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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 8, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Monday Sark bites — and video

As usual for a Monday, UW coach Steve Sarkisian met the media today. We had a post earlier with some of the highlights. Here is the full transcript and video:

Video part one:

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Video part two:

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Now the transcript:

Opening Comment: “One of the beauties of football, college football – is that when things don’t go your way in a ball game – unless it’s the last game of the year you get a chance to get back on the horse and get back to work. And that’s much needed for our football team – the opportunity to get back going again in preparation for another tough Pac-12 opponent in USC. I think we’ve got plenty to learn from from Saturday’s game at Autzen versus Oregon, but also a lot of things that can get cleaned up and cleaned up relatively quickly so we can move forward and get better as a team.”

On coaching against Lane Kiffin and it if means more to him than coaching against other coaches: “I don’t think it’s different in that Lane and I are primarily offensive coaches. It’s not as if…if we were on the same staff at SC when we were younger and he was a defensive guy and I was an offensive guy and then now we had moved and then we were calling plays against one another I think it would be a bit different. In that we’re calling plays for our own offenses and then we’ve got defensive coordinators in Monte (Kiffin) and Justin (Wilcox) that we are calling against I think is why it doesn’t feel so different. I obviously have a great deal of respect for Lane and what he’s done there, that hasn’t been an easy task. He’s done a nice job, they’ve got a good football team.”

On what the feeling is coming out of Saturday’s game: “Frustrated. As much as we have youth on this team, as much as we’ve dealt with the significant amount of injuries – I think we’ve got a pretty good football team. Unfortunately we weren’t able to put that on display Saturday night because of how that football game began in the first quarter to fall behind 21-0. I believe we had a good plan in all three phases – we just weren’t able to execute early on to put ourselves in position to have that plan take shape over a four quarter span.”

On areas of focus for Keith Price this week: “We all need to get better. We need to have a better game plan, we need to call better plays, we need to pass protect better, we need to run better routes, we need to catch the ball when we throw it to you and we need to make good, quick decisions at the quarterback position and be decisive and be accurate and play the game the way we’re capable of playing. And so the passing game in general is an area of focus for us for us to be a complete offensive football team. I think we’ve addressed our run game and our run game has responded. Now we need to really focus and address our passing game so we can become a complete balanced offense.”

On if more running to open up play-action would help: “It’s always great. That’s stuff for a quarterback is always tremendous. Doesn’t matter if you’re Drew Brees to playing Pop Warner football when a quarterback has a good running game and can utilize the play action pass to throw the ball down the field and get yards in chunks because guys are open that’s always a quarterbacks best friend. If we can do that that’s great but that can’t be our sole and primary passing game we can’t just rely on that.”

On if USC is any different schematically now than it was when he was there: “I think offensively they’re very similar. Lane has kept that system intact. They do a nice job obviously of getting the ball to (Marqise) Lee and to (Robert) Woods and utilizing the zone run game and utilizing the good play action pass game and Matt (Barkley) throwing the ball down the field so I think offensively very similar. Defensively pretty different from where we were under Pete (Carroll). A variety of fronts and really quite a bit of coverages to what they’re doing now. Not that their not good very good I think this is an excellent USC defense. I think probably a bit underrated I don’t know what you guys think of them but on film they’re a very good defense. They’ve played really well this year they have an excellent front four, active defenders in the back seven. They don’t do a whole lot but what they do they do really well.”

On the offensive line: “I thought we got better last week. I really did. I was proud of our guys up front. We weren’t perfect and obviously Oregon’s an excellent front seven but I thought we improved last week. We gave up one sack one sack that was given up like to think we could maybe get rid of that ball. I think that as we grow together as we play more together as we can rely on one another as we can communicate better as we get more experience up front we should improve and that’s what we’ve seen so far.”

On if there have been any changes in the USC offense since Kiffin got there: “In Lane’s? I don’t think there’s been as much of a major change. Lane’s a creative guy. He finds a variety of ways to get the ball in Lee’s and Woods’ hands, whether it’s the quick-screen game, whether it’s bringing them out of the backfield, whether it’s getting them one on one on the perimeter with corners, whether it’s with double moves down the field, he does a nice job moving them around. They don’t line up in one spot. And Matt really understands that and can play that style. Some guys don’t respond that way at quarterback — they like to know where their guys are. But No. 2 and No. 9 are all over the field, and Lane does a good job of moving them around. But, no, I don’t there’s anything drastically different.”

On what is the situation with Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ health: “I don’t know yet.”

On if Keith Price is going through a sophomore slump as a junior: “No.”

On if Price has been too hard on himself: “I think he’s been too hard on himself. It’s not fair for him to do that to himself. You know, he lost some guys that I think he was probably counting on up front. He lost a veteran receiver that he was probably counting on (James Johnson). He lost a couple veteran running backs that he was probably counting on. And, in turn, (he) probably but too much pressure on himself to try to make everybody else right around him, rather than keeping the focus on himself and allowing us to fix the things that are going on around him.. … That’s hopefully what we can get him back to. But to do that, everyone else has to do their jobs really well.”

On USC’s receivers being a challenge: “Yeah. They are really good. I think it’s a combined, oh, 85 catches, 87 catches so far (actually 83) on the season for them. So it’s not a real secret where the ball’s going. You’ve just got to find a way to cover them.”

On Barkley: “He’s got a really vast understanding of that system. He’s been in that offense now for four years. He’s got a very quick release to take advantage of all the quick throws they like to call to get the ball out on the perimeter, but also has got the arm strength to really throw the ball down the field with all the double-move stuff that they like to do, and the deep post and the dig routes. And then he shows good composure in the pocket. He’ll stand in there and deliver the ball when people are around him. He’s a very good player, he’s an excellent leader. Matt’s a good person.”

On what Price can do better this week: “Just play within the system.”

On if watching the film of Oregon was more frustrating than viewing it in person: “I was pretty frustrated after the game, so I don’t know if I could get any more frustrated than that. But it just kind of reinforced, I guess, some of the frustration – that’s a better way to put it. There were some plays there that, in all three phases, that I thought really impacted the game right in the first quarter that we just haven’t done all year. We haven’t dropped a punt all year. We’ve had some blown coverages, but there were really two in particular that we really haven’t done all year. And then Keith making a mis-read that he really hasn’t done all year. I know he throws the Pick-6 against Stanford, but it was a heck of a play on a screen play by their defensive end; this was just a poor read. So those three things just jumped out at me as frustrating. If we just played the way we had been playing, maybe it’s a 7-0 game, we’re into the second quarter, hey, let’s keep playing. We had a good plan, and once we settled in, I thought we could’ve hung around and made that thing a much better ball game into the fourth quarter.”

On if Autzen Stadium and the surroundings had anything to do with the errors: “I don’t think so, quite honestly. I think maybe their tempo, offensively, caused the coverage breakdown. I thought I tried too hard, as a head coach, in getting the return by Marvin, when that had been a fair-catch situation for us in the previous four games. Allowed him to return that punt, whereas if it had been any of the previous four games, we fair-catch it, we get the ball right there. All of the things in the passing game led Keith to maybe force that throw – not forcing it, but making the mis-read. I don’t know if that’s Autzen. I don’t think the moment was too big. I think we had maybe one false start in the game, and that was on a third-and-short. Outside of that, I thought our composure was good. We just fell behind against a good team. At the end of 15 minutes, if you’re down 21-0 against Oregon, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing at Roosevelt High down the street – you’re going to be in trouble.”

On Hall having the option to return that punt: “We’ve taught that, in that particular block, that it’s an automatic fair catch. And when the ball got punted, we try to communicate with our returner to let him know if he’s good or if he has pressure and to fair-catch it. We let him know he was good, I did, so he tried to make the return. Their gunner got pretty close. You can see the shots of him on video, of his eyes coming off the ball and looking at the gunner that’s close to him. In that scenario, if it’s a fair catch, he never takes his eye off the ball, and I’d like to think he catches it.”

On USC RB Silas Redd: “Last week’s game was Silas’ best game running the football. he ran confidently. He broke tackles at the second level. I think again, SC as much as we think of them as a passing team they love to throw the football. Obviously this system and their system works best when you have a balanced attack where you can run it and throw it and I think he offers up a balanced attack, the ability to run the football and utilize the play action pass to get those guy 1 on 1 scenarios down the field.”

On how much of the UW offense now is similar to what he ran at USC:
“We’ve changed because of somewhat what we inherited. We inherited an offense that had been a spread offense a zone read offense for I don’t know exactly how many years before we got here. We had a quarterback in Jake (Locker) that was comfortable in that style of offense so we had to have some give and take. We wanted to implement our offense but yet put some things in that he was comfortbale with, the guys were comfortable with so we had to meet in the middle in a sense. And after a couple of years doing that with Jake and Keith growing up in that system we enjoy it. We enjoy being in the gun a little bit more. We enjoy some of the zone read stuff and things that can come off of it. That doesn’t mean we neglect the two-back runs and running the football and being under center. We’ve kind of worked our way more towards the spread than when we first came from SC but I think it’s all been for positive stuff.”

On if USC is still a national-title contending team: “I think they’re an excellent football team. They’re very talented. I know Lane hates when I say this but they’re probably the most talented team in our conference. You just look at their starting 22 they are really really talented group. They are well coached in all three phases, so they present a great challenge. As far as a national title contender or not, a lot of that is probably more up to you guys than me.”

On if he’ll be glad to be done with UW’s current run of top 25 opponents: “It’s actually top 10 teams, four of the last five. I don’t know if I’m looking forward for it to be over. I think there is something to be made about the psyche of a team and the mental makeup of a team and the mental toughness of a team to embrace these opportunities and I think we do. I think we go in with our fists up and our sleeves rolled up and ready to go to battle and compete. And the next six are not going to be a whole lot easier. We’ve got some other guys down the pipe that are pretty good teams too so you can’t worry about who you just played, you can’t worry about who is coming, you just focus on the task at hand and we have USC this week. A very good football team, we get them at CenturyLink Field, it will be great to get back in front of our home crowd, we’re expecting a great atmosphere and I think our guys will really thrive off of it.”

On the play of Cory Littleton: “Cory played a really physical football game the other night from the opening kickoff — he went down had a knock down. I thought he played a physical game for a guy making his first career not only his first career playing time but his first career start. Really, really pleased and excited for his future. He has improved immensely since he’s been here. He’s put on upwards of 20 pounds since he’s been here. His understanding of what we have been trying to do since training camp and into the first few weeks of the season has just gotten better and better and better — he’s a very bright guy. I’m excited about Cory’s future.”

On working on the passing game and how much of a key it is to find a second receiver: “Well we’ve got a pretty good second receiver in Austin (Seferian-Jenkins). I think he’s the second leading tight end catcher in the country. It doesn’t have to be a receiver. We lose Austin there into the second half but he has two catches going into halftime, probably should have been three — we don’t make a play on the sidelines. And he probably makes 3-4 in the second half he ends up with seven catches again. We had to change a little bit in the second half where that ball was going. But that kind of is our second receiver, it’s a tight end.”

On going the rest of the season with just Austin as a second receiver: “Sure.”

On if teams are defending ASJ differently: “No. Nope. I don’t think so at all. Again, I don’t know exactly what his number is but somebody just told me he’s second in the country amongst tight ends in receiving and catches so obviously the ball is going his way a significant amount of time and probably another handful or so plays that could have been for him that probably would have made him the No. 1 guy right now. So he’s doing a nice job. Thought he had a really nice second half of the week last week in practice and that carried over to the game. In the first half this was one of Austin’s better games. I know a lot of times we just look at the catches and the yards and the touchdowns but he played a pretty good first half of football against Oregon and hopefully we can continue that.”

On the team being frustrated: “That’s a good thing. If the team would have accepted it then we would really be in trouble. I think we went in there with an expectation to win. Didn’t happen and we will get back on the horse. This is a tough-minded group. We’ve known that about them — we had a good nice meeting last night, good work with them last night and we’ll get back at it tomorrow morning.”

On which offensive linemen stood out against Oregon: “I thought Dexter Charles has dramatically improved from his early on playing time. If you looked two weeks ago from Stanford to Oregon, Shane Brostek in the seven-day span how much he improved. So those two really jump out. And when you don’t talk about guys that’s a good thing and we haven’t talked a whole lot about Micah Hatchie at left tackle so that means he’s probably playing pretty good.”

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