UW coach Steve Sarkisian was a guest on KJR-AM this morning with Dave “Softy” Mahler and Hugh Millen. Here are a few highlights. …
— Sarkisian was asked right out of the gate about rumors linking him with the Arkansas job. Sarkisian said he in general will “do my best not to comment on rumors” but said “I have had zero contact with those guys.” He said he “can’t even foresee” talking about other jobs because he loves the job he has and isn’t looking to go anywhere. Asked if he would be the coach of the Huskies next year, he laughed and said “well, I hope so” and that he plans to be the coach at UW for years to come. He was also asked again at the end of the interview about Arkansas and said it would be “fair to say” he will not be going there.
— Asked about UW’s possible bowl destination, he said “everything I’m hearing” is that UW is headed to the Las Vegas Bowl and that “if it is we are pumped about it. I think it’s good, got a good history and tradition as a bowl.” He said that nothing has been made official to UW but that everything remains pointing to the Las Vegas Bowl.
— Of the Apple Cup loss, he said “it’s going to stay with me for a long time” and that it equates to the 2005 national title loss to Texas when he was at USC. But he said that’s not necessarily a bad thing in spurring motivation for the future.
— Asked if there is one play that stands outs, he said it was the play on which Keith Price fumbled as he tried to hand the ball off midway through the fourth quarter with UW ahead 28-17. He said had UW gotten that first down, it likely would have been able to run off enough of the clock to basically sew up the game. He said they had motion on the play with Jaydon Mickens as they had done successfully earlier in the game, but that this time the timing was a bit off and the nose tackle broke through unblocked to break up the play and force the fumble and “really give them the momentum. … if I could do it all over again, that’s the tone that’s still irking me.”
— He said another key for the players to learn is to “understand what a rivalry is.” He said the second point is that to blow an 18-point lead “is unacceptable. We can’t accept the fact that that happened.” He said now the key is “what are we going to do about it?” He said the key now is to go win the bowl game to go into the off-season with momentum. He also said a key is to now wallow in the memory of that game saying “I don’t want to let one quarter and one game define our season because there was a lot of good that come out of this (season).”
— He said again he doesn’t think WSU player harder than UW. He said WSU “came to play” but that that doesn’t mean UW didn’t come to play. He said his players understood what a win meant and that his team was ahead 28-10 in the fourth quarter but just “found a way to lose it.”
— Asked about the competition at the quarterback spot going forward, he said the first three practices of UW’s bowl prep will be “75 percent dedicated” to the younger players and then next week will also have three practices dedicated largely to the younger players before getting into specific bowl preparation. He said next year “it is a lot more reasonable to think” there will be competition because the players behind Keith Price will be in a better position to actually compete. He also said in defense of Price that “we weren’t a very good offensive football team” this year. He said Price “would be the first to tell you” that he has to play better but that there is also a lot to work on for the entire offense going forward, as well.
— Asked if it’s possible that another QB could start the opener against Boise State next year he said “sure, that’s possible” and that his job is always to put the best team he can out there to compete. But he said going into it “it would be difficult” for one of the younger guys to beat him out if “Keith plays the way he is capable of playing.”
— Asked if he was ever close to making a change at QB this year he said “no.” He said there have been some glaring turnovers for Price that have painted a picture of his season that may not accurately reflect it, saying “he has also done some good things for us” and said that behind the scenes Price did a lot to keep the team together.
— Asked about Price’s health and willingness to run, he said Price is a “pass-first” QB and that he is “a very good one” and that UW would like to use his legs more and have him protect the ball better and that that is something they will continue to work on.
— Asked if he was worried about Justin Wilcox moving on, he said that’s always a concern when you hire good coaches. He said he knows Wilcox will be a head coach someday but that “do I think it will happen this year? I don’t know.”
— Asked about goals for the bowl practices, he said creating more “explosive plays” on offense and cutting down mistakes (turnovers, penalties) and on defense continuing to assess their first-down defense and how to defend no-huddle, spread offenses.
— Asked about the possibility of playing Boise State two games in a row if matched up against the Broncos in a bowl game, he said “I think it would be awesome. quite honestly. Why not? Somebody is going to win, somebody is going to lose and that sets up for a great nine months of build up” to the opener next Aug. 30 at Husky Stadium.
— Asked about the head bob call on Price on the last drive, he said he still thinks it was “a wrong call” because Price did the same thing against Stanford and Oregon State and offsides was called in each of those instances. So he said he is “going with 66 percent of the time they called it on the defense. Call it consistently is all I ask for. That’s why I say it’s the wrong call.”
— And on the incident where Austin Seferian-Jenkins was hit after the game, Sarkisian called it a “a really unfortunate incident. I would like to think from our end we have to educate our players better that you keep your helmet on and jog off the field as quickly as you can to ultimately protect yourself.” He also said he “would like to think” UW fans acted with class and dignity when they rushed the field twice this year. He also said it was “two consecutive trips to Pullman” where “we have had an incident with a player” noting that in 2010 Semisi Tokolahi had ice thrown on him when he was carted off after being injured. He also said there were a “couple of other players” that were hit this year that were not captured on video. He said “it’s a great rivalry. I just hope both schools can continue to handle it with class.”
You can listen to it all below:
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