Here is all of what UW coach Steve Sarkisian had to say about today’s press conference:
Opening Comment: “Game week is upon us. It’s always nice to have training camp and to get your young players better and develop as a team and to go through some of the adversity that we’ve had to go through already, but I think that helps shape your team, the personality of your ball club, it helps you prepare for the challenges that you’re faced with along the way. I think we got dealt with our fair share of things early on, obviously from some of the injuries to guys moving around to some different positions. But the end result, I believe – we’re better for it and we’re excited to go play. I thought the guys brought a real sense of energy and enthusiasm and a little bit of an edge to practice today…we like to say the volume gets turned up on game week, and I think that was definitely evident today.
“Out for the ball game obviously (Hau’oli) Jamora, (Deontae) Cooper, (Nate) Fellner, James Johnson, Jamaal Kearse, Cooper Pelluer. Jamora and Cooper will have surgery on Thursday.
“In regards to San Diego State, I have a great deal of respect for Rocky Long and what he’s done with that program. I believe it’s 17 wins over the last two seasons, two consecutive bowl games…nice pro style offense. We know Ryan Katz extremely well from Oregon State, athletic kid – quick release and a strong arm. They’ve got a nice corps of receivers he gets a chance to work with (Colin) Lockett and Brice Butler, who transferred from SC, and the tight end Gavin Escobar.
“Defensively a very attacking, aggressive style of defense. Obviously we know their 3-3-5 base, but they do a nice job of creating plays on that football team, evident last year with their plus-12 turnover margin. They’ve got a middle linebacker 42, I believe his it’s (Jake) Fely – I apologize if that’s not pronounced properly. The corner (Leon) McFadden was a kid we looked hard at when we first got hired – a teammate of Keith Price and Will Shamburger.
“So all that being said, what’s going to be key for us that we remain who we are, to stay aggressive, to stay multiple and have a game plan that’s conducive to our entire roster – that’s veterans and young guys included – and do it with a real sense of urgency. And I believe that we can.”
On Keith Price and what to expect out of him this year: “I think we know what to expect out of him. Last year there was a bit of the unknown. I think for myself calling the plays: I know who he is. I know what he does well. I know when he’s struggling the type of things I need to get him doing to get him back. I know that we won’t be nearly as conservative the first game around as we were last year. We’ll do some things that will hopefully give us a chance to take some shots down the fields. But also not force things down the field when they aren’t there and get out of some bad plays.
We are going to need to be able to do that. San Diego State has a got a multitude of fronts on defense. They do a nice job of pressuring the quarterback – a lot of line game stunts and pressures. This is a big fame for Keith in recognizing those pressures and not falling prey to some of the disguising they do and really be focused and still keeping the tempo and the sense of urgency we need.”
On if the defense wants to prove something after last season: “I think they want to play well. I don’t know if it’s about proving anyone wrong or right. I think they got rapport amongst one and another. I think they really respect their coaches and the new style of defense that we’ve inherited. At the end of the day, I think they want to play well for themselves, for our football program, for our university and for our fans. I’m sure there’s a bit of a chip on their shoulder because they feel like they were better than they were last year. But man, our program isn’t about what just happened. It’s aobut where are we going and what are we doing. I think that’s been the focus. If we get a little added incentive if they feel they have something to prove, I guess it is what it is.”
On the key to succeeding against San Diego State’s 3-3-5 defense: “From an identification standpoint they can be challenging, you can’t worry about the numbers, they got guys moving around playing different post. A guy might free safety one snap, the next snap he’s blitzing off the edge. They can cause some hesitation for you if you are not really locked in and keyed into what you need to be doing. They aggressive nature when they rush the passer, they rush with a purpose, they really try to get to the quarterback and create errant throws and create turnovers. ”
On SDSU QB Ryan Katz: “We know that he’s good. I guess there could be the unknown if the guy could play or not, but we know Ryan Katz is a capable quarterback. He’s won games in the Pacific-12 Conference, tight ball games. He has ability to really throw the deep ball extremely well, which is they like to do in their offense. He’s got a quick release and he’s athletic. Outside of that they have an offensive system that’s conducive to that type of quarterback. It was probably a good decision by Ryan to do what he did to go down there, I think he fits well.”
On who will reshirt: “Well, in general, I can give you the one that I know for sure are going to play. And as the season goes on, things change. I know that Kory Durkee’s gonna punt. I know that Shaq Thompson is going to play. I know Jaydon Mickens is going to play, I know Kendyl Taylor is going to play, I know Pio Vatuvei is going to play. Those five guys, I can assure you will play. The rest of them, time will tell. As they develop, as we get an assessment of our team through Game 1, as injuries could occur, things can change. I’m a realist that way. But as of right now, five guys will play.
On playing at CenturyLink Field: “The biggest change for me, that I’m hopeful for, is this is the second time that our fans get to go, and their comfort level. We looked up the stat today, and there’s been 111 false starts since 2005 for the Seahawks in that stadium against their opponents, and I’d like to think that we can kind of reap the benefits of that as well, that as our fans get comfortable with the tailgating and what time to get into the game and where their seats are and all that, that we can kind of feed off of that crowd noise as well. I think that’s the biggest change. For our guys, they’ve been in that locker room four times now. Once they get on that sideline and get going, they’re fine. It’s: I want to make sure our fans are there and fired up and we’re utilizing a homefield advantage at a place where it can be utilized.”
On how it helps John Timu that he played quarterback in high school:
“Just the checks. You know, we are a defense that relies on communication. That’s why I like our defense. We just don’t rely on one defense and that one call. We adjust to what you are doing. And I think it takes a real guy handling the front and a guy handling the back end and making those checks. And obviously that’s John Timu up front for us and Sean Parker on the back end. Two key ingredients for us on the defensive side of the ball.”
On the running back rotation: “They are going to get series. They are going to get carries by series. You are going to see 24 and 25. If I feel like another guy might be laboring you will see the other guy jump in. And you will see them in there together. I think we have a good plan in place for both those kids and hopefully put them in position to be successful. Then we will get a better feel for them as the game goes on, as well. Who can carry the ball three or four times? What does their body language look like. When they carry the ball what’s their burst look like? So that will be key for us in our evaluation of them being every-down players, which is something they have been a little bit limited in doing — in the first year for Bishop and the first two years for Jesse.”
On the different strengths of Jesse Callier and Bishop Sankey: “Well, I don’t want to disclose too much of that. They are very similar. They both are complete backs. I think sometimes when backs aren’t 220 pounds they get labeled ‘Oh, they are scat backs.’ They run with power. They get behind their pads. They are excellent pass protectors. Very high football IQs for both of them, and they are both able to catch the ball out of the backfield. I don’t think they are one dimensional. They almost look alike at times in their stature on the field. Maybe just the 4 and the 5 separate them. We will see what it looks like on game day.”
On the backup QB spot being listed as an OR between Derrick Brown and Cyler Miles: “I want them to keep battling and keep competing. I think sometimes guys can be labeled a backup and he prepares like a backup. I want these guys to continue to compete. I think they have earned the opportunity to potentially be that guy, and hopefully throws a nugget out for both of them to keep battling, to keep competing and to keep their noses in the playbook and stay locked into this thing.”
On how important Sean Parker is to the defense: “Very important. We have a guy who is in the third year with us, who is very bright. He has changed his body immensely. He came in and I don’t know if he really understood the weight room and the whole offseason. And now he looks great, looks fast, was a playmaker all of training camp. Interception after interception, he was making them. He is a big, big factor for us. We need him for sure.”
On Sean Parker finally finding it: “I’d like to think by this spring. New system new scheme. I think Keith Heyward has done a great job coaching Sean and teaching Sean. Teaching from a cerebral stand point. He wants to be a special player but he’s getting taught a very cool way that’s just pushing the right buttons for him now.”
On being excited about the freshmen receivers: “Well hopefully I’m excited. You never know their freshman. They’ve earned this right to start and play. They’ve had a tremendous fall camp big play after big play. Again with freshman we’re going to have to go through growing pains. They’re going to lineup wrong a couple times Saturday night. They might drop a pass they might run a wrong route. But we got to be able to bring them along but their big play potential makes us different offensively. It’s something that we want to become we want to be a big play offense one that can get yards in chunks. Those two guys [Kendyl Taylor and Jaydon Mickens] provide that for us. I’m excited for the big plays and I’m a little bit reserved on some of the mistakes that can occur Saturday night”
On best case scenario for Hau’oli Jamora: “I don’t know. You know will all this stuff injuries are injuries. Everybody want percentages when a guys back. I know he’s unable to perform right now. Hopefully we can get some really good information out of Thursday. Whether its for this year or moving forward for his future, his career. I know we sorely miss him not only what he brings as a play-maker on the field but a real leader up front on the defensive line. But we’ll see how it goes.”
On throwing the ball down the field more in this game than the opener last season: “I don’t know necessarily if we’re going to throw it down the field more. I don’t want to make that statement that that’s what we’re going to do. What I think we can bring, what these two guys can bring is when they catch balls they can create bigger plays with the separation that they can get on the defensive backs or linebackers whoever that may be. From a game planning stand point it’s understanding who your play-makers are. How we going to get them involved so they feel involved in the ball game. Obviously that’s Austin (Seferian-Jenkins), that’s Kasen (Williams) that’s Jaydon, that’s Kendyl, that’s the two backs. Before that was Jermaine (Kearse) that was Devin (Aguilar). That’s how we’ve changed. We’re going to run what we run. I don’t think that’s a real secret. We have an offense in place that we believe in that’s stood the test of time. There’s always going to be some wrinkles to keep the defense guessing but we’re going to run what we run.
Does it help the team that they now hear a message as consistent:“Well hopefully it’s a consistent message from me that what the players are hearing from me is one that hasn’t wavered from the day I arrived until this morning’s team meeting. We have some hard and fast beliefs that we live by and now I feel that we really have the leaders in place that have been hearing the same consistent message and it can be reiterated in the locker room without a coach having to say it. To continue that we had to get these new coaches to buy into some of those philosophies as well. But hopefully the real messaging and the beliefs and the philosophy that we live by are consistent from me and they know that I am not wavering and they don’t need to waver off of those.”
On the special teams: “I feel good, I feel good. Travis (Coons) had an excellent day this morning again. I think Korey (Durkee) has had his best week of training camp this last week, took him maybe a little longer than Travis in getting his comfort level right back there. But he had an excellent week punting the ball and had another great one today. So I feel much better today than I did probably two weeks ago when I was a bit uneasy about it. But again, first time a guy going back, first time a guy snapping, I will be as watching as closely as anybody else to see how we respond in the moment.”
And kickoffs?: “The new rule is one that you have to live by the rules and I think there are some intricacies to the rules to still be effective covering kicks. We’ve got some good guys running down to cover those kicks so I think we can be effective there. And in the return game I like what we’ve brought with some of our new faces that are back there returning some kicks and some of the older faces as we have started to gradually work them in the second half of training camp as well.”
On Tre Watson becoming a starter: “He just keeps making plays, you know. It’s hard to deny a guy that just keeps making plays that even when he might get beat has the ability to punch the ball out. He does it. It’s a knack that he has that is unique to him, and not that (Greg) Ducre and (Marcus) Peters didn’t have good camps, and you are going to see them play — I just think Tre had a really good training camp. Now the goal for him and for us is to carry that right over to the game day and not change and we’ll see how that goes Saturday..”