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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 28, 2012 at 12:03 AM

Sarkisian quotes and video

Here’s video of UW coach Steve Sarkisian’s post-game media session:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1865228281001″][/do]

And here are a few transcribed quotes:

Opening statement: “That’s a nice win for our program. I thought all along this was a unique group that we had, a resilient group, a serious tough-minded group. And we knew coming in this was going to be this type of game, they were too good up front on defense but we thought we had a great plan defensively. We just had to try to keep hunting and pecking offensively, to find some plays, we thought we could get Kasen (Williams) and potentially Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) isolated on some 1 on 1 matchups and we finally got one and Kasen breaks a tackle there. But all in all, I’m proud of our kids, they deserve it, these guys worked their tails off, they battled, they competed, they played smart football tonight. I was just talking about the halftime talk against Portland State about playing the game the way it’s meant to be played and we did that tonight. We didn’t have holding, we didn’t have false starts, we didn’t line up wrong. We protected the football for the most part other than a great play (by Trent Murphy) we covered our kicks, we punted the ball, we tackled really well, and at the end of the day, we had a chance to win in the 4th quarter and converted on a couple of really critical 4th down plays that ultimately changed the momentum of the game. I thought our crowd was awesome, especially in the second half, it’s a good win against a very good football team. Stanford’s a really good football team, they are very well coached, it’s a good win for us.”

On any doubt going for it on 4th down when he had Bishop Sankey run the ball?: “No, there really wasn’t (any doubt), at that point, the way the game had gone into a two score game and how hard it was for us to get yards offensively at that time, we had a chance to get one yard and we took it. It was more the matter of the call and whether we were going to wait for the 4th quarter to do it or do it at the end of the 3rd. We liked the play call that had been pretty effective for us earlier in the quarter. We had a low block, Bishop made the safety miss, and got in the endzone.”

On keeping the Stanford run game in check: “Well, we’re a disciplined group. Early on, one of our biggest mishaps defensively was our inability to play disciplined football, tonight we did it. Justin Wilcox deserves a great deal of credit and the staff for getting these kids prepared for a scheme that was effective tonight. We gave up some plays, we blew coverage on 3rd and long, but at the end of the day, to hold that caliber of a back is a huge effort by our guys, they tackled so well, a unique challenge when you play Stanford because of all of those big bodies, and now we got another unique one coming up here in a week and a half or so. I’m just impressed by our guys disciplined and the way they played tonight.”

On what Justin Wilcox has done with the defense in just 9 months: “Tremendous, tremendous. The kids are believing in what we are trying to get done. I think that is one of the biggest keys. It’s one thing everybody knows X’s and O’s. Obviously our guys are pretty bright. They get the kids to believe, they are excellent teachers, and at the end of the day, guys are doing what they are supposed to do and they tackle when they are getting there.”

On if he envisioned holding Stanford to such few points and yards when he hired the new defensive staff: “I don’t know. I was talking to the team last night. The ultimate goal for tonight I said whenever I get home tonight, I wanted to lay down in bed and be 1-0 in Pac-12 play, I just wanted to start off on the right foot. And how we did it, what the score was going to be was really irrelevant to me, the score wasn’t the matter, it was playing the way we were capable of playing, playing disciplined football, I didn’t know what we would hold them too, I didn’t know how many yards we would have, that stuff, hard to tell before the game. What I do know is, this feels like a heavyweight bout, and you gotta punt the football, cover the punt, get your stops on 3rd down, the field position starts to swing, and take advantage of some plays when you get them. We were able to do that, there was a couple drops offensively, there was a couple coverages defensively we would like to have back, but at the end of the day, to get back to Justin and the defensive staff and the defense, their ability to be disciplined in what they had to do. When you are in a gap, they stayed in their gaps, they leveraged the football, and they tackled. That’s playing good defense against a power running team. Against guys like this, they can lean on you and wear you out, we stood our ground there all the way through to the end.”

How does this win compare to the USC win in his first season as head coach: “I’m proud of this one, because this isn’t our most complete football team right now. I’m proud of this one because of who we played, that’s a talented team, a very good football team. I’m proud of this one because outside of me and the guys in the locker room , I don’t know who else thought we would win, maybe my wife, she might have given me a shot, and just the way we executed in the most critical moments is probably what I’m most proud of those guys for. Fourth and one, Dezden Petty doesn’t have a carry all night, we give him the ball and he gives us a first down. That kind of stuff in a game like this is what is so cool, it’s third and four with a minute and 40 left on the clock in the game. We hard count and we hold our ground, we don’t jump offsides, they do. That stuff to me is what is cool about this team. Because those aren’t front line players in there right now and so their ability to hang in there and do things right in the most critical moments in a tight ball game was impressive to me.”

On trying to hold Stanford and first down and force second and third down: “I thought we really did defensively, I thought we won the first down battle, I can’t always say the same for us offensively, it was a similar game plan on both sides of the ball, win on first and 10 so we can put ourselves in winnable 3rd down situations. We were able to do it defensively, offensively it got hard, it took us 4 downs a couple times so I take those 4th down conversions and make them 3rd down conversions so our numbers look a little better, that was a big deal in the game plan, win on first and 10, and for the most part we did that.”

On going to more up-tempo and if that was an emphasis during the bye week: “It was something we’ve been practicing for quite some time, it’s been extensive since Spring ball, it was really extensive here in training camp and moreso the last week and a half. We just felt like if we could get them huffing and puffing a little bit that we could equalize some things up front and then maybe that would take it’s toll in the 4th quarter, we could make some plays that I thought was really effective.”

On Keith Price getting a little banged up: “He’ll be okay. He’s a tough kid, I’ve seen him with some war wounds before. He took a lot of shots tonight, that was an effective defensive front, he took some shots but he’ll be okay.”

On the defensive front: “Oh we struggled, pretty clear to see. We struggled, but at our most adverse times when we struggled the most, we weren’t over challenged, at the end of the day it was just compete, fight, scratch, claw, whatever it’s going to take, just compete and if you’re right you’re right, if you’re wrong, at least you are competing your tail off and I thought our guys bounced back there in the 3rd quarter, because we were wavering a little bit and they fought back. I thought we established ourselves on the ground there, late third and obviously into the 4th quarter, I was impressed by that. Obviously from a pass protection standpoint, disappointing, because I wanted to throw it down the field, I thought there were some things there for us, we just couldn’t do it.”

On the mood on the sidelines after the pick-six in the third quarter: “Well, the mood like anything is you are down two scores, it’s the 3rd quarter, and we had an opportunity to really get going, we just had a big play and it was actually very impressive to see some of our defensive coaches, Coach (Tosh) Lupoi stands out to me, some of our defensive players come up to the offense and almost re-fire them back up, that we’ll be okay, that we’re going to do our job, you’ll be alright on offense, just get going, and sure enough that drive, we hit the 4th down for the touchdown. I thought that was a pretty cool scene from a team standpoint, from where we were a year ago, where it was the roles reversed, for our defense to come over and show that leadership, I thought was very impressive.”

On Kasen Williams’ TD and the review: “I wasn’t concerned because we recovered the ball in the end zone, I was kind of surprised why it was being reviewed quite honestly. But the play was a run-pass option for Keith, we were hopeful we could get some of those isolated type plays with Kasen on the perimeter because he is such a physical guy, and sure enough, we got it and Keith stuck to it. It would have been easy to hand the ball off there and do the safe thing but he stuck to what we were trying to do from a gameplan standpoint threw it out there and Kasen’s a heavy guy, over time, tackling him can take it’s toll, he’s like a big tailback and sure enough, breaks the tackle, tries to fumble the ball, catches it again, and tries to fumble it a second time. To me, he crossed the line already, and if not, we had recovered the ball.”

On what the win does for the program: “What it does for us is that we are 1-0 in conference play and that was the ultimate goal. There was plenty of stuff in this game, believe me, that we are going have to fix and we’re going to have to learn from. I said the same before and that’s one of my babies now, you don’t condone in victory what you would in defeat, so there is plenty of stuff that we have to take from this. But I think like anything, for our kids, is what you want in your locker room and what you want on your sidelines when you take the field is belief, and this gives our guys probably more belief than they would have had if we hadn’t won and that’s probably the biggest thing.”

On how big the win is in the effort to rebuild the program: “I don’t know, I’m not big into nostalgic stuff like that. I’m more about, this is our Pac-12 opener, we have an opportunity to play at home in front of our fans in a great environment. I think that our guys are going to enjoy which they deservedly should. I’m not into now we don’t have to go win the next two or three because we won this one and everyone is going to think that’s great, these guys, they are hungry, that’s a hungry group. We’ll get back on the horse Saturday on start preparing for Oregon and fixing the things we need to fix about us and go to work. I don’t think this is some monumental win, it’s a great win for our program and for our kids, they deserve it and for our university. It equals the same, it’s one win in our conference play.”

On if he thought Sankey would break the fourth-down run: “I just felt like I liked our matchups if we could get into the second level of breaking tackles, maybe missing a few tackles and create some big plays. The challenge was getting to that second level, it had been a play we had been working on pretty extensively since training camp, we ran it numerous times tonight and very effective, I know that one stands out but it was a very effective play for us.”

On the crowd: “They were awesome, second half, they were awesome, third downs, they were tremendous. I was a little nervous early, there was probably some rush hour traffic going on, but I thought it was an awesome atmosphere, our fans are great, they bring it man, and they were patient with me on offense with me I think and knowing what kind of game we were in, and part of me thinks that our fans probably appreciate these types of games more so than 48-45, there is something gritty about our mentality here and this was a black and blue type of game and I think our fans appreciated that.”

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