Here are a few quotes from the Pac-12 teleconference today from Washington coach Steve Sarkisian and Oregon coach Chip Kelly. …
— Sarkisian was asked about his Monday comment that UW is playing with “house money” now that it has a bowl game secured and said he thought at times last year the team was stressed by trying to get eligible for a bowl because “there is so much to lose if you don’t win.” Now, he said, there is still “plenty out there to win and to lose” but there’s a mental shift there in not having to be concerned about a bowl game “and we can go out there and play football.”
— Asked, though, if there was any danger in being complacent now,m he said: “A hard time being complacent when it’s the last game at Husky Stadium and Oregon is coming to town.”
— He was asked again about Chris Polk and said his maturity on and off the field has been a big key to his success. He also said “we’re seeing a lot longer runs (due to) his ability to make people miss on the second level” and said another improvement is “his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield on a variety of different routes”
— Asked about the UW-Oregon rivalry, he said “it comes up quite a bit” when he does speaking engagements with fans and boosters. “It doesn’t go unnoticed, that’s for sure,” he said.
— But he said he doesn’t focus on that with the players because there are so many big games and as a coach and player you can’t approach any as bigger than another. “You don’t have the time or the energy to get up for one more than another,” he said. “The preparation process is really more about us than about Oregon and our ability to go out and play the best football that we can.” He said the team is showing a better ability to do that and that “I think this year is why we are playing a much more consistent style of football because it’s nont reallly about the opponent but about us and preparing ourselves.” He said the rivalry “is not going to make us play better. It’s our preparation that is going to make us play better.”
— He was asked again about the Nate Fellner hit and said that one thing he has appreciated about the Pac-12 this year is the better communication both on gamedays and during the week in having calls explained. Asked if he would get any further explanation, he said “I don’t think you ever get that. Whether we agree or disagree with calls, the game is the game and you have to move on. If I’m still sitting here worried about a call on Tuesday, I’m not giving Oregon my undivided attention.”’ In other words, he considers it a dead issue now.
— He said the Fellner play is a tough one for players, coaches and officials and said “I don’t envy the officials in those situations. That’s a tough one …. that’s a tough, tough call.”
As for Kelly. …
— Kelly, asked where Washington “taxes” his team the most defensively, pointed to UW’s balance and called Austin Seferian-Jenkins “maybe the best freshman tight end in the country” among other superlatives he laid on the Huskies. He said Sarkisian has “got a good scheme that really makes you think.”
— He said UW’s passing game is particularly hard to defend “because of the veteran nature of those two wideouts” and how well they execute the scheme. “Our whole defense as a whole has to be ready for this passing attack,” he said.
— He said he has talked to his team about being the last opponent in Husky Stadium before it is renovvated and that “our guys are excited about it. It’s what you want to play for and we love going into venues like Husky Stadium or some of the other great places in this league, too. We know the Washington fans will be jacked up and fired up and ready to go and we better be prepared for it because we know it is going to be loud.”
— He said the history of the rivalry isn’t really relevant to this week and it’s not something he will talk about much with his players, saying “all we can worry about is the game we can have an affect on.”
— He was asked about Oregon having recruited Keith Price out of high school — Oregon got involved seriously during the period after Tyrone Willingham was fired and before Sarkisian was hired. “We offered him, we liked him, we wanted him,” Kelly said, adding that he thought Price was a great leader. “I think he would have been a great fit for what we do. He’s a great fit for what Sark is doing.”