In his first two seasons as Stanford coach, Shaw has been Pac-12 Coach of the Year—twice. With his team assured of another winning record, the former Cardinal receiver has shown his success was not just Luck.
DAN PATRICK:What's your favorite Andrew Luck story?
DAVID SHAW: There's a game we played against Washington in which we set the school record for rushing yards. Andrew threw for 100-and-something yards. I said to him, "Sorry, we ran the ball a bunch." He said, "Coach, I just had my best game." I was like, What are you talking about? He said, "I saw everything. I got us to all the right run checks. I feel like it was a flawless game." He doesn't care about stats. He loves being part of the team.
DP:Is Luck a nerd?
DS: Absolutely, and I love that about him. When people meet him they laugh at that about him because he's not just about football 24/7. He can nerd out on World Cup soccer for hours.
DP:What about the great read-option quarterbacks like Marcus Mariota. Do we underestimate their ability to pass?
DS: I said it last year, I thought Marcus was the best quarterback in the nation.
DP:Better than Johnny Manziel?
DS: Marcus Mariota can play in any style of offense. He can play in our offense. He can play in [the Oregon] offense. He can be dynamic as a runner. He can also stay in the pocket and throw the ball everywhere.
DP:Would Manziel drive you crazy?
DS: On a different level, I coached Rich Gannon, who was a great athlete. When you coach a guy like that, sometimes you don't know where the ball is going to go, but you know he'll find a way to get it there. You give him rules, but you give him leeway.
DP:Can you say Stanford's offense is old school?
DS: It's almost archaic. We're dinosaurs because we have a fullback and a tight end, let alone multiple fullbacks and multiple tight ends. But we like it.
DP:I saw John Elway on the sideline at a game. Is that intimidating?
DS: John is awesome. John and I have gotten to know each other these last few years. John loves our style of football because it looks like the style of football he played.
DP:He never made a bowl game.
DS: I believe they turned down a bowl game. It's a long story.
DP:Was that after the band was on the field?
DS: I believe that was it.
DP:Does that game come up in conversation in Palo Alto or is it taboo?
DS: Rarely. It still comes up periodically. It's not necessarily a high point.
DP:You just need better tacklers on the band.
DS: We're trying to stock some high school linebackers on the band.
Red Sox catcher David Ross isn't exactly a memorabilia collector. What did he do with the ball from the final out of the World Series? He simply stuck it in his locker. "I don't care whose ball it is and how all that works," Ross told me. "I just wasn't going to hand it to some stranger or toss it in the crowd."... Orioles manager Buck Showalter explained why he would intentionally walk a hitter like David Ortiz in the World Series. "When you ask a guy to pitch around a guy and he makes a mistake, whose fault is it?" Showalter told me. "It's shuffling all the onus onto the pitcher."... ESPN's Sage Steele, who started hosting NBA Countdown on Nov. 1, explained that frequent red-eye flights are a challenge. "[NBA deputy commissioner and COO] Adam Silver gave me some really good advice," Steele told me. "Ambien. Don't be shy with your Ambien."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
ROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SHAW)
GAIL OSKIN/GETTY IMAGES (ROSS)
PORTER BINKS FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SHOWALTER)
JOHN LAMPARSKI/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES (STEELE)