lot of third-and-sevens, third-and-eights, there are more opportunity for sacks.
On the development of the young receiving corps with Richard Sherman sidelined due to injury
It's been a positive coming out of a negative going back a year ago. We were so banged up at receiver a year ago, Ryan Whalen and Doug Baldwin got a lot of playing time. Coming into this year, they had some experience. They stepped onto the field against USC, Oregon and Cal.
It was nice to start the year and knowing these guys were not going to falter.
They both give us something a little different. Whalen is quicker, a thick body, stronger football player. He catches everything and is playing real well for us. Doug is what we like to call a field-position changer. He's got a chance to make people miss and he can really run after the catch. Those two guys are really stepping up and filling a big hole for us.
On Owen Marecic's contributions to the running game
How wide can I open my arms? Owen Marecic is a tone-setter for us. He made some blocks in the Notre Dame game that I could hear in the press box. He is an outstanding fullback. Not a good fullback, an outstanding fullback.
On a fullback who is content to not carry and ball and concentrate on blocking
It's becoming more and more rare. Over the years, defensive players have gotten bigger, stronger and faster. The style of football that is played is a little different than it used to be. A lot of guys that are built like that (Owen) are playing linebacker.
Owen was built to play fullback, physically, mentally and emotionally.
It's rare in the NFL to find a fullback who can lead downfield on mike linebackers repeatedly and like it.
He's never said a word about carrying the ball. He doesn't care. Owen Marecic shows up on game day to hit people.
On matching up against Arizona's offense, which is averaging 43 points a game
We have that ability. The key for us is consistency. It's been a little better from a year ago as far as scoring and yards per game but we need to play 60 minutes. We've come close in a couple of game this year, but we need to be consistent.
Look at the first three drives against Notre Dame. We marched down the field. We executed up until the point we made two turnovers that led to a touchdown. You take away those two turnovers and give us points, then we are right in that area where we can score points. Two false starts and two turnovers later, we're down 14-7, as opposed to having more points on the board.
It's the confidence knowing we can do it and the stick-to-itiveness to do it on every play.
On playing at home
I'd love some home-cooking in any way, shape or form that we can find. We've got students coming back, alumni coming back. I've got a bunch of calls from former teammates who are fired up to come back because they know we're playing a little better football now.
We're in the process of turning this thing around in both recruiting and how we are playing on the field. We're getting close, we're on the verge. It's on us to make that next step and play consistently.
On moving the ball against Arizona
It's going to be hard to move the ball down the field and get three to four yards at a time. We need to do something to get a chunk of yardage--run or pass. We have some runners who can turn a four-yard run into a 20-yard gain. You need that against this team. They are very good and very athletic.