By Alex Bhatt
The theme of head coach David Shaw’s press conference yesterday morning was adjustments. Speaking on the Beavers, he said, “It’s an energized football team, they play really hard, play fast. They have a week and a half to get ready for us. We know we have to be ready for adjustments, regardless.”
Whether the upcoming back-to-back road games for the Cardinal or the Thursday night matchup against an ostensibly tenuous Oregon State Beavers team, Shaw emphasized that the team must be able to acclimate to all situations.
“We’ll get the guys out of here after a late night road game. Off for the weekend. And our normal Monday will actually be on a Monday to prepare.”
Shaw also gave credit to the Beavers and their efforts in their 36-33 loss to Colorado last week.
“They played against Colorado with a lot of heart. You go through something really difficult, a coaching change, and they went out there and played really hard.”
The Cardinal look to come back from their bye-week and again channel the success of their dominant 49-7 victory over the Oregon Ducks. Shaw attributed much of the success of the game and the season to the linemen on both sides of the snap.
“It boils down to one thing for me — the continual progression of the offensive line,” Shaw said. On the defensive line, Shaw remarked, “Our front 7 play has improved steadily pretty much every game since USC.” Moreover, at the mention of the current tackle-leaders being defensive linemen, Shaw joked it’s “typically better than when the safeties are leading the tackles.”
The season looks bright for coach Shaw, but even after a huge home victory, he’s still looking for progress.
“We can’t focus on all of the possibilities and the maybes and the what-ifs. Our job is to find the things we can improve on and improve on them.”
Part of that will entail capitalizing on the successes of key players such as true freshman wide receiver Connor Wedington, who has shown dexterity in all aspects of the game.
“He is a natural receiver but there are things he could do from the backfield. He’s very physical, very strong, very aggressive […] His versatility is very exciting for the next few years.”
Senior linebacker Joey Alfieri adds a new aspect to the game, as Shaw commented that Alfieri “has all of the physical tools.” Shaw remarked that it’s not “just plug and play. He’s getting better and better and better.”
In Shaw’s eyes, the secondary have also played a big role in the Cardinal’s overall success.
In reference to the defense’s ability to force turnovers, Shaw said, “We’ve got guys be in great positions. Guys are being opportunistic and guys are making great decisions. Our players are taking it seriously and I just hope the trend continues.”
Amidst the recent successes, Shaw spoke on the team’s rebound after a slow 1-2 start saying, “I like steady but I also like explosive.”
Stanford’s next three games aren’t a cakewalk with two conference road games at Oregon State and Washington State before returning home for a matchup against Washington.
“It’s hard to win games in every conference, not just our conference. We are creatures of habit.”
Contact Alex Bhatt at abhatt21 ‘at’ stanford.edu.