USC AT WASHINGTON, 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Ch. 4
• Game Day: Scouting the Trojans
• UW Insider: The Huskies blog
By late Saturday afternoon, all of Steve Sarkisian’s energy had been zapped. He made good on his promise, at least for one afternoon, in making Washington a winner again.
He went home, turned on the television and watched his old team – Southern California – do battle against Ohio State in a matchup of top-10 powers. Suddenly, different emotions flooded him. He perked up every time the Trojans did something good. His body twitched nervously when Ohio State countered.
On their final drive, the Trojans pulled out a victory. Sarkisian was elated – and spent – again.
“No doubt, I spent seven great years of my life there, with tremendous moments – special moments – not just with those coaches, but those kids. I know how hard they worked to get to that point,” Sarkisian said. “To say I wasn’t feeling emotion in that game would be wrong. I definitely was.”
Only two games into his tenure as head coach of the Huskies, Sarkisian will oppose the team he served as an assistant for seven seasons under coach Pete Carroll. Third-ranked USC will visit Husky Stadium at 12:30 p.m. Saturday for the teams’ Pacific-10 Conference opener.
The Trojans are still in Sarkisian’s blood. But as he acknowledged Monday at his weekly press conference, the time has come to move on. He’s at Washington now.
“I think our biggest fear is we put too much into this game – we try and build this thing up to be (more) than it is,” Sarkisian said. “This is a Pac-10 football game, and at the end of Saturday, come 4 o’clock – whether it’s a ‘W’ or an ‘L’ –it’s all the same as if it was against Stanford, or UCLA or Cal.”
A thousand miles to the south, in Los Angeles, Carroll was also asked about the reunion Saturday. He appeared more energized by it than Sarkisian.
The dean of Pac-10 coaches, he finally gets to do something he’s never done before – coach against one of his former assistants.
“So far, in two weeks’ time, he’s shown a ton of stuff that we did (at USC). I think the things they’re tweaking are because of their personnel, particularly the quarterback,” Carroll said. “Jake (Locker) is such an extraordinary player, and (Sarkisian has) done exactly the types of thing you should do with that guy, utilizing him and adding him to the offense. It makes it more dynamic than it was for us here.”
Asked if he harbors hard feelings over the departure of Sarkisian, who took defensive assistant Nick Holt with him, Carroll vehemently denied it.
“Whoever thought that doesn’t understand, when our guys come through this program, they know I’ll do everything in my power to help them get the job of their dreams,” Carroll said. “I want these guys to have whatever they want.”
It was Carroll who took a chance on a 20-something former quarterback in a career crisis in 2001, on the recommendation of Norm Chow.
Twice, when Sarkisian left for jobs at San Diego State and then the Oakland Raiders that didn’t work out, Carroll took him back at USC.
Finally, in 2005, Carroll elevated Sarkisian to offensive coordinator. He was in charge of more than just calling the offense. He was on track to become a head coach.
“During the game, we would talk all the time about situations that were coming up, things that were happening,” Carroll said. “We never had issues about anything. We were really, really connected on all that stuff. It was a very, very good relationship.”
And, in December, the Huskies came calling. And this time, Carroll knew he would let go for good.
“We all knew the potential, the dynamics of that job,” Carroll said. “It’s a great place to coach, great place to work, great fans and all of that.
“When that opportunity came about, knowing Sark would still be able to feature recruiting in (Los Angeles) where he’s so well-known … “(I knew) this could be an ideal situation for him.
“Now you guys know him and know how effective he’s going to be, and what a great leader he can be in that program.”
Cornerback David Batts, who was mysteriously out of uniform but cheering from the sideline during the UW’s victory over Idaho on Saturday, was dismissed from the team Monday for an unspecificed team violation. Sarkisian said the No. 25 jersey he was wearing, honoring the late Curtis Williams, will not be reissued to another player. ... Defensive end Darrion Jones (ankle, knee) and defensive tackle De’Shon Matthews (knee) did not practice, and are questionable for Saturday. Safety Jason Wells (Achilles’) did return to the team’s indoor practice Monday.
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442
HUSKIES OPPONENT THIS WEEKNo. 3 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (2-0 overall, 0-0 Pacific-10 Conference)
12:30 p.m. Saturday, Husky Stadium, Ch. 4, 950-AM
Coach: Pete Carroll (90-15), ninth season. He wins 85.7 percent of his games, best of any active Division I coach with at least five years of tenure. His 88 wins in eight seasons tied Marshall’s Bob Pruett (1996-2003) for most since 1900.
Last season: 12-1 overall, 8-1 in the Pac-10. Beat Penn State, 38-24, in the Rose Bowl.
Against the Huskies: USC leads, 49-26-4. The Trojans have won the past seven games, including a 56-0 victory last season in Los Angeles. Their last trip to Husky Stadium resulted in a 27-24 win in 2007.
Washington connections: Safety Taylor Mays, an O’Dea graduate, is on six preseason award watch lists. … Huskies first-year coach Steve Sarkisian spent seven seasons as a USC offensive assistant, and defensive coordinator Nick Holt spent six seasons with the Trojans.
Scouting report: After a run of seven consecutive Pac-10 titles, is this the most vulnerable Trojans team since Carroll’s first season at USC? They start a true freshman at quarterback in Matt Barkley, who looked poised in leading the Trojans on a late drive for the winning TD at Ohio State. Running back Joe McKnight, now healthy, is finally living up to his billing as the nation’s most versatile back when he was the No. 1 high school recruit in 2007. And even though USC’s entire starting linebacking corps graduated to the NFL last spring, Chris Galippo continues the Trojans’ strong tradition. He is a Butkus Award nominee as a junior, and a reliable force in front of Mays, the All-American.
Did you know? In 1972, Carroll began his senior season at Pacific with a 13-6 loss at Washington. He started at safety, and made eight tackles against the No. 9 Huskies.
Matt Barkley 50 attempts, 30 completions, 60.0 percent, 428, 1 td, 1 int
Aaron Corp 4-4-100-45-1-0
Joe McKnight 30 attempts, 205 yards, 6.8 average, 2 tds
Stafon Johnson 17-77-4.5-4
Marc Tyler 5-72-14.4-1
Allen Bradford 6-57-9.5-1
Damian Williams 8 receptions, 118 yards 14.8 average, 0 tds
Anthony McCoy 5-109-21.8-0
David Ausberry 5-65-13.0-0
Stanley Havili 5-50-10.0-0
Billy O’Malley 11 punts, 36.0 average
Jordan Congdon 2 attempts, 1 made, 21 longest
Todd Milles, The News Tribune
Sept. 5 W, 56-3, vs. San Jose St.
Sept. 12 W, 18-15, at Ohio State
Saturday at Washington
Sept. 26 vs. Washington State
Oct. 3 at California
Oct. 17 at Notre Dame
Oct. 24 vs. Oregon State
Oct. 31 at Oregon
Nov. 7 at Arizona State
Nov. 14 vs. Stanford
Nov. 28 vs. UCLA
Dec. 5 vs. Arizona