Practice Day 11: David Shaw

With Stanford's first open practice of fall camp a few days away, Cardinal coach David Shaw met with the media Thursday morning to discuss the significance of the scrimmage, as well as the progress of Jamal-Rashad Patterson and Ben Gardner, and several standout freshman performers.

It's been four practices since we've talked to you, what's the update at the right tackle position?
David Shaw: Same. Same cast of characters right now, same result. Which is solid, not to the level we want it to be, but it's competitive and nobody has taken it yet.

Has [Sam] Schwartzstein maintained his small edge at center?
DS: Very slight edge, very slight edge. Khalil [Wilkes] has come back with a couple of good days of practices. It's still going to go on, but I'd say Sam still has the edge.

What does Jamal-Rashad need to do to improve?
DS: For Jamal, it's all about consistency. I told the team just 15 minutes ago the guys that are consistent, that are where they're supposed to be on every play, those guys are going to play. We are more athletic, we are faster than we've ever been here, but it doesn't matter if we're in the wrong place. So for Jamal, for everybody, we can't rest on our vertical jump and 40 times. That stuff doesn't matter.

Coaching change, you come off a one-loss season, high expectations, people are looking at you across the country. How much does that effect the players or the coach?
DS: It doesn't affect us because of our foundation. Our foundation is in the process of what we do. It's in the work ethic, it's in the toughness, we're always in push mode. We've got a lot of seniors that are taking this thing very seriously, and they know that we can't rest on last year's performance. It's great, it's fine that the Orange Bowl trophy is in the Hall of Fame. That's not going to go anywhere, but we're trying to get it some company.

How does Andrew's, all the hype and media around him, how does that help recruiting, with the ESPN and Sports Illustrated covers?
DS: Absolutely. Because the people try to recruit against us and say well, you have to come to X University to come to the NFL. And when you look on the cover of every magazine, there's our guy. You look at and says we have the second number of NFL [prospects] on any roster in the nation. You look at the level we're recruiting at, you look at the way we've been playing, you look at the 11 guys that we just put in the NFL this year that are rookies…we're changing the thought process, and things like that only help.

So you'd actually have players tell you before that schools would recruit against them, say if I go to Stanford, you won't get a chance at the NFL?
DS: Oh, we know that's what they say. It's hard to say anything else negative about one of the top universities in the nation. You know what, though? We're changing that stigma nationally.

How about Patrick Skov so far, what do you like about him and does he have a spot maybe on special teams somewhere?
DS: He is a tough son of a buck. He's a tough, physical kid. I told him when Coach Harbaugh offered him and he committed, I said, "Patrick, when it's all said and done, I don't know where you're going to play, if you're going to be a fullback or a linebacker. That'll all play out. One thing I know is you're going to find a role on special teams, and when you play on special teams, I want you to knock somebody out." And he smiled and said, "I can do that."

Where do you think he ends up?
DS: No idea. Still too early.

Who's he been practicing with?
DS: He's been practicing linebacker.

It seems like you and Andrew in the last eight months have covered just about every topic. What have your conversations with him been like about the Heisman?
DS: Haven't had one conversation about it. We don't talk about that, we don't talk about bowl games, we don't talk about season-ending stuff because that's a result of what we do. You can't sit around and talk about the results, you have to talk about how you're going to be the best team that you can be, so all of our conversations are about audibles, changing plays, and making sure that we don't waste a single play.

The open scrimmage on Sunday [from 10 a.m. to noon at Steuber Rugby Stadium], what's the format of that going to be like?
DS: It'll be controlled special teams, but it will be live tackling. We'll go through series. I'll spot the ball in different places, and we'll get some rotations in there, we'll get some starters in there with some backups, we'll get some young guys in there, but the bottom line is, I told these guys, Sunday's exam day, to see how much they've learned, and can we apply it.

A week or so ago you said around Day 10 of camp was when you'd start to know if some of the freshmen have played. Have you made any decisions at this point?
DS: We haven't made any hard and fast decisions, but I'll tell you what, Jordan Richards has played extremely well. Wayne Lyons has played extremely well. Ty Montgomery has played extremely well. Devon Cajuste, the last couple of practices has been a surprise, and James Vaughters has started to really bring it. He's a big, physical kid, and we're excited about his future.

It sounds like the freshmen secondary in particular has done a really good job?
DS: I'm ecstatic about those guys. And Ronnie Harris, just every single day shows up, and he's athletic, he's quick, he's aggressive. So we're very excited, and once again, it's all about the execution of the schemes, and can they all get it down? And if they can't get it all down, what can they get down so they can play a certain role. Because that's the one thing, if we have a guy that can play six plays a game and help us, he'll play six plays a a game.

What about [Usua] Amanam, is he still at corner, and how is he doing. Is he going to stay on defense?
DS: He's doing well. He's battling. Because like I said, we've got some great competition going on down there, and with Johnson Bademosi and his year of playing, we've just got a bunch of guys there he's competing with. But he's really started to enjoy playing defense.

What do you think about Ben Gardner so far, how's he been doing?
DS: Ben's doing great. Ben and I have had one minute conversations, and a lot of them revolve around high effort, because four days ago he made a play 50 yards down the field on a screen. I said that's what I want to see. I want to see a guy that has an unbelievable motor that just doesn't stop. He's not the biggest guy, he's not the fastest guy, but just like we saw last year with Brian Bulcke, a guy that is relentless and aggressive and strong will help us be a good football team.

What does Gardner need to improve on?
DS: Just continue to learn and get the scheme down and be ready to be an every-down football player, more than a role player, we need him to be an every down football player.

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