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November 28, 2011 at 5:58 PM

A few notes from Sarkisian’s radio show

UW coach Steve Sarkisian held his last radio show of the season, recapping the Apple Cup and looking ahead to what comes next. Here are a few highlights. …

— Not that this is much news, but it might have been the most newsworthy item of the show that Sarkisian said he has yet to speak with Chris Polk about what Polk will do next season. “Chris and i will meet and he’ll make an educated decision,” Sarkisian said of Polk, who many assume will make himself eligible for the NFL Draft as a fourth-year junior who thought about leaving after last season before returning, and has already earned his undergraduate degree. Polk said again after the Apple Cup that he has yet to really give it much thought and that it will be a tough decision, basically the same stance he’s taken all year.

— On the Kasen Williams play where he leapt over Nolan Washington: “You could feel, he took the breath away out of everybody, all 65,000 people in the stands that ‘wooh, what was that?’ At that point, it’s just a guy making a play, you can’t coach that.” He added with a laugh that “the only thing I’m going to talk to him about is being high and tight with the ball, it’s a little too loose.”

— He said a lot of the younger defensive players such as Sean Parker, Josh Shirley, Danny Shelton and Princeton Fuimaono played maybe their best games and that “that’s a good sign as we go into the bowl game and into next year.”

— Of Keith Price and his 29 touchdown passes this year, he said Price has “had a great year. And just to think if he were healthy what would we have gotten out of him.” He said he can’t wait for the next two years because of all that Price brings to the table in terms of playing and preparation.

— He noted that no one on the team caught more than 42 passes, evidence of Price’s ability to distribute the ball. “he used the offense and that was the beauty of it with Keith that he allowed the offense to work. He didn’t look at a jersey number, he allowed the offense to work. … it all worked we’re 7-5 and we’re a third place team in the Pac-12 North which is a very tough division and we’ll find out where we’re headed.”

— He praised the play of Polk and the fact he was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team on Monday and said that Polk helped open up a lot of things this year for Price and added “Jake Locker and Chris Polk were the two most intrusmental guys in what we have done to change the culture here. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll get him back for one more.” He said the last month has been a grind for Polk but that “you saw him make a few plays the other night and jump up and have fun with it.” He said Polk has been the one stable force for UW during his entire three-year tenure.

— On the bowl situation, Sarkisian said “we don’t have a preference” and that they are “all good bowls, all great matchups” and that “I’d like to think we will be one of the first couple matchups. … I’d like to think we will get a pretty good bowl game and a great matchup for our team.”
— He was asked what he says to recruits who might question his commitment to UW. He said that “it does come up” and that “the only way you can ressure them is to say ‘hey, I just signed a new five-year contract extension and my family and I love it here and I’ve had opportunities in the past here to go other places and I didn’t do that. .. … that’s the only real commitment you can make. If there was a way for a coach to sign that agreement for a recruit I think we would all do that. … You just try to give them your word.”

— He said he liked the experience at CenturyLink Field but also said he’s looking forward to having his own home field again in 2013. “We’ll look forward to next year but 18 months can’t come soon enough,” he said.

— There was lots of talk of the coaches who lost their jobs today and he said “the idea that this is a business has really set in on everybody now that this is a business. At the end of the day, winning and losing matters and you’ve got to win — the number one stat is winning.”

— He said all the firings are also proof that “the landscape of college football has changed right now, guys aren’t at schools nearly as long as they used to be, 15-20-25 years ago.” He said he jokingly says all the time he wants to see if he can surpass how long Don James was at UW. “He was here 17 years, let’s see if I can make it 18, baby,” he said.

— Sarkisian said he voted for USC’s Lane Kiffin as coach of the year in the Pac-12 sasying he thought he did, lauding the job be did dealing with the early adversity of the losses and the probation and that the Trojans continually improved as the season wore on.

— Talking about where the program is now he said “I can’t believe how fast it’s gone, but really proud of our senior class when you look at all they went through and their willingess to accept us. So happy for them, three straight Apple Cup wins and two straight bowl games. … ” He also noted that “we’ve gotten better — from year one to year two to year three we’ve gotten better and we’re doing it the right way.”

— He was asked about his expectations for the team this year and said if he’d been told the team’s final record before the season “I would say that’s where we should be headed. that’s where we are now.” But he said as a coach “you are always wanting to right the ship and get better, so I want number eight badly, and I want to find a way next season to get to nine and then to 10.” There was mention that James used to write down before each season what he thought the team’s record would be and Sarkisian said he’d like to get to the point where “I am sitting in my office like Don James just writing Rose Bowl on it. That’s our goal, and we’ll get to it.”

— He said if there was a disappointment it was in not being able to play a “more consistent brand and style of play.” He said the late-season lapses of the last three years have been the most frustrating so far.

— He also agreed that the ability to not be more competitive against the good teams shows that there is still “plenty of work still left out there for us. But I do really think we’re on the right path and we are doing it the right way. We’ve got some talented young players and we’ve got a quarterback. To know you’ve got a quarterback for two more years to build with, that’s exciting.,”

— He said the Stanford game maybe stings the most because of where UW was heading into it, ranked in the Top 25 and at 5-1, and he thinks the team may still simply lack a belief that it is good enough to win those types of games. “There is a belief that needs to be there when you are going to play a Stanford or an Oregon, and we just haven’t taken that step yet. … you’ve got to believe and when you believe, then you can go play. … the consistency factor of the belief has got to be there.”

— Asked about the Heisman he said there are “three guys in our league that should be in New York” referencing Andrew Luck, LaMichael James and Matt Barkley. He said that he thinks James may be the best running back in college football and that he brings something different to the Ducks in terms of an energy that the rest of the team “feeds off of.”

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