Tuesday marks the weekly Pac-12 football coaches conference call. Stanford’s David Shaw was just on and talked about a few things in relation to Thursday’s game at UW:
— The game will be the first on the road for junior quarterback Josh Nunes, and his ability to handle that will be an obvious storyline. But Shaw said Nunes’ ability to handle the road is not something he’s overly worried about.
“It’s about executing,” Shaw said. “We’ve talked a lot about handling the noise and I think he is prepared for that. We don’t want him to do anything other than what he has shown in practice, which is to orchestrate the offense and find the open receiver.”
— Shaw also noted that the team has put a little more on Nunes’ plate with each game and that Nunes has shown “steady improvement in each game. … We were very conservative with him in the beginning, in the first game of the season. In the second game there were some more opportunities to make some plays down the field and he did that well, and in the third game, at the first hint of trouble, he bounced back great and showed the fact that he doesn’t dwell on good plays or bad plays and came back and made some great plays in the second half. … We’re getting to the point now where we want to see if he can play a complete game at a high level, which we know he is capable of. He is practicing great, too … ”
He said of Nunes’ ability to handle the spotlight that “I didn’t have a question about it. He is just an even-keeled guy. You don’t see him get overly emotional. He’s never too high or too low, so we all figured he would handle it well.”
— Shaw said the bye week came at a good time for the Cardinal and that Stanford was “able to rest some guys. We had some guys bruised up from that (USC) game and guys were able to get back and get back 100 percent healthy and we were able to work on some things we didn’t do quite as well as we hoped in the first three games. And it came at a good time with school starting this week and guys getting prepared for school.”
— Shaw said a goal for this game, and every game, is to prevent negative plays on offense. “One of our big mottoes since we have been here is positive yards on every play,” he said. “We don’t want negative runs. we don’t want sacks. We don’t want him (Nunes) holding the ball. The quarterback’s job is to get rid of the ball and not take sacks, so not having negative runs and not having sacks is a big part of what we do.”
— He also said the team will stick with its strategy of rotating 8-9 offensive linemen. He said the team played nine the first two games and eight against USC (when the one who didn’t play was true frosh guard Josh Garnett of Puyallup, who is expected to be back in the rotation for UW).