Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, linked in media speculation as a possible candidate for the USC head-coaching job, addressed the rumors with his UW players Monday morning.
“That’s how we are,” Sarkisian said at his weekly Monday press conference. “We’re a very close-knit group; we’re a mature group. We openly talk about things, and I think that we’re in a good place to do that right now as a football team and a football program.”
USC fired Sarkisian’s friend and former colleague, Lane Kiffin, on Sunday morning. Sarkisian, 39, was an assistant coach at USC for seven seasons in the 2000s.
Sarkisian said he would not talk about “hypothetical scenarios.”
The Huskies have been preaching “zero distractions” this season, and Sarkisian said this week will be the chance to prove that.
“We’re focused on the task at hand,” Sarkisian said. “And the task is a big one this week, and that’s playing Stanford.
“I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity I have to be the head football coach at the University of Washington,” he added. “… It’s an awesome place to be. I have never once, and I will never, comment on hypothetical scenarios. I know that that’s the world a lot of us in this room live in, and that’s your job to do, I understand that. I’ve never done that in the four and a half years that I’ve been here, and I won’t do that. I have great respect for USC and the rich history and tradition that they have, but I’m proud to the be head coach of the 15th-ranked team in America right now, and all the hard work that we’ve put in to this program for the last five years to get to this point, to be in an awesome matchup on national television on Saturday night against a national-championship contender in Stanford. And that’s where my focus is.”