Tweets by @StanfordSports

RT @StanfordWSoccer: Stanford vs. North Carolina, season opener underway after lightning delay, at 5:18 p.m. PT.: 3 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
RT @StanfordWSoccer: Stanford lineup: GK - Campbell; D - Liedle, Romine, Bauer, Amack; M - Doll, LaBonta, Sullivan; F - Walker-Hartshorn, U…: 3 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
RT @StanfordFball: #FearOwen MT @NicoleAuerbach: David Shaw's great stories about two-way Owen Marecic, 'bad-ass periods,' zen moments: htt…: 6 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
RT @wilnerhotline: Stanford fball stat o' day: Cardinal outscored opponents in 4thQ every yr from 09-12. Total pts: 424-304. Last yr in 4th…: 7 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
RT @LeeWard36: Honored to be named captain of this team. We are a tight knit family. Ready to help lead this team to special things.: 1 day ago, Stanford Daily Sport

Shaw adamant that Cardinal did not fake injuries

Stanford head coach David Shaw opened up Tuesday’s press luncheon in an unconventional matter with an opening statement, read from hand-written notes on a Stanford football notepad, repeating what he had stated earlier in the day during the Pac-12 coaches’ teleconference.

(SAM GIRVIN/The Stanford Daily)

Senior captain defensive end Ben Gardner (49) was one of the players that Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian accused of faking injuries in Saturday’s 31-28 Cardinal victory over the Huskies. (SAM GIRVIN/The Stanford Daily)

“First and foremost, we do not fake injuries,” Shaw said. “We never have, we never will…I don’t care what [Washington head coach] Steve Sarkisian thinks he saw, we didn’t do it against Oregon and we’re for sure not going to do it against Washington.”

Sarkisian publicly accused Stanford defensive line coach Randy Hart, who spent two decades as an assistant at Washington, of encouraging his players to fake injuries in order to slow down the Huskies’ offense. Two key players—fifth-year senior captains Shayne Skov and Ben Gardner—went down as Washington drove late in the game to prompt Sarkisian’s accusations.

Shaw said that Gardner and Skov are still battling these injuries and Skov even sat out of practice on Monday in the aftermath of the hyperextension of his surgically repaired knee.

“I believe it’s unprofessional to call out an assistant coach on another team,” said Shaw regarding Sarkisian’s accusation. “It’s unprofessional and it’s disrespectful. The only D-line coach that I know of that’s ever instructed players to fake injury works at the University of Washington and not Stanford. That’s not calling someone out, that’s stating a fact.”

Shaw was referencing Huskies defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi, who was suspended for a game in 2010 after admitting to teaching the fake injury ploy to his players for a game against Oregon.

Shaw continued to defend Stanford and, specifically, the program that he runs.

“I have strict instructions from every boss that I have on campus, from the president of the University to the provost to our athletic director, to run a program that’s above reproach, that doesn’t do anything questionable,” Shaw elaborated. “We don’t allow it, we don’t teach it, we don’t coach it.”

The comment from Sarkisian that seemed to irk Shaw the most was his quip that faking injuries was “how they play at Stanford.” Shaw was especially forceful when responding to that statement.

“How we play here at Stanford is averaging 5.5 penalties a game,” Shaw responded. “How we play here at Stanford has led to three BCS bowl games in a row, a Pac-12, a Rose Bowl and an Orange Bowl championship and a 100 percent graduation rate. We’re one of the most well-respected programs in the nation. I’m not going to put that all on the line just to beat Washington.”

***

When not talking about accusations of fake injuries, Shaw addressed one of the major factors that powered Stanford to victory last Saturday against Washington: its performance on special teams.

Ty Montgomery’s kick returns and Barry Sanders’ punt return may have stolen the show, but the punt coverage unit was equally important and impactful. Unlike many other programs around the country, Shaw and Stanford continue to use key players from offense and defense on special teams units.

“Special teams and particularly coverage units are about running and hitting,” Shaw explained. “You put your best guys at running and hitting out there. At the same time, we don’t worry about if a guy gets hurt. No, the guy plays football. Find me a better guy on a punt coverage team than Skov.”

On the offensive side of things, Stanford struggled to find success in the passing game all evening long. Washington’s cornerbacks locked down Montgomery and junior wideout Devon Cajuste and gave junior quarterback Kevin Hogan very little room for error.

“I think [Washington’s defenders] contributed to us not being in rhythm in the passing game,” Shaw explained. “They are very good, very sound, have very good athletes, and have a very good scheme.”

Hogan struggled to find any throwing lanes and didn’t have one of the better games of his career, finishing 12-of-20 for 100 yards, a touchdown and an interception. With Washington quarterback Keith Price playing impressively on the other side, Hogan’s performance appeared especially mediocre to those skeptical of his abilities.

“He still hasn’t started 12 games,” said Shaw in defense of Hogan. “His ceiling is extremely high. We’re going to go through some more growing pains here and there; he’s going to have a couple more unbelievable games and a couple rough games. He’s not a finished product…He knows he’s not perfect but he’s pushing himself to be as good as he can be.”

Contact Michael Peterson at mrpeters ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Michael Peterson

Michael Peterson is a sports desk editor at The Stanford Daily. He has served as a beat reporter for football, baseball and men’s soccer and also does play-by-play broadcasting of baseball and men’s soccer for KZSU. Michael is a sophomore from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. majoring in computer science. To contact him, please email him at mrpeters ‘at’ stanford.edu.
  • Candid One

    It’s amazing that a head coach would stoop to the poor sportsmanship of petty accusations toward an opponent for any reason. When that coach’s team has been showing its substance despite leading the nation in self-defeating penalties, does an external scapegoat truly fill a need? Does Steve Sarkisian really want to diminish his team’s performance by distracting from it? Somehow, it’s unlikely anything constructive could ever result from his deficient example. No joy anywhere.

  • pseg

    David Shaw either lied or did not talk to the training staff. Skov did not “injure” the knee he had surgically repaired, as he mentioned in the press conference. He “injured” his other knee. Shaw is now backpedalling on his press conference comments. He is not on the same page with his SI. After watching the video and the comments I think something may be rotten in Denmark.