Just finished an extended press conference with Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian. Some quick notes and quotes from the numerous topics he went over:
> Sarkisian said he has a detailed plan to get all the quarterbacks work this spring, and that, “Keith Price is our starting quarterback.” Sarkisian said he has told Price the team wouldn’t be “stubborn enough” to not play another quarterback over him should the situation develop that way. That seems very unlikely.
> Drew Schaefer’s graduation leaves Washington without a center. Sarkisian said Mike Criste, Erik Kohler and Colin Tanigawa would be fits at center, in particular mentioning Kohler as the prime candidate. Kohler, who is coming off a knee injury and will be a redshirt junior, will miss the first portion of spring practices and return for the second two weeks.
> Out for the spring are RB Deontae Cooper, RB Jesse Callier, DE Pio Vatuvei, DE Hau’oli Jamora, LB Travis Feeney and DT Lawrence Lagafuaina. “Those are all key contributors to our football team,” Sarkisian said.
> Sarkisian said he wants to play more up-tempo and no-huddle in practice and games to help the offense, but also help the defense working more often to defend those spread offenses that so often (Oregon) give them trouble (Oregon).
> Sarkisian said Price has worked to strengthen his legs in order to be more mobile in the pocket and not be dragged down for one-arm sacks.
> Sarkisian said he is “excited” to see what redshirt freshmen running backs Ryan McDaniel and Dwayne Washington can do.
> Sarkisian said he is concerned about Washington’s touchdown percentage in the red zone and will work to fix that.
> He also said Marques Tuiasosopo will help Price directly and that should help everyone since they have a quarterbacks coach who knows the system and Price to work specifically with him.
> Sarkisian wants Sean Parker to assume a leadership role within the back seven.
> Shaq Thompson will stay “mainly a linebacker.” Sarkisian said he’ll wait until the fall to know whether or not Thompson will be involved in returning kicks. Said it’s tough for a linebacker to play defense against a score then go back and return a kick.
> Will Shamburger is the clubhouse leader at free safety, replacing Justin Glenn.
> Sarkisian acknowledged the North Division is loaded, but said, “I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be able to challenge for a division championship.”
> He said new kicker Cameron Van Winkle will likely handle kickoffs, Travis Coons field goals and Korey Durkee punting. Last year, Coons did all three.
> Sarkisian feels the offensive line could be “tremendously better.”
> Sarkisian mentioned, “Oregon has been a hurdle for us.” Washington has lost nine consecutive games to the Ducks.
> Sarkisian said that, “in a perfect world,” Austin Seferian-Jenkins will never play defensive end again. Said the decision for ASJ not to play basketball was an easy one because of the ankle injury.
> Taz Stevenson and Thomas Vincent will be moved to safety for added depth.