David Shaw made the unusual move of opening his Pac-12 coaches' teleconference with an opening statement. He later sat down at his meeting with local media and introduced a similar verbal offering with a simple line: "Do you have your recording devices ready?"
Let the fireworks begin. Here are Shaw's exact words in response to Steve Sarkisian's accusations that Ben Gardner and Shayne Skov faked injuries to slow Washington's fast-paced offense on Saturday. Sarkisian also complained about the replay officials' decision to overturn an initial late catch ruling, a move that sealed the Cardinal's 31-28 win. Shaw read much of the following off a Stanford Football notepad, where he had handwritten some of his main points:
"I don't usually open with a statement but it's obviously necessary this week. Hopefully, we'll get to talk about Utah, but I think this is necessary first... First and foremost, we do not fake injuries. We never have, we never will. The only time it's come up is laughing at other people who we believe have done it. Because we don't believe in it. It's not right. I don't care what Steve Sarkisian thinks he saw. We didn't do it against Oregon, and we're for sure not going to do it against Washington.
"I have strict instructions from every boss that I have on campus, from the president of the university to the provost to our athletic director, to run a program that's above reproach, that doesn't do anything questionable. We don't allow it, we don't teach it, we don't coach it. We don't tell our kids what to say. Ask them whatever questions, and they'll answer you. You guys know that. I've been charged with operating a program with integrity, without question. There's no doubt in what we're doing and how we're doing it.
"Secondly, I believe it's unprofessional to call out an assistant coach on another team. It's unprofessional and it's disrespectful. The only D-line coach that I know of that's ever instructed players to fake injury works at the University of Washington, and not Stanford. That's not calling someone out; that's stating a fact. There was punishment, there's been admittance, and we've all moved on from it. That's the only case that I know of.
"There's another comment that I have to address: 'I guess that's how we play here at Stanford.' How we play here at Stanford is averaging 5.5 penalties a game. 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 a 100 percent graduation rate. We're one of the most well-respected programs in the nation. I'm not going to put that all on the line just to beat Washington.
"Built into that also is that we beat Washington five out of six times. Last year they beat us, and it was hard. It was tough to take. But, we took it. They beat us. They outplayed us. They made more plays than we did. They won the game. I shook the head coach's hand, congratulated him, and told them they played a heck of a game. Some of you guys were there. That postgame press conference was hard. I didn't blame anybody else. We took it upon ourselves for not making enough plays. I think that's what coaches should do: Handle it with mutual respect and dignity.
"Lastly, it was an incomplete pass. I keep hearing the word 'controversial.' It's not controversial if the ball hits the ground. It hit the ground. The replay showed it... Incomplete pass. All this talk is ridiculous and it's pulling away what we should be talking about. We should be talking about two unbelievable performances from Ty Montgomery and Keith Price. That's what we all should be talking about. Those two guys should have been vaulted toward the top of their positions in college football... I gave Keith Price a hug after the game. That kid played his heart out. He should be mentioned with the top quarterbacks in the country, but instead we're talking about what was obviously an incomplete pass."
David Lombardi is the Stanford Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!