LOS ANGELES — Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason said Saturday that he declined the opportunity to interview for several head coaching positions in recent weeks.

Mason, one of the top young defensive coaches in the country, was contacted by Connecticut and Army.

Additionally, a source said Washington representatives reached out to Mason before the Huskies hired Chris Petersen from Boise State.

Mason reiterated Saturday what he has said for more than a year: He and his family are happy at Stanford, and he views coach David Shaw as not only his boss but a friend and mentor.

"It's got to be the right job,'' Mason said. "David had his one right job, and it was Stanford. And I have mine. That's between me and my wife, and it's a ways away.''

Mason joined the Stanford staff in 2010 as the secondary coach and was promoted to the role of defensive coordinator by Shaw in Jan. '11 following the departure of Vic Fangio, who followed Jim Harbaugh to the 49ers.

Mason was a finalist for the 2012 Broyles Award, given to the nation's top assistant coach, and this season oversaw a unit that ranks in the top-15 nationally in numerous categories.

"I look at Dick LeBeau: He's been great at what he does for a long time,'' Mason said of the Pittsburgh Steelers' longtime defensive mastermind.

"That doesn't mean I don't have goals beyond Stanford. But I'm still growing in my shoes."

  • Mason took exception to the notion that the Cardinal's pass defense is second rate. Stanford ranks third nationally against the run but is No. 89 against the pass (247.8 yards allowed per game).

    "The numbers lie," he said. "When you stop the run, you're going to see more passes, and because we see more passes than most teams, the misconception is we don't play great pass defense.

    "We'll compare our numbers to anybody's. What it comes down to is wins and losses."

  • Stanford adjusted its game week practice schedule to reflect the Rose Bowl falling on a Wednesday.

    Its two-hour workout Saturday afternoon at Carson's StubHub Center followed the script the Cardinal uses on Tuesdays during the regular season.

    The plan for Sunday's practice at StubHub will mirror a typical Wednesday, with an emphasis on short yardage and goal-line situations, and the Monday workout will become a Thursday.

    Shaw, who joked about not knowing what day it is, said the players are better prepared for the Rose Bowl's off-field schedule -- activities like Disneyland and Lawry's Beef Bowl --- than they were last year.

    For Michigan State, which is participating in its first Rose Bowl since 1988, everything's new.

    "Hopefully, they get distracted having fun at Disneyland and those events, and that gives us the upper hand in preparation," Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy said.

    For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner's College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports. Contact him at jwilner@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5716.