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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 5, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Sarkisian on KJR-AM Wednesday morning

UW coach Steve Sarkisian was a guest on the Mitch in the Morning show on KJR-AM this morning. Here’s a link.

And here in handy word form are a few highlights:

— Much talk at the beginning about Keith Price, and Sarkisian said he was always optimistic that Price would play well this year. “I didn’t know how well. I didn’t know he’d have 17 touchdown passes. But I did think he’d play well. I didn’t think it would ever be too big for him.”

— Asked what happens when defenses start trying to gameplan against Price, he said “I think we saw it some last week against Utah a little bit and it carried on throughout the game. But the beauty of where we are right now as an offensive football team is we have a lot of options.”’ He said Utah played a lot of Cover Two coverage to try to defend againsts UW’s passing attack “almost daring us to run the football.” He said UW was able to take advantage of that in the second half. “If they play us in some Cover Two, we’ve got to be able to run the ball effectively, and if they do want to pressure us we’ve got to be able to take advantage of our one-on-one opportunities. … We’re a very balanced offensive football team and I don’t think you can come in and say we will stop (option) one, two and three and we will be okay. … It’s a great place to be right now. Are we perfect? No way. But I do like the maturation of this offense to have to deal with some adversity and some different styles of play. I love where we’re at right now.”
— He was asked about the progress of the defense and if he thought the goal-line stand against Cal was a turning point and said: “I would agree with you on the goal-line stand versus Cal. So much of this game is about confidence for these guys and when you get confident, then you can play with a little bit more emotion and enthusiasm. … and I think that goal-line stand instilled a great deal of confidence in our defense. I don’t think it was about talent or scheme but that you have to play talented and with good schemes, so that helped, and going into the Utah game we saw that.”

— He said that the single biggest stat in football is turnover margin and UW has been able to take advantage of that of late: “I love turnovers. I think they have the biggest impact on the football game, more than any other facet of the game — more than first downs or yards or third-down efficiency — they are backbreakers for opponents and can be for you as well. We talk about protecting the football offensively every day and talk about creating turnovers every single day, so I was disappointed there when we had a couple week stretch where we weren’t creating a bunch of turnovers and we were turning the ball over offensively and I think that was one of the keys to (losing) the Nebraska game and to the Cal game being closer than it needed to be. … so it was a big point of emphasis going into the Utah game, and I thought our guys responded beautifully in creating turnovers. Do I want to give up 400 yards a game? No way. I wish we could hold guys to 150 every game, but I love the fact that our guys went out and shut down the run, which was a key element to our defense, and creating five turnovers. That’s a winning formula for success for our football team as long as we take care of the ball offensively.”

— Asked if it was fair to characterize UW’s defense as bend-but-don’t-break, he said: “That’s an observation and so far that’s a fair one to make. I’m not going to sit here and argue (that). Do I think we can be better than bend but don’t break? Sure. And I think we will get there as we continue to grow together and work together and see how it comes out against Colorado.”

— Asked about some of the defensive starters who have been hurt and what their roles will be when they return — if they automatically get their starting jobs back — he said: “They deserve the opportunity to compete for their job, that’s the difference. The more healthy bodies you have, the better you are in this conference, believe me, as we have come to find out this is a physical conference week in and week out — you are going to get beat up and nicked up. The sooner we can get Johnny Timu back the better. The sooner we can get Nate Fellner back, the better. That’s not to say they are going to step right in and take every snap from those other guys, but if we can find a happy medium in there where they are both playing at high levels at that position to where they are healthy and fresh in the second half and those critical fourth-quarter drives come about, that we do have a healthy, fresh, football team that we are going to need for the next seven weeks for a brutal run for our football team, we need as many healthy bodies as we can get.”

— Asked his best and worst play-calling moments of the first five games, he said the worst was his conservative calls against Eastern Washington and the best was the first quarter against Hawaii and the pass play to Chris Polk that resulted in a 70-yard touchdown against Cal. He also said “I also enjoyed the first drive at Nebraska after they score on the big, long pass play, the way we responded and the stuff we did to go right back down the field and for Keith to hit (Jermaine) Kearse on the long touchdown pass there in a hostile environment said a lot about our team.”

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