Chris Petersen calls them “extracurriculars.”
Beyond the borders of that intentionally vague linguistic umbrella, it’s difficult to pinpoint what specifically earned UW left tackle Trey Adams an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty on Saturday. The alleged offense occurred so long after the play, in fact, that there’s no proof of it on tape.
The available facts are these: 1.) the impropriety in question occurred in the immediate wake of Richard Newton’s 1-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter of Washington’s 28-14 win over USC, and 2.) Adams and USC freshman defensive back Chris Steele were the involved parties.
And that’s it. The punishment was levied and the game resumed, but five days later, the evidence remains frustratingly limited. It’s a classic he-said-he-said scenario. So here’s what Adams said on Wednesday.
“Yeah, that was a little ticky-tacky after the play. I think the play before I got cheap-shotted or something, and we don’t really play SC that much, so I thought I’d leave him with a little something.”
By way of explanation, the 6-foot-8, 314-pound senior added that “a lot of those guys (on USC) are (expletive)-talkers. I don’t know. It’s football. It happens.”
It does happen, and it did happen, but that hardly affected the Huskies. In a winning effort, Washington’s offense ran for 193 yards and 5.5 yards per carry, with the highlight being Salvon Ahmed’s 89-yard, third-quarter touchdown run. Junior quarterback Jacob Eason was sacked just twice.
UW has averaged at least 4 yards per carry in all five games this season, and its 11 rushing touchdowns are tied for the Pac-12 lead. In the win over USC, Petersen’s most hefty Huskies steadily enforced their will; their swagger yielded some “extracurriculars.” And, yes, they paid the price.
“Good thing it wasn’t on film,” Adams said of his unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty. “I did have to do 500 pushups, which sucked.”
Ah, yes. Five-hundred punishing pushups. Petersen’s standard punishment for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty remains the same. The effect, however, varies from player to player.
“Small guys can seem to knock them out a lot faster than the big guys,” Petersen said on Monday. “It can be painful for those big guys.”
For Adams, it was painful — and it was prolonged. The fifth-year senior arrived at UW’s practice facility at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, and Petersen told him he had until the end of the day to knock out the allotted pushups. Adams chose his roommate, senior Nick Harris, to serve as official eyewitness — counting every increasingly agonizing pushup, from one to 500.
Of course, unlike former UW linebacker Azeem Victor, Adams couldn’t complete the task in one Herculean haul. In between sets, he watched film, lifted weights — rolled through the regular routine.
At first, he pumped out 50 pushups at a time — 314 pounds, up and down, over and over and over. But as the number got higher, the sets got progressively smaller.
“(It took) all day,” said Adams, who left the facility around 6 p.m. “I ended up resorting to a few situps too, just because I was a little sore.”
Petersen joked on Monday that Adams was “a little more buff today than he was yesterday.”
Adams will take buff. He’ll take sore. After missing 16 consecutive games across the last two seasons with a torn ACL and a bulging disk in his back, it certainly beats the alternative.
“I would say (the back injury is) 10,000 percent behind me,” Adams said. “I feel like I’ve been playing pretty well in my first games and moving well. That’s all just a tribute to working hard in the weight room and all that. So I’ve got to keep going. There’s always stuff that hurts sometimes, but my knee was way gone (in 2017). My back was way gone in the past. So I feel really good now.”
That seems to apply also to the entire UW offensive line — Adams, left guard Luke Wattenberg, center Nick Harris, right guard Jaxson Kirkland and right tackle Jared Hilbers. Harris felt so good on Saturday, in fact, that while Ahmed was coasting toward the end zone for his 89-yard score, his center was busting out an impromptu dance routine. Arms and elbows were flailing. Hips were swinging. At one point, Harris was strumming an imaginary guitar.
That all ended when Petersen loudly, enthusiastically suggested Harris join his teammates for the ensuing two-point attempt.
“I actually made it down there in time,” Harris noted on Wednesday. “I don’t know why (people think I didn’t). I was down there and ready to go, but there was also people on the field-goal unit out there. So we couldn’t (go for two without calling a timeout).”
“You got the two,” a reporter noted.
“Yeah, exactly,” Harris responded. “So who cares, honestly? Obviously I’ve got to lock in, but I was having fun.”
The fun is evident, as is the execution. Husky offensive-line coach Scott Huff said Wednesday his unit has “done a good job. There’s always a play or two that you want to have back, that you know they can perform better. But overall, I like the energy and the leadership. They’ve been good.”
They’ll be looking to be even better against 2-3 Stanford on Saturday.
And, yes, that might come with an occasional extracurricular.
“It was pretty fun, though,” Harris admitted of his now notorious dance. “I don’t regret it.”