After the conclusion of Wednesday's signing day press conference, Cardinal Sports Report spoke briefly with Stanford head coach David Shaw. Below is the transcript of our conversation.
Cardinal Sports Report: With offensive line recruiting, there were several of the top California linemen (Sean Dowling, Scott Quessenberry, Cameron Hunt, etc…) very interested in you guys. Can you explain why you decided to pursue the two players you did sign rather than other options?
David Shaw: We really needed inside guys. We needed to build our depth on the inside... I love where Johnny Caspers is right now. I think he's going to be a really good football player. He's one of those guys that was on the radar last year that I'm excited about, but depth wise we needed to bring in another guy inside, and both of those guys have the flexibility to where (Dave) Bright is probably a guard, but he's got the length of a tackle and athletic ability of a tackle. Thomas Oser is probably a guard, but at camp we put him at center and for him to be able to go both ways and step in and explode and get that hand from (low to high), that's just so hard to do. And he can do that naturally. So to have two guys that can play between them all five positions, Bright playing either tackle or either guard, and Oser playing either guard or center, covers a lot of bases for us, not to mention they're just tough, tough kids, and that's what's really exciting.
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CSR: At quarterback several top prospects (Max Browne and Cooper Bateman) were very interested. Why was Ryan Burns a better fit for you guys than some of the other players that were interested and highly regarded?
DS: It's so hard to explain. The quarterback choosing is really one of the hardest things to do and it's hard to ever compare because everybody sees the position differently. We saw them all, really, we saw everybody. We saw Ryan for the first time when he came to camp two years ago and stepped out there and went through the individual drills. It was the first thing I saw, and I said, 'Who's that?' And they said coach, that's the guy from Virginia we were telling you about. And I said, 'Oh my God.' Because usually the tall guys are not very athletic, might have a strong arm, but they don't have the control or the accuracy. And the kid blew us away. Everything that we put him through he did well. And then he came back again this past year. Same thing.
Everything he does, he does extremely well. And we're excited about getting him into our system, our offense, teaching him how to do it all quickly and smoothly, making quick decisions, throwing the ball accurately. From everything we've seen we really believe he's going to be a (good player).
CSR: Thinking about some of the quarterbacks you guys have signed in recent years aside from Evan Crower, with Dallas Lloyd, Kevin Hogan and now Burns, despite being a pro-style offense, it fair to say mobility is a trait you guys value pretty highly?
DS: Huge. Huge. And even when he was coming out, Evan Crower, a lot of people underestimated Evan Crower's athleticism. He's a great pitcher, was a great pitcher in high school. His pocket mobility... We always used to talk about there's running ability and there's pocket movement. The Tom Brady, Peyton Manning slide, slide, slide, throw the ball. Evan's really good at that. He has great pocket feel.
We don't want to take anyone that can't move. Some guys are better runners than others, but even guys that aren't runners, as long as they can operate in the pocket, we love them.
CSR: From a recruiting territory standpoint, Pep obviously had a lot of connections back in the Virginia/North Carolina area. With Tavita's addition have you guys reconfigured that yet?
DS: We haven't done it yet but we will. We were talking about that this morning. There will be some tweaks. That's one thing when you hire coaches that have moved around a bunch, a lot of guys have familiarity with different areas. We'll move some guys a little bit, but I think we're still just looking for Stanford guys and we'll be able to find those guys.
CSR: In terms of some of the interns/staff assistants, you've lost Morgan Turner, Aaron Moorehead, and then Tavita to the promotion. What will be the approach in replacing those guys?
DS: First and foremost it's guys that want to work, want to do all of the little things, want to be here, understand this place. Understanding our kids. And as I say a lot of times, not everyone can coach here. Not everyone can work here. This is a different, unique place. Just like finding recruits, just like finding coaches, those interns are guys who have to fit this place.