GJB: What is the perception of David Shaw after losing two games in a row?
GMC: I’m not sure there’s anything David Shaw could do at this point to jeopardize my faith in him. For me, there’s no other coach in America that I’d want leading my school’s football team, both for what he’s achieved on the field as well as his presence as the face of the program.
But naturally there are others who think differently. He’s drawn plenty of criticism during this two-game slide, but it’s nothing we haven’t heard before. Many fans want a wide open offense similar to what see around the rest of the country, even though this is the same offense that’s taken the team to three Rose Bowls in the past five years, and they want more aggressive play calling.
Last week he kicked a field goal on 4th and less-than-a-yard. He’s also seen as stubborn, not just in his refusal to change the offense, but in his reluctance to make a change at quarterback.
There are definitely unhappy people out there and the numbers are growing, but it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. David Shaw is probably the safest coach in America, just as safe as Nick Saban.
GJB: Who is a player on offense and defense that is flying under the radar that UCLA should worry about?
GMC: I’ll go for two players on offense. First is left tackle Walker Little, a true freshman and along with Foster Sarell one of two elite linemen in Stanford’s 2017 recruiting class. Most services had the two of them as the top two linemen in the country, and Little was ranked the top overall recruit in a few places. Little took over at left tackle last week after getting significant playing time in the first two games, and it will be interesting to watch his development. He’ll be pretty good this year, and dominant in years to come.
The other player to watch on the offense is another true freshman, wide receiver Connor Wedington. How excited are the Cardinal coaches about him? They gave him McCaffrey’s #5. He’s currently Stanford’s leading receiver, but he’s just scratching the surface of his potential. On defense, I suppose you can watch for linebacker Peter Kalambayi. He’s at his best when he’s using his speed to rush the quarterback, so he could be the single most important player in Stanford’s efforts to slow down Josh Rosen.
Thank you to Hank Waddles for once again chatting with us about UCLA-Stanford. Check out his work at GoMightyCard.com.