No. 2 Ducks draw Sarkisian’s focus
SEATTLE – Between a debatable replay call, special teams lapses and gutty efforts, it would be easy to understand if coach Steve Sarkisian and No. 16 Washington let what happened last weekend at Stanford linger.
There’s no time with No. 2 Oregon visiting Seattle on Saturday.
“It’s such a drastic change in philosophy when you go from a Stanford to an Oregon, we don’t have too long to dwell on Stanford and that ball game,” Sarkisian said. “We have to learn from it, but we have to get ready for a completely different style in Oregon this week.”
Sarkisian and the Huskies (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) tried to move on Monday from the 31-28 loss to the fifth-ranked Cardinal that showed UW is ready again to play on a national stage.
But before looking ahead to Oregon, Sarkisian had to address a debated replay review that overturned a fourth-down reception by Kevin Smith on Washington’s final possession and Sarkisian’s postgame claims that Stanford players were faking injuries in the final minutes.
Sarkisian said the Pac-12 affirmed the replay officials’ decision to call Smith’s reception incomplete after it was ruled a catch on the field, though he still didn’t agree with the call. It came on fourth-and-10 at the Stanford 49 with less than 90 seconds left.
Washington quarterback Keith Price scrambled out of trouble and threw up the sideline to Smith, who appeared to corral the low pass for a first down. Replay determined the football touched the ground although there were no clear TV replays.
“I think it was a very difficult call to make at the moment of the call. It was ruled a catch and I accepted the fact it was ruled a catch. If they ruled it incomplete I would have accepted it was ruled incomplete. But it was ruled a catch so we went with the call,” Sarkisian said. “The explanation from the Pac-12 using the same video replay we saw on the Jumbotron, the back angle that ESPN shot, was that it was conclusive that it was not a catch. I disagree, but that is just my opinion. I don’t think that was conclusive.”
Sarkisian was also asked about his postgame claims that Stanford players were faking injuries in the final minutes as Washington attempted to rally with its up-tempo offense. Cardinal defenders Ben Gardner and Shayne Skov both were tended to by trainers on the field in the fourth quarter for apparent injuries.
“We saw what we saw and I’ll leave it at that,” Sarkisian said.
Gardner and Skov denied on Twitter that they were faking injuries.
“Skov didn’t take a dive, I didn’t take a dive. Never have never will. Stay classy Washington,” Gardner wrote on Twitter.
There were plenty of reasons the Huskies couldn’t pull off an upset and land the first blow in the race for the Pac-12 North Division title.
Discussing two long kickoff returns by the Cardinal, one of 99 yards for a touchdown, Sarkisian said:
“We just didn’t execute the coverage lanes the way we’re capable of. We went right back to it today. It was the first thing we did in practice.”
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