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Stanford’s Shaw doesn’t take SEC comparisons as compliment

David Shaw AP

The Stanford Cardinal have emerged as a respectable force in the college football world over the last few years. The changing of the culture and approach to Stanford football started with Jim Harbaugh turning things around and David Shaw has continued to lead Stanford on the same path. The Cardinal play a physical style that manages to slow down high-powered offensive systems, including Oregon, which has led some to compare Stanford’s style to those typically found in the SEC. Any comparison to the SEC would normally be well received given the conference’s string of success on the big stage, but that is not something Shaw apparently wants to hear.

“I don’t necessarily take it as a compliment,” Shaw said this week, according to San Jose Mercury News. “We play the style of football I grew up with. It’s not because that’s the way they play at Alabama or LSU. That means nothing to us.”

The style of football Stanford plays would fit in with almost any generation of football. Shaw likes to draw comparisons to the teams that played in the 1980s, including the Joe Montana-era San Francisco 49er. Those are the similarities Stanford aims for, and it makes perfect sense given the connection between the Cardinal and 49ers. Not only is Harbaugh now coaching the 49ers, but Bill Walsh previously coached both teams as well.

“It’s the right way for them to play because they can’t recruit speed the way other teams recruit speed,” former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said, according to San Jose Mercury Times. “David would never tip his hat to the SEC. He and Jim went back to drawing board, and this style is the best fit. They built it brilliantly.”

Stanford opens their 2013 season this weekend after not having a game scheduled last week. The defending Pac 12 champions host San Jose State in a bit of a local rivalry game. Stanford enters the game as a favorite of course, but will have to use that physical style defense to shut down the Spartans’ passing game led by David Fales. Stanford narrowly escaped against San Jose State last season, winning 20-17. Fales passed for 217 yards and a touchdown in the game, which was tied at 17-17 entering the fourth quarter.

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11 Responses to “Stanford’s Shaw doesn’t take SEC comparisons as compliment”
  1. colinksu says: Sep 5, 2013 1:48 PM

    A coach at a major non-SEC school saying he doesn’t like being compared to the SEC?

    *Begins countdown until Shaw is coaching at an SEC school and says he just said that stuff because he was secretly envious of the SEC*

  2. gatorprof says: Sep 5, 2013 1:51 PM

    Much like ND last year, Stanford would have been the 6th best SEC team. We will see what happens this year. They may aspire to be the latest non-SEC team to be crushed by the SEC representative in the national title game.

  3. alligatorsnapper says: Sep 5, 2013 2:08 PM

    Stanford is one of the finest academic and research universities in the U.S. and world. With their high standards of scholarship, they have been able to build a respectable football program is an accomplishment.

    However, when over the years, LSU (and rumored to be another SEC school as well) has communicated with Stanford to schedule a home and home or a neutral location game, Stanford said they could no do this due to the very hard PAC schedule they are already faced. They certainly do not wish to face the SEC schedule and then schedule the #2 ranked team in the country at the time or the top 25 ranked team OOC this season.

  4. bucrightoff says: Sep 5, 2013 2:18 PM

    If Shaw is leaving Stanford for anywhere, its the NFL.

  5. theuglitruth says: Sep 5, 2013 2:38 PM

    Good to see you didn’t put Stanford in Orange County….or somewhere like that! Nice to see you back on track.

  6. psly2124 says: Sep 5, 2013 2:57 PM

    PAC-12 is soft and will forever be soft. Men play football in the south and cheerleaders play in the west

  7. nirvana504 says: Sep 5, 2013 3:07 PM


  8. barbeaux says: Sep 5, 2013 4:25 PM

    What’s a Stanford?

  9. Deb says: Sep 5, 2013 5:53 PM

    Thought I’d want to post that Shaw could kiss my grits, or some comparable Southern colloquialism. But after reading the article, I can understand how he and Harbaugh would be more influenced by Bill Walsh’s offenses than traditional SEC offenses.

    On the other hand, as alligatorsnapper noted, Shaw’s dismissal of SEC football would have more impact if he were willing to demonstrate it on the field.

  10. alligatorsnapper says: Sep 5, 2013 7:05 PM

    Deb, you likely already know:

    1. I learned most of what I know about Stanford and Shaw from southernpatriots, as well as the scheduling problem Stanford has had for a decade or more.

    2. The other SEC school which unsuccessfully tried to schedule Stanford for the past decade was Alabama.

    3. I knew I would get a huge amount of thumbs down for just stating facts, and if I added Alabama, I might get a thousand thumbs down, so I avoided saying the name of the university but now it is out there.

  11. Deb says: Sep 5, 2013 11:54 PM

    @alligatorsnapper …

    Yes, the southernpatriots know their football history–and the Tide is usually good for a few additional thumbs down :) And if Shaw’s success continues, he may wind up playing an SEC team in a title game. That would be interesting.

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