Day Eight: David Shaw

With the first week of fall camp now past, practice is heating up for Stanford's football team. The squad endured its first set of two-a-days over the weekend, and will be at it again on Tuesday. Along the way, several key position battles have started to come into focus, with leaders emerging at both center and placekicker. Read on for all the details from Monday's media session with David Shaw

How was today's practice?
David Shaw: Effort was good. The effort was good. First day after our first two-a-day, so guys legs were a little bit dead, so we didn't get the juice that we wanted, but the effort was there.

How does that effect the tempo of practice if you're going twice?
DS: We try not to let it affect the tempo at all. We try to practice at a high speed, and especially when we're tired, especially when it's hard, because that's when you win football games. At the end of the fourth quarter, you're tired, it's hot. You have to dig deep to win games, so we want to put our guys in that position in practice.

How do you see the battle on the o-line going between Schwartzstein and Wilkes? How is that progressing?
DS: I would say Schwartzstein has a bit of an edge right now, but it's not over yet.

What would you like to see both guys do?
DS: I'd like to see both of them play mistake free football. They both give good effort, but at the center position, I just explained to the whole team, at the center position, if the center position is wrong, we can't play. There's nothing that works. Run game, protection, nothing. So the guy that doesn't make mistakes there is going to start.

Right tackle, has anybody separated themselves there?
DS: Nope. It would be nice, but no.

At center, what are the challenges there bringing in somebody to replace Chase? What are the toughest things they have to learn?
DS: The bottom line is that we're not going to do any less than what we've done before. So it's volume, and then on top of that volume, we're playing as complicated a defense as we'll see all year. So our volume compared to their volume makes it hard. We want it to be as hard, if not harder, in practice than it is at games. So the guys that can get this right in practice, that's who's going to play.

Saw Josh Nunes in a boot, what's going on with him?
DS: He tweaked, he stepped on a running back's foot. He's fine. These boot things are new now. They used to just tape you up and put you back out there, but now, with all the research we've done, just being in a boot for 24 hours helps you come back a lot faster. He's probably going to practice tomorrow.

And Chase Thomas didn't have his shoulder pads on at the beginning of practice…
DS: Chase is precautionary also. He's fine.

What about at receiver, anybody stepping up?
DS: Griff Whalen is doing a really good job. He's making every play, he's doing everything right. He's to the point now mentally in our offense that he's helping the younger guys. He's not just concerned about himself anymore. He knows what we're doing down pat, he's now helping school the younger guys. And for Andrew, and for our coaching staff, that's very comforting. Because that's what Ryan Whalen and Doug Baldwin did for us a year ago.

Usua [Amanam] moved from offense to defense, how's that transition going?
DS: It's going very well. He still has a lot to learn, but he is cat-quick, and he is tough and physical. And now is getting all the mental stuff down.

Do you think he can contribute on the defensive side this year?
DS: Yes, yes, contribute on defense and on special teams. He's doing a really good job.

We talk a lot about some of the freshman like Vaughters and Montgomery, but can you talk about the two freshman interior defensive linemen, [Lance] Callihan and [Anthony] Hayes, what they've shown you and your expectations for them?
DS: The best thing about them is that they've come in strong. And more than anything else on the defensive line, we want guys that have a physical presence. Both are right around 300, both are guys that we can't move. These are true freshmen and we can't move them. That's exciting to see. Whether or not we'll play them this year we'll see, but it bodes bright for the future.

With the backup quarterback spot, is it tough to get guys to compete at a level you want when you have a guy that you know is going to be your starter already?
DS: The hardest part is trying not to hold them up to Andrew's standard. It's too high. And we have to take a deep breath when Andrew comes out and adjust our expectations. But the good thing is the competition is going great. We've added another guy to the competition, Brett Nottingham, and we weren't sure if he was going to be ready to challenge for that backup spot. He's come into camp ready to play, and right now, it's a three horse race.

Do you have to try to keep your guys ready for this year because anything could always happen? You don't want them thinking this is they year they're going to sit out the whole year…
DS: I started the first team meeting with talking about personnel. And talking about the offensive line, the defensive line, and our backup quarterback position as three vital positions for us that we need to be good. Because if Andrew breaks a shoelace, it might be in the middle of the fourth quarter in a must-win situation. And whoever that guy that steps in, he's got to have the confidence of the huddle, he's got to have the confidence of the coaching staff, but he's got to develop it now, in training camp. Because hopefully we don't see him at all except for maybe some mop up duty.

What has Brett done to jump into that race?
DS: He's shown command of the offense, a better understanding. Because usually it takes a while for our guys to really get it, because we have a lot of plays. But he had a great summer, he came in, he was with all the other quarterbacks all summer and hasn't made a lot of mistakes. We've already known about his physical tools – big, strong kid who throws the ball really well, throws a nice, tight spiral, has a really strong arm, but that's only part of playing the position. He's been anticipating, he's been throwing the ball accurately, and he's been running the huddle, so it's been fun to see.

Are you guys going to start scrimmaging at all this week, or have you been doing that at all?
DS: We've had a couple of live periods. We'll scrimmage, a good scrimmage next Sunday, the open one to the public.

What are you looking to get out of that scrimmage?
DS: Competitors rise.

The kicking situation, is that any clearer yet?
DS: Jordan Williamson has been very good, very, very good.

You haven't named an official starter yet, have you though?
DS: At kicker? Not yet, it's getting to the point where it's almost a moot point, but we're going to keep evaluating.

What about punter?
DS: Still a tight race.


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