After getting hit with an unsportsmanlike penalty, Victor says he completed Chris Petersen's 500 pushup punishment in about five minutes.
In a heated moment in Saturday’s game, the conversation between Utah quarterback Troy Williams and Washington linebacker Azeem Victor was light-hearted. Or so Williams wants you to believe.
“He said, ‘You’re playing hard, bro.’ I said, ‘Thanks, you too,'” Williams told The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday. The quarterback, a transfer from Washington playing against his old team for the first time, just maybe omitted a detail or two about the conversation.
Whatever Victor said in the second quarter Saturday was enough to draw an unsportsmanlike penalty from officials. The personal foul negated a third-down stop and gave Williams and the Utes a first-and-goal at the UW 1-yard line.
UW coach Chris Petersen benched Victor for the rest of the series — despite pleas from the linebacker — and Utah scored its first touchdown two plays later.
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Victor has always been an emotional player, and UW coaches have worked closely with him the past few years to properly channel those emotions on the field. “One inch out of control” is the goal, as UW linebackers coach Bob Gregory has often told Victor.
“It’s not something you can just talk about and they get. It’s like everything: You work through it and you’re trying to improve on that,” Petersen said Monday. “Some guys, just how they’re wired, it’s going to be more challenging than others. So I do think he pays much closer attention to it, and I think we’re making progress, but those are critical situations.”
In general, Petersen said the UW defense wasn’t at its best against Utah.
“They have to play this game emotional and it is emotional, but you can play too emotional for sure,” he said. “I think that was a little bit of the case with our defense for a lot of the game. That wasn’t one of our better defense games. I think it was a big game, an important game to those guys and sometimes the energy level can be too high and trying too hard.”
In control or out of control, Victor was dominant in the Huskies’ 31-24 victory. He posted a career-high 16 tackles — the most by a UW player in nearly three years — and earned national defensive player of the week honors from the Walter Camp Foundation. He leads the team with 64 tackles in the Huskies’ 8-0 start.
On Monday, he was named Pac-12 defensive player of the week and one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, which recognizes the nation’s top linebacker.
Petersen also bemoaned Psalm Wooching‘s late hit on Williams later in the game, a roughing-the-passer penalty that kept alive another drive that resulted in a Utah touchdown. (The coach said he’s typically forgiving of some personal fouls, such as a facemask penalty Victor was assessed Saturday.)
Petersen’s standard punishment for a personal-foul penalty is 500 pushups. Victor tweeted Monday that he completed those one time straight-through — in about five minutes.