In their weekly Tuesday press conference, Stanford head coach David Shaw and several players fielded a wide array of questions from the media, ranging from this Saturday’s matchup against Washington to the media frenzy surrounding sophomore running back Barry Sanders and even to Shaw’s own playing days on the Farm.
When discussing the Cardinal’s upcoming game against Washington, Shaw praised head coach Steve Sarkisian’s work in rebuilding the program and predicted that Saturday’s matchup “will be a battle.” Shaw also lauded Huskies quarterback Keith Price.
“He looks like a healthy quarterback, like he did two years ago… He looks like a quarterback that has a healthy offensive line in front of him,” Shaw said. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence. He’s playing like that guy that burst on the scene two years ago when everybody in the conference took notice of him.”
A few minutes later, the conversation shifted to Shaw’s time as a Stanford wide receiver in the early 1990s—an era when the Huskies were one of the most dominant programs in college football.
When asked to recall his memories of playing against UW in the early 1990s, Shaw lamented that those recollections “took him back to a dark place.” Shaw went on to add that Washington was “the best defense I had seen in my entire life until I was with the Oakland Raiders [as an assistant coach] and we played the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.”
“I still remember those guys’ names,” Shaw said.” “Those images were burned in my brain.”
While Shaw took some time to reminisce about the strength of the Huskies’ front seven in the 1990s, he also provided important injury updates concerning his own defensive unit.
According to Shaw, senior defensive end Henry Anderson’s recovery from a leg injury is progressing on schedule. He added that Anderson plans to be off crutches by this week and hopes to return in three to four weeks. Shaw also added that sophomore linebacker Blake Martinez is progressing on schedule in his recovery from an undisclosed injury suffered in practice.
Without a doubt, the most popular topic during the press conference was the media attention directed towards Sanders following his two big plays against Washington State on Saturday. Shaw noted that, if it were not for his name, Sanders would not be getting anywhere near the same level of attention, stating “there’s no way that he would have been the only two clips shown [of the game] on SportsCenter.”
In addition, Shaw also downplayed any notion that the media eruption in the wake of Sanders’ play would distract the team in any way.
“I don’t have a problem with it,” he said. “We knew it was coming. We talked about it the day after signing day… Me and the coaching staff—we’re already prepared for it. We knew it was going to happen.”
In response to a similar question, sophomore cornerback Alex Carter added: “It’s not Barry’s fault, it’s nothing he can do… We’re all happy for Barry. We love him. I was excited when he made his touchdown.”
Carter went on to state that he was not surprised at all by Sanders’ ankle-breaking moves against Washington State. “That’s what Barry does. He makes people miss and it looks bad on TV… He did it to me many times last year in camp. It was fun.”
The Cardinal will focus on more than Sanders as a media darling as Stanford prepares to take on Washington. The Cardinal faces the Huskies on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Stanford Stadium.
Contact Vihan Lakshman at vihan ‘at’ stanford.edu.