Here is some of what UW coach Steve Sarkisian had to say after Washington’s 52-13 win over Portland State:
Opening comment: “I was proud of our guys to come out of the blocks the way they did. When you have a week like we had last week you can get a little tentative and gun shy and concerned about the way you are capable of playing the game and I thought our guys came out with a great deal of energy and great execution to start the ball game. It was good to see the big plays that were able to be generated on the defensive side of the ball; the blocked field goal for a TD and interception for a TD.
“I thought Keith (Price) was extremely efficient today. With that being said, we still showed some immaturity that needs to get better and that’s why we had a pretty good heart-to-heart at the end of the first half. We, me, pride ourselves on not taunting our opponent, not hitting guys out of bounds. That’s just not us. I wanted to make sure that we didn’t accept that. When you are in ball games and winning it is great and a lot of young guys get a chance to play, but there is a style and fashion in which we play the game which is us. It was a point of emphasis this week. It obviously didn’t completely hit home so it will continue to be one throughout the bye week until we know what it means to play smart, disciplined football and to execute at a high level. It’s about making really good decisions so that will be a point of emphasis of ours.
“I was happy for DiAndre Campbell to get his first career touchdown, I thought Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) made a couple big time plays, Kasen (Williams), it was good to see Dezden (Petty) run the ball the way he did, especially late, Erich Wilson, those guys will get better, they’ll get more comfortable, Bishop (Sankey), first career 100-yard game. Sometimes I feel for guys like Keith in games like this, you feel like they could probably do more, he was still very efficient. But we still have plenty of stuff to work on, that’s the beauty of the bye week as we get ready for Pac-12 play.”
On how much progress was made in the run game today: “I don’t know. … We played a lot of new guys today, Dexter Charles, Shane Brostek, James Atoe getting some extensive work out there at tackle, getting Dexter out at tackle and getting (Siosifa) Tufunga some work. A lot of guys got opportunities and in these games when they know we’re running it and they know we’re running it and I have so much respect for Nigel (Burton) and what he’s done for that program and so much respect for the game of football, when it turns into a 9-on-7 or inside run drill, sometimes it’s harder to run than it is in a normal setting. I thought we did some really good stuff, Bishop was getting to the perimeter, I would like all three of those guys to continually gain more confidence in themselves in the open field because I think there is more to their game than what they have put on the field so far. We blocked things right, there was some funky looks they gave us where they got in the backfield on us and we need to continue to get our pad level down.”
On if the run game was an emphasis this week: “The emphasis was on winning, quite honestly. The knots in your stomach this morning were the same knots I have in my stomach going into any other game and it’s about what it’s going to take to win the game. We have a very efficient quarterback and a couple pretty good guys to throw the ball to and some receivers we are getting more comfortable with other receivers too. I wanted to run the ball just like everybody else but ultimately I want to win, if that means we need to throw it to win, in certain games, that’s what we are going to do, the emphasis wasn’t about running the football, it was about executing and doing things right, being efficiently offensively. Games like this, historically get a bit sloppy as you start bringing guys in and moving guys to different positions, and drop shotgun snaps, and throw interceptions off guys’ hands late in the game and so it can feel a little more sloppy. But when you really look at the body of work when your ones are in there, I thought it was an efficient game.”
On if the win restored the team’s psyche like he wanted: “I’m learning this team more now than ever. These guys are serious guys, they look at themselves right in the mirror and they asses themselves to the point that I don’t know if they were really concerned with the score at the end, some of them might not be able to tell you the score, I think they are so locked into “How am I going to get better individually” and “what I need to do” and “How I need to do it” and that’s a great trait to have. I would like to think the psyche has improved, I don’t know if that’s where it needs to be, that stuff is a lot easier for me to gauge throughout the week as we practice and the emphasis they bring. I do believe in some areas, we’re a bit immature, we have to respond to the adversity we get faced with at times in games, but that’s the beauty of football, that’s why you play 13 games and that’s why practice is so important. I’m not talking so much about backups but frontline guys responding to negative plays in their minds. And it is because they want to do well. I’m going to use 88 (Seferian-Jenkins) as an example here. He had a play that wasn’t his best play, gets beat, got called for holding, and it took him almost a series or two to respond to that because he was so hard on himself for it which he doesn’t need to be. That’s a good example of where we are at as a team of, we’ve got to learn to move on to the next play. We understand you are upset about it but we don’t need them to harbor it for two or three series down the road, we can’t afford them to, so that’ll be a big topic of ours as we move into next week and focus on to continually get our psyche back to where we want it to be.”
On his message being out in the open rather than behind closed doors at halftime to the team: “I was just probably a bit emotional myself at the time because it had been such a big point to me this week. And we had just gotten the unsportsmanlike conduct on the interception for the TD and then to make that play with no time on the clock to hit a guy late out of bounds is just not a smart football play and it bothered me to a point where it felt like we were at practice quite honestly and that’s a good thing to get into that setting and I felt like it needed to be addressed immediately and not run 60 yards in the locker room, I wanted to address it right then and there.”
On Travis Coons throwing the fake punt: “He’s just a good athlete, he’s actually an excellent punter as well. We had it setup for the week it was just a matter of when we were going to punt and then to run that fake. We had it wired in, it looked great all week with Sean (Parker) and Travis throwing it, and it was there at that time so we ran it.”
How tough is it to evaluate Derrick Brown based on his performance in the game: “Yeah it’s hard, I’ve been in these sometimes and it always feels awkward because you are running, running, running, the clock’s ticking and you wish you could just keep going and then have the guy throw a pass here to get the first down and keep possession. You don’t want to run stuff where they think you are trying to run the score up on them, you are just trying to run something to keep a drive going. That can get hard on a guy, it’s good to get in and get snaps and be in the huddle and have to understand the setting and plenty of stuff for Derrick to learn from. Taking a delay of game late in the game was inexcusable so there is things to understand, yeah he got opportunities to play but to completely judge him on that performance isn’t fair.”
On Danny Shelton going off the field injured: “He’ll be okay. ”
On Keith Price: “I can usually tell when 17 is going, he always has a bounce in his step when he is at his best. Generally he has that in pregame warm-ups and kinda looked that way and the other thing with him is his ability to when I mention things to him and he’s in a zone, he has the ability to step away and laugh at everything and has the unique ability to be locked in yet still step away and that’s what makes him unique and special. The best competitors in the world have that ability. They don’t get so locked in or get so removed and he was in that frame of mind, not trying too hard, did what we asked him to do. One of the plays that upset me the most was taking that sack and we just talked about it and we knew the pressure was coming and we didn’t block it correctly so that is something that bothered me that he took that hit but mostly had a clean game.”