"That'll most likely get me emotional before the game starts," Shaw said. "I've missed Bill every single day since he's passed."
If that didn't elicit enough emotion, the Card's honorary captain will be Shaw's father, Willie.
"He can't wait," said David of Willie. "He's actually our honorary captain for this game. Not just for what he's done for me in this profession, but also for what he's been to Stanford University. He's been here twice, and each time he was here, he had a lot of success. This is one of his favorite places on the planet, so I wanted to honor him in this first game."
Despite the pomp and circumstance of the day, David Shaw doesn't anticipate feeling too many nerves. It's not the way he operates.
"I've never been a big butterfly guy," Shaw said.
New kids on the block
On the field, particularly the offensive line, there might be slightly more anxiety. Cameron Fleming (right tackle), David Yankey (left guard) and Sam Schwartzstein (center) will all make their first college starts Saturday.
"Good thing is that we have David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin coming back, who are very, very good," Andrew Luck said. "They've done a good job of setting the standard for them. The three other guys, I think you can put a number of guys at the other positions and they can do a good job. I think they've come along well."
Although he's not listed as a starter, left guard Kevin Danser is back healthy from a prolonged bout with dehydration and may see action.
"Kevin Danser is back now healthy, we've got two guys that can start and play," Shaw said.
Several true freshmen could receive playing time too.
Although several members of Stanford's 2011 freshman class have drawn praise, Shaw said that Wayne Lyons, Jordan Richards and Ty Montgomery were the strongest bets to receive playing time, with James Vaughters also a strong possibility.
Curiously, Montgomery wasn't included on the two-deep depth chart Stanford released Monday, but Shaw said that wasn't indicative of his status.
"We haven't decided exactly when, but he's going to be involved in the game plan," Shaw said.
Fully healthy, senior receiver Chris Owusu will also be involved in Stanford's game plan, in a major way. In addition to being Andrew Luck's No. 1 target at receiver, Owusu will return some, but not all, kickoffs.
"He's in negotiations right now with me," Shaw said of Owusu. "He wants every single kickoff return, and we're not going to give him every single one. We're going to pick our spots, and we'll see leading up to the game whether or not we're going to do it this game."
When Owusu isn't in the game to return kicks, expect Usua Amanam to get his fair share of opportunities.
Two former rival Houston-area quarterbacks, Luck and Michael Thomas, have each risen to prominence in their time on The Farm, and were voted as captains by their teammates last week.
"It is cool," Thomas said. "Looking at it from that aspect, it's cool, just the fact that we got to play against each other in high school, come in here and we both made captain. It does a lot for the people back in Houston who are watching us. Honestly, just to get named captain, especially on defense, the type of guys that I'm lining up against that also could have been captain, it's a great honor for those guys to appoint me as captain of this defense."
Four walk-ons earn scholarships
"That was a great feeling," Shaw said. "As I told the guys, it's great sometimes not to always be the guy up there telling them what to do and telling them what not do. Sometimes it's nice to go in front of the team and reward them for their effort and their dedication."
The scholarships will only be for this year, but that shouldn't minimize their significance, Shaw said.
"They are yearly renewable scholarships but then once again, that's down the road," he said. "Right now, those guys are scholarship football players and they deserve the rewards."
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