Huskies prepare for Oregon’s wild tempo

Staff writerOctober 8, 2013 

SEATTLE — So challenging are No. 2 Oregon’s offensive and defensive schemes that Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said he didn’t bother with a scout period during Monday’s practice.

There simply isn’t time for that. And because the No. 16 Huskies and Ducks operate with similar offensive tempo, UW’s defense will likely be better served by facing its own first-string offense.

“We went goods-on-goods every period, because of so much of the similarities between the offenses and the defenses,” Sarkisian said. “And I think it allows us to keep the tempo, the pace, the physicality of practice where it needs to be in preparation for Saturday.”

The urgency of Washington’s task this week — trying to defeat a team that hasn’t scored fewer than 55 points in a game this season and hasn’t lost to the Huskies since before Facebook was founded — will surely help it shift focus from the heartbreaking manner in which it lost to No. 5 Stanford just three days ago.

But that 31-28 setback, one marked toward the end by a controversial official’s review that went against UW, was still a topic of conversation at Sarkisian’s weekly press luncheon.

On the team’s final offensive

play, receiver Kevin Smith was ruled to have caught a fourth-and-10 pass from quarterback Keith Price that would have moved the chains and put UW at Stanford’s 33-yard line with 1:16 to play, but that ruling was overturned by the replay official. After watching the play on film, Sarkisian still didn’t see the indisputable evidence necessary to reverse the original ruling of a completed pass.

“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 the ESPN shot was, (was) that it was conclusive that it was not a catch.

“I disagree, but that’s just my opinion. I don’t think that that was conclusive, but again, I’m not an official.”

PRICE HAS SORE THUMB

His final stat line didn’t show it, but Price played much of Saturday’s game with an injured thumb on his right throwing hand.

Sarkisian said Price practiced on Monday, but that the workout for quarterbacks on those days is typically pretty light.

The coach later said during his radio show on KJR that Price is “not 100 percent yet,” but he said earlier Monday, “I think he’ll be fine come Saturday.”

Price had to have the thumb taped during the Stanford game, and his grip on the ball might have affected the trajectory of some of his throws, Sarkisian said. He wasn’t sure exactly when the injury occurred.

He was ready to insert backup quarterback Cyler Miles if necessary, Sarkisian said, but “Keith just continued to reassure us he was fine, and there was nothing in his play that made us think otherwise. He was making tremendous throws under distress.”

FAKING OR NO?

Shayne Skov and Ben Gardner, two of Stanford’s top defensive players, used their Twitter accounts to take exception to rumblings that they faked injuries on Saturday in an attempt to slow Washington’s offense.

Sarkisian made comments during a postgame radio interview that suggested Stanford players were being instructed to do just that, though he didn’t name names.

Asked about the matter on Monday, Sarkisian said, “We saw what we saw, and I’m going to leave it at that.”

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