By Dave Levine
Stanford has barely won the first three games. Why? Other teams figured out how to stop McCaffrey by playing big, wide defensive lines. He’s been pretty beaten up coming into the Washington game with no touchdowns on punts or kickoffs (The one punt return for a touchdown was called back on a block-to-the-back penalty against Kansas State).
Something had to break and it was this game tonight against Washington where Stanford completely fell apart, 44-6. But it wasn’t McCaffrey’s fault: Blame Coach David Shaw. He continued to not use the success of last year where he had McCaffrey in the zone as a receiver and allows for shorter passes in a blitz situation. That’s the way you “loosen up” a defense! And don’t believe the wussie KZSU Stanford play-by-play announcer–it wasn’t the crowd noise! The Rose Bowl was as loud as Seattle and they beat the Bruins. But if the crowd noise was a problem, why didn’t Shaw tell Burns to get behind center?
Here’s what “Cactus David” Shaw said after the game:
“Third and long, with the noise and that pass rush — it’s really tough,” Shaw said.
Oh, really, Coach? Why the hell didn’t you have Burns take snaps from center then where his linemen could hear the signals and changing calls? The shotgun SUCKS in noisy situations! But, no, Coach, you played it “stubborn” and kept the shotgun in which destroyed the offense. Real smart, Coach!
I don’t mind that Stanford came into Seattle “flat” after getting beaten up by UCLA last Saturday but this game against the Huskies was THE worst-coached game by a Stanford coach since the “Cactus Jack” Curtis days on the early 1960s. Curtis was THE worst head coach to coach at the Farm. Shaw came real close to Curtis tonight.
Granted, the players have to play the game and the coaches can just send in plays but in EVERY aspect of this game–from offense to defense to special teams, the coaching cost them the win.
In the first place, Shaw played an injured QB Ryan Burns (wearing a knee brace) instead of Keller Kryst. He put Kryst in for one series but went back to Burns. Burns took 6 sacks in the first half–unforgivable by the offensive line AND by Burns! Burns held onto the ball way too long and couldn’t move out of the pocket. Game over.
Secondly, Shaw called for no blitzing by his defense in the first half before the game was a blowout. That was “a gift” to the Huskie sophomore QB Browning making Browning look like Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas. He had all day to throw.
On one play late in the first half, Shaw rushed just three men. Why, when you’re getting killed rushing four would an extra DB help and rush only three? It didn’t. Touchdown Huskies.
Second string DB Alameen Murphy was getting beaten on long pass routes throughout the first half. Why didn’t Shaw make “an adjustment” there right away? Instead, Huskies 23-0 at the half.
On special teams, Stanford wasn’t making running lanes for RB McCaffrey to run one back. Why not? Why weren’t adjustments made? Washington dared McCaffrey to run one back. It wasn’t until the second half that he nearly did, but eventually Burns fumbled the ball away ending that drive, their only drive near the end zone. until the fourth quarter.
The KZSU announcer and color man were making excuses for the team and I had to turn their broadcast off shortly into the second half because they were so pathetic. The short week affected BOTH teams, idiots! True, Stanford missed their starting cornerbacks injured in the UCLA game. But their replacements and their teammates didn’t pick up the slack. I’ve never seen so many missed tackles in a game by one team.
After Stanford’s only touchdown making it 30-6, Stanford ran a bonehead two-point try. Burns should have called for a roll-out option play where a sack is almost impossible, but he took the ball from behind center and threw an impossible pass that fell incomplete. It was only partially Burns’ fault: there were just two wide receivers on that play! Where was the four wide receiver set?
Perhaps Shaw didn’t call for Burns to take the snaps under center where his players could hear him change the calls because of Burns’ bad knee. But then he should have brought in Kryst who has two good knees and a great arm.
Wasting timeouts and stupid penalties (team lining up illegally) also hurt Stanford tonight. It was a complete coaching disaster.
Also, when Stanford saw the game slipping away in the first half, Shaw should have called for the no-huddle offense which wears down big men like the Huskies’ defensive line. Sadly, he waited until the end of the third quarter to do that when they were down 30-0. But they scored on that drive using the no-huddle proving that it probably would have worked in the first half. Why wasn’t it?
Shaw finally played star freshman WR Donald Stewart (No. 8 wearing white gloves) late in the Fourth Quarter. Why did he wait so long to play Stewart four games into the season? Stewart is “the next Jerry Rice” but Shaw has only allowed him to play on kickoffs. Watch Stewart’s high school videos. The guy’s amazing!
You have to wonder how Shaw and his Offensive Coordinator and Defensive Coordinator could call such a horrible game. The answer IS…Shaw and the coaching staff didn’t prepare the team for this game. As good as Washington played, Shaw made them look a lot better than they are.
I for one will be glad when Shaw moves to the pros. Stanford needs a coach who can motivate a team and makes the correct, aggressive play calls and a coach who uses the pro-offense of three and four wide receivers which spreads out defenses–especially when McCaffrey isn’t getting the blocking he needs from the offensive line.
Burns wasn’t the answer tonight and neither was the Stanford defense he called. Kryst–who was Hogan’s back-up last year–wasn’t much better and looked like he didn’t want the ball. Kryst did better behind the center. When the Huskies made it 37-6, Shaw put Kryst in to get some snaps but by then, the game had been decided. Shaw would be smart to bench Burns and make Kryst his starting QB.
Henceforth, I’ll be calling the Stanford Coach “Cactus David” Shaw. His coaching really sucked in THE most important game of the year.