By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
It's military week for Stanford, with the football team traveling to take on Army this Saturday and the women's volleyball team meeting Air Force on Thursday and Army on Friday in the Pentagon.
"We're playing against young men that are willing to do some of the things that we're not willing to do down the road," Shaw said. "Our freedom is in their hands. We love them, we appreciate them."
The fifth-ranked Cardinal (1-0) has plenty of connections to the military, beginning with Shaw's father, Willie Shaw, who enlisted in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, serving in the mid-1960s, just as things were getting nasty.
"I have the utmost respect for our servicemen," Cardinal running back Tyler Gaffney said. "I've heard so much about West Point. They are all about details."
Stanford wide receiver Devon Cajuste has a sister who served in the Army.
Stanford flies to New York on Thursday, allowing an extra day to adjust to the time change (the kickoff is scheduled for 9 a.m. PDT).
Shaw organized a bus tour to peruse the buildings on campus Friday for his players to learn about Army's history before playing near the banks of the Hudson River at Michie Stadium on Saturday.
"I'm going to be a tourist for a little bit," Shaw said of the hallowed ground on which officers of every rank have walked, including George Armstrong Custer, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. "I'm going to take pictures."
As for the game, Stanford's rush defense will be put to the test. Army led the nation in rushing last year, utilizing a triple-option offense.
"I respect what they do. I really do," Shaw said. "They're determined to do what they do and do it as well as they can do it. And they challenge you to stop it."
Stanford senior fullback Ryan Hewitt will make the trip to Army, but probably will not be available for the game. He sustained a lower leg bruise in Stanford's 34-13 victory over San Jose State last Saturday.
While sophomore quarterback Dallas Lloyd will continue to be used in wildcat situations, Shaw said Evan Crower will remain the primary backup for Kevin Hogan.
The Stanford women's volleyball team is also approaching its visit to Washington D.C. with more than competition as its collective mind.
"It's more than just getting to go there and play," Cardinal coach John Dunning said. "It's what we get to do while we're back there. It's an experience we will never forget. It's a worldly experience for all of us."
Former Stanford player Stephanie Browne had a brother who served in Afghanistan while she was playing for the Cardinal.
Sacred Heart Prep grad Jesse Ebner and Castilleja grad Lucy Tashman play for Yale, which Stanford plays on Friday morning at the Pentagon.
Stanford and Yale each had Pentagon connections, which is why they were invited to participate.
Army junior Mary Vaccaro, a two-time Patriot League setter of the year, hails from Campolindo High in Moraga. She has four other teammates who attended high school in California.
Air Force has two players from the state and Falcons' coach Matt McShane spent five years as an assistant coach under Palo Alto grad Rich Feller at California.
Stanford's student radio station, KZSU, will not be allowed to broadcast from the Pentagon for national security reasons.