Day 2 of Pac-12 Media featured Coaches Kris Petersen, Jim Mora, Gary Andersen, Mike MacIntyre, and Todd Graham in addition to Stanford’s David Shaw. For Shaw’s on-stage highlights, click here. What follows are the highlights from the rest of the Day 2 on-stage sessions as well as some stuff from a sit-down with Christian McCaffrey.
Question: Do you consider it an opportunity or an obligation for athletes who reach a certain level to speak out on larger issues?
CM: “I feel that if you get the opportunity, it becomes an obligation to speak up.”
This question was first posed to McCaffrey and then later to Coach Shaw, whose response was recorded here. McCaffrey sighted the speech by Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, and LeBron James at the ESPY’s two days earlier and definitely made it clear that he feels athletes like himself should be standing up for causes given the platform that they have. It will be interesting to see to what extent he takes advantage of this opportunity in-season.
McCaffrey also threw his name into the ring to fill the goal line and short-yardage role Remound Wright so ably performed last year. Shaw later confirmed that he’d certainly “get some at-bats” in those situations.
McCaffrey also confirmed that this will be the longest he’s gone without being tackled in his football life since he was held out of full contact during spring contact. “My body really needed the time off,” McCaffrey confirmed, though he expressed no concerns about rust when he returns to full speed for summer camp.
Question: How would you size up your quarterback race going into the fall camp?
TG: “So we have three guys that are coming back from the spring that have had great springs and developed as well as Dillon Sterling-Cole that’s coming in….the key for us is not doing too much with four new starters on the offensive line, keeping it simple.”
Question: Do you have a timetable for picking a starter?
TG: “Yeah, we’ll do it the first week. We’ll do it probably Friday before the first game. Our players will know, just being honest with you….our players will know who that player is going to be long before we make that announcement.”
Question: What’s your relationship with Rich Rodriguez like now?
TG: “..we’re obviously fierce rivals and competitors, and that’s a must-win for us every year.”
It is common knowledge at this point that both these two loathe each other. So there’s that.
“But right now Darell Garretson is definitely our starter.”
There was a presumed quarterback competition for Oregon State in the wake of Seth Collins’ near departure and then return to the Beavers as a receiver for 2016. Garretson didn’t throw a pass last season and beat out, among others, Marcus MacMaryion, who played in seven games last year and threw 67 passes. Garretson ran the scout team last year for Oregon State, and per Andersen is the clear cut starter at this point.
KP: “We have as much hype as the new Pokemon game that no one knows anything about but thinks it’s really cool, that’s us...Last year, the preseason hype was we wouldn’t win four games, and they were dead wrong. So I’m scared that you guys are dead wrong again because you usually are….I’m a voter on the top 25 teams, and it’s a complete waste of time and crapshoot for the first five weeks. I don’t know, and I study this stuff all the time. I don’t know who’s any good. The teams change so dramatically.”
Question: What sort of message did you have, if any , for Josh after the hot tub, Trump hat?
JM: “The hot tub I found amusing. I thought it was- I thought it was a young college student having a little bit of fun. You know, the Donald Trump tweet and then the NCAA tweet, we had conversations about that and about the appearance, about the image that he’s projecting for himself and for his University. But I’ll tell you this: UCLA has a long history going back to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was Lew Alcindor at the time, and Bill Walton, of having people on their campus that are socially aware and not afraid to rattle the cage a little bit.”
Question: Why do you think Stanford has been able to do what they’ve done? Is it a matter of them staying with what they do while everyone else went in a different direction?
JM: “ Well, they are hard to prepare for exactly for the reason you said, because you spend most of the weeks preparing for some spread, some fast paced, and all of a sudden you get this big, physical, downhill run tea that’s made a real commitment to the style of play that they want to play, and it’s not easy. They know who they want to be. They recruit that type of athlete. They have success in recruiting because they’re Stanford. If you have the grades and you’re a good enough football player, I mean, your parents are going to push you there and you want to go there, so they do have success. I think it’s just knowing who they want to be, recruiting the right athletes, and continuing to emphasize the things that are important to them.”
Q. What's been your biggest challenge so far in building this program?
MM: “Wow, that's a great question. Well, we were so far down when we got there, and I think the biggest challenge in the Pac-12 has been we have improved, but everybody else was so far ahead of us, and they're still driving 80 miles an hour. We've been trying to drive 120 miles an hour to catch them. I think we've gotten close, and we're at that point. I think retaining and building the talent and developing the players, we've been able to do, so it's taken a little bit more time because we were not able to go out and get ready-made guys that were ready to play, developed at 18 years old.”
Q. Is there anything that you can pinpoint that's going to be improved upon from last season?
MM: “Yeah, I definitely think that we'll be a better red zone football team. Our offensive line is better. We've got good running backs. Sefo will be healthy. I think we've got some guys who can catch the ball in the end zone. We've got a really good tight end. So I think us getting into the end zone more this year is important for us. Last year we moved the ball we didn't quite finish some things like we wanted, and a few injuries here and there would be my excuse, but I feel like we have a lot of depth to be able to take care of that this year, and I feel good about us being able to do that.”