Petersen: “No one wants to do (“Lovers’ Lane”), so they think really hard about it.”
Across the lake here at the University of Washington, love is in the air.
While the Seahawks made headlines Thursday for a bloody fight between teammates, the Huskies are enjoying a peaceful first week of fall camp.
OK, OK. It’s not all chocolate and roses all the time on Montlake.
As temperatures rise during camp, so too does the intensity — and things do get heated between teammates from time to time.
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Though rare, fights are not uncommon at Washington. What is unorthodox is the way Chris Petersen handles the punishment for players involved in those fights.
Instead of kicking players out of practice — a common response from coaches throughout all levels of football — Petersen makes the two fighters hold hands and walk a full lap around the perimeter of the field.
“Lovers’ Lane,” he calls it.
It’s a punishment that goes back to Petersen’s days at Boise State. He has been reluctant in the past to talk about “Lovers’ Lane.” He doesn’t want to publicly shame his players, but he does want to make an example out of them for the rest of the team.
As much as anything, Petersen preaches “family” and “brotherhood” to his players. He believes camaraderie is vital to a team’s success. Each August, the team participates in a weeklong Husky Olympics competition — they’ve had rowing races on Lake Washington; a home run derby with tennis rackets inside Husky Stadium; and had a free-throw shooting contest inside Hec Ed — with a goal of bringing players closer together.
Petersen will also randomly pair players together — a defensive lineman might be matched with a punter, for example — and they have to get to know each other beyond just football. And at any time Petersen might call on a player to stand in front of the team and share some basic details about the teammate he’s been paired with.
“If we’re going to all try to be about this tight family environment, that’s one of the things that really bothers me, if guys (fight),” Petersen said.
In fall camp a year ago, Wide receiver Quinten Pounds and cornerback Jordan Miller got into a scuffle during a one-on-one passing drill. After wrestling on the ground for a few moments, Petersen immediately screamed…