Steve Sarkisian is looking for equal officiating in the Pac-12

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday November 19, 2013

Washington is the most-penalized team in the Pac-12, and Steve Sarkisian understand that. What he doesn’t understand is how his team isn’t drawing more.

The Huskies are averaging 8.9 penalties for 79.3 yards per game. According to Sarkisian, Washington has drawn the fewest penalties among common opponents in the conference.

He wasn’t in an accusatory mode

“When we grab facemasks and when we get pass interference penalties and we jump and false-start, those are self-inflicted wounds that we don’t need to do to ourselves,” he said. “We’ll continue to look at it. I’ve looked at every area and every aspect of this thing. The one area that is a little frustrating on our end, we are the most penalized team, but if you take our opponents’ penalties, they’re the least penalized opponents, of common opponents, in our conference. So that part’s a little discouraging to me.

“I’m all about officiating the game and officiating it equally. If we’re going to have 11 penalties, and UCLA’s going to have eight, it is what it is. But when we go into ballgames and one team has 10 and the other team has two, that’s when it gets frustrating on our end. But I don’t think our guys are out there maliciously holding or getting pass interference penalties. You just like to see it called equally for everybody. Whether that happens all the time or not, I’m not sure."

After going 7-6 in three straight seasons, Washington started this year 4-0, and it looked like Sark’s team had gotten over the hump. But they’re now 6-4, with all four losses coming to teams in the top 17 of the BCS standings.

“Nobody’s more frustrated than me, I can tell you that,” Sarkisian said. “You can ask our players that. I think we have a good football team. We’ve lost four games this year to four top-20 teams, three of which are on the road. That’s not an excuse, because we’re good enough to go beat those teams. I know we are. Whether it’s a mindset, whether it’s a hurdle that we can do it once so that we can do it twice and then a third time, but I know we’re capable of doing it.

“It’s frustrating for me, frustrating because I want these kids to have that success. They’re deserving of it; they work their tails off for me; they do everything we ask them to do. So for people to feel however they feel, I understand it. But believe me, if they could jump inside me and my heart and my head, nobody feels more frustrated and worse about it than me.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to