In an era where the spread no huddle dominates the minds of recruits and the airwaves on game day, David Shaw and Stanford football are part of a sacred, dwindling fraternity of “grown men football” where they line up with a tight end, or two or three on most snaps and play downhill, West Coast, power football. It’s what they believe in as a staff, what their players have grown to love, and it’s also what has won them a lot of football games the past decade or so.
However, following their loss to Northwestern on Saturday critics have been very vocal, calling the Cardinal offense “too conservative”. When that first came up Shaw’s presser yesterday, he couldn’t help but chuckle a bit.
Later, when asked how he would respond to that criticism, Shaw told reporters that he would tell them, “don’t live in the moment, and look at what we’ve done.”
“Even look at what we’ve done since Andrew Luck left, don’t even look at the time that Andrew was here when we were breaking all kinds of records, look at what we’ve done since Andrew has left. There are multiple times that we’ve scored over 30, and we’ve scored 60 once, 50 a couple times, and in the 40’s. I want to say four of the last six games of the year last year we scored over 30. But it’s a combination of how well we play on offense, and how well we play on defense.”
“We shouldn’t have to score 50 points to beat somebody, if we’re playing defense the way that we should, if we run the ball the way that we should, and complete passes the way that we should. We’ll win the time of possession, we’ll be in positive field position, we’ll do well in the red zone.”
“The formula for the West Coast offense hasn’t changed, in however many years. It’s about taking care of the football, being smart, getting positive yards, explosive plays are going to happen,” Shaw explained. “Those plays are going to happen as long as you’re converting third downs and getting in a groove offensively, which is what we need to do.”