PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Stanford head coach David Shaw continues to hit the refresh button on his email, and as of Tuesday morning, nothing.
He’s looking for a response from the Pac-12 on a play in the first quarter of Stanford’s win over Arizona on Sept. 17. It was a 20-yard reception by tight end Coby Fleener that ended with a punch-drunk Fleener stumbling off the field. The tight end made the catch, but was suffering from concussion-like symptoms and missed the remainder of the game following the hit by cornerback Trevin Wade.
“I’m waiting to see because it’s a hot button issue in all levels of football and it looked like a dangerous play,” Shaw said.
Fleener was cleared to play the next day, and Shaw said that Fleener was kept out of the game as a precaution. Shaw isn’t looking for any sort of resolution. But rather to know what’s in the mind of officials so he can better coach his team.
“[The Pac-12] gets overloaded because every single coach in America thinks that every single call that went against them is awful and they send them all in,” Shaw said. “… Nothing is going to be done retrospectively. It’s just going forward and getting [the thoughts] of the officials -- here’s what was called, here’s what should have been called. This was the right call because of x,y,z and make sure we’re on the right page. It’s looking forward so we know how to coach our players. This is what the official said about our play … it’s always good to get that feedback so we know how to train our guys.”
Shaw doesn’t expect his team to lose any momentum from the early bye week: “We get to catch a deep breath and then back to the grind. It’s a good thing because we’ve been going at a pretty good clip. Three to four days off is not going to make us rusty.”
NO NEWS ON LYONS
Shaw said it will still be a few weeks before he makes a decision on freshman cornerback Wayne Lyons, who remains sidelined with a foot injury: “He’s still in a boot. Once he comes out of the boot and starts his run progression, it’s still going to be a few weeks away before we know if he can or can’t come back.”
Just because A.J. Tarpley and Jarek Lancaster are now in the regular rotation at starting linebacker, it doesn’t mean they can take a breather from their special-teams responsibilities: “If one is more on defense, the other can pick up on special teams and vice-versa. Neither will be taken off because they are so good at it. Shayne [Skov] played special teams. That’s what’s expected.”
FILM OR FUN?
For the players, a day off watching football wasn’t as fun as they expected. Too often, they found themselves treating what should be a recreational activity like watching game film.
“All of the offensive linemen are like, ‘Oh great set by the right tackle,’” joked quarterback Andrew Luck. “Watching the defense, those guys are like, ‘Oh, way to set the edge.’ It’s not fun. But we’re drawn to it.”
Saturday’s game against UCLA should be the “What Could Have Been,” bowl. Stanford often competes with UCLA for recruits. And tight end Zach Ertz and tackle Jonathan Martin almost went to UCLA. Likewise, the Cardinal were pursuing UCLA quarterback Richard Brehaut fairly hard.
During the bye week, the Cardinal moved up to No. 4 in the coaches poll, but down to No. 6 in the Associated Press poll. Shaw, who has a vote in the coaches poll, said he kept the Cardinal at No. 5
“I didn’t even notice,” he said.