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October 12, 2012 at 1:12 PM

A few notes from Sarkisian’s KJR appearance

As he usually does, UW coach Steve Sarkisian appeared a little while ago on KJR-AM — the team’s flagship radio station — on the Dave “Softy” Mahler show.

Here are a few highlights. …

— Asked about the difference in the 2009 and 2010 wins over USC and the 2011 loss to the Trojans, Sarkisian said “I don’t think from a mental standpoint there was any difference. I thought we took advantage of opportunities the first two years, we got three turnovers by them in our red zone (in 2009) we capitalized on. We were able to make field goals in those ball games. Last year for whatever reason, it just never got started for us …. I just like to think that we came to play from the beginning of the game and then went and played with them for four quarters (in the two wins).”

— He was asked why he’s so confident Keith Price will turn it around and said “because I don’t think it’s all on him. It’s quite frankly on all of us.” And then he listed better playcalling, protecting, receivers getting open and catching the ball as among other areas that need to improve. ‘I think we are coming,” he said. “I think we had another good week of work,” he said. I just think he will get right because we are going to get right.”

— Asked about calling more designed runs for Price at the expense of worrying about him getting hurt, Sarkisian said “I’m always about protecting the quarterback — you’ve got to protect your quarterback because if something happens to him, it’s hard. I think he is at his best when he is more at an improvised mode then called, structured runs. … he’s at his best when things break down and he remains behind the line of scrimmage and buys time to make plays with his arm.”

— Asked about USC’s passing game, he said the “obvious challenge” is Marqise Lee and Robert Woods. He said Lee has emerged as their “go-to receiver.” Asked how to stop Lee and Woods, he said “you still have to still defend the run and can’t overly commit yourself” to the pass because USC has the ability to just ground it out. And he said “then the best way to defuse those guys is to get after the quarterback. The games when they have struggled some teams have gotten after (Matt) Barkley pretty good. So we’ve got to try to get him uneasy in the pocket to where he is just not back there throwing strikes to those two guys.”

— Asked what he saw out of Stanford’s win over USC that might apply to UW’s game against the Trojans, he said No. 1 was “Stanford’s ability to tackle” and also that “they didn’t waver out of their game plan. They did a nice job up front. They got some pressure on Barkley and they did a nice job when the ball got out on the perimeter. They stuck with their game plan, and ran the football, ran the football, ran the football and used their screen game.” He also noted that Stanford’s game plan “shortened the game” in terms of overall possessions, which he said was also a key in UW’s win over Stanford. So he said that’s also a key for tomorrow is to limit USC’s possessions and also minimizing big plays.”’

WILLIS WILSON NO LONGER ON TEAM: Also of note this morning is that it has been confirmed that walk-on running back Willis Wilson is no longer on the UW roster. He has not played since the opener against San Diego State, when he got one carry for one yard. He was a sophomore from Lakes who was serving as depth at the tailback spot. The school said Wilson “left of his own accord.”

You can listen to Sarkisian’s KJR interview today below:

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