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February 8, 2013

Signing Day Presser: Odds and Ends

Stanford coach David Shaw spent nearly half an hour Wednesday discussing his incoming recruiting class to a group of assembled media on The Farm. While most of the press conference focused on the specific players in Stanford's 2013 class, Shaw also discussed a variety of other Cardinal football-related topics.

Shaw on Mike Bloomgren's promotion to offensive coordinator to replace Pep Hamilton…

"Elevating Mike Bloomgren I think was the easy decision," Shaw said. "What Mike has done with our running game and our offensive line I think has been phenomenal. But, as I like to say, Mike's not just an offensive line coach. I think he's got a great offensive mind. My history working with the quarterbacks and receivers and running backs here and being in the passing game, being the offensive coordinator, I think helps us make that smooth transition. So really there's not a lot of difference and it didn't affect any of the kids we're recruiting. They're excited about coming to Stanford. Our offense is not going to change. We'll grow, we'll try to improve on a bunch of different things, but at the same time we have great continuity."

On the possibility that Ryan Hewitt moves from fullback to tight end…

"First I'll say I love where Luke Kaumatule is right now," Shaw said. "Luke is just under 6-foot-8, 255 pounds and is a great athlete and we're looking forward to his development in the spring. Ryan Hewitt has proven that he's one of the most flexible players in college football. There were games a year ago where we had two tight ends go down and he jumped in and put his hand on the ground as a tight end. Ryan can do whatever we ask him to do. He'll still play his position. If we get in dire need of course we can always move him, but I love where he is right now. He has a great comfort level and I think he's one of the best in the country at his position. I'd hate to mess with a guy that's doing really well where he is."

On Devon Cajuste's possible move from wide receiver to tight end…

"Devon Cajuste is a receiver," Shaw said. He's a big, physical receiver and we'll see what his body does over time. I think he's in the upper 220's right now or 230's. I wouldn't say that he's ready to put his hand down and block 96 power. But at the same time he's getting bigger, he's stronger. He can be a mismatch type of guy as a receiver or as a slot receiver."

On how Stanford coaches are greeted on the road now recruiting compared to the early years of Jim Harbaugh's tenure…

"A lot of the doors that we had to kick open, some of those doors are open right now," Shaw said. "Walking in it's not: 'Is that a Syracuse or North Carolina State 'S' on your chest?' Now you walk in and say oh, it's Stanford. Stanford's here. The principle comes out and they get excited that their young man is being recruited by Stanford because it stands for both excellence in academics and excellence in athletics. I would say our reputation is preceding itself and it's going very well when we're on the road."

On Zach Hoffpauir balancing baseball and football, and where Hoffpauir's responsibilities currently lie…

"He's baseball 100 percent," Shaw said. "When there is time, when there are available hours for him to whether it's come to a practice, whether it's come to a meeting, we'll do that. But I'm not worried about Zach. Zach learned a lot as a true freshman. Zach understands as lot of what we do. When Zach's done playing baseball he'll get in the football fold. We know how through Shannon Turley and our experience to get him to transition from a baseball player to a football player. I think we've worked out all the kinks there, so it should be a smooth transition. He's not going to lose anything by what he misses on the field in the spring. He'll be back in training camp ready to roll."

On filling the punt returner vacancy, and whether incoming freshman Taijuan Thomas will be in the mix…

"(Taijuan will) get into that competition," Shaw said. "It will be fast and furious by the time we get to training camp. We're going to take a look at a lot of guys this spring, give those guys opportunities to compete for that as well. It's going to be a good group because I do believe there are probably more guys on this team that can catch and return punts as I've been around since I've been here, so it's going to be a great competition."

On the incoming freshmen playing early...

"We've talked about it as a staff and we've talked about it to our team as well as to the incoming freshmen," Shaw said. "We're all about competition. All about competition. And even though we don't take mid-year guys, when our guys come in the summer, they learn what to do. They learn how to work and we get to training camp those guys are ready to play because we play as many freshmen as anybody, we play as many total players as anybody in the country. For us, if guys can come in and prove to us that they can play, that they can help this team win, we'll put them on the field. First-year freshmen, fifth-year seniors, we don't really care. The competition will be legitimate. The competition will be fierce at some positions. At the same time if we've got guys that are not starters, or third string that have earned the right to play we're going to put them on the field."

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