Highlights from Marques Tuiasosopo‘s availability after Monday’s practice:
(On challenges of playing at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants) I think it’s just a challenge with how we want to get it done, but we’ll be OK. Teams have played there now, I think this is the ninth or 10th game there (at AT&T). ASU was an up-tempo team last year and they didn’t seem to have a problem with it. We’ll come up with our plan and we’ll be OK.
(Do Pac-12 teams share information on things like that?) No, we probably could. But you can watch their game and see what they did and see if it fits with what you want to do. We can’t pass the 50 (on the sideline), so that’s the only issue that we have to work through. But we’ll be OK. … I was part of the staff at UCLA two years ago when we played this game, and we did fine. That didn’t cause us not to play well. … It didn’t alter anything.
(How is team?) They’re doing great. They’re hungry. This is process. They had finals and there’s a couple practices where you come out and you try to get better at something. And now the focus narrows to the bowl game and our opponent. So they’re doing a great job. We’ve got to keep working. Decent job today, and we have a few more before we head down to San Francisco.
(Keith Price said players might have even more of a chip on their shoulders with all the circumstances of the last couple weeks. Have you noticed that?) They’re just hungry. They have a chip on their shoulder just like they have all year and I think they’re really focused on playing well and playing a certain brand of football — tough, Husky football and winning. These seniors have worked hard to bring our program to this level, back to where we’re winning football games. And they’re fired up to have one more football game to go get a ninth win. They’re focused on that and it’s been showing today and in the four (other) practices we’ve had.
(Do you have plans with your family to celebrate Christmas in San Francisco) Oh yea. You make do. Santa makes his way everywhere. Our kids are making sure to remind us to bring Santa some cookies and some milk down there. That’s the great thing about it, we do get to have our families down there, and it’ll be just like we’re at home.
(Will your family be down there the whole week) Yeah. It’s a great time for all our staffs and families to be together and try to make it as much of a home-feel as we can on Christmas day.
(Is there a thought to get both quarterbacks some time in this game) I’m not sure. Obviously, Keith and Cyler are both very capable of doing whatever it is we plan to do. But we’re just going to prepare like we always have. If that’s something we decide to do, then it is. But I don’t know from a strategy standpoint if it makes a difference or not.
(on Price being in a good place with some extra rest) Definitely. Time has been great to him. He even said it: ‘Man, Coach. With time off, my arm feels great!’ He’s back to his old self. He’s a battler and a competitor. That wasn’t an issue when it was hurting, and he’s fired up that he’s kind of back normal.
(With the way you guys finished the season against Oregon State and WSU, is there less pressure to win?) We just focus on what we can control, and that’s preparation and how we practice. And through that process, we’ve been able to go out and win some games. Some better than others. That’s what we’re focused on now. We have 10 or 12, 13 practies to get as good as we can get, and then we have a chance to go out and show what our preparation has done.
(Does your communication with Price change during the bowl game?) No, I’m still coaching the quarterbacks and we’ll still have our same core on the sideline. Obvioulsy I might be more in tune to what the defense is doing with Coach Wilcox from a game strategy standpoint. But other than that, I don’t see it changing too much with how we interact on game day.
(Will you be more involved in calling plays?) Kiesau will be calling the plays. We game plan as a staff and we talk about it to see if we can put the best game plan forward and use all the minds that we have up there. Kiesau will do a great job. He’s fired up about the opportunity to be back in play-calling role. We all have input. You see how the game’s going and we’ll do the best to put our players in the best position to succeed.
(John Ross on defense?) It just depends on what’s going on over there from a matchup standpoint. He did a great job when he had to do that late in the year and he’s ready for the call if need be.
(Will the coaches in the press box change?) It’ll change a little, Our graduate assistants on both sides of the ball are ready to move up or move down in the role that we need them to, and we’re very confident in their ability to relay information either way.
Big thanks to Chris Fetters for sharing the interview. Practice ended a few minutes early, and I was a few minutes late, unfortunately.