Over the weekend, Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian accused Stanford of faking injuries on defense during the Huskies’ 38-21 loss to the Cardinals. Sarkasian claimed in a postgame interview that he saw a coach telling players to get down on the ground.
“Their defensive line coach (Randy Hart) was telling them to sit down,” Sarkisian told KJR 950-AM, via ESPN.com. “I guess that’s how we play here at Stanford, so we’ll have to prepare for that next time.”
Not surprisingly, Stanford head coach David Shaw firmly denied the accusations. He also blasted Sarkisian for accusing another coach of doing something like that.
“We don’t fake injuries. We never have and we never will,” Shaw said. “And I don’t care what Steve Sarkisian thinks that he saw. “I believe it’s unprofessional to call out an assistant coach on another team. It was unprofessional; it was disrespectful. The only D-line coach that I know of that’s ever instructed players to fake an injury works at the University of Washington, not at Stanford. That’s not calling a person out, that’s stating a fact.”
Tosh Lupoi, a defensive line coach at Washington, was suspended for a game in 2010 while he was at Cal after he admitted he coached players to fake injuries against Oregon. Shaw said Sarkisian “crossed the line” and noted that Stanford is one of the most respected football programs in the country.
“How we play here at Stanford is averaging five and a half penalties a game,” Shaw said. “We’re one of the least penalized teams in the nation. 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 100 percent graduation rate.
“We’re one of the most well-respected programs in the nation. I’m not going to put that on the line just to beat Washington.”
Injury faking is something that is undoubtedly becoming more popular across college and professional football as more and more teams go with an up-tempo offense. Cal coach Sonny Dykes accused Northwestern of doing it earlier this year and another video captured Georgia players blatantly faking injuries against Clemson. It’s just something teams are going to have to learn to deal with.