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New coaches, same plan for Stanford football

LOS ANGELES – If there’s a downside to having success and going a BCS bowl game, it’s that the coaches – head or assistants – are ripe for promotions to higher-profile gigs. If there’s a downside to having sustained success and appearing in four consecutive BCS bowl games, it’s that this process can happen over and over again.

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When former Stanford football coach Jim Harbaugh left for the San Francisco 49ers after the 2011 Orange Bowl, David Shaw stepped in and has so far led Nerd Nation to three straight BCS bowl games and two consecutive Pac-12 championships. When offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton left for the Indianapolis Colts following the 2012 season, Mike Bloomgren took over the reins and helped guide an offense that featured a 1,700-yard rusher in Tyler Gaffney.

After a successful 2013 campaign, Stanford had to fill another coordinator position when defensive guru Derek Mason accepted a head coaching gig at Vanderbilt. In his spot now is Lance Anderson.

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The common thread among these last three major coaching changes in Stanford football? All hires came from within the program: Shaw was previously the Card’s offensive coordinator, Bloomgren was promoted from offensive line coach and run game coordinator, and Anderson was formerly Stanford’s outside linebackers coach.

This consistency is exactly what Shaw wants.

“[Former Stanford AD] Bob Bowlsby, when he hired me, we talked about taking the ups and downs out of Stanford football. And part of consistency, honestly, consistent winning, is continuity,” Shaw said at Pac-12 Football Media Day on Thursday. “We want to have a continuity to us that we don’t change schemes every week just because one guy leaves. We have young coaches that we are teaching and growing that we can promote from within.”

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While safety Jordan Richards might miss “Mase-isms” like “You’re gonna learn today!” during a bad individual period of practice, he knows there is no downgrade of football acumen with Anderson.

“It’s a different voice,” Richards said. “But it’s a guy who still loves football, extremely intelligent, knows what he’s talking about and wants to win just as badly as anybody else does.” 

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