UW coach Steve Sarkisian had his turn on the Pac-12 Coaches Conference Call today. Here’s some of what he said:
— Asked if the game at Stanford presents UW its biggest challenge of the year, he said “I think so, because of the quarterback (Andrew Luck). He is such a talent and he presents so many issues. It’s not just the physical issues. … it’s the mental aspect of the game — they just don’t run bad plays because he’s got such a good grasp of what they do and he’s got such a good fotoball mind, he taxes you in the sense that he can control the game that way.” Sarkisian said that was not taking away from Taylor Martinez, whom he noted presented challenges running the ball, just that Luck was different in the way he approaches the game from a mental standpoint.
— Asked to compare Keith Price with other QBs he has coached, Sarkisian said: “I think from a mental standpoint he is a very bright guy and has really grown up in the system, so I would relate him mentally to a (Mark) Sanchez or a (Matt) Leinart, who grew up in the system and really understood what we were trying to get done, and in the sense that they all really enjoyed practice. .. physically, I’m not sure — he’s so different than the guys we’ve had. He’s not the biggest guy, but he’s definitely quick and sudden in the pocket and throws a very accurate ball. So physically, no, but mentally, yes.”
— Asked about Stanford’s defense, he said “they’ve clicked into something and really it started last year with a lot of these games. I know the coordinator has changed but they are really similar in style. Physical up front. It’s hard to create a lot of air and space and they do a good job of adjusting to different formations and slot formations and different things, and the two safeties (Chase Thomas and Delano Howell) are very active players. … I think it’s a combination of a lot of things.”
— Asked what he has confidence about going into the game, he said: “I think that we are a better football team today than we were six weeks ago, a year ago, two years ago. I think we have steadily improved in all three phases of the game and I think we’ve got a football team that has learned how to excel on the road and play well on the road regardless of the environment. … obviously there are some X’s and O’s that give me that as well, but those two thigns really jump out at me about this team in general.”
— Asked about the improved play on the road, he noted the three close losses of 2009 and how UW was able to win close games on the road in 2010 and then play well for all but the third quarter at Nebraska in two road games this season.
— Asked about the change in the team following the loss to Stanford last year he said that game “gave us a chance to reassess who we were and what we were about. … what we were about after the Stanford game (is that) we were a hot and cold team, an inconsistent team that would play really well one week and not very well the next. We were an up and down team, and what changed (was realizing) that if you want to play well in this conference you need to be consistent each week, the consistency factor was oginig to be key from week to week and play to play and to not change and play the style of football that we believe in, and I think our kids have adopted that mentality.”
— He also noted again what he has said about this being “much more of a team” this year. “This team right now is very close, there are some things this year that have gone on that has shown me that we are very close and there for another and a very family-oriented team and I think those things go a long way.”
— Also, if you want to ask a questiono of a rival athletic director, here is your chance as the Times is hosting a live chat with WSU’s Bill Moos today at noon.