Here’s some of what UW coach Steve Sarkisian had to say after the 34-15 win over Utah:
First, here are two videos:
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And part two:
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And some quotes:
Opening Statement: “This is a really cool win for our team because I thought we executed in all three phases really well. I’ll start on special teams, they have arguably the best kickoff returner in America and we went with a pop over mentality and sacrificed field position in the game by doing so and in turn it swung the field position in a manner that our offense got stuck with quite a bit of long fields throughout the game and put our defense in a situation where they were getting stuck with short situations. But we just didn’t want to give up seven points on a kickoff return to a guy who’s done it three times in the last two weeks.
“And what came out of that was I thought we played really good first down and second down defense, which allowed us to play amazing third down defense. It’s unfortunate that we gave up that one long run there, but outside of that our defense was phenomenal. I think they only converted one third down all night. Our defense got to a point to where we covered well, we pressured enough, and especially late in the game, and then for us offensively the third down conversions were awesome.
“I think we were about 50 percent in the first half, and then finished right around 50 percent for the ball game. We had good balance, which we always want to have. I thought Bishop (Sankey) had another excellent night running the football. We kind of know what he is and know the types of runs he is going to have. 36 carries I think he had tonight for over 160 yards. The playmakers on offense made their plays, and Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) and Kasen (Williams). The role players made their plays when they had their chances, whether it was Kendyl Taylor, what Evan Hudson brings, what DiAndre Campbell brings, what Cody Bruns brings, what Jaydon Mickens brings. So that’s kind of our mix, kind of our balance. I thought it was by far and away Keith’s (Price) best game of the year. I’ve kind of felt that coming over the last couple of weeks. And I thought our offensive line did an admirable job against a very good defensive front. So all in all, it’s a great win against a good opponent. We are happy to be bowl eligible, but there’s plenty of work still left to be done for this football team. We realize that, we understand that, and we’ll get back to work here and try to get another one at Colorado.”
On what in Price signaled to him that this night was coming: “Oh I just saw some things the last couple weeks. He had been playing a little bit better the last two weeks against Oregon State and Cal, but more so than that if you noticed him on the sidelines when we were on defense the last couple of weeks, he was very involved, very engaged in the game, he was right there with the defense, wanting the defense to play well, he was more engaging than he had ever been all season. I felt like early in the season, the weight of the world was on his shoulders, he was sitting on the bench, he was trying to decipher through things, trying to understand what was going on, he was much more of the leader of Keith we grew to know and love a year ago, that guy is starting to come back.
“And yeah he missed some throws here and there, maybe some reads here and there, and a couple turnovers, but the energy he brings, he has an infectious energy about him that the team really responds to and that is starting to come and tonight that didn’t change, he was playing that way, I thought he trusted his ability to either make throws one, two, his legs, to run the football on third down to convert some critical third downs for us, the one touchdown and then obviously some critical third downs on the 18 play drive and I’m happy for him, it’s been a grind for that kid this season, nobody works harder, nobody prepares more, there is not a better competitor in that locker room, some of those guys might argue with me but he is an awesome kid and he deserved to have a game like this to get going.”
On what allowed Price to make plays like he did against Utah: “I think sometimes, it’s just being decisive in your decision making and when there is clarity, you trust what you see and you go, he made some plays when he scrambled, throwing the ball tonight and the play to Austin was a tremendous play by both of those guys, he almost threw it back in play to him and Austin jumping up making that catch. That’s his game and I’ve said this all along, I never wanted to take his stinger away, we admire him so much for the play he makes, and there is such a fine line there, one to make those plays and one to throw the ball away. He probably threw the ball away three or four times tonight outside the pocket. He just made really good decisions when he was out of the pocket to throw it away to run it, and throw it to try to make a completion, it worked out for him.”
On using Austin Seferian Jenkins at defensive end a bit: “I was just trying to generate a pass rush and Austin has fantastic tools to rush the passer, we felt like there was some things that could help our speed group and moving (Andrew) Hudson inside and (Josh) Shirley outside, Austin on the outside and we’re at a point in the season where it’s all hands on deck and putting our best personnel on the field to be successful. I don’t know exactly how effective he was at that. I don’t know exactly how many plays he played, probably eight to 10 plays defensively tonight, but he’ll get better at it and it could prove advantageous for us to continue to do that, we’ll see as we move forward.”
On stopping Utah’s fourth down conversion to start the second half: “Well the team decides to go for it in their own end, you want to make the stop like we were able to do on the fourth down play and then it’s another to capitalize on it and do that as well. I thought our defense played really well, it’s unfortunate that we gave up a couple big runs that the numbers bear out sometimes that we don’t look as great in the run game, but all in all, we played well against the run, 55 yards passing, to be that sticky in the back end to generate some pressure on the quarterback but that was big to get a stop and get a score was big for us. And then to answer their score later in the ball game when they scored, to generate some momentum to separate ourselves again.”
On how Price’s sideline demeanor has changed the last few weeks: “I had to remind myself here at some point of all the stuff that has changed around him. What reminded of that was Senio Kelemete was here last week and there’s his starting left tackle from a year ago, his starting tailback from a year ago is in the NFL, his two wide receivers are playing in the NFL, he had four other offensive lineman get hurt, he had two other running backs that were supposed to be the starting running backs get hurt and the other starting receiver who was supposed to be with him get hurt and then he got in the huddle and there was a lot of new faces for that guy. And I just think he got a little too serious for him and shouldered too much for him and it’s cool to see a guy believe in himself and work his way through it and fight through it and play good football. I think he is going to play great the rest of the way. The guys around him are playing better up front, we understand who we are as an offense and what the style of play is going to be for us and I think he understands that and we are playing pretty good.”
On Bishop Sankey passing 1,000 yards: “It’s pretty cool. I’m hoping he’s got more in his tank. If you would have told me in July when I was on vacation that at the end of the year, Bishop Sankey is going to rush for over 1000 yards and now that we are here and have watched the kid play, he’s a stud, he runs hard and I think the natural notion is that if you just saw Bishop walking down the street, you wouldn’t think he’s an inside runner a guy that runs inside the tackles, you’d think he’s the shotgun, zone read get the ball on the perimeter type stuff but he’s an excellent between the tackle runner and it shows, that’s where he makes his plays.”
On John Timu’s injury: “He got a stinger. That happens I guess in football. He kind of got landed on and obviously when it comes to that stuff, we are very precautionary and it was a great to see him come back in and make a play on the interception and he almost had another shot on one as well. … well you know obviously the concerns are that we will take every precaution necessary and then he responded fine so we did all of the tests to make sure he was ready to go and he got back in the game.”
On the three personal fouls tonight: “I thought our kids are playing hard, I thought we were playing through the echo of the whistle and maybe didn’t hit them as hard as they fell but they called it and we can’t control it, the flag is on the ground, we have to play the next snap.”