Huskies Insider Blog

Huskies links: After Azeem Victor’s ejection, UW coaches emphasizing lower hits, caution around QB

Some Huskies links to pass along. Offensive players and coaches are available for interviews later Wednesday morning.

--- Our story in today’s newspaper looks at Washington’s desire to hit lower and avoid personal-foul penalties, such as the targeting call made against linebacker Azeem Victor at USC. Victor must sit out the first half of UW’s game Saturday against Oregon. An excerpt:

SEATTLE -- Discussion of the NCAA’s targeting rule seems to present conflicting feelings for Washington Huskies coach Chris Petersen.

Ask him about the targeting call against UW linebacker Azeem Victor that resulted in Victor’s ejection from last week’s 17-12 win at USC — and the automatic, one-half suspension he must serve this week against Oregon as a result of that penalty — and it’s obvious Petersen wasn’t thrilled with the ruling.

“I can’t say anything,” said Petersen, which says plenty. “That’s the bottom line. You guys have seen it and it is what it is. I know what your opinion is. I know what everybody’s opinion is. It is what it is.”

Victor did hit USC quarterback Cody Kessler after he threw a pass in the fourth quarter last week, and it was late enough to warrant a flag for roughing-the-passer. But officials also ruled that Victor targeted Kessler’s head, even though replays appeared to show Victor lead with his arms into Kessler’s shoulder.

All targeting calls are automatically reviewed, and if the call is upheld — as it was in Victor’s case — the player is ejected from the game and must also sit out the first half of his team’s next game. Such a ruling is final; there is no mechanism for an appeal.

And while a reasonable person can conclude that Petersen probably isn’t particularly pleased with that process — on Monday, he said he would “really hope” that the rule be scrutinized this offseason — he’s using the occasion of Victor’s ejection to again emphasize the need for defensive players to target lower when hitting the quarterback.

The message: don’t hit him late — which linebacker Cory Littleton also did on that same possession — and don’t hit him high.

--- Adam Jude writes about UW’s defense trying to (finally) slow down Oregon’s offense.

--- UW named a new president on Tuesday: Ana Marie Cauce, who had been the interim president following the departure of Michael Young.

--- It’s wait-and-see for Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams this week.

--- A young Oregon cornerback is trying to get past a tough play last week.

--- USC interim coach Clay Helton expressed support for Steve Sarkisian.

--- USA Today proposes 10 potential candidates for the vacant USC job.

--- USC athletic director Pat Haden says he takes ownership for the failed Sarkisian hire.

--- Jim Mora is confident UCLA can go toe to toe with Stanford.

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple