(The Blog)

And now for a few words about words (and many other things)...

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Entries in Stanford (1)


In football, as in life...

Here's just one more reason that I'm proud of my alma mater—and, of course, its football team. After a Rose Bowl championship, Stanford is planning on "using vocabulary to win a national title." Yes, words matter.

PALO ALTO, Calif. – When David Shaw and his assistant coaches go out in search of football recruits capable of playing for Stanford, the list of necessary attributes is long.

Superior academics are mandatory for admission and success at the elite university. Great athletic ability, strength and speed are a necessity to play for the reigning Pac-12 champions. Character, leadership and motivation are highly valued intangibles. 

And then there is something unique Stanford coaches evaluate when meeting with a prospect, something that few would think predicts football success.

"Vocabulary," Shaw said.


"Yes, you look for vocabulary," he said. "Can this kid express himself in a way that befits a Stanford man?

"Does that correlate to football? I say, yes, absolutely. [We seek] a young man that has the confidence to stand up in front of you and express himself as opposed to what a lot of young kids do today – they don't give you eye contact, they kind of mumble when they talk to adults. 

"You walk around and talk to our kids, they look you in the eye," Shaw continued. "And we play that way. We are going to play right at you, in your face, 'Here is who we are, here is how we play.' There is a one-to-one correlation. There is no doubt about it to me. The inability to be intimidated by a person or a situation is something that is significant."