After rising in the national spotlight, the Cardinal had a letdown on their first road game of the season. The Washington Huskies handed Stanford its first loss of the season with a comeback victory.
After the game, the Cardinal players were upset, but Coach Shaw knew that his team just didn't play well enough to win. It was one of the focal for the first practice of the new week.
"I think we all learned a valuable lesson - if we don't play our best football for 60 minutes, then we can get beat," Shaw said. "Washington played well, but at the same time, we didn't play our best football. It's not about keeping it close and going for it at the end. We have to play better for 60 minutes. We've shown before that we can play better for stretches, but we have to play a complete game."
Stanford is now back at practice and Shaw is depending on the seniors to lead the way.
"We had our first practice last night (Monday) and it was great," Shaw said. I told the team after the game that I was counting on our upperclassmen, our seniors and captains, to be team leaders and set the tone and tempo for us.
"We need to show our guys that we don't wallow around here. We don't think about last week's game whether it was a win or a loss. We move on to the next game and we need to try our best."
One of the keys to Stanford's early success has been quarterback Josh Nunes. He is a senior leader on the team and, while he is not an elite quarterback, he has filled in after the departure of NFL rookie Andrew Luck adequately.
"Nunes has progressed every week so far," Shaw said. "The first game we didn't ask him to do too much, but the second game we opened it up a little bit and I thought he did great. He threw for 270 yards and a couple touchdowns. Against USC he could've played better in the first half, but in the second half he played great and helped us get the win.
"Against Washington, he played good football, but he threw four bad passes. That's the way football works. You throw a few bad passes and everyone is on you. At the same time, he threw five great passes. A couple of his deep balls were right on target. We caught some and we dropped some. I expect him to bounce back and get on track."
One reason that Nunes has been doing well in his first few games as a starter is that the offensive line has been impressive. The linemen have only given up four sacks all season, which is the best in the Pac-12.
"As for our guys up front, I think they are doing a good job, but there is always room fro improvement," Shaw said. "They are getting better. We are playing seven or eight guys on the offensive line each game and they are all working hard to improve.
A Tucson native has also aided the Cardinal defense and special teams. Former CDO star linebacker Blake Martinez has made an early impression on the Stanford staff. He has seen most of his playing time on special teams, but has seen the field with the defensive unit a few times as well.
"Blake's still learning the defense, but he's too fast and physical not to play," Shaw said. "He's been awesome on special teams. If you timed him on the 40 compared to the other guys on special teams, he would be in the top half, but he's the first guy down on every kickoff.
"He plays with so much fire and so much heart and plays such a physical game that there's no way we couldn't play him this year."