Feb. 18, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. -
Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football/Head Coach David Shaw met with members of the media on Friday to share his thoughts on the team and personnel as Stanford readies for the start of spring practice on Monday.
Monday's practice will start at approximately 4:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Other open practices are scheduled for Feb. 27 and March 5.
After a three week break, Stanford will resume spring practices on March 28 and will hold the annual Cardinal and White Spring Game on Saturday, April 9 at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco.
Here are some of Coach Shaw's remarks on the 2011 Cardinal heading into spring drills...
The best thing about spring practice is the pure competition. We have guys coming back who played well for us last year but will be pushed by others ready to make their marks. We've recruited very well the last couple of years and we have a lot of players who are ready to compete and fill some roles.
We have some holes to fill and leadership roles that need to be addressed, both playing and character-wise. We have some young guys who need to step up and act like vets. It's a part of the progression. Who is going to step up and seize the opportunity? Who is going to establish themselves after these 15 practices? We are putting paramount importance on who is going to show up, compete and become playmakers for us.
The offensive line
The guys we are replacing - Chase Beeler, Andrew Phillips and Derek Hall - it's more than the way they played. Chase was such a steady presence. Andy Phillips came to fight every week. Derek Hall's ascent at right tackle out of no where was outstanding a big key to our success.
From a personnel standpoint, we have a chance to be very athletic upfront. The question is will those guys be consistent and will they play at the same level as those who they are replacing from last year. Ability-wise, we'll be fine. This spring we'll see who is ready to step up and fill those roles. A lot of our success will depend on how we play upfront.
Candidates for the center position
It starts with Sam Schwartzstein and Khalil Wilkes. The will get equal reps and they know the way they play will dictate how we play. The comfort we had in Chase was outstanding and these guys have a high standard they need to reach.
Every good team I have been a part of either in high school, college of in the NFL - the o-line has had a few alpha dogs that have set the tone.
On the return of Andrew Luck
With Andrew coming back, I've felt pretty good going to bed at night. Just being around him is a betterment for all of us.
We are all in the same place as everybody else. Every season has a beginning and an end and ours starts on Monday. The next year is always different - different players, different roles, different schemes. You always have to add, delete and change. That's where we are at right now.
We have to establish who we are at the beginning of next year. We would love to have some momentum, but as I told our players, those oranges are going to rot and die. It's over. We have to put a stop on it and ask who we are going forward.
The spring is so important because it's when you start and gives you an idea of who you are. We all know where we would like to go in the future but we need to know who we are to determine next steps.
On Levine Toilolo
He'll have some participation this spring but we'll be cautious with him. We need him for the regular season. We're comfortable with where he is at right now.
On the wide receivers
It's going to be a big spring for every receiver on our roster because all of those spot are wide open. We have a quarterback that can make them look really good but at the same time they are going to need to put in the work. The competition is wide open and it will be a pretty fierce battle from the first day.
On the departure of Thomas Keiser
(I was surprised) To a certain extent. I wasn't completely shocked but I think he would have benefitted from another season. He is strong, aggressive, and physical and has the ability to play at that next level. I wish him all the best. He'll get his shot.
On linebacker Blake Leuders
He's going to move around a bit. He'll start on the outside but has some unique abilities so we'll look at him in a lot of different spots and see where he settles. He is going to help us a lot.
Anticipation of spring practice
I can't wait to get on the field and get back to football. Off-season conditioning has been going well and is necessary but there is nothing like being on the field for those 15 practices.
On his relationship with Andrew Luck
It just goes forward. I've know Andrew and his family since we recruited him. I think he is comfortable with me in my role and I'm extremely comfortable with him. We have an established relationship that will only get better.
On Andrew Luck
Make no mistake; there is no standing pat with Andrew. He wants to improve as much as anyone. He is not concerned where he is based on anybody else's projections. He makes sure everyday he works to get better. We'll push him just like we'll push everybody else. Andrew is competing against Andrew and how good be can become.
Every single day we compete against the guy next to us, in front of us. We compete with confidence and don't look too far ahead. We are only concerned with what is going on today.
On the running backs
There maybe one starter, but there will be plenty of opportunities for others, as well. As long as they practice and work hard and do something that will help us on the field - hey will get a chance to help us. It keeps whoever is the starter fresh and creates great competition. If our guys stay fresh and compete, we can go into a game with 4-5 running backs that can help us out.
On Tyler Gaffney
We'll make sometime for his during the spring, but our baseball team needs him right now. Coach Marquess is very supportive of the situation.
On the loss of Owen Marecic
We have four guys our team that will replace one Owen - one at linebacker and three at fullback. He is a once in a generation human being and football player. It will take 3-4 guys to get the same production. Between those guys, we hope to find one Owen.
What it takes
It's more than speed, more than strength and more than quickness. It's determination and a mindset to be physical and competitive. We have to show up everyday and be prepared to fight. Having the physical ability is one thing but you need guys who can step up into leadership roles, like a Sione Fua, Chase Beeler, Owen Marecic and Andy Phillips.
The goal can't be just get on the field and play. It has to be to play at the level we need to win football games.