UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – For the first time in his tenure as coach of the Washington Huskies, Steve Sarkisian was able to bring two players to the Pacific-12 Conference media day whom he recruited, signed and nurtured.
Sarkisian proudly talked about junior quarterback Keith Price and senior cornerback Desmond Trufant as signs of where the program is going.
“I think it speaks volumes to where we’re headed,” Sarkisian said. “This is a team that has a great culture about themselves … not only what we’re doing on the field but off the field in the classroom.”
In his first few seasons at Montlake, Sarkisian often dreamed of a time when his team would be filled with players he recruited.
With the exception of five players – Drew Schaefer, Jonathan Amosa, Adam Long, Cody Bruns and Justin Glenn – everyone on the team this year was recruited by Sarkisian.
“It sets the stage of what we talked about when I got hired four years ago,” he said. “Four years later, that culture is in place. … These are our guys. They give us everything they have every day.”
Still, Sarkisian admits the Huskies are not a team without question marks.
Perhaps the most pressing is on the offensive line where he could likely start two offensive tackles who have never started a game.
“The questions are obvious,” Sarkisian said. “When you think you return four starters, you lose one to a medical hardship in (Colin) Porter and you’re down to three and one of them is coming off a knee injury, you have concerns.”
Sarkisian said that starting guard Colin Tanigawa, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last year, should be ready to go after offseason surgery.
Sarkisian said he will also mix and match offensive linemen during fall camp.
“We will do it time and again to get the best five guys to be successful on the field … so that we have the best continuity as we continue to move forward,” Sarkisian said.
Ideally, he’d like to have it figured out sooner rather than later.
“I hope so,” he said.
Sarkisian expects all of his players to be ready to participate when fall camp kicks off on Aug. 6.
Along with Tanigawa, defensive end Hau’oli Jamora, wide receiver Kevin Smith and tailback Deontae Cooper are coming back from knee injuries.
“They all look great, really,” Sarkisian said. “Theoretically they will all be cleared to do something to some degree.”
With Cooper’s knee healthy after a second surgery, Sarkisian knows the next step is the healing of Cooper’s psyche.
“There’s the mental aspect of it, too,” Sarkisian said. “(The player says:) ‘Now I have to get to playing the style of football that I am capable of.’
“I don’t think there is any one guy on the team (that) the teammates, the coaches, the administration is pulling for (more) than that guy,” Sarkisian said.
Sarkisian confirmed the decision to move running back Antavius Sims to wide receiver. He also plans to use Sims as a part of the return game. … Incoming freshmen DeWayne Washington, a wide receiver, and Cory Littleton, a linebacker, have been accepted into the university but still have to be cleared by the NCAA. … Sarkisian said that incoming freshmen Cyler Miles and Jeff Lindquist will both compete with redshirt Derrick Brown for the backup quarterback spot behind Keith Price. … Sarkisian said heralded safety recruit Shaq Thompson, who spent the summer playing minor league baseball, will be on campus Friday and ready to begin firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8483 blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @RyanDivish