Shaw fires back at Sarkisian
STANFORD -- Stanford's David Shaw is one of the most mild-mannered coaches in college football. He rarely shows emotions, and he rarely raises his voice.
Speaking as passionately as he ever has, Shaw emphatically fired back at Steve Sarkisian after the Washington coach accused the Cardinal of faking injuries. Shaw opened his portion of the Pac-12 coaches' teleconference with a carefully crafted statement, saying "we don't fake injuries, we never have and we never will. I don't condone it. I don't teach it. I don't allow it."
Shaw also began his weekly news conference at Stanford shortly after referring to the same hand-written notes. He called Sarkisian's allegations "unprofessional" and pointed out that the only defensive coach he knows of who has told players to fake injuries works on Washington's staff.
Huskies defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi admitted to instructing players to fake injuries against Oregon while he was an assistant at Cal.
"That's not calling anybody out. That's just stating a fact. It's been proven. It's been admitted and we all have moved on," Shaw said. Later he added, "We didn't do it against Oregon, so why in the world would we do it against Washington?"
Former Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas was accused of faking an injury in a loss at Oregon in 2010 while Jim Harbaugh was the head coach.
"How we play at Stanford has led to three BCS bowl games, a Pac-12, Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl championships and a 100 percent graduation rate," Shaw continued. "This is one of the most respected programs in the country and I'm not going to put that on the line just to beat Washington."
Shaw also said he had discussions with the Pac-12 Conference expressing his displeasure with the allegations. Both coaches declined to comment when asked if they had spoken to each other about the issue.
"I'm not even angry at Steve. Just think he crossed the line. Could see him tomorrow and say hi. But I'm going to defend what we do," Shaw said.
After fifth-ranked Stanford (5-0, 3-0) beat then-No. 15 Washington 31-28 on Saturday night, Sarksian said in a postgame interview with Seattle's KJR radio station that Cardinal players were faking injuries to try to slow down the Huskies' up-tempo offense on the final drive.
"I guess that's how we play here at Stanford," Sarkisian told the station. He specifically said he heard Stanford defensive line coach Randy Hart - who was an assistant at Washington from 1988 to 2008 - telling players to stay down following plays.
Sarkisian stood by those comments again Tuesday when asked about Shaw's response.
"We saw what we saw. We can leave it at that. Two reasonable people can disagree on something and move forward," Sarkisian said.
Shaw also said Hart was steaming about Sarkisian's allegations. He called his assistant one of the "most respected coaches in the country" and said he doesn't care what Sarkisian thinks he saw.
"Randy pushes our guys. It's never `pull off, or fake this.' No, it's `go, go, go,'" Shaw said. "That's all Randy ever says is, `Go, go, go, go!"
Stanford defensive end Ben Gardner and linebacker Shayne Skov both were tended to by trainers on the field in the fourth quarter for injuries. Shaw said Gardner was dealing with an arm injury and dehydration, while Skov hyperextended his surgically repaired left knee when he collided with teammate James Vaughters.
An MRI on Skov's knee showed no structural damage, Shaw said. Skov is expected to play Saturday at Utah.
Both players 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 tweeted Sunday.
Sarkisian also disagreed with the replay officials' decision to call Kevin Smith's reception incomplete after it was ruled a catch on the field. Smith's catch came on fourth-and-10 at the Stanford 49 with less than 90 seconds left.
Shaw initially said the play looked like a catch from his view on sideline. However, after seeing TV replays he had no doubt overturning the call was correct.
"It was an incomplete pass. I keep seeing and hearing the word, 'controversial.' It's not controversial if the ball hits the ground. It hits the ground. The replay shows it," Shaw said.
Shaw said what upset him most about Sarkisian's statements is that it took away from a great game on both sides.
"We've beaten Washington five out of six times," Shaw said. "But when they beat us (last year), I handled it, our players and coaches handled it. We congratulated Washington for outplaying us. We didn't talk about the officiating. We didn't talk about anything else that Washington did. They beat us, they outplayed us and we took it and we moved on."