Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – Like a fired-up linebacker who
continues to set his sights on taking down a certain Florida State
quarterback, I too will again take my shots at Jameis Winston as long as he is
permitted to suit up for the Seminoles.
Perhaps I should clarify a bit here; this is not so much about taking a cheap
shot at Winston as it is praising one Chris Petersen of the University of
Washington for not letting one player receive special treatment. While Winston
shoots for a second national title while dodging both defenders and the local
police blotter, coach Petersen made it clear on Thursday that no one on his
roster is above the team.
Petersen announced on Thursday that star cornerback Marcus Peters, a potential
first-round NFL Draft pick, had been dismissed from the team. Peters was not
involved in a subversive sexual scenario, nor did he pilfer crustaceans from
the local market or shout explicit verbiage to the student body, he was let go
because of his confrontational behavior on the actual field of play.
The only upperclassman starting for a young Washington secondary, Peters is a
feisty defender who led the Huskies with three interceptions and was also tops
on the unit with 10 passes defended before getting the boot. At this point, it
appears as though true freshman Naijiel Hale could take over for Peters when
the team takes on 18th-ranked UCLA this weekend, which would mean there would
be three true freshmen in the secondary trying to slow down quarterback Brett
You have to hand it to Petersen, this being his first year at Washington after
creating a BCS-busting Boise State Broncos squad, not many head coaches would
jettison a top player no matter how long that coach had been on campus (cough,
cough Jimbo Fisher). Petersen is a no-nonsense teacher, one who accepts
responsibility for himself and his players and should be heralded for not
allowing the behavior of Peters to fester and infect the rest of the team.
Sources say Peters, who was suspended for a game earlier this season after an
outburst on the sidelines during which he threw his helmet and gloves while
playing Eastern Washington, got into an argument with an assistant coach
during practice on Wednesday, just days after another argument on the
sidelines during the win over Colorado last weekend. Adding to the problem was
the fact that Peters also missed practice on Tuesday.
“It’s never one thing. We’re not going to dismiss a guy because it’s one
thing,” Petersen stated after practice on Thursday. “That’s not what we’re in
this business (to be) about. But when you feel like it just can’t work, you
gotta do what you’ve gotta do.”
It is certainly a painful move on the field for Petersen and the Huskies, but
it will go a long way in defining what Washington football will tolerate, and
how other programs should handle their business. Clearly, college sports is
not always about winning (can you hear me down there, Tallahassee?).
It’s unfortunate, but we’ve got certain standards and operating procedures,”
Petersen went on to say. “We’re trying to do something special here. Sometimes
it just doesn’t work out. Like I said, we wish him the best. It’s always a
hard thing — worst part of the job, without question. And with all that being
said, thats really it. That’s it in a nutshell. I know everybody wants the
details and other things — we don’t go there; we can’t go there. But like I
said, we wish him the best, and it’s hard and painful.”
There again, coach Petersen is trying to remain above the fray, keep himself
out of the gutter of gossip and innuendo as best he can, another trait that
many should emulate, although there are other moments of indiscretion by
Peters that must be noted.
A Second-Team All-Pac-12 selection last season after pacing the Huskies with
five interceptions, Peters was also suspended for the opening quarter of
Washington’s Fight Hunger Bowl victory over BYU (31-16) last December. Peters,
along with cornerback Travell Dixon, was seen laughing on the Washington
sideline in the final minutes of the Huskies’ crushing loss at Oregon last
month, which is never a good sign for the fans who expect players to take the
Then again, maybe Peters had a problem taking the game too seriously to begin
with when you consider that his suspension in September was based on his
reaction after a play in which he head-butted an Eastern Washington receiver.
Either way, this guy was unbalanced and failed to take advantage of the
opportunities he was presented in Seattle.
Can you tell that I am a huge supporter of Petersen, the man who has now been
involved in nine incidences of a player either being suspended or dismissed
from the team since February? There is something to be said about doing it the
right way vs. finding space in your trophy case for another crystal ball that
comes with an asterisk. Winston and the Seminoles might bring home more of the
accolades, but Petersen and the Huskies will own the award for integrity.