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December 30, 2013

Pre-Rose Bowl Press Conference Highlights

Highlights from recent Stanford and Michigan State pre-Rose Bowl press conferences…

Stanford coach David Shaw on the Cardinal's honorary captains: "Helen and Peter Bing will be two of our honorary captains. (They're) phenomenal Stanford people, just real - they love Stanford University, they love this athletics program, they love the fine arts at Stanford. They've done so much for Stanford. All three of my kids went to Bing elementary school on campus. Very excited to have them as honorary captains. And the other one would be Julie Foudy, a great Stanford person and great motivational speaker and a tough athlete that I would love for our guys to be around."

Shaw on Stanford's kickoff situation: "As of right now, yes, (Williamson will kick off)," Shaw said. "Had a good day the other day, was striking the ball well. Conrad Ukropina will be up and ready to go, as well. We may go back and forth if we need to, if Jordan has some fatigue, but right now he's fresh, the ball is popping off his foot, and it looks like at the very least he'll start the game kicking off and hopefully do the whole game."

Shaw on NFL interest: "I haven't been contacted by anybody. To be honest it's unbelievably flattering. I think it's really cool. I think honestly it continues to shed light on our program, so I don't mind that it keeps happening. It keeps eyes turning toward Stanford, which I think is really cool. I told our players, to be honest, it's a testament to what they've accomplished. It's a testament to what our seniors have helped build at Stanford, to win consistently, win the right way, produce high character young men and have a football game that's exciting to watch.

So I don't mind it. I have no desires to pursue another job. As I said, I have not and don't plan on interviewing with anybody. I think it's really nice that my name gets batted around and that's great, and part of it is because I do have nine years of NFL experience, so it seems like an easy transition for some people.

But honestly I'm looking forward to playing this game and getting into the off season and starting to put together another winning season next year."

Shaw on the development of Stanford's Jumbo offensive line set: "It's been huge for us, and I don't think at the beginning of it we knew how big it was going to be for us. I'll just say it: We watched a lot of Baltimore Ravens film when John Harbaugh got to Baltimore, and Greg Roman who had just come from Baltimore two years before, we saw - we had Levine Toiolo, who was a great blocking tight end but who was still young in his development, and we needed bigger guys on the edge. If you want to run this power play you need a tight end to set the edge of the defense, a big tight end that's very physical. So we would sprinkle in some bigger guys just to get through practice, and it was great. We needed a wing tight end and we didn't really have a guy with that kind of physical stature. Here was James McGillicuddy, who had played five positions and none of them well. He would say the same thing. We put him on the wing, and to this day I have not seen a guy on our level or the NFL level that did it as well as him.

We kind of found lightning in a bottle, and it was just for a few plays here and there, and Greg did a great job of changing formations and motions and shifting and kind of deciding what we were doing, but that was kind of the beginning of it was watching some Baltimore Ravens film, looking at our personnel, seeing how we could utilize it and then Greg getting very creative and inventive. Now we've taken it over and we've done a lot more things. I give a lot of credit to Mike Bloomgren to finding our guys that have those specific talents in Kyle Murphy and Josh Garnett have been phenomenal all year and those guys being able to be those tight ends but also be able to shift and move and do different things, run counter plays and power plays and all those things and be in pass protection. Those guys have been great there.

But I think the trickle down effect which has been just about as important for us, here are two great offensive linemen, Josh Garnett and Kyle Murphy, who were not starters, who were playing between 20 and 30, 40 plays a game. So when it's time for those guys to start, you don't worry about them jumping in there as starters. These guys are playing a lot in every single game, so as a guy gets hurt or a guy graduates, you throw those guys in there and don't worry about it. We're playing eight offensive linemen a game, and to be honest it helps us recruit, also."

David Yankey on the Lawry's Beef Bowl: "We put it on our freshman and charged them with having a competition of who could eat the most and I'm not sure who came out on top but I'm sure all of them were feeling it this morning."

Tyler Gaffney reflecting on his recruitment: "I was looking at USC and Notre Dame as well. Those two schools were on my - part of my top three list along with Stanford. Notre Dame, baseball coach wasn't too high up on me playing baseball, so had to nix that right away.

Once you get into Stanford, it's a no brainer. They offer you everything. It's really a lifetime decision. For the next 40 years, you're going to be in a good spot with a Stanford degree. Playing for a top-tier baseball team, playing for a top-tier football team, is all you can ask for coming out of high school."

Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook on the biggest challenge Stanford's defense presents: "Really, I think their whole defense as a whole unit is very, very stout. They have great defensive linemen, linebackers are big, strong, fast. They have a great secondary. But I think the biggest challenge that we're going to see is just the confusion. They're going to try to confuse us.

Their defensive linemen, they do a lot of movement, variety of different fronts. So we just gotta find out where No. 93 is, because he lines up in multiple positions, and work around where he's lined up. I think we'll be good."

Michigan State defensive back Darqueze Dennard on Stanford's standout wide receiver: "All of 'em (are standouts). All of those guys do a really good job. Ty Montgomery, he's dynamic. He has a chance to take it all the way. People think he's slow but watching the film, he can run. They got a lot of players out there and we have to bring our 'A' game."

Dennard on Stanford's multiple offensive formations: "I think they bring in a couple of guys and at the end of the day they pretty much like us, do what they gotta do. They basically, to win the game, they're not going to say anything, they're going to line up and hit you in the mouth."

Michigan State safety Kurtis Drummond on what impresses him most about Stanford's offense: "Just the way they execute, their patience. I mean, they're happy with getting two, three yards a carry, and just the way they just execute what they do. They do what they do. They run the ball at you. They're going to try to out physical you, out tough you, and then they'll hit you with a play action.

I don't think they get enough credit for their pass game and for their receivers that they have out there. They've got some play makers that are deep ball threat guys. So I mean, I would just say that the thing that impresses me most is just the way they play physical."

Michigan State running back Jeremy Langford on the most difficult about playing Stanford's defense? Just the multiple different fronts they play. Sometimes they can confuse offensive lines and quarterbacks. I think it's just us being focused and paying attention to where their linebackers lineup at and where their D linemen line up at."

Langford on Shayne Skov: "I think he's a physical linebacker. He's more like a Big-10 linebacker. He goes to the ball hard. All the linebackers as well, and the defensive line, they all play hard and physical."

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