After examining the game film, Washington football coach Chris Petersen didn’t seem to object much to the penalties that nullified a pair of UW touchdowns — and instead led to a pair of field goals — during Saturday’s 34-23 loss to No. 13 Utah.
On its first possession of the game, Washington drove to Utah’s 4-yard line before freshman quarterback Jake Browning appeared to throw a touchdown pass to senior receiver Jaydon Mickens in the right corner of the end zone.
But the officials ruled that Mickens was only open because sophomore receiver Brayden Lenius had set an illegal pick on the defensive back responsible for covering Mickens. The resulting 15-yard penalty blew up the Huskies’ drive, which eventually yielded a field goal.
Replays showed that contact between Lenius and the defensive back was minimal, but it’s against the rules for a receiver to intentionally disrupt a defender’s path before the ball is thrown. And it did appear that Lenius made an ever-so-slight movement backward in an attempt to “rub” the defensive back off of Mickens.
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Petersen said that in the future, Lenius (or any other UW receiver) simply needs to “run your route and post up. You can’t be trying to back into those guys and those type of things.”
Particular care is required, Petersen said, “because that’s a point of emphasis. They’re looking to call those things.”
The Huskies had a second touchdown taken off the board in the fourth quarter, when freshman tailback Myles Gaskin ran through a hole on the left side of the field and took the ball 24 yards to the end zone.
But right guard Coleman Shelton, who was pulling left on the play and helped create Gaskin’s running lane, was penalized for holding.
That, Petersen said, “was probably a good call.”
“I think the lineman is trying to finish a block,” Petersen said, “and when they get a chance to do that, they’re always going to do that. Sometimes you can twist guys and those type of things.”
Mostly, Petersen lamented the Huskies’ five giveaways (four official turnovers plus a botched punt), and said it’s the coaches’ job to correct those mistakes.
“How do we tighten it up in practice? How do we coach ‘em better?” Petersen said. “Sometimes it can come down to some playing time, but certainly not into trying to discourage guys. We understand turnovers are part of the game. … We thought we were on it and we didn’t coach ‘em good enough to tighten those areas up.”
Arizona State, UW’s opponent on Saturday in Tempe, Arizona (noon, Pac-12 Network), has gained a reputation around the Pac-12 Conference for stealing signs from the opponent’s sideline.
Utah and Oregon, both of which played against ASU recently, each noted the Sun Devils’ repeated attempts to steal signs. The Ducks even used large, white sheets to conceal their play callers.
ASU coach Todd Graham admits to it, saying other teams try to steal ASU’s signals, too, and that the Sun Devils haven’t broken any rules (it is not against NCAA rules to steal signs from the sideline, but it is against the rules to record video of the opponent’s signals).
Petersen said last week the Huskies had to actively try to prevent ASU from stealing signs against them last season, and said Monday that “we’ll pay close attention to it this weekend.”
“I think we’re still kind of formulating our plan a little bit,” Petersen said. “It’s hard enough to (beat) them when you’re right, but when they know what you’re doing … it can be even more of an advantage for them.”
OSU kickoff set
Washington’s Nov. 21 game against Oregon State at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon, has been scheduled for a 3 p.m. kickoff and will air on Pac-12 Network.
Each of the Huskies three remaining games — at ASU (noon), at OSU (3 p.m.) and vs. Washington State (12:30 or 1 p.m.) — will kick off in the afternoon.
Petersen didn’t offer a specific update on any of UW’s injured players — sophomore safety Budda Baker (head), freshman left tackle Trey Adams (leg) or sophomore nose tackle Elijah Qualls — but said he was “encouraged” by their current status. “All those guys, they’re not bad,” Petersen said. “Whether they go or not, we’ll see.”