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Titans Coaching Candidate Profile: David Shaw

Is the Stanford head man finally ready to make the jump?

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Current job: Stanford Head Coach

Head coaching record: 49-13

Age: 43


After graduating from Stanford in 1995, Shaw immediately began his coaching career.  He landed in the NFL just two years removed from college, serving as an assistant coach for the Eagles, Raiders and Ravens over the next decade. Shaw made the jump to college in 2006 with Jim Harbaugh.  He served as Harbaugh's passing game coordinator at the University of San Diego.  It was a risky move, but it has paid off in a big way.

Harbaugh took the Stanford job in 2007 and Shaw followed.  Shaw was the offensive coordinator and also coached the running backs and receivers.  Harbaugh and Shaw built an offensive juggernaut with an Andrew Luck-led attack. Harbaugh left for San Fransisco in 2011, leaving Shaw as the obvious heir.

Since then, David Shaw has maintained Stanford's success. They haven't gotten over the hump nationally, but the Cardinal has won 11 games in three of the last four seasons.  Shaw is sitting at 8-1 this season, well on his way to another double digit win season.

Why Shaw?

His pro-style concepts and power run schemes are something that the NFL covets. Shaw's history as a quarterback coach and track record with names like Rich Gannon and Andrew Luck have to be enticing to Titans' brass with Marcus Mariota already in place.  He has experience coaching running backs and receivers, two huge weaknesses of the Titans' roster.

NFL Network's Charlie Casserly spoke about Shaw nearly two years ago. "I think if he’s been a pro assistant and understands the pro game, and therefore has connections within the league to hire a staff -- which is crucial -- and understands how to build an organization in the NFL to include the draft, salary cap, dealing with ownership, those are all things you want."

Would he leave Stanford?

This is a question that has been constantly answered with a resounding "no."  He seems thrilled to be the head guy at his alma mater and hasn't really even flirted with the NFL, but his phone continues to ring.  Eventually, you would think he would have to consider the jump.

A wrinkle in all of this could be the status of Vanderbilt's Derek Mason.  If Shaw makes the jump, he may want Mason to come run his defense.  Mason's Commodore teams haven't lived up to expectations so far, so a change could be made there, opening up the door for Shaw and Mason to reunite.  While his win/loss record is ugly, his defense has been as good as it could possibly be, keeping them in many games.

The selling point -- as it usually does -- would come down to the quarterback, Marcus Mariota.  He's been nothing short of spectacular during his rookie campaign.  Shaw knows all about Mariota.  He actually went 2-1 against Oregon during Mariota's time there.  But Mariota got him last season, leading a 45-16 thrashing of the Cardinal.

Ultimately, I think Shaw will elect to stay in Stanford.  He's turned down the NFL every time they have sniffed around him.  Shaw is a California guy and most likely wouldn't want to uproot across the country.  It would take the perfect situation to allow him to make the jump and I'm not sure the current ownership situation is ideal, although the roster is very attractive.  We'll see if he's willing to listen this year.