User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Horses
Soccer
Golf
Auto
More
Betting Tools

 
Shaw: Stanford's renaissance has only just begun

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - As David Shaw addressed his Stanford players for the final time this season, a sense of sadness started to circulate around the room.

Advertisement
No more games. No more trophy celebrations. No more upsets, comebacks or any of the other thrilling moments that took place during the most sensational season in 40 years on The Farm.

``It was almost like, `Gosh, we want to play another game,''' Shaw said. ``These guys were such a joy to be with. We almost didn't want the season to end. Even though it ended in the Rose Bowl and everyone was really excited, it was almost like, `Man, we need to play again.'''

After a Pac-12 Conference title and the program's first Rose Bowl victory since the Nixon Administration, Stanford's players simply can't wait to take the field again - and their sights may be set even higher next season.

The Cardinal are in far better shape than last January, when Andrew Luck left to become the NFL's No. 1 overall draft pick and several other starters departed along with the record-setting quarterback. But instead of taking a step back, Stanford sprung forward, finally toppling Oregon and coming within a victory - or a disputed replay - at Notre Dame from perhaps supplanting the Fighting Irish in Monday night's BCS championship game against Alabama.

Kevin Hogan is solidified at quarterback, and most of the Pac-12's top defense will return. Shaw, winner of two straight conference coach of the year awards, also turned down the NFL to sign a ``long-term'' deal at Stanford in December - though that didn't stop a few NFL teams from inquiring about his services anyway.

``There have been conversations,'' Shaw said, speaking by phone before heading back on the recruiting trail this week. ``But I think they all understand now that that's the reason we signed the contract when we did, to keep me out of that speculation to let people know I'm going to be at Stanford.''

The Cardinal have so much depth that Shaw expects to add only ``10 to 12'' recruits on signing day Feb. 6. Even a preseason ranking in the top five of The Associated Press poll is possible.

``We're not going to lose a lot of guys,'' Shaw said. ``We're bringing back a whole lot of guys.''

Middle linebacker Chase Thomas will leave the biggest hole on defense, though the Cardinal had such a legion of linebackers, playing time proved to be the only real problem at the position this season. Leading tackler Shayne Skov wrote on Twitter on Saturday that he will be back as a fifth-year senior, as expected, after defensive lineman Ben Gardner tweeted he'd return.

Running back Stepfan Taylor is set to graduate, and so is wide receiver and punt returner Drew Terrell. Tight ends Zach Ertz - who could be the top player taken at his position - and Levine Toilolo appear likely to forego their final year of eligibility for the NFL draft.

But there are several freshmen from what the program considered the best recruiting class in Stanford history who didn't play, or played sparingly, and could emerge quickly. Among those is running back Barry J. Sanders, who spurned his Hall of Fame father's alma mater at Oklahoma State to make his own mark out West, but injured his ankle in the fall and ended up redshirting.

With a doubt, though, Stanford is more settled on offense heading into next season because quarterback is no longer an issue. The strong-armed and quick-footed Hogan finished 5-0 - including beating four ranked teams en route to the Rose Bowl - since replacing Josh Nunes. He impressed so much that the only question now is how good he can be in his redshirt sophomore season.

``Is he going to be able to make that next step from an athletic kid to a true, legitimate threat as a passer and as a runner? Will he be a complete quarterback this year? We'll see,'' Shaw said. ``We know he has the ability to. Can he make that jump?''

The only other concern Shaw has is guarding against complacency.

Shaw received more than 250-plus text messages, emails and voicemails - and a hug from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice - since Tuesday's victory in Pasadena. He called the response overwhelming, though in some ways it also was a bit unsettling.

For so long, Shaw heard so many consider the Rose Bowl ``out of reach'' for the rigorous academics university. Now that the Cardinal have accomplished the one goal Shaw sets every season, he doesn't want everybody celebrating the accomplishment too much.

After all, there are more games to be won, more trophies to hoist and perhaps even one more milestone to reach before Stanford could be considered a powerhouse to those who recognize only one accomplishment: a national title.

``Will coaches have to crack the whip to get guys motivated, or will we continue to be motivated even though we did win the Rose Bowl? Can we continue to push ourselves through success?'' Shaw said. ``We'll find out.''

---

Follow Antonio Gonzalez at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Edwards: Golson heads to FSU
SEC agenda includes transfers, camps
UConn, Syracuse to renew rivalry
Siants sign top pick Andrus Peat
Haskell Indian Nations halting football
Liberty Bowl set for Jan. 2 this season
Golson gets chance to replace Winston
Nebraska DB fined for possession
Franklin says satellite planted by others
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2014 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Michael Black + 2299
Dave Cokin + 2207
Kevin Rogers + 1254
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Brian Edwards + 303
ASA + 300
Jimmy Boyd + 290
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Dave Cokin 61 %
Michael Black 57 %
Stephen Nover 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 1235
Jimmy Boyd + 765
Michael Black + 440
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 1498
Stephen Nover + 1332
Tony Stoffo + 1087
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Dave Cokin + 1895
Kevin Rogers + 1135
Kyle Hunter + 405
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy Sager Bomb