Here’s a transcript of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian’s postgame press conference after the Huskies lost to the Ducks.
One note that isn’t in there — Sarkisian said starting left guard Dexter Charles left the game due to a sore shoulder, and said backup Erik Kohler did a nice job in his place.
(Opening statement) “That’s a good football team and their ranking is deservedly so. I thought our kids played hard, I thought we fought, I thought we showed a lot of resolve there in the third quarter, battle back in the ballgame. Just unfortunately had a hard time containing Marcus. He threw the ball extremely well and when we covered him he pulled it down and ran and we couldn’t catch him. We tried to spy him, we tried to blitz him, we tried to contain him. He had a heck of a football game. He’s a hell of a player and they get a lot of credit. It’s unfortunate. Couple missed opportunities there. Obviously the first and goal from the five, we get the sack, kind of knocks us back and we can’t convert on the third down, we have to settle for three right there, to keep it a seven point game and instead it was an 11-point game. When we had to become one-dimensional late in the game it made it easier on them and their ability to rush the passer and got some good 1-on-1 matchups inside and beat us. We’re at our best when we were able to run and throw it. But ultimately we got one dimensional when they pulled away from us there and we had to start throwing it down the field they got the better of us.
“That’s a good team we lost to. It’s been back to back weeks of playing really good football teams and I think our kids have shown a great deal of competitive spirit. I think they’ve shown that we can play with those guys. We played with Stanford for 60 minutes and we played with these guys for three and a half quarters. Unfortunately we just couldn’t get over the hump against two really good teams. But that doesn’t take away from our football team. We’re a good football team. We need to get back on the horse and start preparing for Arizona State because the biggest game of our season is next Saturday and we need to get ready for it.”
(Did Bishop Sankey’s fumble kill the momentum?) “I don’t know. We were planning on that was going to be 4-down territory. That’s why we ran it on third down right there. We were going to go for it on fourth if he didn’t make it. We were on the fringe. We were moving the football. So that one didn’t help. And then obviously the interception there. Both of those. Turnovers are turnovers. When you turn the ball over twice and they don’t turn it over. That’s the No. 1 stat in football for winning and losing. I thought both of our turnovers occurred in their territory, so it took potential points off the board for us and gave them possession. I thought those both were relatively big plays in the outcome of the game.”
(Did Mariota look like a Heisman contender?) “I don’t have a vote, but I’d be hard pressed to see if we’re going to see a better quarterback this year. That guy, I think he’s special. I don’t know when he’s planning on going to the NFL but I think when he does he’ll probably be a top-five draft pick. He’s a hell of a player.”
(What was the plan against him?) “We had a couple different things just varying on what their plan was and how we could play them. The general plan was to try to keep him in the pocket and then when he’d run the ball, make sure we had somebody always having their eyes on him to go tackle him. Unfortunately when that happened, he ran away from our guys that had their eyes on him. He’s just a difficult matchup. And then when you really try to bring more people to keep him there and get more 1 on 1 matchups down field, their speed in the slot against our safeties I thought was a real factor in the game and he just threw accurate ball after accurate ball. It’s kind of, what was our answer at that point? I think that’s what got frustrating for us.”
(On Keith Price’s interception) “It was a 1-on-1 route. Jaydon (Mickens) and Keith had a little miscommunication. Jaydon was on a corner route, I think Jaydon tried to flatten it off and Keith was expecting it to be at a higher angle and threw it at a higher angle and the safety covered a lot of ground to make the interception.”
(On Sankey’s game overall) “I thought he was tremendous. It was tough sledding early. They’re a good defense. Sometimes they probably don’t get enough credit defensively for the way they play. I thought Bishop kind of stuck to it, I think our offensive line stuck to it, then ultimately he was able to pop a couple runs in there and ran hard. His balance is what is always so intriguing to me when he runs. You think at times he’s going to go down. He’s got such low center of gravity and the his ability to accelerate after he makes cuts I think is always evident but I think was really clear tonight, especially on a couple of those touchdowns.”
(On Oregon striking back immediately after scores) “Games like this, I feel like our team is always battling. I really appreciate about our group that these guys will battle, they’ll compete. Even at halftime it was 21-7, we felt confident that we could regroup, go out and have a good plan on both sides of the ball. For the most part we did and we kind of kept going back and forth, toe to toe, toe to toe, and they just didn’t make a mistake to give us a chance to get even with them. They just kept making their plays. I think at some point … not ever would I say our team quit. I would never say that. But I think at some point when you’re fighting uphill, you’re fighting uphill, you’re fighting uphill, and they feel like they’re playing downhill, you can kind of get worn out. I felt like in the second half there in the fourth quarter, we got worn out a little bit.”
(What did you tell the team?) “I told them we’re a good team. We played two really good football teams back to back weeks. We’ve gone toe to toe with them. We’ve battled. We’ve competed. We’re a good team. We can’t lose sight that we’re not a good football team because we’ve played two good teams back to back. We’re a good football team but wee’re only going to be as we prepare mentally, physically and emotionally and that starts tomorrow. We’ve got a big time ballgame next Saturday at 3 o’clock against Arizona State and they’ll be ready for us. They’ll be ready to go, and we need a great week of preparation to get ready for that game.”
(Oregon defensively?) “They did a couple things in their coverage that made some of the reads a little bit unclear, a little bit kind of grainy, to their credit. They didn’t give him some real cover looks at times and forced him to hold the ball a little bit.”