Being able to lead your team to consecutive ten win seasons is impressive. Especially when it happens after following up a head coach like Jim Harbaugh that revitalized a program around and the #1 overall draft pick in the NFL draft shows just how good of a head coach David Shaw is. For the record, we hear that same sentiment from many coaches around the country.
Being able to entice some of the best and brightest players in the country with a Stanford degree has undoubtedly played a role in that success. But as Shaw explains, he also thinks part of their key to success has been making players feel a sense of investment of the game plan week to week.
Shaw explained the reason behind that outlook with Tom Tolbert of KNBR in San Francisco.
"I tell our guys all the time that if they do that just be ready to hear the words ‘no, no way and not going to happen.’ For us to be receptive it keeps these guys looking ahead and I want them to be proactive and I want them to look at film and say ‘hey here’s what I see coach, I would love to run this route.’
"Especially quarterbacks, receivers and running backs and even linebackers sometimes, they see a certain protection and say ‘hey if I blitz this way I can get home.’ I like that as players if you feel completely invested in the way the game plan is put together it kind of makes you want to play that much harder because you each have a hand in it.”
Interesting advice. It will be interesting to see the how everything plays out tonight in the Pac 12 title game when the Cardinal take on UCLA at 8pm ET on FOX.
Stanford head coach David Shaw was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year on Monday afternoon. Following the loss of all-everything quarterback Andrew Luck, Shaw was a very deserving winner with a 10-2 overall record, a Pac-12 North title and a giant-slaying of then-No. 1 Oregon in Autzen Stadium under his belt.
This year marks the second time Shaw has won the Pac-12 Coach of the Year, joining a heady company of two-time winners: Washington's Don James, USC's Larry Smith and Pete Carroll, and Oregon's Chip Kelly.
Here's what the Pac-12 had to say about Shaw's work this season:
Shaw, who was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the second straight year, is the fourth coach in Pac-12 history to earn the award in consecutive seasons. He led the Cardinal to a 10-2 regular season record and a berth in the Pac-12 Championship. Stanford notched wins over five ranked opponents in 2012 and has turned in three straight 10-win seasons for the first time in program history. The Cardinal, which boasts the nation’s top rushing defense (71.33 yards per game), is tied for 11th in scoring defense (16.92 points per game), ranks 19th in total defense (328.75 yards per game) and leads the FBS in sacks (4.42 per game). Shaw’s defense has been particularly stringent on third-down, holding opponents to a 29.53 percent conversion rate on the year, a figure that ranks eighth in the FBS. Several of Shaw’s student athletes are in contention for national awards, including tight end Zach Ertz (Mackey Award finalist).
If this one doesn't (at least) give you chills, you need to check your pulse.
The clip starts off with a good video highlight of Stanford's win over Oregon, but then switches gears to an emotional locker room where David Shaw addresses his team and commends the "resolve" that they showed all game.
The best part of the clip is when Shaw explains why he closed his eyes and bowed his head before his kicker, Jordan Williams, lined up for the game winning field goal in overtime.
"I said a prayer. I didn't pray for a win, I didn't pray for a made kick. I prayed for Jordan Williamson to do his best."
That, ladies and gentlemen, is why David Shaw is so highly regarded among our profession. Genuine care for his guys and staff.
After yet another wild Saturday of college football, which coaches stood above the rest and gave their teams the biggest advantage? Find out in our Week 12 FootballScoop Coaches of the Week.
Head Coach of the Week - Art Bries, Baylor: In his fifth season in Waco, Art Briles continues to transform the DNA of Baylor football. Briles' team earned its first victory over a No. 1-ranked team, and first sub-.500 team to beat a BCS No. 1, and did so by 28 points. Baylor controlled the game for all 60 minutes, scoring first, constructing a 28-7 lead and, when Kansas State pulled within 35-24, ripping off 21 straight points to put the game out of reach. Kansas State, which had imposed its will physically on 10 straight opponents, was dominated at the line of scrimmage as Baylor out-rushed the Wildcats 342-76. Phil Bennett's defense also forced Heisman Trophy front-runner Collin Klein off his game as he threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns, but needed 50 passes (and 23 incompletions) to get there, with a season-high three interceptions.
Offensive Staff of the Week - Michigan: The Wolverines didn't do anything spectacular in their 42-17 win over Iowa, but this award honors their methodical demolition of the Hawkeyes defense. The Wolverines' first six drives of the game went as follows: 12 plays, 70 yards, touchdown; seven plays, 79 yards, touchdown; eight plays, 85 yards, touchdown; seven plays, 87 yards, touchdown; 11 plays, 81 yards, touchdown; and six plays, 60 yards, touchdown. That's 452 yards on 51 plays (8.86 yards per play) of unrelenting execution from Al Borges' offense. Junior quarterback Devin Gardner got the start and completed 18-of-23 passes for 314 yards with three touchdowns and an interception while rushing nine times for 37 yards and three more scores. With regular starting quarterback Denard Robinson nursing a wrist injury, Michigan utilized him at running back (13 carries for a team-leading 98 yards) and wide receiver (two catches for 24 yards).
Defensive Staff of the Week - Stanford: Not since Chip Kelly's first game had Oregon been held to 14 points or less, a span of 50 games. In fact, the Ducks came in to Saturday night riding an NCAA-record streaks of 13 straight games of 40 points or more and 23 straight games of 30 points or more, but none of that mattered in Stanford 17-14 overtime win in Eugene. Over four quarters plus overtime, Stanford held Oregon under its 2012 first quarter scoring average. Derek Mason's defense forced Oregon to punt eight times, matching a season high and held the Ducks to a season-low 405 yards of total offense. Stanford committed three turnovers, but the Cardinal's defense limited Oregon to no points off those takeaways.
Special Teams Unit of the Week - LSU: Trailing 35-28 in the fourth quarter, a sputtering LSU offense faced a long field ahead of it until Odell Beckham returned an Ole Miss punt 89 yards for a game-tying touchdown. "Everyone had their block, everyone had their man and everyone covered their assignments," Beckham said following the return. Beckham's score completely swung momentum of the game as LSU would eventually win the game, 41-35. Drew Alleman nailed two-of-three field goal attempts and, despite another Les Miles coming up empty on another gamble, made all three of the extra points he actually attempted. Brad Wing boomed five punts for a 44.8-yard average with three pinned inside the 20, and the special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey's coverage units did not allow Ole Miss any significant returns.
Call of the Week - Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia: It may not have resulted in a win, but Oklahoma had no answer for Holgorsen's decision to play wide receiver Tavon Austin at running back. Austin, who had carried the ball 14 times for 103 yards thus far this season, rushed 21 times for a school-record 344 yards and two touchdowns. Coupled with his four receptions for 82 yards and his eight kickoff returns for 146 yards, Austin's 572 all-purpose yards were school and Big 12 records and came just six yards shy of tying the NCAA record.
A handful of Bay Area high school coaches got the opportunity to sit down behind closed doors with 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh last night for a "Gameday Speech Clinic" where the head coach touched on everything from leadership, to teaching, to relationship building.
Sequoia HS (CA) coach Rob Poulos noted that Harbaugh was very down to earth and addressed the group of coaches as colleagues while offering some some quality insight.
"I liked him right off because he peeled away the BS real fast and the motivational issues. He got right to the heart of the matter – your relationship with the players. He wasn't selling a bill of goods. We found out there was a lot more similarities than differences between his level and ours."
Harbaugh also told the coaches in attendance that he's not real big on motivational speeches.
"If those things really could make a difference, you'd see motivational speakers as coaches. I'm an information guy. That's what I think all good coaches are about." Harbaugh explained.
Leigh HS (CA) head coach Kyle Padia, a former quarterback at Northern Illinois, took one idea from the mini clinic that he plans to go back to share with his assistant coaches.
"He talked about trusting your coaches and putting your ego aside. The best idea doesn't necessarily have to come from the head coach. It's all about taking that plan and carrying it out."
Padia also noted one nugget that stuck with him about Harbaugh and those motivational speeches. "He's a big proponent of preparation and practice and not necessarily needing a big speech on game day. He said pregame speeches all are forgotten by the time you get out the field and warm-up anyway."
There you have it. A solid, and proven approach to building a program.
Forget the motivational material and focus on what really matters (although everyone does enjoy a good motivational highlight video to get the blood pumping). Harbaugh and his staff revitalized the Stanford program, and immediately helped to breathe new life into the 49ers organization, by doing what coaching is really all about; quality teaching and instruction, providing players with the information that they need to be successful, and building meaningful relationships.
Leave the motivational speeches to the professional speakers.
Stanford sports performance coordinator Shannon Turley (2011 FootballScoop Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Year) has helped the staff (both under Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw) breathe new life into the Stanford football program since coming to The Farm in 2007. Each and every Saturday, the Cardinal have consistently been one of the most physical and disciplined teams on the field.
To develop that mindset, Turley and the staff believe in ensuring that every player become a "technician."
"We define being a technician as being a guy who is going to concentrate on the factors that he can control. Things like his technique, effort, attitude, mental discipline...all of the intangibles that essentially take no talent to master." Turley explained.
Beyond the intangibles, being a technician also includes putting the proper fuel in your body to make sure it stays running all day, properly warming up individually, and making a conscious decision when your alarm clock goes off in the morning.
"One thing that we teach them is that in the mornings they set a deadline as to when they're going to wake up, and the alarm goes off and you've got a choice. Your first choice of the day. You're going to be a winner, or you're going to be a loser."
"A winner is going to snap up out of bed and have a great day. A loser is going to hit the snooze button." Turley says.
This is a very good overall philosophy. Get your players to understand these things, and your they'll not only be more self aware of what it takes to be successful, but leadership and discipline within your team will improve tremendously, and your players will enter game feeling as prepared as they've ever been. Even better yet, they'll be very well equipped for life outside of football.
From time to time we have shown you clips from Stanford's "How we do it" series; and today we're going to encourage you to watch this entire short video.
From the intro scenes from the stadium, to David Shaw's final message to the team before the game ("You've got one job today...to Play Your Ass Off!"), to the insight into the gameplanning and execution to the post-game swag. Excellent video.
We talk from time to time about the value of these kinds of videos in marketing the program to recruits, their families and to the fanbase; but seeing the end of this one made us think about the psychological warfare those smart guys at Stanford are employing here. The final clip in this video shows some Stanford Swag in Cal's house. That's big boy stuff there, the kind of stuff we're pretty sure Cal's staff will show to their team next year. If you're Stanford and you choose to include that clip, you're basically saying to Cal, "that's what we did at your house...can't wait to have you at home next year...woof!".