David Shaw pre-SJSU interview

In a Thursday interview, his last media availability before game time, Cardinal head coach David Shaw discussed his squad's season-opening contest with San Jose State, preparation for that game, and what he feels the Spartans bring to the table.

What's the overall feel of the team going into Saturday's game?
David Shaw: We've had two good days of practice. We practiced Tuesday and it was a little subpar, but we've been back the last two days and really started to put things together. We're big on execution. We're going to play fast, we're going to play physical, but doggone we have to execute our schemes. The last two days have been good.

When you say Tuesday was subpar, in what way was that?
DS: We haven't changed a lot of the plays through training camp, and then Tuesday, the execution wasn't where we needed it to be. So we made that point very loudly that day, and the last two days have been great. Our guys have taken the challenge of playing our level of football.

Anyone stood out the past two days?
DS: It's more than any one guy, it's just guys working together. The offensive line working together, making their calls, the quarterback getting us into the right play, the running backs hitting the holes, the receivers being on time. Those are the things we've been looking at that have been pretty good the last couple of days.

David, what do you want to see from your team on Saturday? Is it dominance, execution, energy, something else?
DS: Really it's just playing our style of football, which is physical, fast, aggressive, with a high level of execution, and really let the score take care of itself. We're going to concentrate on the process and make sure we're playing our style of football.

What do you see in San Jose State that may pose a problem?
DS: They have some really good athletes. They move well, they have quickness, they have a really good coaching staff that knows how to get after the quarterback of our offense. Their offense, they're very versatile. They can do a lot of different things, they use a lot of different players, they have a lot of guys coming back who played a lot last year, which is their advantage. They have an experienced group, they're young, but they have an experienced group of guys coming back.

How would you characterize the Stanford/San Jose State rivalry?
DS: It's fun, it's been fun. It's been up and down for both sides, it's been back and forth, they've been exciting games, and I think they're games that the whole Bay Area can be excited about.

How is the squad? Are there any recent injuries, anything changing on the depth chart?
DS: In our two-deep there really haven't been any injuries. We're pretty healthy.

I'm not sure you'll answer this, but if you guys are able to get a big lead or something happens where you decide to take Luck out, who would the next quarterback in be?
DS: We don't think that way. We have two guys right now that either one of those guys could go in right now if they needed to get in, but right now we're thinking about just executing and playing our style of football.

So there's not timeline where it's like if the score is a certain way with ‘x' time left remaining, ‘y' is going to happen?
DS: We never even think that way.

And the two guys are Robbie Picazo and Brett Nottingham?
DS: Yes.

And they both look pretty even the last couple of days?
DS: They have. They both have things they do a little bit better than the other guy, but they both have their merits as well.

For you personally, what's this experience been like leading up to your first game as head coach, and what are some of the biggest challenges you've had to encounter so far as the head coach?
DS: The biggest thing is just concentrate on the entire team, making sure I understand what's going on in defense and special teams as well as offense. Making sure we're putting the right players in position to be successful in all three phases, make sure we're running schemes that fit our personnel. That's been the biggest change, but besides that, it's coaching, it's making sure that we're doing the right things the right way every day.

Is there something about your daily routine that's different now, whole experience with that?
DS: I talk to you guys more, but besides that, it's making sure everything we do is tight, every ‘I' is dotted, every ‘T' is crossed, and making sure if there's something a little hazy that we didn't execute, we take it out of the game plan, because we have to perform and execute on game day.

What do you know now about being a head coach that you didn't know being an assistant. Some little thing that you might have had to do that you didn't realize?
DS: That's a tough question. I've been very fortunate to be with a lot of guys. I was with Jon Gruden when he became a head coach for the first time. I learned a lot with Jon. I learned a lot coming here with Jim. When Jim came in and instituted a program and took this thing over, I watched him be a first-time head coach here. He was a head coach at San Diego, but this was his first time here at a bigger level. I took a lot of notes that year, so I've been ready, and having a great staff is the biggest key. Having support from Mr. Bowlsby and the athletic department is another. The big thing is now I get to concentrate on what we're doing on the grass.

Was there a time that you thought maybe in the back of your mind that you were going to be a head coach? Was there a period where you thought sooner or later you'll been the man?
DS: I've always prepared for it, and I've talked to a lot of younger coaches and told them to prepare for it, but at the same time, it's not a merit-based job necessarily. It's a job that you get chosen for, whoever's doing the hiring, they choose you. You've got to make sure that you're ready, and I've been doing that for the last few years.

Can you walk me through what you do personally and what you will do as a team Saturday before the game?
DS: Saturday we'll have our regular morning meetings, we'll get up in the morning, have a short meeting. We'll go through our pre-game meal and then we'll have a special teams meeting, offense, defense meeting, and then a quick team meeting before we get on the bus to go to the stadium. I'm not one for talking a lot on game day. Players are supposed to show up on game day and play, coaches during the week are supposed to prepare them, and on Saturday give them their instructions and let them go.

Uniform-wise, are you guys sticking to the reds at home, or are you going to try to wear black uniforms at all this year?
DS: There's still a possibility of a black uniform game. We haven't made that decision.

Do you like them?
DS: I do like them. I know the results are mixed, but I know our players like them as well, which is why It's a possibility. Not a guarantee yet, but a possibility.

Is that a recruiting thing too? Guys like those things so it helps you get to wear different stuff?
DS: It's just the society we live in today. It's an added thing that's excitement. When I played, it was guys who tucked their jerseys under. There were different things that you did, and right now, this is the new thing. It's not just an Oregon thing, it's a college football thing that's going on all over the country. It's something that these younger guys enjoy, they think it's fun, they think it's new and exciting.

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