While fans from all over the country are pumped up to see Stanford take on USC next Saturday, don’t expect the Stanford coaches or players to give USC any bulletin board material. Stanford takes after their tough-nosed, business-like coach, David Shaw. Shaw understands that a program like Stanford doesn’t need to treat this upcoming game like it is any different than any other Pac-12 game.
USC and Stanford both looked dominant as they pounded on inferior opponents. Both teams are hoping to compete for a Pac-12 championship and a spot in the first playoff in 2014. The loser of this game will most likely be knocked out of both, but don’t tell that to Shaw.
Shaw has created a culture at Stanford that produces young men with incredible work ethics on a daily basis. He understands the everyday grind required in college football. Each day is as important as the next, just as each play is as important as the next. He has his players tuned into the task at hand.
When asked about his philosophy after the UC Davis game, Shaw said “[M]ore than anything else as a head coach, that’s what I talk about, I don’t talk about Xs and Os, I talk about mentality. I talk about what it takes to be a successful program, I talk about what it takes for each individual to be a successful student-athlete.”
The Stanford approach tells us that the Cardinal are treating this like just another game. For a program like Stanford that has won two straight Pac-12 Championships, Shaw doesn’t need extra motivation to get his players up for big games. They are used to the big stage by now.
Shaw’s message is not just lip service, as his players have clearly bought into the approach as well. Quarterback Kevin Hogan added in the post-game press conference, “Coach Shaw just talked to us about the game coming up and it’s not the Super Bowl as some people might think.”
Shaw is the best coach in the conference, and his business-like approach will lead the Stanford Cardinal to victory over the USC Trojans this Saturday.