Shaw succeeding in shadows


Shaw succeeding in shadows

Theres been no jarring chord changes, no dissonant notes. David Shaw blends right in, like soothing background music.

Like Sade perhaps, Shaws pregame listening of choice.

As Stanford readies for its biggest game of the year on Saturday evening against Oregon, the focus is on Andrew Luck. Of course. Stanfords Heisman trophy candidate is the face and personality of the team.

And when the focus isnt on Luck, its on Shaws predecessor, Jim Harbaugh. Just down the road and performing the kind of alchemy on the 49ers that he worked at Stanford, Harbaughs presence still looms over the Cardinal program.
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Where the focus is definitely not is on Shaw, who is working in the shadows. But Shaw is making a bid to become just the third rookie head coach to win a national title, in his first year as Harbaughs successor.

Easy right? Taking over an established program and just letting it roll along on autopilot. But thats totally discounting what Shaw has done.

Hes become the George Seifert of the college game -- taking over from a superstar coach, the beneficiary of a great quarterback, but having the huge responsibility of keeping the program on track. Screw it up and youre ruined forever. Keep it going and you get no credit.

When Harbaugh left he not only took his oversized personality to the 49ers he also took Stanfords offensive and defensive coordinators. He left behind a program with high expectations, the most high profile player in the country and a culture that hasnt exactly cultivated big-time college football (and can we just say, during this week of Penn State horrors, hooray for that?).

It could have all gone very wrong in the hands of the wrong coach, say a Buddy Teevens or a Walt Harris.
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But Shaw -- to quote his favorite entertainer - is a smooth operator. Hes made the transition seamless. Hes felt no need to assert his own ego. He doesnt mind the shadows. Doesnt mind the BCS politics. Doesnt ask what anyones deal is. Doesnt appear to have an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. Isnt the constant subject of speculation about what his next job will be.

He just wants to win, and thats what hes been doing. The Cardinal has won 17 straight games, the longest winning streak in the nation. The last loss was to Oregon -- in Eugene -- on Oct. 2, 2010.

Shaws approach is one of balance and perspective. So on the eve of the biggest game hes coached to date, dont expect Shaw to be any different.

I personally dont change, he said Tuesday. If something funny happens in practice, I laugh. If something happens that I dont like, I address it.

Though he seems as laid back as a mellow jazz station, Shaws players have let it be known that hes quick to get on them. And he has their back. On Tuesday he sharply defended Luck against Phil Simms contrarian blather that Luck isnt making NFL throws.

He hasnt been looking closely enough, Shaw said. To say he cant make NFL throws is comical.

Shaw doesnt feel the need to rail against the injustices of the BCS -- thats not really the Stanford way (though it would be the Stanford way if an computer engineering major could figure out how to hack the BCS computers).

TOMPKINS: Ducks-Cardinal promises a shootout

It has absolutely no bearing on what happens on Saturdays, Shaw said. The BCS matters when all the regular season and conference championship games are over. Up until then, its a TV show. An entertaining TV showThey can put us at No. 3, they can put us at 2, they can put us at 10. Weve still got to play Oregon.

The hype will be enormous Saturday. The nations football focus (different than the nations scandal focus) will be on the Stanford campus.

But Shaw will keep it in perspective. Hes got two things going for him: hes the son of a coach so game day has been a lifelong reality not just a hyped up product. And hes a Stanford product so a sense of balance is ingrained in his nature.

This campus does a great job of keeping your perspective, Shaw said. He talked of the businesses that are being created on campus. He spoke of one doctor he talked to who is working on a cure for rare disease.

Stanford-Oregon is not high on his list, Shaw said with a laugh.

The focus is on Stanford this week. But Shaw will still find a way to step out of the spotlight.

A Warriors fantasy 13-man team from the past


A Warriors fantasy 13-man team from the past

Stephen Curry is a two time MVP. Kevin Durant is a one-time MVP and four-time scoring champ. Draymond Green is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Klay Thompson, owner of the game’s most picturesque jumper, once scored 60 points in 29 minutes.

The Warriors not only have reached the playoffs in five consecutive seasons for the first time since moving to California in 1962 but also own the single-season wins record and have won two championships over the last three seasons.

All of which explains why fans, athletes and coaches following the NBA tend to shower them with praise. They respect the coaching staff, are impressed with the front office and envy the roster.

Longtime fans know this is a completely new feeling. They recall so many past Warriors teams with sardonic fondness because, well, the bad old days in the Bay were a local joke.

As the team’s play-by-play man since 1995, Tim Roye remembers those days, and we discussed them on this week’s Warriors Insider Podcast. Specifically, I asked Roye to name his personal 13-man roster generated from Warriors between his arrival in ’95 and the drafting of Stephen Curry in 2009.

Roye’s draft picks, along with many of his other observations, are available on the podcast. Mine, which were not given on the podcast, are available here.


In alphabetical order: Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Monta Ellis, Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, Jason Richardson and Latrell Sprewell.

Arenas, taken in the second round of the 2001 draft, quickly became a local sensation. He was here for only two seasons and, despite the pleas of local fans, left for big money as a free agent. At his best, his scoring skill was unsurpassed.

Davis, stolen in a 2005 trade with Charlotte, gave the Warriors a much-needed shot of credibility the minute he walked through the door. Following a lot of bad Warriors deals, BD was the best player trade acquisition since Bernard King in 1980.

Ellis, selected sfrom a Mississippi high school in the second round of the 2005 draft, came to California as a shy teenager and eventually blossomed into electricity in sneakers. He was a wonderful scorer with crazy quicks and a deadly midrange J.

Hardaway, drafted out of UTEP in the first round, 14th overall in 1989, was the original crossover king, except he referred to it as the UTEP two-step. Difficult to contain and utterly fearless, he is a Hall of Famer in waiting.

Mullin, drafted out of St. John’s in the first round, seventh overall in 1985, Mullin was a fabulous shooter and a deft passer who became a five-time All-Star as a Warrior. His Hall of Fame ticket was punched in 2011.

Richardson, drafted from Michigan State in the first round, fifth overall in 2001, quickly became the team’s most exciting player. That he won the dunk contest as a rookie, and again the next season, provided a rare thrill for local fans.

Sprewell, drafted 24th overall out of Alabama in 1992, was popular until he jumped coach P.J. Carlesimo and was suspended and shipped out of town in 1997. Over a 19-year stretch ending in 2013, he was the team’s only All-Star. He made it three times.


In alphabetical order: Andris Biedrins, Antawn Jamison, Stephen Jackson, Troy Murphy, Joe Smith.

Selected in the first round, 11th overall, in 2004, Biedrins was only 18 when he came to America. He had good hands, rebounded well and was developing into a solid center before he fell victim to confidence issues and the trappings of the good life.

Jamison, selected in a bizarre draft-day deal in 1998, was the best player on some wretched teams. A good rebounder and scorer -- he once had back-to-back 50-point games -- the power forward became an All-Star after he left the Warriors in 2003.

Jackson was picked up in a January 2007 trade with Indiana and it didn’t take long to see his value at both ends. The small forward who could play big makes this team for one primary reason: He stole Dirk Nowitzki’s soul in the 2007 playoffs.

Murphy was the second of two first-round picks in 2001, 14th overall. He wasn’t particularly athletic but he was an effective rebounder and a good shooter. He’d be a stretch-big, somewhere between Ryan Anderson and Mo Speights.

Smith was the team’s most recent No. 1 overall pick, in 1995. A natural power forward, he was named to the All-Rookie first team and was even better the next season. He faded in his third season, was traded and never reached full potential.


Jamal Crawford. Easy call. A Warriors for only 54 games in 2008-09, that was plenty to see the three-time Sixth Man of the Year could deliver instant offense like few others.

Is it a great team? No. But it’s a playoff team. We needed 13 seasons of history, which feels like cheating until you consider the franchise went more than 10 years, from November 1994 to March 2005, without anyone honored so much as Player of the Week.

John Lynch impressed with how Carlos Hyde is 'behaving and playing'


John Lynch impressed with how Carlos Hyde is 'behaving and playing'

Running back Carlos Hyde has proven to be a good fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system.

And the man in charge of stocking the 49ers roster has taken notice of what Hyde has done on and off the field.

General manager John Lynch entered the playing field more than two weeks ago to greet Hyde with enthusiasm after Hyde was ejected for his tussle with Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Frostee Rucker.

Hyde got involved during the scuffle that ensued after Cardinals safety Antoine Beathea delivered an illegal hit on 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard as he was sliding.

“I was proud of Carlos because he fought for his teammate. He had his teammate’s back,” Lynch said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

Sticking up for teammates was a lesson Steve Young and Jerry Rice imparted on the current team when they spoke to the team during training camp in August, Lynch said.

“That’s what I saw from Carlos,” Lynch said. “He got sick and tired of the refs not doing anything about our quarterback getting hit in the head. He finally had enough. I think at some point – particularly when you’re trying to build something – someone’s got to stand up and say, ‘No, we’re not having it. We’re not going to pushed around any more.’

“And did my emotions get the best of me? Maybe. But I was proud of Carlos, and not because he was kicked out of a game, because of the reason why. Because he had his teammate’s back. And I wanted to let him know that. I appreciated that.”

Hyde, whose contract is set to expire after the season, ranks 11th in the NFL with 592 yards rushing while averaging 4.2 yards per rushing attempt. He is sixth among running backs in the leauge with a 49ers-leading 42 receptions for 274 yards.

“Carlos has been fun to watch this year,” Lynch said. “He’s made a big-time commitment to the way we’re asking him to do things -- the way (running backs coach) Bobby Turner and Kyle are asking him to do things. He’s walking around the building with a smile. He’s enjoying playing football. You have to if you're going to have success in this game. We’re really pleased with the way Carlos is both behaving and playing.”