SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With holes to fill on the offensive line next year, Stanford head coach David Shaw said he hasn’t given much thought yet about whether David Yankey will stay at guard and whether Cameron Fleming will move from right tackle to left.
The duo makes up two of three first-year starters on the offensive line this season, along with center Sam Schwartzstein. Left tackle Jonathan Martin and guard David DeCastro are off to the NFL -- both presumably in the first round of the draft -- so again, Stanford will be looking to plug some gaps.
“[Yankey has] done so well at guard, it’s hard to envision moving him as opposed to developing another tackle, and we have a couple of candidates on campus, and hopefully on signing day we’ll have a couple more,” Shaw said. “[Fleming] has done so well where he is. An O-line coach told me a long time ago once you move a guy who is secure where he is you create two problems. Now you have to get him comfortable with his new position and develop somebody for his old position as opposed to leaving him where he is and letting him continue to have success and developing one guy at one position.”
Try as he might, Shaw has been striking out at trying to get quarterback Andrew Luck to bypass the NFL for yet another year and stay on board with the Cardinal through next season.
“I rode back from practice yesterday [Saturday] on the bus with him, and the entire time we're talking, I'm trying to find a way, OK, what can I say that will entice him to come back one more year? I couldn't think of anything and it wouldn't have worked anyway.
“It has been an unbelievable four years with him. And I say four. Even the year he didn't play was phenomenal, just to be around him and watch him systematically figure out what this college football thing was about as a true freshman and get ready to play lights out as a sophomore.”
MORE MULLET FALLOUT
You’ve heard the player’s reaction to the new (improved?) clean-cut Ben Gardner, who recently ditched his trademark mullet. Back in October, Gardner talked about the genesis of the mullet and the reaction from opposing fans, including a classic WSU story.
Now Shaw is tackling this hairy issue.
“I told him three weeks ago that I liked it,” Shaw said. “When he first did it, it grew on me. It’s one of those things I can’t do, so I appreciate when someone has the ability and courage to do it. I’m sad to see it go.”
PLAYING IT NEUTRAL
Robert Shelton, the executive director of the Fiesta Bowl, is a 1970 Stanford graduate. He said he’s doing his best this week not to let his alumnus ties interfere with bowl business.
“As an alum, of course, I’m biased,” Shelton said. “But I’m strictly neutral for this game and this week. I can’t vouch for my wife and kids who are all Stanford grads … it hasn’t been too hard. We also do the Insight Bowl, so there is so much going on I haven’t had too much time to think about [it]. We’ll see what happens though on game day.”