Washington coach Steve Sarkisian was irked but unwilling to offer more detail Monday after accusing Stanford defensive line coach Randy Hart of instructing players to fake injuries in the wake of the UW’s 31-28 loss Saturday. During the fourth quarter, Cardinal linebackers Shayne Skov and Ben Gardner, after separate plays, limped toward the bench, only to return quickly. The theatrics caught Sarkisian’s attention.
“As far as the injuries are concerned, we saw what we saw, and I’m going to leave it at that,” he said.
From his view on the sideline, Sarksian implied, without mentioning names, that Skov and Gardner took dives to allow the Stanford defense to make substitutions and get a breather against the Huskies’ frantic offensive pace.
“Their defensive line coach was telling them to sit down,” Sarkisian told KJR 950 late Saturday night. “I guess that’s how we play here at Stanford, so I guess we’ll have to prepare for that next time. At some point, we’ll get repaid for it. That never serves a purpose for us, and we’ll never do that.”
Skov, who made 14 tackles, including one-and-a-half sacks against the Huskies, took the dis personally early Sunday morning, tweeting:
Lmao people saying I was faking an injury, u think I’m gunna miss a play In crunch time to slow down the offense? Ur a fool if you do…
— Shayne Skov (@ShayneSkov11) October 6, 2013
He also had some advice for Sarkisian.
We got the dub, UW is a hell of a team period. If I’m having docs look at me on the sideline I’m not faking it. Grow up, n watch the replay
— Shayne Skov (@ShayneSkov11) October 6, 2013
On another disputed late-game action, Sarkisian didn’t think the replay official had enough video evidence to overturn UW’s final offensive play.
Tasked with a fourth-and-10, quarterback Keith Price escaped the pocket and found wide receiver Kevin Smith far enough downfield to pick up the first down at the Stanford 33, placing the Huskies in field goal range. But officials reviewed the completion and determined the nose of the football hit the ground.
“I disagree but that’s just my opinion. I don’t think that was conclusive, but again I’m not an official,” Sarkisian. “I’m a football coach and my opinion varies in importance when it comes to those things.”
The loss didn’t deter ESPN from choosing Seattle as the site for its popular show, “College Gameday.” Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit will set up in Red Square, at the center of the UW campus, prior to Saturday’s game against No. 2 Oregon. Losers of nine in a row to their increasingly successful rivals, the No. 16 Huskies (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) haven’t beat the Ducks (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) since 2003.
“We’re not naïve to the fact that our fans, this university, want to win this game,” Sarkisian said. “But we’re also understanding that those rah-rah speeches on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday — those aren’t going to help us play Saturday.”
What would help is cutting down on penalties. The Huskies were flagged 10 times for 89 yards against the Cardinal. It was a major reason UW couldn’t pull off the upset despite out-gaining Stanford 489-279.
“That were some penalties that I agree with,” Sarkisian said. “They made calls that I felt were the correct calls to make. There were other ones that I disagree with. But that part of it is a little bit irrelevant. I can go back and I can send in the report and they can send it back to me and say, ‘Yeah, you were right,’ but the game’s over. We lost the football game. So it’s time for us to move on.”
Price back at practice
Price was banged around against a Cardinal defense that Sarkisian Monday called an “NFL front seven.” Price had to tape up his right thumb, though it didn’t seem to affect his play. He finished 33 of 48 for 350 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Through five games, his 163.4 QB rating surpasses his breakout sophomore season (161.9). As a senior, Price has 1,394 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Sarkisian said Price’s battered thumb didn’t keep him from going through practice Monday.
“Mondays are typically a light day for any of our starting quarterbacks in year’s past,” Sarkisian said. “Keith was out there. I think he’ll be fine come Saturday.”
Dawgs missed on Mariota
Prior to his senior year of high school, Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (1,358 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, no interceptions) came to Montlake for a summer camp, but the Huskies didn’t offer him a scholarship right away. Mariota, three years later a legitimate Heisman frontrunner (338 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns), hadn’t started a game in high school. Yet.
“Credit to Oregon, they went for it on him before we did,” Sarkisian said. “We tried to come in late and he stuck with his commitment to Oregon. He’s a heckuva player for them. What can you say?”