Stanford head coach David Shaw is on the campaign trail again.
In a pair of national news conferences on Tuesday, Shaw picked up where he left off after an impassioned plea last week -- once again calling quarterback Andrew Luck the best player in the country and styling him as the "ideal" football player.
"Andrew Luck is the best player in the nation," Shaw reiterated. "Take whatever you want from that. If you want to go on stats, great, whatever. That's fine. People that know football, people that watch football, people that study football ... on the quarterback wish list, every single check mark is a plus. He's the only guy I've seen that has everything. Mobility, intellect, leadership, toughness, arm strength, quick release, decisive, scrambles, great in the pocket and out of the pocket.
" ... To say that Andrew is just a quarterback I think is misleading. Andrew doesn't go to the line of scrimmage, do a double count, then look to the sideline and get what play they should run. He does it all at the line of scrimmage. He's not a running back that runs good behind a good line. He's not just a receiver that goes out there and runs the plays that are called. This guy is at the line of scrimmage deciding which plays we should run."
After his national teleconference, he prepared a slide show for local media that was also streaming over the Internet to illustrate his points. He showed a very small portion of his call sheet and spit out a typical play call:
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"There are three play calls in there," Shaw explained. "He calls that in the huddle, then decides which of those plays to get us to. If none of those plays are good against the look that he sees, he audibles and gets us to a fourth play that he calls at the line. In my nine years in the NFL, I never scouted a guy, never heard of a guy that did this much at the line of scrimmage."
He cited stats -- the fact that Stanford leads the nation in fewest negative plays and credited that to Luck's ability to read the defense and call the right play and formation. He pointed to Luck in the red zone this season -- 26 touchdowns and zero interceptions, noting that Stanford leads the nation in red zone production because of Luck. He referenced that Luck is the only quarterback in college football history to go 3-0 against USC and Notre Dame in his career.
And then he singled out Stanford's 65-21 win over then-No. 22 Washington -- where the Cardinal ran for a school record 446 yards. Luck was 16-of-21 for 169 yards with two touchdown passes, his lowest passing total of the season. As Luck came off the field, Shaw apologized for not getting him more passing yards.
"He said 'Coach, I don't care about that. But I think I just played my best game,'" Shaw said. "His mentality isn't let me do what I can to promote myself and get more highlights on 'SportsCenter.' His mentality is, I want to be a great football player and I want to put my team in the best position to win games. And he did it the entire game, getting us to the exact right run call every single play. He said 'Coach, I saw it all. I knew what they were going to. I knew the fronts. I knew which plays to go to versus which looks and he was great the entire day. That's the mentality of a great football player."
Shaw said his plan all along was to talk about Luck during this period. With the dead time between Stanford's next bowl game and no opponent to speak of, he said this would be the week to talk up his guy.
When asked why a "traditional" campaign hadn't been run for Luck all year, he said Luck's actions speak for themselves.
"The campaign for Andrew Luck started the day he decided to come back," Shaw said. "That didn't come from us. That came from the press. That came from the nation. Here's a guy that is the face of college football for the entire offseason. He's the face of college football when there is scandal and upheaval. He was the one positive story for the entire offseason. He was the one mainstay on 'SportsCenter' and all of the big magazines. He's the one guy that has not disappointed.
"He is the most scrutinized player in college football this year. From everything he does to what he does on campus to his classes. Here's a guy that still comes through. Has a phenomenal year. Throws for 3,000 yards. Throws for a bunch of touchdowns and leads us to an 11-1 record ... everything he does is as well or better than anybody I've seen. He's that good. None of it had to be fabricated. It's just who he is."