In Tuesday’s press conference after the Washington State game this weekend, head coach David Shaw focused on the importance of looking forward and not at the past. “[Washington is] the best team in the conference coming into our house, so we don’t have time to wallow, we don’t have time to lament,” Shaw said. “We’ve got to get ready to go.”
Since it’s a short week, with this week’s game against Washington on Friday, getting ready to go involves “cutting back on practice, trying to get their legs back,” Shaw said.
“We’re all about recovery,” Shaw said, meaning their “typical two-hour practices will be 90 minutes” in an attempt to “make sure our guys can go out there and be fresh and play fast.”
That recovery will be important for junior running back Bryce Love, who, according to Shaw, played the game against Washington not fully healthy. Shaw plans to rehab him this week to get him closer to 100 percent, in addition to being careful with him in practice.
Also injured is freshman left tackle Walker Little, who will miss at least this game, if not more, while sophomore outside linebacker Curtis Robinson should be back this week, according to Tuesday’s presser.
Little suffered injury during the game against the Cougars and was replaced by sophomore offensive tackle Devery Hamilton. He was also a late scratch when the Cardinal played Oregon in the homecoming game.
Further lineup news from Shaw is that KJ Costello will start again this week, with Shaw speaking on last week and noting that it’s “hard to get thrown in a game like that, in the weather, against a team like that.”
Shaw added that Costello and the team will have a “tough duty again this week” as they play against an “outstanding defense that doesn’t give up a lot of play, doesn’t give up a lot of yards and doesn’t give up a lot of points. But we’ll get them all ready and give them our best shot.”
Though Shaw said he is not going to overreact to last week’s loss, he did focus on putting the blame on himself for the defeat.
As such, he’s hoping to do “a better job of mixing it up” against Washington and “put our guys in a position to make plays — runs and pass.”
Part of that will include working on the offensive line, which “got beaten up front” against Washington State according to Shaw. This is especially important against an even better Huskies defense that ranks first in the country in total defense.
On a more positive note, Shaw praised the play of JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Trent Irwin with hopes that they’ll have more opportunities to make plays this week.
He also lauded Jake Bailey, calling his game the “best performance that we’ve had from a punter since I’ve been here.”
Though some were worried at the loss of Alijah Holder, Shaw thought his replacement, Alameen Murphy, “played well, didn’t give them any big plays, didn’t miss any tackles, kept the ball in front of him, rallied up and made some big hits,” adding, “He’s one of those guys that knows the game plan so well he’s always gonna be in position.”
So what’s his plan for next week, coming off of a loss?
“For us, that last game was tough,” Shaw said “But we’ve gotta find a way to clear our heads and be efficient and potentially explosive if we can be, against a very very good defense.”
Of course, part of clearing their head will include forgetting last year’s 44-6 loss to Washington, Stanford’s opponent this Friday, something Shaw might find difficult as he said, “I obsess, like most coaches do, over our losses.”
“We were just getting going and they were at full speed,” Shaw said of last year’s defeat.
This means that the team will be more focused in order to not reenact last season’s performance against the Huskies.
“We have to slow [Washington] down, we have to keep the ball.” Shaw said. “We have to run the ball and throw the ball with efficiency. We have to get into the Red Zone, and we have to score touchdowns — this is not a team you’re going to beat in a field goal battle.”
With that in mind, he doesn’t want the team focused on what-ifs: “We can only do something about this year’s game. We have to handle today, today.”
Contact Ariana Rollins at arianar ‘at’ stanford.edu.