Friday, October 29, 2010

A Fresh Candidate For The Minnesota Golden Gophers' Football Job

David Shaw
With the firing of Minnesota Golden Gophers' head football coach Tim Brewster nearly two weeks ago, there has been a lot of speculation as to who the university would go after to replace him, who would be interested, etc.  Some of the names that have been mentioned include Tony Dungy, Mike Belloti, Phillip Fulmer, Troy Calhoun and Kevin Sumlin.   I will mention a candidate I have not heard elsewhere at all, but I will first give credit where credit is due.

I was listening to KFAN AM-1130 here in the Twin Cities area earlier in the week, and the afternoon drive-time show hosted by Dan Barreiro had former Baltimore Ravens' head coach (and Minnesota Vikings' offensive coordinator) Brian Billick on as a guest to talk NFL.  Billick currently works as a Fox game analyst and also for NFL Network, and he had some good opinions on the Brett Favre story from a former head coach's perspective. Barreiro inevitably (and somewhat sarcastically, in my opinion) asked Billick if he had any interest in the Golden Gophers' job.  Billick quickly dismissed any notion of becoming a collegiate head coach, and mentioned a candidate I; and I suspect anyone else, had not heard before.  David Shaw, the current offensive coordinator at Stanford University.

Shaw is in his fourth season as the offensive coordinator at Stanford, and this year switched from coaching wide receivers to coaching the Cardinal running backs. Stanford's offense, led by junior quarterback Andrew Luck, currently ranks 15th in the nation in total offense (466.4 yards per game) and they rank fifth in the nation in scoring offense (42.6 points per game).  Stanford has steadily improved offensively under Shaw, as they set a school record in 2009 with 461 points (35.5 points per game) and scored 40 points or more four times and scored 50 or more in big wins over Oregon and USC

Prior to 2006 at the University of San Diego with current Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh, Shaw worked as an NFL assistant for nine seasons. That includes four seasons on Billick's offensive staff in Baltimore.  Shaw's father, Willie, was an NFL assistant coach for 15 seasons and an assistant coach for 33 seasons overall.

Shaw's lack of head coaching experience at any level may turn the Gophers' brass off since Tim Brewster had similar experience prior to being hired, but if the administration truly wants to leave no stone unturned I think they need to make the phone call. Maybe Harbaugh is interested in the job, but one if his assistants may be the more realistic candidate.

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I am a sportswriter based in Minnesota, and I contribute currently to a few sports related websites. I intend to use this blog to create visibility for my work.