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Steve Sarkisian and David Shaw Getting Along Much Better

The USC-Stanford rivalry adds a whole new twist this season.

These two coaches got along just fine, in Hawaii that is.
These two coaches got along just fine, in Hawaii that is.
Stephen Lam

The last time coaches Steve Sarkisian and David Shaw met on the gridiron, the Stanford Cardinal narrowly avoided the upset-minded Washington Huskies. As Sarkisian prepares to lead his new squad, the No. 14 USC Trojans, the former Huskies head coach has moved on from some harsh words directed towards Stanford.

After last year's meeting, a 31-28 win for the Cardinal, Sarkisian accused Stanford of faking injuries to slow the pace of play against a Washington offense that ran 88 plays; a number of plays USC would love to pump out Saturday in Palo Alto.

"David and I are both highly competitive people," Sarkisian said following Tuesday's practice. "We're going to battle and compete this week and all day Saturday to try to win the game...And when the game's done, the game's done."

That game kicks off Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PST on ESPN as two ranked squads battle it out in a matchup of one dominate defense against an uptempo offense looking to start the rigorous Pac-12 slate on an impressive note.

Time can always alleviate tension on the field, but these coaches were also able to soften the blow during a spring vacation to Hawaii where both David Shaw, Steve Sarkisian and their wives ran into each other.

"There may be a disagreement or two Saturday as well. That's part of the business that we're in," Steve Sarkisian said of facing Shaw. "That doesn't affect our personal lives when we move out of that competitive forum."

The off-field tension may have died down, but the intensity between Stanford and USC is at an all-time high for these respective programs with the last five games coming down to the wire. Fans may keep an eye on how ESPN covers the sequence of events in the post-game handshake, but each coach has moved on and would rather translate that competitiveness towards pre-game preparation.

"We never talked about it again. It was over. It was in the past," David Shaw said during the Pac-12's weekly teleconference. "He and I sat together at lunch and breakfast a couple times and talked about a bunch of other things. Our wives are getting to be good friends. They know each other well. There's no animosity whatsoever."