Here’s what Washington coach Steve Sarkisian had to say after his team beat California, 41-17, at Husky Stadium on Saturday night.
(Opening statement) “This was the type of performance I was hopeful that we could have. As you guys have been around us, this was a week where it’s been a tough three weeks. You have some excruciating losses there at the end of the ballgame, you have a game that you feel you go toe to toe with one of the best teams in the country, then you go out and you don’t perform well against a good football team and you get humiliated. So there’s some soul searching this past week and I thought to our kids’ credit, they took to some constructive criticism. To the coaches’ credit, I think they also took to some constructive criticism. I thought we made some nice adjustments this week from a scheme standpoint to a personnel standpoint, and then ultimately I thought our kids played really hard.
“I thought it was a great night to honor Coach (Don) James. He and his family and Carol deserve much more than what we could have even done tonight, but we’ll go out tomorrow and honor him again at the service. All in all it was a good performance. I thought the explosive plays offensively were something that when we’re at our best we get yards in chunks, and we were able to do that today, with the running game obviously with Bishop (Sankey), and then the passing game with Keith (Price) and Jaydon (Mickens) really doing their thing. So all in all it was a good performance and I’m glad we were able to get after the quarterback some and get some sacks. We missed them some too, even though we got them, we missed some opportunities which we’ve got to continue to work on. But all in all it was a good win for us.”
(Deep balls a product of Cal’s man to man coverage?) “It was a bit of a product of that. We were calling those shots based on some of the defenses that we were getting. I think we like throwing the ball down the field. Obviously when we’re at our best is when we can take those shots down the field to make the defense defend the entire field, whether that’s horizontally or vertically. We got Jaydon in some favorable matchups, man to man on the safety and Keith did a really good job of giving him a chance and laying the ball up and letting him run underneath it.”
(Was there any doubt Keith Price would play?) “On Wednesday, sure he was, because he hadn’t practiced. But when he came out Thursday and threw the ball the way he did Thursday, I felt great about him playing in the game, and that’s what we were going with. I felt for Cyler (Miles) some because he had a really good week of practice. That’s part of the position. You keep working and when your number’s called, you’re ready to go. To Cyler’s credit, he prepared really well and he’ll continue to prepare well and when he’s number’s called, he’ll step in and do great.”
(Keith blamed himself some for Kasen’s injury. Thoughts as a former QB?) “The game of football, all of the hard hits, all of the big hits that happen in football, a play like that is a play that’s probably going to end Kasen’s season this year. You can’t think that way as a player and feel like coulda, shoulda, woulda. I think we all feel bad because Kasen’s a great kid and he works really hard and has a great attitude every day. He’s one of the leaders on this team. But Keith can’t feel that way. That’s not fair. Stuff like that unfortunately happens in our game. That’s part of it and we’ll take care of him physically and mentally and get him back and he’ll be a great player for us in the future.”
(Offensive line improving?) “I thought they really showed up tonight. Those two defensive tackles for Cal are big guys, (Deandre) Coleman and (Viliami) Moala, and we knew they would be a tall order for our guards, especially with Dexter (Charles) being out again. And it’s unfortunate we gave up a couple of the sacks that we did because I think we could have been a little bit better than that. In the run game I thought they were really effective and I thought in the passing game they allowed Keith the time to make those throws down field. All in all I think the run game was tremendous. I said this earlier in the week, we do quite a bit of our running behind the tight end position, whether it’s two-tight sets with Perkins and Austin or with just Austin, and a lot of our runs tonight were to the perimeter of those spots, so I don’t think sometimes those guys get enough credit. We always talk a lot about the o-line, but I don’t think our tight ends get enough credit there as well.”
(No Josh Shirley tonight?) “He had a calf strain.”
(Bishop Sankey?) “He is what he is. I was kicking myself after last week’s game that he only had 13 carries, that we didn’t give him enough opportunities, because when he gets his opportunities he’s so consistent that when the defense is wrong, he makes them pay. That was obviously evident tonight.”
(Multiple punt returners?) “Marvin’s (Hall) been doing a really good job back there of getting opportunities. We just felt like (John) Ross, we knew we were going to get some kick returns with him, and we’re still working with him on fielding some of the shorter punts and having the confidence to go get it. I know he’s capable of it, but it’s different when there’s 11 guys running down trying to come hit you. Marvin was really effective in the punt return game. I think Ross is really coming in the kick return game. Obviously he had the touchdown called back. He’s close. And he’s getting more and more comfortable. What’s happening in our return game now is what I thought it could be in training camp. So we’re excited about where we’re headed here in the final portion of the season from a return game standpoint.”
(Travis Coons handling kickoffs going forward?) “I think that’s probably going to occur. We have to get Cameron Van Winkle healthy, first of all. He wasn’t even available to us. But Travis is doing a great job. He mis-hit a couple kickoffs. The one probably appeared to look like almost a pop-over but was really intended to be deep. All in all he’s striking the ball well. His field goals he’s just tremendous, knock on wood, he hasn’t missed yet, the guy has just been money. In the punt game, I don’t know how many guys he’s pinned inside the 20, he just continues to do it.”