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Woodward sees both sides of rushing-the-field debate


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Washington fans rushed the field after the Huskies’ upset win over No. 7 Oregon State on Saturday. (AP)

By Brady Henderson

Washington athletic director Scott Woodward likes the direction the Husky football program is heading and hopes it will one day return to a point where beating top-10 teams is nothing unusual.

Until it does, he says he can’t fault students for rushing the field after wins over the likes of Stanford and Oregon State.

“My personal standpoint is, act like you’ve been there. But I get kids and students getting excited – that’s great and I love the enthusiasm. I see it both ways. I see it in their shoes,” he told “Brock and Salk” on Wednesday. “But from my vantage point, I hope we get the program to where we never have to storm the field …”

That’s what Washington students and fans did this season after beating Stanford and Oregon State at CenturyLink Field. Stanford was 3-0 and ranked eighth in the country when it lost to Washington in September, giving the Huskies their first win over a top-10 team since 2009. The second came Saturday when the Huskies knocked off Oregon State, which was 6-0 and ranked seventh.

Some think those wins shouldn’t be a cause for celebration for a program like Washington’s. Beating Stanford and Oregon State, they reason, was routine in previous decades when the Huskies were playing in Rose Bowls and competing for national championships.

The program is in a much different place now, though, working its way back into prominence four years after bottoming out with a winless season.

Woodward, who attended and worked at Louisiana State University before coming to Washington, noted that success is often cyclical with football programs.

“In the 90s, LSU was excited to go to the Independence Bowl. If they went to the Independence Bowl this year there would be a riot in Baton Rouge,” he said. “So things change and things go through transformations and I think we’re in the uptick of a very good one here.”

Woodward said there have been no discussions with coach Steve Sarkisian about prohibiting fans from rushing the field.

“Steve’s worried about winning football games,” he said. “He’s not worried about fans rushing the field.”