Coaching staff intact, David Shaw and Stanford set to bounce back from tough 2021

Head coach David Shaw realized what a segment of Stanford fans wanted him to do after the Cardinal finished last season on a seven-game losing streak to finish 3-9 and last in the league. Pac-12 North.

These fans expected turnover from Shaw’s coaching staff. Shaw, however, chose stability and consistency.

Says Shaw: “Common sense to me is if you have great staff and you’re having a bad year, why change staff just because the results” weren’t what you were looking for?

He described his assistant coaches as “experts at what they do, and we work really well together. That should be the base – not because we have to serve disappointed fans.

That doesn’t mean Stanford fans attending the season opener at home against Colgate on Saturday won’t see any difference in the Cardinal. Shaw and defensive coordinator Lance Anderson improved Stanford’s base defense from 3-4 to 4-3.

On offense, Shaw and coordinator Tavita Pritchard believe a smaller playbook will lead to more production.

“We were doing too much, we were doing too many things,” Shaw said, adding that he and Pritchard “cut back on what we do so we can be great at what we do. … We are a more targeted attack and we will do that week by week.

Tanner McKee returns for his second season as the Cardinal’s starting quarterback. McKee, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound junior, has the luxury of working with seven of the team’s top eight pass catchers last season, including tight end Benjamin Yurosek (42 receptions, 653 yards).

Who: Colgate at Stanford

When: 5 p.m.

Where: Stanford Stadium

TV/Radio: Pac-12/1050 Bay Area


Fifth-year senior wide receiver Brycen Tremayne is back. He had five touchdown receptions in the Cardinal’s first five games last year before his season ended in Game 5 with a frightening leg injury.

“It was a really, really tough, awful injury,” Shaw said, “and he never hesitated whether he was better off coming back or not. It’s just great to see him go everyday. out there and run and catch and do all those things that he’s able to do.

Stanford’s opponents were able to run and catch quite easily last season. The Cardinal ranked last in the Pac-12 in points allowed per game (32.4) and yards allowed per game (451.2). In its last four losses — to Utah, Oregon State, Cal and Notre Dame — Stanford has given up an average of 43.2 points and 550.5 yards.

Shaw said defensive line development ranks among his top concerns, but he has very high hopes for David Bailey. He will play the “Edge” position, a defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid. Bailey is the only freshman Stanford lists as a starter on offensive, defensive or special teams.

“Most coaches, myself included, are really, really slow to praise — especially publicly — a freshman,” Shaw said. “I have no problem praising David. … He’s strong. He’s physical. He’s explosive.

The Cardinal doesn’t think he has much trouble with Colgate, an FCS school in Hamilton, NY

“It’s a cultural game. It’s a character game,” Stanford linebacker Ricky Miezan said. “Just because they’re Colgate doesn’t mean our preparation changes. changes vis-à-vis the game. … The most important thing for us is just to make sure that we don’t prepare for this game differently (than) we would (for) USC.

The Cardinal’s next match is against the Trojans. Stanford beat USC 42-28 in Los Angeles last year.

In Shaw’s first eight seasons (2011-18) as the Cardinal’s head coach, Stanford and Oregon could lay claim to being the preeminent Pac-12 program. During that streak, the Cardinal went 82-26, had five double-digit seasons and won three conference titles.

That long streak of success likely played a part in Shaw keeping his staff intact after last year’s season-ending slip-up.

“If we feel we have the right coaches, then we keep them,” Shaw said. ” That’s what happened. I think some people wanted other things to happen, but I never worried about what other people want. I’ve always tried to do what I think is right.

Briefly: On Friday morning, Stanford announced that starting guard Branson Bragg will miss the Colgate game and possibly the USC game as well due to an undisclosed injury. Junior Levi Rogers will make his first college start on Saturday in place of Bragg. Senior offensive lineman Barrett Miller, who started every game last season, is expected to play in a reserve role.

Steve Kroner is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]: @SteveKronerSF