Steve Sarkisian met with reporters for the final time this week before Washington plays Washington State on Friday.
He said Keith Price “had a good practice today,” but that he’ll have to see how he responds tomorrow before making a determination on his playing status.
Sarkisian said it’s possible that decision might not be made until Friday, “because he could sleep on it wrong or something, quite honestly, Thursday night. That part is the challenge with this one. It’s not like a bruised shin or something where he’s just going to lay down and be fine. We’re going to monitor him.”
“The beauty of it is, Cyler’s practicing really well. He’s getting a lot of reps, so from a game-plan standpoint I think he’s got a really good understanding of it. I feel good about either one of them. When the ball kicks off and we take the field on offense I’ll feel really good about either one of those guys going out and executing for us.”
Here’s the rest of what he said …
(Same energy as last week, and maybe have to watch for the team being too hyped up?) “I think that’s such a fine line. In a game like this there’s a lot of emotion. Emotion’s great, but emotion can sway in both directions. The key for us, and we talked about this as a team today, I know they are fired up. They are excited. I could tell by the way they practiced today and by the way they greeted the seniors as they exited the field today. You get that energy when you prepare really well, when you execute well, when you’re disciplined. And then that energy is natural, it’s there for you. It’s not false.
“This was a really good week of practice. Monday was hard on a short week and I think everybody was a little tired. We were a little sluggish Monday, it wasn’t the best practice but we got the game plan installed. We were a little better yesterday and had a little more juice to us, a little better execution. And I thought today they were fantastic. I praised the for it. I thought they were awesome today in practice. I thought they were efficient, execution was high in all three phases. Their energy was awesome. They earned the energy by doing things right. I’m excited for them. I think they are going to come out with tremendous energy; I think we’re going to play good football. Then we’ll find out if that’s good enough to win. That’s the part that’s the unknown.”
(Emotional with the senior class? Not a big class) “Sure. There’s a couple other guys who are graduating as well and we’ll release that to you guys later today. For those guys, and I just got done meeting with them individually after I met with the team…they should be proud of the investment that they’ve made in this program. From when they got here to where the program is today, it’s better than when they got here. It’s through the hard work that they’ve put in, not only on the football field but in school. All those guys are graduating from the University of Washington, which is a tremendous accomplishment. I think they are going to go on in life and do great things and represent this university extremely well. They should be proud.
“For our team, we owe it to those guys to give a great lasting memory and experience in Husky Stadium Friday at 12:30. That’s the goal.”
(Seems hard to fathom a scenario where Keith Price isn’t playing in this game) “I thought he had a good practice today. Both those guys had really good practices today, quite honestly. And they are part of it; when the quarterbacks are throwing the ball and are accurate and the timing’s there and all that – that makes practice feel good too. I thought they both practiced well; we’ll see how Keith responds tomorrow. That’s always one of the keys to the thing with him, how he bounces back tomorrow. But I thought he looked really good today.”
(On Marques Tuiasosopo) “Marques has been great. He’s so competitive. And we all saw it when he played and what he put on the field. He’s the same as a coach, he’s the same in recruiting and he’s the same in that quarterback room with those guys. He’s so competitive. He wants them to be the best — not good, not great, he wants them to be the best. And he challenges them that way. It’s not always the most fun room or, hey, pat you on the back all the time. He’s hard on ‘em. He holds them accountable. And I think every guy in that room has improved, from Keith (Price) to Troy Williams and Jeff (Lindquist) and Cyler (Miles) in between. Marques has been great, and I think we’ll continue to se the benefit of having him on our staff as we continue to move forward.”
(Your relationship with Tui … seems like a good relationship) ”We do. You know, I coached Tui (in Oakland), so he knows how I coach; he knows what I’m looking for. A lot of times I don’t even need to say what I’m thinking; he already has an idea. And then on game day I think it’s really helpful that he’s on the sideline with me. There’s a lot of times when the play maybe didn’t go the way I wanted it to go and Marques can go grab that quarterback. I don’t have to spend that time with Keith or Cyler right when they come off. I can focus on the defense or special teams. And also on a positive note, when we’re making adjustments on offense in between series when the defense is on the field, I can entrust Tui to be with the quarterback and receivers and get those adjustments made and I can remain focused on the field. So it’s been great for me.”
(Did you see a coach in Tui when you had him in Oakland) I did. I thought Marques, first of all, when you come into the league and you’re a young quarterback under Jon Gruden, that’s a real challenge. Jon’s going to challenge you to know the offense — not just the quarterback play, but the receivers, the offensive, the details, the play-calls, the audibles. And then (Tui) had a great mentor in Rich Gannon — nobody prepared better than Rich Gannon as a quarterback that I’ve ever been around. And I think that was a great mentor for Marques in how detail-oriented the quarterback position is, and how it’s 90 percent of what’s going on between your ears, as much as the 10 percent physical to go actually make the play. Rich is a fierce competitor in his own right, so I think he gave Marques a really good foundation of what the position is really about at a high level. So Marques got two really good guys to start out his career with in Jon and Rich, and he’s continued to build from there.”
(How did stint in Oakland help you?) “It was tremendous for me. Norv Turner I have unbelievable respect for and he hired a young, punk quarterback coach at 29 years old to go coach the NFL MVP, who at the time was 39 years old in Rich Gannon, and gave me a great deal of responsibility. I learned a lot about the intricacies of the passing game. I learned a great deal about protections and what goes on up front. I was fortunate our offensive line coach at the time was Aaron Kromer who is just in my opinion, if not the best, one of the best o-line coaches in the NFL. We had a really good relationship and so I was just beding his ear the whole time and I wanted to know it all. I think that was a huge stepping stone for me in my career of taking my coaching to another level, of really understanding the nuances of offensive football and how it meshed with defense and then the details that were needed in preparation to make that happen.”
(Mackey finalist Austin Seferian-Jenkins more well-rounded this year?) “Much more well-rounded. It’s not about the numbers, per se. Our offensive numbers are light years ahead of where they were a year ago, and we’re a better offensive football than where we were a year ago. That wouldn’t be the case if Austin hadn’t improved at the tight end position the way he has. He’s still a great weapon for us in the red zone. He’s still excellent on third down. He’s still a tremendous mismatch when we split him out and he gets on corners 1 on 1. But what he’s done blocking in the run game and in pass protection, he’s just light years ahead of where he was a year ago. I think that’s part of the reason why our offense is so much better.”
(What are you thankful for?) “I’m always thankful for my family. They’re awesome. Their support is amazing. My wife and three kids, they’re there thick or thin, my wife makes it a point, whenever we lose she comes to my press conference to make sure I’m doing OK right after the games. I’m also thankful for this group of guys and these coaches and the University of Washington, Scott Woodward. These years and every year, it’s never easy. It’s always going to be tough. There’s always going to be adversity, and when you’re surrounded by good people, people that are willing to go to work every single day and try to improve and get better and do it with a positive attitude, I think it makes life enjoyable, and mine definitely is.”
(Meal and practice tomorrow?) “We’ll have a team meal at 1 o’clock. We’ll have our Thanksgiving meal at 1 o’clock, then we’ll start meetings at 2:45 and practice at 4.”