Here are a few notes from UW coach Steve Sarkisian’s radio show tonight. …
— He opened saying he was proud of the team for the way it came back after the 17-point deficit and that “I almost feel as if we dominated the second half” but the scoreboard didn’t reflect it. “It’s just unfortunate we spotted them a 24-7 lead that we had to fight back from,” he said.
— He said “a lot of things went right defensively” though a couple didn’t to lead to USC points. He said the plan was to put Desmond Trufant on Marqise Lee and play Marcus Peters quite a bit of the time on Robert Woods. He said he thought Peters “had an excellent game” and that the big completions Woods had were over the middle against zone coverages.
— Asked about USC’s conservative offense he said he thought UW could have forced USC out of that if the Huskies had scored another time or two in the second half but since the Huskies didn’t “they just tried to hold on to the game.” He also said that he thought they had a scheme in place that discouraged the pass.
— Sarkisian talked in depth about the play in the fourth quarter where Keith Price fumbled near the goal line. He said “in hindsight, I’d call a different play.” He noted UW had had some success in shotgun runs and that was in his thoughts there, but “I don’t know if that was the best call at the time.” He said if Price had to do it over again he would have handed it to Bishop Sankey and also would take back the pump fake and not get the ball punched out. He said liked a lot of what Price did but “we’ve got to take care of the football.”
— He said what made the call enticing was that UW had had success in the shotgun runs and and in the plays where they were motioning guys behind Price and in deception football and wanted to try that again. He noted the play went to the left instead of to the right where it had been more successful because of the changes made to the right side of the line, specifically taking out Shane Brostek, whom they regarded as a better pulling guard than James Atoe. So he said they ran the play in the opposite direction from where it usually goes “to get the offensive line in the position to do the things they do well.”
— In more talk of the play, he said “if you’d ask me what I thought was going to happen it was that Keith was going to hand the ball off to Bishop and be a bang-bang play and it would be a third-and-goal from the one, and in my mind I was already that we had four downs to score.” He said they went with that sort of run “with some hesitation” rather than straight ahead because they were having more success with the shotgun runs instead of those in which USC could come downhill defensively.
— He said of Josh Shirley that he rushes differently when he’s out there every down opposed to being situational, and that opponents were also targeting him to run at, so that has Shirley playing more situational now and it’s a role they think he will thrive in.
— He said of Shaq Thompson, who left with an injury Saturday, that “it’s going to take him a few days to work his way back to get healthy, but I expect him to play Saturday.” He referred to it as a lower leg injury.”
— He said it’s “a little disheartening” that UW won’t play USC again until 2015 but said maybe they will might someday soon in the Pac-12 title game and that “we like competing against them.” He agreed that USC is inevitably the program that teams in the Pac-12 compare themselves against and that he thinks UW is “looking better and better” every year in terms of having the players to match up to the Trojans.
— He said he is “hoping we can get Ben Riva back in the fold here and that will shore some things up” on the offensive line. Riva is again on the depth chart as a possible starter at right tackle.
— He said USC did a good job on Kasen Williams overall with Nickell Robey but that ideally they would have thrown the ball more to him regardless and that he needs more than two catches in a game.
— In more talk of Price, he said he was encouraged by a lot of what he saw Saturday and noted that the schedule has been tough early on and that “you’ve got to wait until 12 13 games are done and then look at the numbers to tell how a guy is playing.” He said “from what I’ve seen I like where we are going to be in the second half of the season. … I just think there is something good for Keith and this offense right around the corner to get going.”
— He said the punt that was blocked was due to someone on the line going to the right instead of to the left and that meant that instead of the widest man being the free rusher — and the thought being that the punt gets off before he can get there — the second-widest man was set free and he had time to get there. He also said maybe UW needs to fake more punts to prevent teams from going with as many all-out block attempts.
— He said he “wanted to go for it” on the fourth down where UW kicked the field but that the one-yard loss on third down made going for the field goal the right thing to do.
— He said for now Travis Coons will remain as the punter and place kicker and also handling kickoffs but that they hope Korey Durkee can eventually return as punter to relieve Coons of some of that responsibility.