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July 26, 2013 at 12:07 PM

UW’s Steve Sarkisian at Pac-12 media day: ‘We are a better football team’

Coach Steve Sarkisian answers questions about his 2013 squad at Pac-12 Media Day on Friday.

Coach Steve Sarkisian answers questions about his 2013 squad at Pac-12 Media Day on Friday. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Here’s the transcript from UW coach Steve Sarkisian, quarterback Keith Price and safety Sean Parker during their main press conference appearance this morning at Pac-12 media day:

Sarkisian opening statement: “It’s great to be back. I can’t believe it’s Year 5 already for me; I feel like the ‘old dog’ here. Great to be back, I’m excited to bring two guys who are seniors with us, captains on our football team who have had a tremendous amount of success for us, who have been cavaliers in changing the perception of our program, making us relevant again, leading us to three consecutive bowl games and in our opinion on a quest to make a run at a championship.

“I think we have a great team in place, a tremendous amount of depth on our roster and one that can withstand the injuries that may occur where there is not the disparity (between) our ones and twos. … Couldn’t be more excited to get back into Husky Stadium, in our opinion the most exciting place to play football and with that upgrade is a tremendous place to play. We’re looking forward to Boise State and seeing what this football game can get done in 2013.

Question: Coach, obviously a lot talk about three straight 7-6 seasons. What makes you confident that this is the year you can get over that hump?

Sarkisian: The reality is we are a better football team. We were a better football team last year and unfortunately the record isn’t indicative of how good that football team was. Ultimately we’re judged on our final outcome and record. You can look at stats and the different things. The one that matters is the wins and losses. We had an opportunity to change that last year and unfortunately we weren’t able to do that and we were 7-6 last year. In our heart of hearts we were better than 7-6, but we didn’t get it done. In turn, it’s left a bad taste in our mouths and it’s been an offseason where these guys, our coaching staff and the entire team couldn’t wait to get back on the field. I feel confident we can get over that hump, but ultimately until we do it, we’re a 7-6 football team — and that’s what we have to change.

Q: Are you guys more prepared this year as opposed to a year ago (on defense)?

Parker: “The key is being more aggressive and concentrating on the details that will help us win.”

Q: Keith, what makes you more confident that you can have a better season?

Price: “I’m ready. I have a lot to prove to myself and a lot to prove to you guys. I can’t wait. I think this is when I perform best, when people are doubting me and people don’t think I can do what I did. I believe I’m going to be better than I was in 2011, but that’s just me.”

Q: Steve, you’re sitting next to a couple of Southern California kids. You coached down here, you recruited down here and now you’re up in Washington. What are the challenges of being up there and trying to get some of the best kids in the backyard of USC and UCLA?

Sarkisian: Just to get ‘em on the plane because once they get there they realize how great of a place it is. It’s a beautiful city, Seattle; great university, the facilities are fantastic. There are great people in our community. The rich history and tradition that we have, the biggest challenge is to get them on the airplane because once they get there, they love it.

Q: What’s it like playing in a city where there is also such a great NFL tradition? There are not a lot of places that have both college football tradition and NFL tradition.

Sarkisian: It’s unique with Pete (Carroll) being there with the Seahawks. We have a great relationship with the Hawks; their guys come and work out with us, and we had an opportunity to play at their place. We played at CenturyLink Field last year, but it’s a tremendous working relationship and Pete’s a tremendous mentor of mine, a guy I worked with (for) seven years and someone I rely on as a young head coach and somebody I can rely on during the tough times.

Q: Coach, any update on Austin Seferian-Jenkins? And if not now, do you have a timeline in place for that?

Sarkisian: “Austin will be with us when we open training camp. He’s been tremendous throughout this entire process. He’s handled himself like I knew he would. He’s a great kid who made a mistake. It’s unfortunate. He feels horrible about it. I think it’s been a great learning lesson for all our guys on our roster. …

“I can tell you today that everything he’s done up to this point has been above and beyond what we’ve asked of him. The punitive side of it has been finalized from a legal standpoint, and now my job is to continue to develop a young man who I treat like a son, just like these guys. I’m not naïve to think that I have 105 sons between the ages of 18 and 22 years old and we’re going to make a couple of mistakes. How we deal with those mistakes and who are we as real men and the character we possess is what’s important. That’s not different with Austin and we will continue to work with him.”

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