Sports

Shaw's Stanford coaching start comparable to Pop Warner

 

In the long history of Stanford football, only Pop Warner's nine-year run as coach, between 1924-32, compares favorably to David Shaw's current run.

Warner was 37-8-3 over his first 48 games, while Shaw checks in at 38-10 heading into Saturday's 12:30 p.m. Pac-12 game against visiting Oregon State.

Warner won three conference championships -- one was shared -- in his first four years. Shaw has a chance to match that record this year despite Stanford's 26-10 loss at Arizona State last Saturday night.

There are only two coaches in Cardinal history to have won more than 10 games in a season: Shaw and his predecessor Jim Harbaugh.

Warner was the first Stanford coach to win 10 games in a season and only Clark Shaughnessy and Bill Walsh matched that productivity until 2010.

Shaw has won at least 11 games in each of his first three seasons and the Cardinal (4-3 overall, 2-2 Pac-12) will need to win out to get to 11 again this year.

Stanford appears to be headed to its sixth consecutive winning season, the longest such streak since an 11-year run ended following the 1978 season.

Despite all the success, Shaw has come under scrutiny with the team's third loss (all to teams ranked among the top 25) in seven games.

"Fans will jump on and off the bandwagon and that's fine," Shaw said on Tuesday. "At this stage of the season we should be better than we are. Nobody out there, anywhere, cares more about this football team than I do."

Shaw just happens to be experiencing the worst start of his career and that's saying something. He didn't lose three games in a year until losing to Michigan State in last year's Rose Bowl and that was the 14th game of the season.

Stanford has been outscored, 56-34, in its three losses, an average score of 18.7 to 11.3.

If not for 10 fumbles, four interceptions, five missed field goals and 46 penalties for a loss of 404 yards, things would be looking rosier for the Cardinal.

"Our defense has played well enough for us to win every single game," Shaw said. "Offensively it's how we put guys in position. I have to utilize our personnel better, I just have to."

The oddity is that Stanford has a significant advantage offensively, averaging nearly 375 yards to its opponents' 255 and even outscoring them by an average of 24-12.

"We've seen these guys make plays," Shaw said. "There is no reason we can't continue that throughout the game. When they are in position, they make plays."

The running game has been effective but spotty. Remound Wright, Barry Sanders and Kelsey Young all average five yards a carry or better.

"We haven't been perfect up front but we've gotten better," Shaw said. "We're still not where we want to be."

The offensive line, with four new offensive linemen, has been called for a plethora of 5-yard penalties that has hindered forward movement but they're not the only culprits.

Stanford has been caught holding, chop blocking and pass interference at inopportune times.

"We go back to work and try to solve our problems," Shaw said. "We have to find where all the positive things come together."

NOTES: Wide receiver Devon Cajuste has been cleared to play. He missed last week's loss and was questionable until Wednesday . . . Blake Martinez leads the Cardinal with 55 tackles, which included his first sack of the season against the Sun Devils . . . Peter Kalambayi leads with 4 1/2 sacks, while Palo Alto grad Kevin Anderson has been credited with 3 1/2 sacks . . . Stanford is 9-0 following a loss under Shaw . . . Stanford ranks second nationally in scoring defense (12.3), second in total defense (254.9) and third in passing defense (153.0) . . . The Cardinal has win four straight against Oregon State and five of six.

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