BY SCOTT HANSON / SEATTLE TIMES STAFF
Washington football coach Chris Petersen is big on accountability.
Except when it comes to himself.
That became clear Monday, when Petersen did not open his news conference by apologizing to his players and Husky fans for making the ridiculous decision to run the football late in Saturday’s game against Arizona instead of going into a “victory formation” and having his quarterback take a knee after three plays.
If Petersen had apologized, I think Husky fans would have moved on quickly. It’s hard to be angry at someone who apologizes for a mistake, and it also would have been a great example for his players.
Instead, Petersen defended an indefensible decision. He lost a chance to make this right, and he lost my respect, and I am sure that of other UW alums. Worse yet, what must his players be thinking?
Petersen had the audacity Monday to say he would make the same decision over again. Really? And two plus two is five.
I don’t know what chart Petersen and his staff use. But here is one that works: For every play when an opponent does not have a timeout, expect 45 seconds (give or take a second) to elapse. That includes the play, the time it takes for the referee to begin the 40-second play clock and then the 40 seconds before the next play runs.
In the Huskies’ case, Arizona could not have called timeouts after two plays, so that is 1:30 (two x 45 seconds), and then there is the three to five extra seconds that would have elapsed on the one play Arizona could have called timeout on. That means the Huskies could eat up 1:33 to 1:35 before even running a fourth-down play, and they only had to eat up 1:26.
If the Huskies were worried about snapping the ball too soon, here is a thought: Let the whole 40-second play run out and take delay-of-game penalties after each down.
What Petersen doesn’t get is that this is not a subjective argument he is making. It’s not like the NCAA round-of-16 game in 2006 when Washington lost to Connecticut in overtime after coach Lorenzo Romar refused to have his team intentionally foul Connecticut in the final seconds of regulation with a three-point lead. Romar’s logic not to intentionally foul in such situations was contrary to most views (and Romar has since changed his view) but it was still subjective. You could not prove that Romar was wrong.
But easy addition proves Petersen wrong.
Still, he refuses to own up to it.
Petersen had a real chance Monday to show the character that Husky fans believed he had.
But just like on Saturday, he blew it.
Scott Hanson is a desk editor, and a golf and horse-racing writer for the Seattle Times. He is a Husky alum (graduated in 1985), and his favorite sporting memory was watching UW shut out Iowa in the 1982 Rose Bowl during his freshman year.
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