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Sarkisian: ‘Our inability to finish is pretty glaring’

Post by Todd Dybas / The News Tribune on Dec. 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm with No Comments »
December 22, 2012 9:22 pm

After Saturday’s loss, Steve Sarkisian sounded similar to his postgame session following the Apple Cup. Washington again needed one more play, one more stop, one more something, and didn’t get it. Here’s what Sarkisian had to say:

Opening Statement: “Frustrating loss because we knew coming in this would be a good
football team we would be playing in Boise. We knew it would come down to the last
possession or two in the ballgame and to their credit they found a way to win in the end.
I think that for us, as a program, when you look at our last 2 games and combine them,
our inability to finish is pretty glaring. That obviously will be a point of emphasis of ours
as we head into the offseason. A lot of credit to Boise, their quarterback had a nice ball
game, their kids played hard, tough loss.”

On what caused the offense to start slowly: “We weren’t terrific up[ front initially, I
thought we were out of sync. I thought our energy was not great at the start of the game
and picked up in the second quarter and continued on throughout the game.”

On the interception at the end: “We were really trying to hit Austin to get a first down
and the goal was to get to the 30 yard line for a field goal. There was a lot going on at
the time but we were just trying to stick it in there to Austin and convert. I don’t know
if Austin was covered, it was hard to tell. Keith went to a secondary read and the safety
read his eyes and made a nice play on it and intercepted the ball.”

His thoughts on Keith’s game as a whole: “I thought he competed and that was
encouraging. I know there is probably a couple reads he would like to have back of going
through his progression to get to other guys but I thought he competed.”

On Boise’s 4th down that looked like they didn’t get it: “I contemplated it, it’s a hard one
to overturn. It’s a quarterback sneak and he’s piled up inside the pile. It’s a hard one and
all of a sudden they are going to move the ball back 2 or 3 inches to make him short. The
timeouts in that situation were at a premium. I didn’t want to lose our timeout there and
only have 2 and our ability to stop the clock. I just didn’t really feel like, even if he was
short, they wouldn’t move the ball and overturn it.”

On what Keith needs to do to get back to his old form: “I think that we in general need
to play better as an offensive football team consistently. That has been an issue quite
honestly all season. We’ve had spurts where we have been pretty good and one’s that we
haven’t been so good. I think we touched earlier in the season. We have to get back to
the basics at that position and what this system is about and where to go with the football
and how to stay with our progressions and how we read coverages and not assume and
not guess and not want to be sure exactly what it was, but anticipate throws, understand
coverages, and deliver the ball with trust in the system and the players to make their
plays. We have to catch the football too. We drop arguably a touchdown today and a
critical third down one as well. Everybody has to do their part. We have to block better,
catch better, throw better, call better plays so that we can be a more successful offensive
football team.”

On what it takes for the program to get to the next level: “Well, it’s easy to say today
we have to finish in the 4th quarter. You look at the last two ball games we played, those

are tough ones to swallow. I can easily be sitting here being a 9-4 football team and
unfortunately we found a way not to win those games. That’s the easy one to point out
is how are we and how disciplined are we to stay focused and disciplined and ultimately
execute and finish those games. But there are other things we have to improve upon,
our pass rush is still a glaring issue for us right now and consistently getting to the
quarterback. On the flip side, our ability to protect the quarterback and minimize the
number of sacks. Obviously I love what our defense is able to do in creating turnovers
this season. We have to cut the number of turnovers we had offensively this year in half.
We are just going to keep grinding away. That’s the biggest thing, I don’t know any other
way but to keep working hard. We have a good group of men on this team and a good
young football team as we mature and grow together, I believe we are going to win these
close ones late in the ball game and we will be that 9, 10, 11 win team here sooner rather
than later.”

On third-down conversions: “It was frustrating. I was just talking to Justin about it. A
couple passes, a quarterback scramble, those are tough ones to swallow because that
type of team, when you win on first and second down, you think you are doing pretty
good against that type of offense, they hit some big plays on third down and got some
one on one matchups that they converted on. It starts with the pass rush and containing
the quarterback and it can get hard to cover that long but when a quarterback scrambles
I’d like to think we will tackle him more times than not, unfortunately today, we weren’t
great at it.”

Sarkisian on if he thought about going for two in the first half: “No, to me that’s too early in the game. The numbers just beat out that way. When we scored there in the third quarter I felt like that was the right time to do it.”

On if Price has missed Seferian-Jenkins at times when  he is open: “I’m sure that’s happened. I don’t think Keith is intentionally ‘I’m not going to throw the ball to Austin.’ I think maybe for one reason or another he dind’t like the play and that’s the hard part of playing the position of quarterback — you have to make those millisecond decisions and then do it physically and make it all happen and so I think the rapport with Austin and Keith and Kasen and Keith is only going to improve. I think a key component for us in this off-season and into next season is finding that third, consistent element to our offense. We’ve got a tremendous young running back in Bishop. We’ve got two really good receivers in Kasen and Austin and now that third element is going to be key for us to be a complete offensive football team next fall.”

On if there is something from this game to take into the rematch with Boise State next year: “It’s going to be another four-quarter game. It’s going to be a slugfest. They are a very well-coached team. Their kids play hard and that’s exactly what I will expect the next time around. I think obviously we will  look  at some things when we look at the film and it will be a little more clear. We will have a little better idea of the personnel and things of that nature. But they will come ready to play and we’ve got nine months to get ready for them.”

On if that was the plan to use Sankey that much: “That was about the plan, quite honestly. And that is another aspect of our offense that needs to improve. When you lose two backs early in the year and you move a receiver to back to give him  a complement and a backup, solidifying that other back in our offense is big. It’s hard in any offense to carry the ball 30 times a game, nevertheless in ours when  we run inside the tackles quite a bit. But I thought Bishop was terrific tonight and with his touches and the way he played the game.”

Sarkisian on the kick return: “I think the ball may have gotten hung up in the wind a little bit. It was a bit of a crosswind coming into the stadium and might have gotten caught up a bit. We didn’t do anything different than the coverages we had been using in the game, which had been effective for us. I don’t believe they changed their return. So I will have to look at the film and see if we got of our lane or we missed a tackle or what happened on their end. It wasn’t nearly as clear since it was on their sideline. I’ll have to look at the film to give you an answer of what happened.”

Did you envision a year for Sankey like this? “I’m not sure. But, he had a fantastic season I think, really, when you analyze Bishop’s season, especially from about almost the second half of the season on, arguably the best back in our conference. He just continued to play and play and play, thoroughly impressed. To think he’s just a true sophomore right now, and this guy sitting next to me is a true sophomore, Kasen’s a true sophomore, Austin’s a true sophomore, we’ve got a pretty good young nucleus on this team that as they continue to grow together, we’ll be pretty dang good.”

On Boise QB Joe Southwick: “I thought he really did a nice job in the game today. I thought he managed their offense, especially in the up-tempo stuff. He threw the ball efficiently and accurately. When he pulled the ball down to scramble he was effective. He hurt us with his legs today.”

How did the trust with Keith go after the Arizona game? “I thought it got better. I thought it improved from the second half of the season. I thought we had moments today where Keith did really good stuff and he had other moments that weren’t great. The consistency factor in our system is what is imperative and that is going to be a real focal point of ours in the offseason.”

On Boise’s big return: “Kind of hard to tell. It was the same coverage we had been using, which had been effective. The ball kind of got caught up in the air, in the wind a little bit. I’ll have to look at the film to see exactly, if we had a miscue in there, if we got out of a lane or something, I’ll have to see.”

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