People may have forgotten, but, if the circumstances had been a little different. Washington Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian might have been the coach of the San Diego State Aztecs instead.
After a few seasons as an unpaid graduate assistant at USC, Sarkisian accepted a paid assistant position coaching quarterbacks with the Aztecs under then-coach Tom Craft in 2002.
“I know what my office looked like – I was sleeping there most of the time, hadn’t even moved down there yet” Sarkisian said.
Sarkisian never moved to San Diego.
After Sarkisian was on the job about six weeks, then-USC coach Pete Carrroll hired him back as quarterbacks coach.
The rest is history. Sarkisian climbed through the ranks at USC to become offensive coordinator and, buoyed by the Trojans’ success, he was hired by Washington after Tyrone Willingham was fired in 2008.
Who knows what might have happened had Sarkisian decided to stay in San Diego or Carroll couldn’t come up with a position for him.
“It’s a place … I’ve always thought could be really good,’ he said. “Growing up in Southern California and being down there, to get those kids to stay home and to go to that school and live in that city – it’s a great place to go.”
Under coach Brady Hoke, who is now in charge at Michigan, the Aztecs ended a 12-year bowl drought, earning a spot in the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl. Last season, first-year coach Rocky Long led San Diego State to the New Orleans Bowl.
“I always thought they could be pretty good and Rocky has done a tremendous job here kind of picking up right where Brady left off,” Sarkisian said. “They’ve done a nice job and they’ve got that thing going in the right direction for sure.”
Special teams performances Saturday night could be interesting. Both teams will debut kickers and punters without any college experience.
Junior college kicker Travis Coons has been solid in practice and true freshman Korey Durkee, from Gig Harbor, has had some booming punts for the Huskies.
SDSU’s depth chart Tuesday listed Seamus McMorrow on kickoffs, Joel Alesi as punter and Chance Marden as kicker. Long said that could change.
“Because the kickers are so inconsistent,” Long said. “Depending on the day, a different one has a good day or depending on the day, a different one has a bad day, one or the other. We have to know before we get on the plane because we have a limited number of players we can take. So we have to know by Friday and it might take all the way to Friday to decide who we are going to have kick for us and who is going to punt for us.”
Defensive end Hau’oli Jamora and running back Deontae Cooper underwent knee surgeries Thursday. Jamora’s surgery was supposed to be an arthroscopic procedure to repair the meniscus. Cooper was having surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He suffered ACL tears in the left knee the previous two seasons. … Because of limited locker room space at CenturyLink Field, Sarkisian said only 80 of the 105 players on the roster will suit up for the game against the Aztecs.email@example.com 253-597-8483 blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @RyanDivish