Fire Stanford Coach ‘Cactus David’ Shaw
By Dave Levine
For the second game in a row, Stanford Coach David Shaw called a horrible game, a game Stanford had to win after the drubbing they took in Washington last week. For the second game in a row, there were no adjustments of any quality at halftime. Stanford had no concept of what to do on offense and that’s coaching. And on defense, he refused to blitz, giving the Cougars’ star QB a field day of time to throw. They lost 42-16.
In case y’all weren’t around then between 1958 and 1962, Coach “Cactus Jack” Curtice had one of the worst 4-year records of any Stanford coach, going 14-36. Those were THE worst years that I remember Stanford football and mostly because of his coaching and poor recruiting. In 1960, Curtice led Stanford to a brilliant 0-10 season. While Shaw is certainly a better coach than Curtice, his play-calling and decision-making this season–which QB to play, not using the no-huddle offense and not blitzing on defense–makes Curtice look like a winner.
Playing an indecisive QB Ryan Burns who doesn’t seem to know what to do out there, Coach Shaw then put second string QB Keller Chryst in for one series but the offensive line didn’t block for him. Burns was put back in and suddenly decided he was a running back but he isn’t fast and he couldn’t make first downs. Apparently, he forgot about using McCaffrey as a runner. Burns should have been benched after the Washington game. Instead, Coach Shaw started Burns in this game as well. Same result. Wasn’t it Albert Einstein who said something about “repeating the same mistake and expecting a different result”? That’s stupidity!
Stanford’s third down conversions were horrible and there were no deep passes. They also refused to use McCaffrey as a wide receiver where he can get open. This made it easy for Washington and Washington State to cream Stanford.
But the one time in this game they had success was with the no-huddle. For whatever reason, Shaw gave up on it.
Shaw isn’t the motivator he was last year. His play calling sucks and he can’t figure out how to use the great McCaffrey.
Stanford’s off-season recruiting was clearly a disaster. They took a future star receiver from NJ named Donald Stewart but still haven’t played him on offense except when the game was lost (in Washington). They KNEW they were losing the heart of their offensive line to graduation last year and didn’t replace them with quality players. You see, Stanford prefers freshmen to transfers, transfers who’ve already played college ball and are bigger and meaner and more experienced than most high school grads. It takes time–two to three years–to “season” an offensive lineman and there wasn’t time this year to season freshmen linemen. Where were the offensive line transfers? Nowhere.
Also, knowing that Burns had just ONE SNAP in a game last season, Shaw should have known that Burns would not be ready for prime time this fall. He also had to know that Junior Chryst had not developed as the coaches had liked (or he’d be starting). Where was the intense recruiting for a great high school QB to build for the future? It certainly isn’t Burns or Chryst!
Stanford’s star placekicker Ukropena had two field goal tries hit the uprights. That isn’t like him. It’s contagious, whatever it is. Stanford’s special teams looked better than they did against Washington but Ukropena brought that all down.
Coach Shaw knew he would also need to replace linebackers like Martinez and cornerbacks like Harris but he failed in both regards. Teams can run and pass against the Stanford defense at will.
So my question is, WHY when they were the #6 team in the nation last year did Stanford fail at recruiting?
I say fire Coach Shaw and bring in a gutsy play-calling, motivating coach who will go after beefy transfers on both offense and defense. Whatever Shaw had last year, he’s lost it and it’s hurting the team.
I can’t be the only fan who believes Shaw has to go.