clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Minds Behind the Game - David Shaw, May 18, 2016 Presented by Chat Sports

New, 1 comment

Stanford Football Head Coach David Shaw sits down with Chat Sports CEO James Yoder for a 1-on-1 fireside chat for the 10th installment of Minds Behind the Game.

Here is the transcript of the event:

"Questions:
Career:
Let's start off with upbringing: You are the son of a coach, what did you learn from your father's career as a coach?:

Shaw: "First, I was very fortunate to grow up in the household I grew up in. The unfortunate part was that sometimes that household moved from city to city because my father was a football coach. I learned a lot about going to new places, meeting new people, getting acclimated to different places. Being around my father's job, I learned how important it was to be a teacher. My sister's a teacher, my mother was a teacher. My dad as a football coach, he was a teacher. To watch his enjoyment for when someone else had success and being a part of that success for someone else. I grew up watching that and, quite frankly, I didn't want to be a part of it. I had no desire to coach. I was going to do something else. But when I graduated, I got a chance at Western Washington University to start a career. For me, it was just going to be a job. A one-year thing to see how it goes. And I loved it. I enjoyed it. There were great to me there and learned a lot, but first day on the job I knew that was what I was going to do."

You've learned from a long line of impressive coaches: Your father, Dennis Green, Bill Walsh, Jon Gruden, Brian Billick.....Discuss your mentors and what you've learned from them?:

Shaw: "What I learned at a young age, honestly, was to take a lot from a lot of different people and to take something from everyone. Even people that you don't have a lot in common with. If they do something right, you should copy it and make it your own. Backtracking a little bit, Brian Billick was my position coach at Stanford, the wide receivers coach. Brian continues to be one of the brightest, most innovative people you're going to find. He's phenomenal at pushing the envelope and trying new things. His organizational structure, which he had adopted from Bill Walsh - he wrote a book with Bill Walsh - and all of these West Coast thinkers. Brian did a great job of teaching me in my football career on how to not only organize yourself, but also organize the people around you so that we can be productive every single day. It's not the most exciting thing in the world to tell people, but when you can put a structure in place that allows people to be successful and work in a great environment, you end up winning Super Bowls like Brian did there in Baltimore. Jon Gruden was phenomenal to me in terms of learning the X's and O's and the details. He's brilliant, he's maniacal, he's entertaining as you see on Monday Night Football. He's a football junkie. Still to this day, I'll call him up and we'll spend 20 minutes on the phone talking about receiver play, or how to block a three-technique, or some minute part of the game that he's fascinated with and spends three days on. That's what he is - that passion, that energy - but learning that this game, there are a million tiny little things that happen. The best thing to do is to be an expert in some part of it, then hire other experts in other parts of it because it's hard to teach if you don't know. We always have to be on the lookout for excellent teachers to be a part of our staffs. Bill Walsh to me, but every single day, we would walk in and say ‘We are so lucky. We don't deserve to be this lucky to walk in and be coached by the greatest coach in the history of coaching.' We always felt like we had the smartest guy in the profession. We would talk in and be given all of these plays, and Bill would just say ‘We're going to call this in the middle of the third quarter and score a touchdown.' We'd say ‘OK', and we'll call it in the middle of the third quarter and we'd score a touchdown. It was one of those deals where Bill was always two steps ahead of everybody. Bill, for me, was the best ever at preparation, at dissecting a defense and taking a team apart and saying ‘Here's how they're structured and here's how we're going to beat them.' That mentality was phenomenal. Bill Walsh was the biggest boxing fan that you would ever find, and he talked in boxing terms. There was a mentality of punch, counter-punch that he put into football, and anticipation and dodging someone else's best shot then taking your best shot. Just the mentality of boxing applied to football made him truly special. It's why every single day Bill did a great job of convincing us that we had what it takes to win a game every week, and that's an art in itself. It's one thing to be a great X-and-O coach - it's another to be a good convincer and to have guys believe it when they step on the field. We have given you the tools you need to get out on the field and to be victorious."

Given your past history with Gruden, were you there when Andrew Luck did his Gruden QB Camp on ESPN?:

Shaw: "I wasn't there. I tried to prepare Andrew for it, because Jon Gruden is an experience. You walk in the room and you have no idea what you're going to do because he's got access to everything. Every play that's ever been run in the NFL. Ever. For all you know, you could walk in and he could have Sammy Baugh cut ups. He's gonna hit you from a bunch of different things. What Jon is really, really good at in my opinion is conversationally getting a lot out of a young man. What do you hope to accomplish? Here's what I think you need to work on and getting some interplay with those guys. That's why those things are so fun to watch. To get their reaction, and also to get them not to take themselves so seriously. They're playing a game, this is supposed to be fun. You take it seriously and you're out there working really, really hard, but let's have fun. Let's enjoy the process as well."


Quick hitters:
Do you have any game-day superstitions?:

Shaw: "People had a lot of superstitions back when I was playing sports, and I laughed. You're looking at a coach's kid. I've been through so many games since before I remember walking. I've been to so many games and I know that nothing off the field influences anything on the field. If I notice I'm doing the same thing weeks in a row, I'll change it just because. I know some people in the audience just turned over in their stomachs, but for me, it's a reminder that it's what on the field that counts. What happens on the field. I don't wear the same things, I don't have the same routine. I do it on purpose so I can remind myself too that it doesn't matter. I'm changing my socks. I'm wearing clean, nice socks on gameday. It's not going to affect how well Kevin Hogan plays."

Job:
Discuss the interview process to become Stanford's head football coach?:

Shaw: "The process was a short process. I think shorter than Stanford would've liked at the time. We had a big recruiting weekend - every recruit that had committed was coming in that weekend - so we had one week to get this done. Bob Bowlsby set up a few interviews - some on campus, some off campus so there were a bunch of different people. For m, I had gone through one round of interviews at a different university so I had a little big of experience about the interview, but the biggest thing for me was that I knew Stanford. The second biggest thing for me was that I knew the building, and I knew the people. Both the people on the field, the people behind the scenes, I knew the people. I understood them and I could work with them. For me, I had been with a lot of people. I was with Jon Gruden the first time he became a head coach. I took a lot of notes and talked to him about the process a lot. I had been with my dad coaching at different places. I had seen him coach at Stanford twice, different times. I had talked to Danny Green, to Tyrone Willingham about the process. So, I went into that interview going ‘OK, here are the first six months on the job. Here's how we're going to handle this, here's how we're going to handle this, here's how we're going to prepare. Here's going to be our mentality. Here's going to be our offense, defense, special teams. Can't give you all the X's and O's to a tee right now, but here's what we're going to be about. Here's the process of how we're going to go about implementing." I think Bob Bowlsby and I were right in step from the very beginning. He believed in the vision I had for the program, and a short time later I was named the head coach."

Do you think this is the job you were destined for?:

Shaw: "I have to give credit where credit is due. My quarterback at Stanford, Steve Stenstrum - who still has some records that Andrew and Kevin Hogan haven't broken. When I first started coaching, he was the first person who told me ‘You're going to be the head coach at Stanford'. This is way back when. I hadn't even thought about it yet when he said it. He said ‘Stanford's the perfect job for you. You're going to be the head coach at Stanford'. Come on, let's not get ahead of ourselves, I'm a coach's assistant making five grand a year up in Bellingham. I'm not thinking about being a head coach just yet. When he said it, it stuck in the back of my head. For Steve, we had been together for five years. We were roommates my sophomore year. Very close the entire time. We had a very similar mentality of what Stanford could be. Once I continued coaching, he said ‘You understand this place. You'd be a great fit here because you know the ins and outs'. Now, 15 years later being true. For me, it's such a good fit in that I'm academically oriented, and Stanford of course is as well. We're never going to draw the line between athletics and academics at Stanford. We're going to merge those things and do them as well as anyone has ever done them. That's just our mentality. So for me, it was such a good fit. I think the character of the place is important, as well as the academics, as well as the athletics and tying all those things together. We talk all the time about recruiting, and it's not just about finding the guys that run the fastest. It's about fitting who we are on the field, in the classroom and walking around town. People that fit what Stanford's all about. That's what we've been able to do."

When you become the head coach, I'm sure everything changes: What are the main differences between an assistant coach or coordinator to head coach? Daily, game day, relationship with players, recruiting, etc:

Shaw: "I learned early on, the expectations are not about me anymore. My expectations can never be about me. It's about our goals and the process of reaching those goals. You go from an individual thinker for a thinker for a collection of human beings and getting everyone on the same page. Before I became a head coach, I didn't think I slept very much. Now, I sleep even less because it's not just about me and what I do, it's about the organization and thinking organizationally. I went to Stanford, and when I came back the offensive coaches and a lot of people that were still there still called me Dave and D-Shaw. The day I became the head coach, my name turned into Coach. Some of these people that I had known for 15 years and had always called me Dave or David, now they call me coach. The office was different. It's look at differently. I had to approach it, I had to handle it differently, and realize that even at a place like Stanford, my office carries a lot of weight. Being the head football coach. And I need to use that judiciously. I need to sometimes break down some walls and remind people that I'm still a regular guy here."

What do the day-to-day tasks of your job look like and how have they changed from when you were an assistant or position coach?:

Shaw: "I've teased people over the years that we should have another title for what I have. It almost shouldn't be football coach. It almost shouldn't be head coach because I don't spend much of my time coaching. So much time not being in the room when coaching is even happening - which I have a phenomenal staff and a great group of guys. I'm now a big-time manager. I'm a manager of people and their time. I'm a manager of expectations. I'm a manager of the process that we go about, so there are a lot of times where I'll have no time at all to talk football. I'll actually have to go talk to the media, go talk to my boss, go talk to alumni. Spend time doing things off the football field. That changed things for me, which meant surrounding myself with great people and trusting those people to do their jobs, because I can't micromanage. I don't have time to micromanage and they have to go do their jobs and do them well. Yes, I still need to be the head CEO to a certain degree, but I also have to have individual relationships with all the people that are under my care. The players, the assistants, their families to a certain degree. Every decision I make affects minimum 150 people. I have to understand that, and I take that very, very seriously."

What advice do you have for young coaches who aspire to run their own program one day?"

Shaw: "First of all, make sure that his is what you want to do. If you're sure, double-check it again and make sure it's really something you want to do. If you answer yes twice, make sure you talk to your family and make sure they understand what it will take. Is it too big to a certain degree? Yes. Sports in our country is huge. Coaching college football, it's really only second to the NFL in terms of how big it is, how much money there is, how much pressure there is. You have to love it. You have to love it and spend time with it and understand it. The people in your life have to realize that this will take over your life. You have to find a way to craft normalcy into your day-to-day routine. It can be difficult because there's always that feeling that someone out there is outworking you and we have to try this. You have to have a certain amount of confidence in what you do and belief in what you do, and at some point you need to realize at some point I have to go home. At some point I have to go to sleep. At some point I have to stop and eat. I have to be a normal person. At some point, I have to make sure my kids don't forget what I look like. You have to trust your process and trust what you do. It is an exciting world and I world I believe now I was actually built for. I enjoy it. I love it. Much is said about my expressionless expression on gameday, but I'm in the moment. I love it, I enjoy it. I don't feel that pressure as much as I feel the passion and energy. I love that realm, and you have to. If you don't love it, the time, the energy, the pain and the disappointments honestly aren't worth it."

Going off that, did your Dad never becoming a head coach discourage you?:

Shaw: "It didn't deter me, but it kept my feet on the ground. I think a lot of guys get into the profession with the pie in the sky and say ‘I'm going to be a GA for two years, then a full-time coach for two years, then a coordinator for two years then I'm going to be a head coach'. Well sometimes the world doesn't agree with that, that path that you've made for yourself. My dad at one point was one of the best defensive coordinators in the nation, and was this close multiple times to being a head coach. What that taught me was that you can't earn a head coaching job - someone has to choose you. All you can do is do the best that you can at the job that you have. If someone picks you and says you're my guy, great. If not, I'm going to do the best job that I can at the job that I have. That mentality is what some of the younger coaches need to understand. There are times when some guys rise fast and some guys don't, but there's no rhyme or reason to it. It's just how this profession goes. There are decision-makers who need to make decisions that are best for their organization, school, etc. Going through that and seeing my dad get so close to being a head coach - and to become so close to being the head coach at Stanford - was another eye-opening experience for me growing up. Knowing I went into this profession completely awake and completely with my eyes open to the difficult days, the hard days when you go down to Northwestern and lose on the first day of the season. Days where you don't win the Fiesta Bowl and you think you should've won. You have to be able to handle those days because the highs of the highs outweigh the lows of the lows. The process and the people that you are around can be truly, truly special and you learn to relish it every single day."

Quick hitters:
What phone do you carry?:

Shaw: "I'm an iPhone guy, yes. I'm not the biggest gadget guy, but I've become addicted to my iPhone and iWatch. I'm on the 5, eventually gonna get to the 6. I can't handle too many new things at once. We talk about the first seven years of my career when I was coaching, I was the young guy who had all the gadgets and knew how to work everything. I was the guy other coaches called in to fix things, and now I'm the guy in my office wanting to call the IT guy."
Any non-football related apps you find yourself using a lot?
Stanford football:

Discuss your conditioning program and Shannon Turley:

Shaw: "It's the backbone of every sport. Yes, your team is getting strong, getting faster, getting ready to play, and all those things are vital. It's also where the mentality is set for the team. Shannon and I have a great relationship and we've talked about a bunch of different things and how to do what we do. Teaching Stanford people who are individually highly motivated, very intelligent, really good at setting goals, and getting them to focus on the process instead of the goals. We focus more on the process how we do what we do instead of the results we get from what we do. Once we educate our guys, then we can handle whatever comes our way. Our focus goes back to our efforts and our execution, not so much what we do. Secondly, focusing so much on the new way of doing things - flexibility and explosive movement instead of laying on your back and bench pressing 500 pounds. That doesn't win football games. Realizing that and always trying to be on the cutting edge of what is best for their bodies. How to stay fresh, how to stay flexible. Having well-rounded athletes who understand that we need each other to play well. That's the mental aspect for me in weight room. Having these players push each other all year long, even out of season, but also trust each other. We have this phrase we say all the time that I stole from Pep Hamilton, our offensive coordinator before he went on back to the NFL, was that we set up an environment that is competitive, but not combative. We compete with each other every single day, we're going to compete against each other every single day, but it's never me against you. We're pushing each other to be the best that we can be so that in the end when we're facing someone else, you and I are step and step and we can face whoever is in our way."

How challenging is it with academic restrictions?:

Shaw: "I think it's an advantage in a lot of different ways. For us, our focus is more narrowed. Our pool is smaller. Who we're looking for, we get to know them a lot better. Instead of going after 150 guys or so, for next year's class, we're already down to about 30 or 25 guys, so getting to know these guys and talking to them about the process. Imagine the locker room that we get to put together every year. They're all bright - on and off the field - they're all athletic, they're all tough minded, they're all team-oriented. One of the things Stanford is really, really good at is teaching people to work together. A ton of group projects and people working together to get the collaborative aspects of accomplish goals with others. I can't put a value on it. So now, if everyone in my locker room is bright, smart, motivated and a team player, we have a chance beat anyone that we play. I remind our guys all the time that when the game is on the line, I have the best seat in the house. I'm watching. It's going to be the guys on the field. It's not just the guys who are the biggest, fastest, strongest - it's the guys who know what they're supposed to do and trust each other. If we can continue to get that every single year, even with guys coming and going every year, we'll always have a chance to win."

Can it be seen as an advantage because your focus is narrowed?
What is ‘The Stanford Way":

Shaw: "The recruiting process is where it starts. It's the trifecta, and not lowering our standards - ever - in these three areas. Academically, we're not even going to discuss someone if they may not meet our academic standards. Not even going to discuss them. Athletically, we're never going to get to that point where we don't have enough corners so we'll take someone who can get in academically but is not good enough to play at Stanford. We're not going to take those guys. We won't sacrifice the athleticism or the toughness on the football field. And we're not going to sacrifice character. We just won't do it. There have been years where we have 20 scholarships but only take 17 guys. Great, that's 17 more Stanford men. It's a mentality. It's an arrogant mentality, but it's an arrogant mentality that understands where we are and what it takes for us to be successful. We need those three areas. We need very, very bright young people, we need athletically gifted people and we also need high character individuals. At some point, for all of these guys, football stops. For some it stops at 19, for some it stops at 22, for others it stops at 30. These are guys that I want to be able to write recommendation letters for graduate school, for medical school. These are high-class individuals that I want to be contributing members of our society in some great way once they're done playing football. I don't want to be around just a bunch of great football players were I can't wait until they walk away from me when they're done playing. These are guys that I want to be around and want to be a part of their lives from hereon out."

Tell me about STRIVR and your involvement with this tremendous VR company?:

Shaw: "Virtual reality, for us, it's a game-changer. For me, the first time I saw it, I realized that football was never going to be the same. We're always looking for new and better ways to do everything. Any good organization is always doing that. You find out what works for you, and you wonder who you can do it better. Sometimes you find things that are better, sometimes you don't. In the college football world right now, the first and foremost the biggest thing is health which should be the most important thing. To know if I can get some players better off the field without taking the extra reps, I should look into that. It's an outstanding thing to say that we have 15 reps and seven-on-seven. Our starting quarterback's going to take 12. There's 3 left for my backup quarterbacks but how do you split those up? Now they can get on and now it's working. My brain can't be told I've actually got those 15 practice reps supposed to the three that I actually got physically. Mentally I got 15, and now 30 so now I've gotten 45 plays better without breaking a sweat. That doesn't make us bigger faster stronger, but if they can help you during the course of the game where things are going so fast over to the quarterback position. My favorite analogy for playing quarterback is to imagine doorway a regular doorway about 3 1/2 feet wide and a it's about 20 yards away, and as soon as you see it the door starts to close. They need to throw a football through that doorway before the door is closed - while getting chased by wild dogs. Right? That's playing quarterback. So they can be that much quicker of a decision-maker - that's one more first down, one more touchdown, one more victory."

What about your relationship as an investor in STRIVR?:

Shaw: "As a Stanford grad, even on the different staffs that I was on, I was the guy that ‘Ok, you can take this to your coaches. You're pretty tech savvy.' So I would be the one that would get emails saying ‘What do you guys think about this?' It always seemed to me that, quite frankly, they were not very good. Derek came to me and said ‘Hey, take a look at this. We're starting this company, this is what we think we're going to be able to do, and I did put some trust in Derek that we weren't going to disrupt practice but that's something that could help us down the road. We've done this multiple times for different things and as long as it doesn't disrupt our practice, we'll take a look at it. We shot a few plays, and then once they put it together and I put it on, I said ‘Well, this is now a completely different game.' It was exciting and changed how players can prepare for the game. So, right on the spot I became an investor and advisor for Derek. That's kind of my role, to bounce things off of and experiment on us we try some new things - this didn't work, this works really, really well - so we've got a great relationship there. I'm really excited about what VR's going to do and in sports in general, particular in football. But I think in all sports in general over the next 5-7 years. I think it's going to be really, really exciting."

Nervous your competitors will get their hands on STRIVR?:

Shaw: "We're going to try our best to stay a step ahead as best we can, but also recognizing that Derek has a company to run and his Stanford affiliation can't keep him from making money. He has already reached out to a bunch of different teams in our conference and will continue to grow his business."

Quick hitters:
What kind of music do you listen to?:

Shaw: "I'm a firm believer that, for me anyway, the music is whatever mood that I'm in. I don't use music to get me in any kind of mood, it depends on what mood I'm in. One day I could be Jay-Z, one day could be Stone Temple Pilots- one of my favorites right now. It could be anything, whatever helps me accentuate the mood that I'm in. We've gone to using music for practice, and most the time the guys love the music, but when I inject what I want to hear, it's not always the most popular thing. But once again, I think it's a great. I like to accentuate the mood that if sometimes I'm working hard I'll put on softer music, sometimes if I'm in a great mood I want something more upbeat, or sometimes I'm extremely upset and I need something to kinda help me focus on what I'm doing. I use the music to accentuate my mood."
2016:


Heisman: 4 runner-ups as OC or HC. Do you discuss that with player down the stretch, does the coaching staff ever consider certain plays to get a candidate better stats:

Shaw: "It's a tricky situation to where we need to win football games, and that has to be our focus. First and foremost, that has to be your focus. On top of that, we need to remind our players that that's our focus. I say that in a positive way because the two things that happen: One, the players are so excited about Toby having a chance to win, that's what they're focused on. Same thing with Christian, Andrew. That's what they're focusing on, and we really just have to get one more point than the other team. On the flip side, we have to constantly remind them to that they can't be a one-man team. We need to be versatile. You know Bryce was going to come and touch the ball, as Christian is not going to get it 70 times in the game. The ball has to be spread all around for us to win the game. When you have a great player, first and foremost, they're going to touch the ball - the ball carriers especially because it's going help you win the football game. But at the same time, we can't be so dependent on one person because I still believe football's the best team game there is because one person can't win it for you. You need all 11 at the same time working together in order to be successful. So It's tricky in those ways, and it's also tricky to fight the inclination to say ‘Ok, I have to show people that Christian can do this' and say ‘Well, he deserves it so we need to do something that's outside of our game plan.' That can't ever, ever happen because now I will be sacrificing those other 10 guys out there and how hard they're working for one guy to showcase themselves. Whereas, if he's good enough, he can get a lot of opportunities, play as well as he can play and hopefully, as a team, we can win football games. If you win enough games, then the accolades will come. The last thing I'll say about that is: I refuse to ever look at any of those seasons as failures because you didn't win this award. And were talking about guys that have been All-Americans, Christian was an academic All-American last year and Player of the Year and Returner of the Year. There are so many other awards out there, that when a guy wins one, we should celebrate it. When a guy get close to winning we should celebrate them being honored."

Discuss McCaffrey: What makes him special?:

Shaw: "It's really, really close and the reason why I say that is I will I've been so fortunate in my career to spend in four years with Andrew Luck and what he did, to spend four years in Baltimore was Ray Lewis, to spend two years with Deion Sanders, one year was Jerry Rice, four years with Tim Brown. I was around some guys that play the game at the highest level. I was so, so very fortunate to be around guys like that. What I learned from Jon Gruden was when we did have some great players around - Rich Gannon was the MVP of the league - was the most important thing that you can do to those guys is to challenge them. You don't kiss their backsides, you don't make it easier for them. Make it harder. For you to challenge them intellectually, challenge them physically and challenge them to be at their best. When your best player is playing his best, he brings up everybody else. So I recognized that to be special, you need to put it all out there, and at the same time we're going to push him to be as good as he can be as much as we can. Knowing that challenging their best player is going to bring up the rest of our players."

Discussing the current QB competition at Stanford:

Shaw: "The most important thing for me is diffusing whatever tension may be there. Whether it's between the two guys that's a bad thing or the tension amongst the football team because that's the most important position in team sports, a quarterback, and it's not it's not settled. So the big thing is for them to realize that the best thing they can do is do their jobs at a high level because no matter who plays and how much they play and who starts, they're still going to be a first-time starter. We need to make this thing easier for them, not harder on him. The receivers got to play better, and Michael Rector going to have his best year. The offensive line has to play the best they can play. It's more pressure on Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love and our guys that carry the ball. More pressure on the defense take care of the young quarterback that may make a mistake or two - not to tear them down but as part of his growing process. Now, the whole team has to have that quarterback's back, as opposed to the whole team looking at the quarterback saying ‘lead us.' We're not going to do that to a first-time starter. It's getting the whole team to realize where we are. These guys are going to work extremely hard and put their best foot forward. If we choose a starter in training camp, that's great. If we take the competition end of the season, great. But the bottom line is for the rest of the team around those guys to play their best and make sure that we make that position as easy as possible for whoever steps into place."

On expectations for next season:

Shaw: "Mentality-wise, the biggest thing for me is, after the season is over - especially when you have a great year - you know you can get the pats on the back and people shaking your hand, and you do the circuit and take all the awards and trophies and everything is great. Then you get to about the middle of February and say ‘Ok, that's over now. Who are we?' Because every single year in college football, you are completely new team. Nothing carries over. I think the people who get in trouble think that something's here. There's absolutely no momentum from January to September. There's no more momentum. All you have is what you start in September. So for the team to realize Christian McCaffrey has 0 yards right now, There are no All-Americans, there are no first-round draft picks. For a bunch of guys to step on the practice field in August, they work their butts off to be as good as they can be, and whatever we get this season is what we are. It goes back to the process. We focus on what we can control with your effort and execution every single day, and getting the team to realize that. Sometimes it takes a couple of rough days in training camp we're not playing up to par because we think that we've arrived there. It's just that process of realizing what we're going to focus on is what we have to do today, and I think we got a good group mature guys that understand that. I've been through it a couple times, had a rough year a couple years ago, but we didn't play up to expectations until later that year. We still have a lot of guys have a carryover from that and they realized we can't worry about preseason rankings. We can't worry about somebody saying this guy's this or this or not this. It's when the games start to be played, if we play our best. If we do that enough times late in the year will be going to a good bowl game.

On the new Stanford logo:

Shaw: "Honestly, when I came to Stanford - and we got there after the 1-11 season. I'm the East Coast recruiter and I walked around with the block ‘S' and the first thing I heard was ‘Is that NC State? Syracuse?' ‘No, not Syracuse. Stanford.' "Samford?' ‘Stanford. In California.' Between AD Bernard Muir and Nike, they went through a lot of different things. What can we do to distinguish ourselves? And there was an older logo that a lot of people liked with the green tree in the middle of it. There was a lot of people didn't like it, some people did. I want to give all the credit to Mr. Muir to have now the cardinal white ‘S', back to the true colors. Now we have an unique block ‘S' that is not just football, this is the first year it'll be used for all sports with the tree in the logo."

On speculation about being considered for the 49ers coaching job:

Shaw: "Honestly, I never talked to anybody from 49ers. No job was ever offered, there's never been a process. Every year, I look at the rumors. There was one point where I got a text from last year. I was in an in-home visit up in Oregon, and two of my coaches text me ‘Where are you at?' ‘Our guy's house, where I said I was going to be.' ‘There's a rumor that you are in Kansas City.' ‘Really? What am I wearing?' The coaching rumor mill, it goes crazy every year. I can say without hesitation and 100 percent honesty since I've taken this job, I have not interviewed for another job from anybody else, have not talked to anybody about any jobs - and I don't plan to."

Josh Garnett being drafted by 49ers:

Shaw: "I like Josh as a great fit for what they do. If you really look at what they've done, Chip [Kelly] is a running coach who loves to run the football, and a lot of our running game of the last year was really has been influenced by what Kelly did at Oregon, what he did with the Philadelphia Eagles with Shady McCoy. If you look at Christian McCaffrey and Shady McCoy, they're very, very similar as we talked about his running game. So they wanted him at mini camp with the 49ers, and Josh was just going out there running them so I think he is a perfect fit."

On youth football coaching:

Shaw: "The biggest thing for me, and youth football in particular, is making the game fun, right? Make it as safe as you can, and make it fun. We want these young people to be safe and enjoy the process. There are no Lombardi trophies being handed out after youth football games. We want the guys to be safe and have a lot of fun, and keep in that environment. Make practice fun. Make the games fun. Bring the motion and energy and that's important to learn along the way, but they're not going to be great football players at seven or eight. That's a big thing for me. Some some adults get into youth football a bunch of different reasons and they squeeze the life out of the game. They squeeze the fun out of the game, and it just can't happen, so that's my biggest piece of advice."

On opener vs. Kansas State:

Shaw: "First of all, I have a lot of respect for the Wildcats and their coach [Bill Synder], legendary football coach. Got to know him over the last two years - we go to the Nike coaches retreat every year. Got to know him and his wife and it's been fun getting to know them. They are a physical football team that likes to run the ball. They run the ball with the quarterback, they play really tough defense, so it's it's going to be a battle. Scheduling in college football is a Rubik's cube. I can't figure it out, so it takes 3 to 4 of us to figure it out 3 to 4 years down the road, home and homes we will play in 2018 and it won't play again until 2023, so it's really complicated. Kansas State was one of those that came open that for us. We respect what they do and how they do it, respect the coaching staff, respect the way that they approach the game of footbal. We thought it would be a good match and a good home and home. It will be good to one of these days to go down there on the road. I think we will be kind of cool for both for both universities."

Biggest rival?:

Shaw: "If you asked our team, you're going to get a bunch of different answers because there will be some that will say Cal, right? It's in line with our proximity and it's our biggest, longest standing rivalry right there. Some will say it's Oregon because we're battling every single year for the Pac-12 North. A couple say ‘Coach, it's got to be USC.' For the last few years, there have been some of the better games of the year in college football. Exciting, back-and-forth last-second victories, wild finishes, great players and have highly drafted guys on both sides. I also have some say UCLA, so for us we feel like half of our conference is our biggest rival. Especially for those that come from anywhere east of the Rockies, they're going to say because I've been hearing about Notre Dame my whole life, you know what we got to beat Notre Dame. So there's all of those, which for me end up being a positive to where there aren't a lot of times on the schedule with whoever we play that they're not high up on the list of teams we want to prepare for the right way. There's also a lot of emotion going into each one of our games."

Stadium would love to play in one day?:

Shaw: "A dear friend of mine, playing Dabo Swinney at Clemson I think would be a blast. I absolutely love that man, his family and his program, what he believes in and we approach the game the right way about being mentors for the young people that we coach. That would be an exciting game, but I think that the only way that will happen will be in a bowl game somewhere."

Which member of your team is the best basketball player?:

Shaw: "I'm going to get killed on my team for this answer because I still firmly believe that most football players are frustrated basketball players that couldn't make it in basketball so they had to go play football. It'd have to be Christian McCaffrey. I'll never forget going to do the home visit, and we stopped by basketball practice before we went to the home. He was a senior in high school and to watch the young man play basketball is just like watching them play football. I mean the guy's an assassin. He can be not the biggest guy out there, but he jumps up and dunks about with ease and makes the three-pointer in the mid-range jumper, he's got ridiculous handles. I'd love to see him play basketball - not until he's done playing football, he would be the guy." "