David Shaw's NFL mentality

Stanford coach David Shaw had some interesting things to say to ESPN's Colin Cowherd in this podcast, which is definitely worth a listen.

Suffice it to say, Cowherd is a fan. He opens by noting that, unlike the SEC coaches who traveled with an entourage into the ESPN studios last week, Shaw just walks in solo.

"We travel light," Shaw explains.

Shaw talks about a variety of topics and issues, from his team to former Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh, to a good anecdote about Andrew Luck.

Cowherd is interested in the idea of an elite academic institution winning consistently at a high level. Said Shaw, "The smart guys win games. The guys who don't make mistakes."

I will admit Cowherd falls into one of my minor pet peeves comparing Stanford to other good academic schools doing well in football, such as Vanderbilt and Northwestern. Those are very nice schools, but they aren't Stanford. Each and every student at Northwestern or Vanderbilt would break into a full sprint out the door if Stanford offered admission.

And, of course, Stanford has gone 2-1 while playing three consecutive BCS bowl games, and is just a missed short field goal away from being 3-0. No other elite academic school even approaches that distinguished résumé.

Part of Shaw's selling point, however, isn't college and a Stanford diploma. His program is sending guys to the NFL at a very high rate.

"We approach everything with an NFL mentality," he said.

Further, Shaw isn't going anywhere. Consider this from Ivan Maisel's Pac-12-centric 3-point stance this week:

David Shaw, the head coach of defending Pac-12 champion Stanford, has avoided being seduced by praise for starting out 23-4. Shaw maintains that he returned to his alma mater with the intention to build a program over 20 years. In an age when coaches job-hop and the pressure to win can be excruciating, Shaw’s plan is so old-fashioned it’s almost quaint. It’s too soon to gauge history. But if Shaw stays and keeps winning, his hiring will be the example that every athletic director will try to emulate.

Stanford fans who can remember the years of struggle, and we're not just talking the Buddy Teevens and Walt Harris tenures, probably are still amazed by this recent run of success. That might wear off, though. It is threatening to become a long-term standard.