Tag Archives: Stanford

“Wrong-Score” Shaw: Stanford football coach loses mind, Rose Bowl game.

"wrong-way" Riegels

“wrong-way” Riegels

Everyone who graduates from Stanford is supposed to be smart, right? So what happened to head football coach David Shaw (a Stanford grad) on Wednesday at the Rose Bowl?

The last five minutes of that game looked more like he thought he was ahead by seven rather than behind. Did he misread the scoreboard? Not since “Wrong Way” Roy Riegels screwed up the 1929 Rose Bowl for California have football fans been left with such a head-scratcher as Stanford’s defeat at the hands of Michigan State.

A partial summary here:

Key offensive situations for Stanford in the second half repeatedly resulted in the Cardinal being stuffed at the line of scrimmage.

The first of these notable no-gains came late in the third quarter, when Stanford went for it on fourth and 3 from the Spartans’ 36 with the scored tied 17-17. With Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan working out of a shotgun, running back Tyler Gaffney took the handoff on a draw and lost three yards.

Based on the first 13 games of Stanford’s season, you could understand Shaw’s logic in wanting to ride an All-American running back who accounted for 1,618 yards. But based on the the second and third quarters Wednesday, during which Gaffney gained just 21 yards on 12 carries, giving him the ball seemed synonymous with giving Michigan State the ball.

Didn’t matter. This would become the motif of Stanford’s second half.

The Cardinal’s next drive went as follows: 2-yard run by Gaffney, negative-5-yard run by Gaffney, 2-yard run by Gaffney, punt.

After the Spartans took a 24-17 lead via a 25-yard touchdown pass from Connor Cook to Tony Lippett, the Cardinal’s next drive went like this: 5-yard run by Gaffney, 2-yard run by Gaffney, Kevin Hogan incomplete pass, punt.

On its next offensive series, Stanford finally showcased some creativity when Hogan flipped the ball to receiver Michael Rector on a reverse that netted 27 yards.

At this point, the drive stalled inside the MSU thirty yard line, fourth and four, with five minutes to play, behind by 7, and with his best running back hobbled with a sprained ankle, the running game paralyzed and his best receiver out of the game, Shaw elected to go for a field goal!!!. Thus, even if the field goal was successful, Stanford would have to stop MSU after the ensuing kickoff, and march the length of the field in whatever time remained on the clock, and score a touchdown… with his best running back hobbled with a sprained ankle, the running game paralyzed and his best receiver out of the game. In other words, Shaw had to score a touchdown. What he did by going for the field goal was refuse the opportunity to get one, and to set his already handicapped offensive team clear back at the other end of the field with very little time left, still with the need to score a touchdown.

dumb.

So what happened next? The field goal was, ultimately, successful, Stanford kicked off and forced MSU to punt. Stanford then essentially ran out out the clock, as if they were ahead, with four straight running plays, casually lining up as the time ticked away. The last run was from the jumbo formation on fourth and one, with nine MSU players bunched up to stop what they knew was coming, and they did stop fullback Ryan Hewitt for no gain.

dumb.

But Stanford fans who have watched Shaw over the last three years see this episode as nothing more than pure Shaw. Time management is poor. Decision making is slow and predictable. Personnel groups and formations tip off the plays. The offense goes into a shell after getting ahead, and hopes the other team can’t come from behind; if they do, it’s pretty much game over, because the time management is so poor. Shaw plays not to lose or be criticized. Not to win.

The running game is overrated. Yes, it works against weakling defenses, like Oregon. But this wasn’t Oregon. It was Michigan State. Even Cal did a pretty good job on the Stanford running attack, and MSU led the nation against the run.

this one didn't smell good, Coach.

this one didn’t smell good, Coach.

.dumb.

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Body language 101: Hands on hips, per California football coaches

“Cal,” he said, “should be better than this.” —Harry Edwards

Cal coaching staff "hands-on-hips" body language

Cal coaching staff demo’s the “en mass”  or “cluster” version of the “hands-on-hips” body language during a shellacking by Southern Cal, 63-28

OTL,S! surmises that the Cal coaching staff was looking to get aggressive with their own players. We are glad that didn’t happen. Well, let’s rephrase…at least it didn’t happen during the game. More on that later.

body language:

To appear bigger for fighting or courting rituals, birds will fluff their feathers, fish can expand their body size by sucking in water and cats or dogs make their fur stand on end. The hairless human, however, no longer has a thick pelt to expand to make himself look more imposing when he is fearful or angry….Modern humans, however, have invented a gesture to help them achieve a bigger physical presence – the Hands-on-Hips gesture.

California’s largely inept football team reached a historic landmark on Saturday, when they were torched by traditional rival Stanford, 63-13, allowing two touchdowns in the last 8 minutes by the Cardinal reserves. This was the most points ever allowed in the “Big Game”, and the largest margin of defeat. Cal finished the season 1-11, the single win being a squeaker against lower classification Portland State. Cal gave up 30 points or more in every game, which is some sort of record.
ship
Furthermore, Cal had just last year fired their football coach for dismal performance, and the University is up to its eyeballs in debt from an ill-advised massive upgrade of the athletic facilities. Lastly, Cal has the worst football-player graduation rate of any major school in the country.

Hands-on-Hips is used by the child arguing with its parent, the athlete waiting for his event to begin,… males who want to issue a non-verbal challenge to other males who enter their territory. In each instance the person takes the Hands-on-Hips pose and this is a universal gesture used to communicate that a person is ready for assertive action. It lets the person take up more space and has the threat value of the pointed elbows that act as weapons, preventing others from approaching or passing… It’s used everywhere and in the Philippines and Malaysia it carries the even stronger message of anger or outrage.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the data show that it is the black male athlete at Cal who is (and has been forever) exploited. In these days of multimillion dollar revenues and coaching salaries, the black football player is likely to leave Cal with nothing but memories, chronic injuries, an empty wallet and a dim future.

most black male athletes who entered Cal between 1998 and 2006 failed to graduate in six years, with just 40 percent able to do so….fewer than 2 percent of all NCAA basketball and football players are drafted by the NBA and NFL, studies show. And of those, only a small number last more than one or two years in professional sports.

Coach Dykes is promising assertive action on all fronts:

Also known as the ‘readiness’ gesture, that is, the person is ready for assertive action, its basic meaning carries a subtly aggressive attitude everywhere. It has also been called the achiever stance, related to the goal-directed person who is ready to tackle their objectives or is ready to take action on something. Men often use this gesture around women to display an assertive male attitude.

The Cal athletic director during this shipwreck has been Sandy Barbour, shown here in her “I’m not going to answer that question” body language.  She’s adopted the “I’m calling together a task force” tactic to “address” this problem, aka: kick the can down the road while continuing to recruit underqualified “student athletes.”bar

These aggressive-readiness clusters are used by professional models to give the impression that their clothing is for the modern, assertive, forward-thinking woman. Occasionally the gesture may be done with only one hand on the hip and the other displaying another gesture and this is commonly used by women who want to draw attention to themselves by using this cluster with a pelvic tilt to emphasize their hips-to-waist ratio, which indicates fertility. Hands-on-Hips is regularly used by both men and women in courtship to draw attention to themselves.

So how is Coach Dykes channeling his aggressive, action oriented mindset that informs his body language:

“We’re going to recruit better. We’re going to recruit kids that deserve to be at Cal and want to be at Cal,” he said. “We’re going to learn how to go to class. We’re going to fix our graduation rates; we’re going to graduate. We are going to appreciate being a Cal student, be supportive of other Cal students.”

That sounds like some pretty good generalities, though there are hints of  some hidden agendas.

But this disturbing quote from another Chronicle article  suggests Dykes will try to boot some players off scholarship or otherwise allow/induce them to leave, thus reinforcing the idea that they have been exploited, and now cast aside in order that the mighty football machine can sell more tickets (emphasis added):

Not all players on the roster in 2013 will be asked back in 2014, the coach said, adding, “There are going to be players who leave. There’re players you encourage to leave and others who leave on their own.”

To us, it sounds like the wrong people are going to get “fired.” Cal has an obligation to the current football players to see that they graduate with sufficient skills to succeed in life. Allowing or encouraging players to leave school or removing their scholarships is exactly the wrong thing to do.
The Chronicle nails it:

At the Athletic Study Center, Van Rheenen is working with a group of successful black men to set up a mentoring program – but whether athletes will have time to participate is another question. They’re already stretched by the full-time demands of their academic work and playing a Division I sport.

“We don’t want to overload them even more,” Van Rheenen said.

The graduation rates are one of the many problems facing Cal athletics. At a recent meeting on campus, where Cummins and Hextrum presented their findings, some faculty members wondered whether the pressure to succeed on the field has been intensified by the need to pay off the debt on newly renovated Memorial Stadium.

Hextrum called it “an ethical dilemma.”

“Are we going to say we will continue to have these students – mostly men of color – who don’t graduate, and that it is worth it to pay off the debt?” she asked.

“Cal,” he said, “should be better than this.”

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