Several NFL teams fired coaches Monday, so expect Stanford Coach David Shaw's name to once again be floated as a candidate for a pro job.
Shaw said that while it is "unbelievably flattering" and "really cool" to have his name come up, he has not been contacted and "I have no desires to pursue another job."
Shaw has guided Stanford to a 34-6 record in three seasons. The Cardinal plays Michigan State on Wednesday in the 100th Rose Bowl game.
Shaw was an NFL assistant for the Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Ravens before working as an assistant at the University of San Diego and Stanford.
"I have not and don't plan on interviewing with anybody," Shaw said. "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."
Elsworth will start
Kyler Elsworth, a fifth-year senior who began his Michigan State career as a walk-on, will probably start at middle linebacker in place of suspended Max Bullough, Spartans Coach Mark Dantonio said.
Elsworth is expected to share playing time with sophomore Darien Harris. Dantonio said last week that sophomore Ed Davis also could play the spot.
Elsworth has 10 tackles, Harris seven, Davis 17.
"These guys have played a lot of football for us all year, so they're going to get an opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl and be starters, or have a huge impact on the game if they're not starting," Dantonio said.
There may be no sadder injury in sports than one to a senior college football player who is also an NFL prospect.
Stanford defensive end Ben Gardner, who will sit out the Rose Bowl because of a torn pectoral muscle, stood to the side this week during media day wearing his No. 49 jersey.
He was part of the team, but not part of it. A career that produced 106 tackles and 17.5 sacks is of no use to the Cardinal now. Gardner played in 46 games during the renaissance of Stanford football but will watch the Rose Bowl from the sidelines.
The injury that ended his college career at Oregon State on Oct. 26 required surgery and a long rehabilitation. "It's a brutal game, but it's what you sign up for," Gardner said.
He winced when reminded of North Carolina left tackle James Hurst, who broke his fibula in his final collegiate start in Saturday's Belk Bowl win over Cincinnati. Hurst was considered a top prospect in next spring's NFL draft. He had started 49 straight games for the Tar Heels.
Gardner, at 6 feet 4 and 277 pounds, is not as highly touted as Hurst. Gardner is considered an NFL "tweener" who plans on making up for any athletic deficiencies with an All-America work ethic.
Gardner still hopes to be a late-round pick who can grind his way onto an NFL roster. His job now is to help Stanford defensive line coach Randy Hart prepare his players for Michigan State.
Gardner was fortunate in the sense he got to play in last season's Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin.
"It's different than before, for sure," he said of this season's approach. "You definitely don't get as nervous, but you still get antsy to get to the game."
Michigan State offensive lineman Blake Treadwell cited the Spartans' 42-39 loss to Wisconsin in the 2011 Big Ten Conference championship game as a turning point for a program that is playing in the Rose Bowl game for the first time since 1988.
"That was the closest we had ever felt going to the Rose Bowl," said Treadwell, a fifth-year senior. "We were a couple of plays away, so experiencing that we knew we were right there.
"Coach D had really preached, we've just got to find that extra inch to be able to propel us and go to where we need to be.… This year, like Coach said, we found those inches."
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