UW coach Steve Sarkisian talked to the media after Washington’s practice today. As you can tell in the video snippet below, it was quite sunny. I’ll try to remember that in the future — usually not an issue this late in the season.
Anyway, topics included the play of Keith Price, guarding for Boise State’s trickery, and more. As noted, some video below, and then some transcribed quotes.
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On assessing Keith Price’s season: “Well I think he has dealt with a great deal of adversity, initially with the personnel that was lost around him to maybe not playing the way that he would have liked have played and then to respond and be the leader that he was. That being said, I think there are some real key areas that we can improve upon with Keith for next season as well as what we can do as an offense to improve upon to make 2013 a really special senior season for him.’’
On the lessons Price said he learned about how people respond to him when they don’t have success: “Just that, at the end of the day, he chose to play quarterback, I chose to be a head coach. And when you choose those types of positions you accept the successes in moderation and with humility and you accept the failures and defeats with moderation and with humility and when you can do that and not maybe get too high when things are great and not too low when things are down, some of the noise around you quiets down because you don’t see it, you don’t hear all the greatest things all the time and you don’t hear all the worst things all the time and you can stay focused within yourself and what it’s going to take the next week and the next week and then ultimately into the next season. I think Keith has responded really well to it. It’s been a challenging year I think for him and for us. But at the end of the day I’m confident he is going to go out and play a really good football game Saturday against a really good Boise State team and cap off the season with a pretty respectable season numbers-wise when you look at what he has been able to accomplish and set himself up for a nice finale in his senior year in 2013.’’
On if the level of criticism Price received was extreme: “I don’t know the exact what level it was. What I do know is like I said — when you choose to play quarterback you probably get too much credit when things are good and you get too much blame when things aren’t good and that just comes with the position.’’
On if he senses Price ever lost confidence in himself this season: “I don’t know if he lost confidence — I think it has wavered. You look yourself in the mirror a bit more and question maybe the way you are playing or the way you are doing things, whatever that may be. But he’s an awesome kid and like I said, never once to you guys or to me did he ever point the finger or blame anything else – it was about him having to get better and that’s a sign of a great leader.’’
On if there is a danger in blaming himself too much: “I think you can beat yourself up too much, yeah. And one of the keys for Keith is to remain confident in himself first, and remaining confident in his teammates and coaches and then in the system that we have in place that it is good enough to win and he is good enough to win. We just had a different football team this year and one that relied on our defense and our defense played good and that changed a bit of the way we played which is okay, which is what the ultimate goal was of transforming our football team and we made the changes we thought were necessary to make after last year’s season and I sure hope we can win this ballgame. I would much rather walk out of Sam Boyd Stadium with a 13-10 win than I did at the Alamo Bowl last year losing 67-56. So the ultimate goal is to win, it’s the ultimate team game and Keith understands that.’’
On if there is a way to prepare for Boise State’s trick plays: “Well yeah, you have to expose your guys to them. You have to try to show them to them. You can’t show them everything but you try to show it to them and give them a sense of when they might occur and maybe who the main guys are that run their trick plays and all of those tricks and reminders that on gameday can show up. But they do put a lot of strain on you mentally to recognize the trick play and then ultimately to defend it.’’
On it being an accomplishment to go to a bowl game three straight years: “We are extremely proud of it. This program hadn’t been to a bowl game in quite some time and from where we began to where we are today we are very proud to go to our third consecutive bowl game. I sometimes reflect back on our tenure here and I kick myself a little bit, the first year we probably should have went to a bowl game that year, too. But we made some mistakes late in ballgames on the road that ultimately cost us that opportunity. But for us to have won the Holiday Bowl two years ago and competed at a very high level against Baylor and RGIII last year in the Alamo Bowl and now to represent our conference in the Vegas bowl against Boise State I think is something that our entire football team should be proud of, especially our veterans and our seniors.’’
On looking back on last year’s Alamo Bowl and if he could set aside the loss to realize what it was like to watch it: “It was a great game, I have to admit. I sure wish we would have won it. But from a fan’s perspective it was an exciting game. It was an exhausting one. I think we were all a little tired by the end of it. But it was two really good football teams that were playing at a high level offensively. Two quarterbacks that were playing about as good a football as you could play. It was a fun one to be part of and I know ESPN loved it because they got good ratings out of it.’’
On the practices in Las Vegas: “I thought it’s gone well. Bishop Gorman has a fantastic facility and one that is kind of a one-stop shop for us from the locker room to the weight room and obviously the practice facility and all of that so it’s worked out great.’’
On Pac-12 teams having practiced at UNLV in the past and choosing Bishop Gorman instead and if they looked at UNLV: “We did. We just felt from an accommodation standpoint and the lack of a locker room (since UNLV is still using its locker room as opposed to having an open one at Bishop Gorman) it just got a little bit difficult with the hotel and then traveling with our pads and all of that. This was a lot easier from an efficiency standpoint of just being able to come here and get the locker room and the weight room and the field all at one spot.’’