Practice Day Three: David Shaw

On the third day of practice, Stanford's football team finally got to don the shoulder pads -- and Cardinal head coach David Shaw couldn't have been happier. Read on for the transcript of Shaw's media session, including his take on a pair of standout defensive line performers, 'rookie' wide receiver Jordan Pratt, and more.

How was the first day of hitting, first day of pads?
David Shaw: It felt so much better. It felt like Stanford football. We were running the ball in between the tackles, we had linebackers running through the a-gaps and coming off the edge. It felt like a really good practice that was physical, guys were flying around. I was very impressed.

Any day three standouts?
DS: It's so tough to say. I thought up front, offensive line wise, we did a really good job putting in our power schemes and our gap schemes, which is our identity. Our guys did a really good job today, but there were a couple plays where Terrence Stephens got penetration up front. We've been preaching to our guys all offseason: who's going to take over for Sione Fua. Terrence had a good day. Henry Anderson had a good day, so it's good to see those inside guys starting to step up.

Is Henry playing at that nose, or is he more on the outside?
DS: Henry is playing a couple different positions for us. He's going to need to be versatile for us, and so far he's taken to it.

With the offensive line, was that kind of jumbled with the ones and twos, or did you have a set rotation of unit one and unit two?
DS: It's jumbled a little bit. We want to see as many guys as we can see and we're looking at a lot of different combinations. So with competition at three spots we're going to see a lot of different guys in there.

You obviously have a pretty darn good quarterback, but what about his backup? When do you want to identify who that is, and what are you looking for?
DS: As soon as I know, I'll let you guys know. I have no idea right now. They've all shown flashes, which is a positive thing. Josh Nunes has had a solid camp. Robbie Picazo had a really good day yesterday and a good day today. Brett Nottingham has come along, the local boy has done a good job the last three practices and has really shown some maturity, so it's a good competition, and we'll see where it goes.

I wanted to ask about Sam Knapp. He's been around for a couple of years now, what does he add to the program?
DS: Sam's just Mr. Steady. Sam does what we need him to do. Sam understands the offense, he can play multiple positions for us. He's still competing for playing time with some other really good talented young men, but at the same time, we know Sam's someone we can depend on.

How long do you think you'll need before you figure out whether Pratt can contribute?
DS: You know, he's shown some athletic ability. There have been some nicknames thrown around. I heard Chris Weinke. I heard Hobbs from "The Natural." We've heard a few different nicknames but the good thing is he can run and he didn't disappear when the pads went on today, and he's a mature young man, he has a really, really good look in his eye as far as wanting to be a contributor.

With Vaughters, Lyons, and Montgomery, how did they look first day in pads?
DS: Very natural, very natural. They're obviously, based on how they were recruited, these guys can play. Pads went on, they played better than they did without the pads, which is the sign of three really good players.

Is Montgomery more of a possession guy, more of a deep threat, how do you look at him?
DS: We look at him as a complete receiver.

At what point do you know that you don't want to burn a redshirt?
We take it about four games into the year and see where we are. If a guy's in position to play, I talk to him and make sure he's emotionally ready for that and it's just like we did with Doug Baldwin and Ryan Whalen and Chris Owusu, and if they're ready for it and they want to do it and we're on the same page and we need them, then we play them.

Do you expect to make the decision about any of those guys before and just say he's going to play from game one?
DS: There's a few that are close, but I'm not ready to make that assessment just yet.

Do you know at what point you think you'd be ready to?
DS: Ten days out, probably, just for game plan purposes.

With the first day in pads, did you see the intensity level rise like you were hoping for?
DS: I did. It was a good practice. It was very physical. Guys were flying around. It was fast paced – I was impressed.

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