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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 9, 2008 at 8:17 AM

A little more from Sarkisian, Woodward

Here are a few more quotes from yesterday’s press conference:
UW AD SCOTT WOODWARD
Any concerns on hiring a 34-year-old first-time coach? Not a concern at all for me. The passion, the expertise and the toughness and passion I mentioned. … more importantly, this guy has been a winner at every station of his life, whether it be as a player, a coach, or a student, this guy is a winner and President Emmert and I felt it immediately when we met him.
Will this help play into the interests of renovating Husky Stadium? It’s always a key to have excitement around the program. Coach hasn’t seen the bowels of Husky Stadium yet and what we have to do to make this a safe and comfortable place to be for another hundred years, but it is a big boost in the arm and we’re obviously excited about it.
You had talked at one point of wanting a defensive/experienced coach. Did something in your thoughts change? They haven’t changed. You heard about him being on his butt eight times (in the UW game in 1996) and talking about defense. We like that. Experience is good experience, like working and practicing. When you work hard, you work efficiently and this guy’s done it in a brief time in his career and we were very pleased with that.
Were you impressed with first meeting with Sarkisian? It’s such a blur. I had a gut feeling pretty early in meeting Steve. I would say a good idea of where we wanted to go. Then we talked with a lot of people we trusted in the business and, as I mentioned, it came up Steve Sarkisian every time. That was just a very good thing, especially from people I trust and respect in the business.
STEVE SARKISIAN
On being a first-time coach: There’s a first time for everything. As I’ve said before, I’ve been mentored by the best in our profession at this time. Pete Carroll did a tremendous job preparing me for these moments. I’ve been part of a football program that has done nothing but win. As a player, I think I was an overachiever. I was a guy that didn’t rely on physical talents, but learned the game mentally, I learned the game to play from your heart and your mind, and not always from the physical attributes, and I think I’m going to bring a lot of passion to these kids.
Early thoughts on the Huskies: There’s a lot of talent on this football team, we just need to change the way they think. Obviously, there’s going to be a lot of learning from everybody in involved. It’s going to be critical we put together a great coaching staff. But I think as Scott touched on, it’s going to take my passion, my energy, my enthusiasm and the staff around me to get this thing changed. I don’t think it’s about age. I think it’s about the way you approach it, your mentality and we’re going to jump in with two feet first and we’re going to go for it.
On remaining the play-caller on offense: I’m going to remain the play-caller. We’ll hire an offensive coordinator, but I’ll still call the plays. The offense will be very similar (to USC), obviously we’ll play to the strengths of what we have, whether it’s offensive line, running back, quarterback, wide receiver. For the most part, the system will remain the same, but every game is different. There will be some games we’re going to pound the rock, some games we’re going to have to throw it 40 times to win, but the goal is the same and that is to win football games. That’s what we’re going to try to do.
On changing the mindset: We’re going to get them changed in the way they think. We’re going to get them in a belief system. We’re going to get them to understand there’s one train and it’s going in one direction. If your cart’s going in the opposite direction, maybe it’s time to move on and go somewhere else. This is going to be a program where we’re going to have 105 guys going in the same direction for the common good of this program and this university.
On recruiting: We’ve got a long way to go. We’ve still got a month and a half of recruiting still to get done, there’s a lot of good players out there to go get. We just have to work our tails off and go beat the bushes and find them.
On recruiting junior college players: JC recruiting is great for immediate needs, but you have to remember they’re at a junior college for a reason and we have to find out what that is. We don’t want to just bring a bunch of junior college kids in here just to bring them in, but if they can help immediately, that’s why should they be here. This isn’t a time to just bring them here that can’t help us right away. It has to be a guy that fills a need.
On Pete Carroll and his mantra of competition: We’re going to instill it, no question, on a daily basis we’re going to instill it not just on the football field, but in the classroom, socially because that is what life is based on: You have to be able to compete in this world on a daily basis. We’re going to battle, we’re going to try to instill that in our kids. Exactly where they’re at, I don’t know, but I do know we’re going to instill it and it will be one of the main facets of our program.
On whether he considered leaving USC before the Rose Bowl: Pete’s gone through this before, with Ed Orgeron. It’s something — I owe it to those kids. I’ve put a lot of time, a lot of effort into that program, to that offense, with that QB – Mark Sanchez — and I owe it to the kids to give them the best opportunity I can for them to win a Rose Bowl Championship on January 1st.
On philosophy on redshirting: I’m never going to tell a kid he’s going to redshirt. I want that kid to have a feeling and understanding of the moment he signs with the University of Washington, that first Wednesday in February, he’s getting himself prepared to play for us in that first ballgame. We’re going to do everything in our power to push him toward that, enable him in the summer and fall camp to get him ready for that moment. When that moment comes, we’ll make that decision. But I don’t ever want to tell a kid we’re redshirting you because now we’re setting his sights too low. We want our guys shooting to play, to be a starter from day one of fall camp and give them every opportunity. We’ll throw them in with the first unit and see how they respond. Some guys will respond well and some guys aren’t. Does that mean a guy’s going to be an every down player? No, but if we’re going to give a guy an opportunity to help us and put him in specific situations where he can be a successful player for us on Saturday’s, we’ll do it. But I don’t want to hinder a guys and say you’re going to redshirt and you’re not before we even get ’em and mold ’em and shape ’em the way we want to.
On playing with passion: It’s huge. I don’t know what was taught here before but I know it’s going to be a big part of what we do. Emotion is a big part of college football, more so than in any other level of college football, in my opinion. They feed off of fans, they feed off of students, they feed off the emotions of the game and we need to be an emotional football team, an enthusiastic football team, one that loves playing with one another. I expect our sidelines to be electric, I expect them to be jumping up and down and cheering for one another and having fun with one another. That’s what college football is about. These kids work 12 months out fo the year to play 12 Saturday afternoons for three hours at a time. So, when we get those opportunities, we should cherish them, we should be passionate about it, we should love the experiences.
On when UW will get back to a bowl game: Obviously the goal is for next football season to get back there. If that happens that’s great, if it doesn’t, we have to continue to work. The goal is to get back there next year. If I would stand up here and tell you anything different, that’d be wrong. That’s the goal, that’s what we’re going to strive for. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of efforts on a lot of people’s parts, a lot of dedication from these kids, but that’s our anticipation — that we’ll be back there next year.

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