Growing up, we were told to always make sure something was done correctly and go back and make sure it was actually done. In school, how many times did you have to rewrite a paper because it was considered a “rough draft” and you thought the teacher was just picking on you? In sports, you sometimes get a second opinion on things because you don’t really want to know the truth. So this is where I am going to help Coach Shaw get a grasp on reality and prescribe him with the proper answers to turn this season around.
STEP 1: Coach Shaw, you have 66 more wins than me and 6 more will put you as the greatest head coach ever at Stanford University so I am not acting like I am better than you nor taking away the greatness that you are looking at straight in the face. I will say that it is either your weakness for judging QB talent or your loyalty to a person that has hurt you in the past and has hurt you this season that may be causing you problems. In 2012, Kevin Hogan was more likely to wash jock straps in April than he was to being a legend and yet you made the switch. Fast forward to last season and it took too long for the switch from Burns to Chryst and once the loss to USC happened this season, it should have been an open competition between Chryst and Costello; Burns should never see meaningful time again, sorry. Once Chryst went down against UCLA, the offense and stadium erupted for Costello. Anything other than playing KJ for the remainder of the year is stupidity from someone who might be one of the smartest people on campus.
STEP 2: Bryce Love will be the next Stanford player to be screwed out of a major award but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep feeding him. The offense thrives on the running game and you need to have the fortitude to believe that Love and company will get 10 yards on 3 touches. Until UCLA and not counting Rice, we have looked soft as an offense versus teams that want to hit us back.
STEP 3: Our special teams is not bad but it could be dramatically better. I get that Cam Scarlett is running well but a burner like a Connor Wedington would go to the house instead of a huge gain. We need a home run hitter, not a gap hitter for kickoffs. As far as punt returns, I’m assuming Jay Tyler is a great character guy but you need someone who is a prime-time player back there and not a liability. Up big, sure the play the little guy but during the bulk of the game, gotta try someone else.
STEP 4: Depth on both lines will keep everyone fresh and it’s time to rotate the young guys in on both sides. On the defensive side, the two upperclassmen in Eric Cotton and Dylan Jackson are not good enough to play the bulk of the games. They are the most tired players on the field and if we can’t get to the QB during crunch time, even the best defensive backs in the world will give up big plays.
STEP 5: Look in the mirror. Get tough. You have kept Stanford football alive but you need to keep that toughness mentality. Guys are starting to fade a little bit and you need to get back to that cutthroat mentality. As the saying goes “shove it right up their….” Stanford will never be a team that throws 50 times and scores a touchdown a minute but a team that runs 30-40 times will destroy a team much worse than any fancy offense.
I’m not a real doctor but I just prescribed a second pair of eyes to help lead the way. Whether you read this or not, it’s all true. The QB should be KJ Costello unless he tells you he’s tired. Give Bryce Love the ball and pound the freaking rock. Put in your home run hitters and rotate your lines and use that depth. And last but not least, get feisty Coach Shaw. This is your team, your staff, your fans, your program.