Stanford coach David Shaw shot back at Steve Sarkisian three days after the Washington coach accused Cardinal assistant coach Randy Hart of telling players to “sit down” late in the second half of Washington’s 31-28 loss Saturday in Palo Alto.
Oh, what a rebuttal it was.
“The only assistant coach I’ve ever known to order players to fake injuries coaches at Washington,” Shaw said Wednesday in an opening statement on the Pac-12 Conference’s weekly coaches’ teleconference with reporters.
After calling Sarkisian’s remarks “unprofessional,” Shaw made reference to, but did not mention by name, UW defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi, who told the media he asked players to fake injuries when he worked at Cal. Shaw was peeved because he felt Sarkisian’s comments took aim at the integrity of his program.
“That’s not calling anybody out, that’s just stating a fact. It’s been proven, it’s been admitted,” Shaw said. “We don’t fake injuries. We never have. We never will. I don’t care what (Washington coach Steve) Sarkisian thinks he saw.”
After a loss to Washington late in 2010, Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour announced that Lupoi had been suspended for the Huskies’ game after the assistant to head coach Jeff Tedford admitted he had players fake injuries the previous week during a 15-13 loss to Oregon.
In 2012, Shaw’s Cardinal traveled to Seattle as a top-ranked team and lost 17-13 to the Huskies at CenturyLink Field.
“We’ve beaten Washington five of the last six times,” Shaw said. “When they beat us (last year), we congratulated Washington. We didn’t talk about the officials. We took it.”
Asked on 710 ESPN’s Brock and Danny Show about his comments, Sarkisian countered.
“I answered a question. I never said they faked an injury,” he said. “It’s reasonable for two people to disagree.”
During his time on the teleconference, Sarkisian, who said he had just come from practice and was not clear “exactly” what Shaw said, was pressed again, asking whether he had talked with Shaw since his remarks.
“No comment,” he said. Asked whether he saw Hart signaling to players, Sarkisian said, “I’m done with the subject.”
The tiff began Saturday night when Sarkisian went on KJR-AM 950 during his standard post-game interview and called out — by job title and not name — Randy Hart, the Stanford defensive line coach and a former UW assistant under Don James, for allegedly inducing players to pretend they were hurt in order to slow down the Huskies’ offensive pace.
“Their defensive-line coach (Hart) was telling them to sit down,” Sarkisian said Saturday. ”I guess that’s how we play here at Stanford, so 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.”
During the fourth quarter, Stanford senior defensive end Ben Gardner and senior linebacker Shayne Skov left the game separately with apparent injuries before quickly returning. Gardner is reportedly dealing with an arm injury this week.
Shaw clearly resented the implication that two of his best players would stoop to such a tactic.
“Shayne had an MRI the other day on his knee,” Shaw said. “Ben Gardner had an arm injury, not to mention dehydration. We’re talking about two senior captains, two of the hardest-working guys on the team. That’s disrespectful to everything we’ve done here.
“I’m not even angry at Steve. Steve and I have always gotten along. He just crossed the line.”