Washington’s reinvented offense exploited Stanford’s proud defense for much of the night, only to fall short in a controversial 31-28 defeat on the road last Saturday in the Pac 12’s most meaningful game of the season so far.
The aftermath made Stanford coach David Shaw very defensive, responding to accusations from Washington coach Steve Sarkisian that Shaw considered highly offensive.
Speaking on his postgame radio show, Sarkisian accused Stanford of faking injuries as a tactic to slow down the Huskies’ up-tempo offense. Pressed on that subject in a media briefing Monday, the former BYU quarterback said, "We saw what we saw, and I’ll leave it at that."
Shaw believed much more needed to be said, and he fired back Tuesday during the Pac-12’s media teleconference in an effort to preserve the integrity of "one of the most respected programs in the country," he said.
"I’m not going to put that [reputation] on the line just to beat Washington," Shaw said.
Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov and defensive end Ben Gardner are two of the team’s best players, so it would seem ridiculous to ask them to come out of the game, Shaw said, citing their legitimate injuries. It also is hard to imagine that Stanford’s defensive coordinator, former Utah assistant Derek Mason, would authorize such strategy because he’s considered highly marketable for a head coaching position.
Shaw criticized Sarkisian as "unprofessional" for citing Stanford defensive line coach Randy Hart, who formerly worked at Washington for 21 years, as directing the injury-faking scheme. In the process, Shaw took a shot at Washington assistant Tosh Lupoi (a son of former BYU player John Lupoi), who admitted to carrying out such a plan while working at California in 2010 and was suspended by his administration for one game.
In turn, Washington backers have pointed out that Stanford’s defense may have faked injuries against Oregon, although Jim Harbaugh was coaching the Cardinal then.
Injury stoppages aside, the game was decided after a fourth-down play when Washington quarterback Keith Price scrambled out of major trouble and delivered a pass that initially was ruled a completion, apparently giving the Huskies a first down at the Stanford 33-yard line. But the call was overturned on replay.
Sarkisian contended the replay was inconclusive, to which Shaw responded, "Obviously the ball hit the ground."
Shaw and Sarkisian declined to comment about whether they had spoken to one another since Saturday, which suggests a conversation took place. In any case, this subject is sure to resurface when the Pac-12 North teams meet next season.
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