Let’s start here:
Any thought, no matter how brief, of replacing Keith Price prior to the game being out of hand late in the fourth quarter is ludicrous.
Backup Quarterback Syndrome is a brutal sickness. It infects even the most well-intentioned. It spreads quickly, turns the pragmatic crazed and is hard to remedy.
Steve Sarkisian was asked Monday if there was any consideration to sitting Price.
“That’s a crazy thought,” Sarkisian said. “Keith Price is our quarterback.”
This is one of the unfortunate results of the public not being able to see Washington practices. If they could, they’d know that no other quarterback on the team is near ready to enter the game. Not to mention Price set the school’s single-season touchdown and completion percentage records last year.
His massive recent problems, 10 turnovers in three games, are concerning. Sarkisian said after the Arizona game that the trust between him and Price had declined, with the distrust in the system and call coming from Price’s end.
Sarkisian said he would spend the flight home from Arizona trying to figure out the disconnect. Here’s what he said Monday about it:
“I think that … He’s trying really hard, you know? He’s an ultra-competitive kid. And I really appreciate that about him. He wants to be so right, that, in the end, as human beings, the person you trust the most is yourself. The person you lean on the most is yourself. I think at times he’s trying to just rely on him right now to figure it out. My point to him is, I wouldn’t do anything ever to put him in a situation where I think he wouldn’t be successful in being. So my goal is that he believes in me and in my ability to prepare him, to put together a game plan and to call plays that he can execute and execute at a high level. And if they don’t work I’ll be the first to tell him that, ‘Hey, Keith, that’s my fault.’ I just want him to believe in me as much as he’s believing in himself.”
Then Sarkisian was asked why he thought the trust has evaporated.
“I don’t know if it evaporated. It’s lessened. I think we went through a run about the midpoint of last season that it wasn’t great, either, you know. Yet we found a way to re-energize it and close out the season really well. I think we’ve dealt with some things on our roster this year that could have potentially started that trust to diminish in what’s going on around him. But I believe in the way I coach that position. I believe in Keith’s ability to play that position. And we’ll get it back. I just want to get it back sooner rather than later.”
Sarkisian was, of course, a quarterback himself. He’s felt the same way Price does.
“I felt like I think like Keith felt: I want to make sure about the call, rather than, ‘I’m not so sure’ — I want to make sure. In turn, what happens, you are trying to see guys get open rather than anticipate them getting open. That’s the biggest issue with it, to me. I think that we’ve all gone through it. The greatest quarterbacks have all gone through it sometimes. And the best ones have found a way out of it. And I believe Keith will, because he’s a really good player.”
And, finally, what a lack of belief does to a quarterback.
“You can be late with the ball. The rush can get there because you are holding onto the ball longer. The windows close faster, so throws that shouldn’t be contested become more contested. Your ability to trust in your play makers to make plays when they are in one-on-one settings isn’t quite as high. All of those things start to factor in. You don’t throw the ball maybe with the same amount of zip and velocity and conviction that you had in the past. And when you add all that up, that’s not great. So I’d like to think we can get a game plan together this week for Keith, one that he believes in, that allows him to do the things that he does really, really well — as well as the other 10 players that are on the field with him. That gives us a team the best chance to win.”
So, that’s where they stand right now. We’ll talk to Price on Wednesday.