Stanford coaching candidates: Chris Petersen, Bronco Mendenhall among leading choices to replace David Shaw

One of the best coaches Stanford has ever hired is gone. Now, the program has to decide what it wants in this era of one-time transfer waivers, the transfer gate and name, image and likeness rights for athletes.

David Shaw resigned early Sunday morning After 12 mostly successful seasons he led the Cardinals. He picked up the leap to success that Jim Harbaugh started and he was…better. The winningest coach in school history finished with the third-highest winning percentage at Stanford behind some players named Pop Warner and Clark Shaughnessy, if those names ring a bell.

But as the game evolved, Shaw and Stanford did not. A program known for its physicality has lost its magic. Stanford’s academic limitations do not allow the program to pass through the gate as often as its peers. This puts Stanford football far behind… far behind.

The next coach should take into account all of that. Management too. Do you want Stanford to make a football team or compete at the highest level in what will soon be a wide open Pac-12 game? Perhaps Stanford and what will happen meet the conference in the middle. The league should be somewhat to take the given realignment and expand the College Football Playoff.

But this precedes things. Shaw once told me that after high school freshman grades came out every June, he could only recruit about 75 players. nationally. He wasn’t complaining. This is part of the reality at Stanford University.

The new coach has to know that and, in some ways, accept it.

Candidates for training at Stanford University

Chris Petersen, Fox analyst, former Washington coach: All indications are that Koch Beit Saeed is behind the analyst’s desk. But if ever there was a job made for him on the West Coast, this is it. He can reimagine his OKG (Our Kind of Guy) philosophy in a setting that values ​​the university model. He had already seen a hit in two stops, making Boise State a national name before leading the Huskies. Petersen is the front-runner to even say he’s not interested. He’s a software builder who might not be bothered by the restrictions at Stanford.

Former Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall: Judging by the reports, the Broncos are interested in getting back in the game. He reportedly gave an interview in Colorado after he stepped down in Virginia last December. Mendenhall won 99 BYU games and shepherded the program into the independence era. At Virginia, he settled for the program winning at least eight times in six seasons. He is the creator of culture and programs. In other words, a perfect fit for Stanford.

Bill O’Brien, Alabama offensive coordinator: The industry buzz is that O’Brien will be somewhere else next year. Whether it was in the NFL or college is unknown. While the Bama fanbase has made Obi a scapegoat at times this season, it’s hard to dismiss his resume: The NFL coach and general manager revived Penn State from absolute bottom after the Jerry Sandusky scandal, coached Bryce Young to a Heisman Trophy. Why not have O’Brien and Derek Mason (as defensive coordinator) pair up at Stanford?

Derek Mason, Oklahoma State Defensive Coordinator: Another potential knockdown for Stanford. Mason made his reputation, and even his career, as Shaw’s defensive coordinator for three seasons (2011-13). During that time, the Cardinals went 34-7 and played in two Rose Bowls. Mason used that momentum to take the Vanderbilt job where he went 27-55 in seven seasons. Vandy is almost an impossible job. Mason returned to his roots this season as the defensive coach at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have fallen from fourth to 114th in total defense, which could be a concern. But in terms of fitness, Mason got into Stanford University. It would make sense to bring back one of Shaw’s top lieutenants.

Mike Elko, Duke coach: It’s unlikely that Elko Duke will leave after one year, but think about it. Stanford is the West Coast’s version of Duke – or vice versa. Elko is steeped in coaching experience at private organizations (Fordham, Hofstra, Wake Forest, Notre Dame). In a turnaround year, Duke made it one of the biggest going 3-9 to 8-4. Maybe this isn’t the right time for Elko, but he’s a name to watch as a rising star.

Mike Bloomgren, Rice coach: Another familiar Stanford face. For five seasons under Shaw, Stanford’s offensive line—coached by Bloomgren—became the face of the program as it physically terrorized opponents. The Owls have made steady improvement over Bloomgreen’s five seasons going from 2-11 to 5-7. More than that, it made Plumgreen Rice competitive, which it hasn’t been in a while. Academic restrictions are similar to Stanford.

Sacramento State coach Troy Taylor: A fixture on the West Coast, Taylor announced that he was ready to make the jump to the Power Five job. His name was attached to the Colorado search. When Bill Musgraves was fired as offensive coordinator at Cal, Taylor’s name immediately popped up at his alma mater. In two seasons with Taylor as Utah’s offensive coordinator (2017-18), the Utes went 16-11 and advanced to the Pac-12 Championship Game in 2018. In his first year as offensive coordinator at Eastern Washington (2016), Taylor mentored Cooper Cobb, who earned Caught 114 passes, 19 of them for touchdowns. The Hornets are currently 11-0 and headed to the FCS playoffs. All of his 28 years of high school and college were west of the Rocky Mountains, and only four years outside of California.

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