With the recent success of the Stanford football program, it's only natural that coaches on the staff, David Shaw most notably, start getting mentioned as potential options elsewhere.
In Peter King's most recent Monday Morning Quarterback column on SI.com, he ranked the top-five hottest potential NFL head coaches that are currently leading college programs.
The first name he listed was Oregon's Chip Kelly. No surprise there, he flirted with the idea of taking the Tampa Bay job just last season and those rumors haven't quieted this year as he led the Ducks to another impressive season.
No. 2? Shaw.
It makes sense too. Shaw has an extensive NFL resume, is 21-4 running a pro-style system in college, had a hand in developing Andrew Luck and his predecessor at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh, has been wildly successful as a coach in the NFL with San Francisco.
There may come a day when Shaw gets an itch only the NFL can scratch, but for now, those days seem far off. Some coaches can talk about how they've found their dream job -- Todd Graham, anyone? -- but with Shaw it feels real. There might not be a coach in college football with ties as strong as those Shaw has to his alma mater.
As the son of a coach, he knows how fickle the NFL coaching world is and realizes the stability Stanford provides can trump money or whatever else that world may provide.
While Shaw's name comes up as an option, it's only a matter of time before defensive coordinator Derek Mason and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton are mentioned for openings, too.
"Both are very bright. Both are very experienced. They're not old guys and they're more experienced than their age," Shaw said. "Both have a lot of time in the NFL as well college football. Both have had success in both the NFL and college. It wouldn't surprise me if their names came up for a lot of jobs."
That's not to say Shaw will be happy to see them off because while he'd no doubt be happy for them, he knows there is a good staff in place right now. If either guy does end up landing a head gig somewhere else, or perhaps a job as a coordinator in the NFL, it'd be a good thing for Stanford long term.
If Stanford can set a track record for helping coaches advance in their career, The Farm will become a more desirable destination for talented assistant coaches in the future.
That's important. Keeping good assistant coaches for long periods of time is hard to do and being able to replace them without missing a beat isn't an easy task.
Shaw's old boss a hot name: Early in his coaching career Shaw coached under Jon Gruden with the Oakland Raiders. He's a frequent point of reference for Shaw when he talks about his coaching style.
Gruden's name is one that usually comes up this time of year in association with coaching opening. The most recent was at Tennessee where Gruden reportedly turned down an offer that apparently including a partial ownership stake with the Cleveland Browns.
Shaw didn't take a hard stance on predicting the future career path of his former boss, who currently serves as the color analyst for ESPN's Monday Night Football.
"I think he's phenomenal at what he does right now. I think he's the best in the business and I love tuning in," Shaw said. "Even if I'm not watching the game, I have it on so I can hear him.
"If for some reason he wants to gets back into it, he'll be great, but I love what he's doing right now."
Then came the "but."
"I'm never surprised by anything in this coaching world," Shaw said. "I know he enjoys what he does, I know his wife loves what he's doing right now and his kids love it, so we'll see what happens."
Patterson to start, Montgomery to play: Jamal-Rashad Patterson will start at wide receiver against UCLA, but Ty Montgomery will rotate in, according to Shaw, who confirmed Montgomery is fully healthy.
"Now he is," said Shaw of Montgomery's health. "The last week, he was probably 100 percent, but this week I know for sure."
Terrell in: Wide receiver and punt returner Drew Terrell will play against UCLA, despite some concerns early in the week.
"Drew is going to play," Shaw said. "He looked good today. No soreness from yesterday. He passed every test."
P Zychlinski out: Punter Daniel Zychlinski is officially out for the Pac-12 championship game and Ben Rhyne will handle punting duties, Shaw reaffirmed Wednesday.
Stephens out vs UCLA: DT Terrence Stephens will not play in the Pac-12 championship game on Friday for a reason that is not being made public. David Parry will start in his place for the second straight game.
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