Huskies Insider Blog

Polk gone? Quarterback job? Sarkisian opens up - sort of

Very few definitives came out of UW football coach Steve Sarkisian's end-of-the-season teleconference late this morning with reporters from the road in Southern California.

As expected, Sarkisian considers the starting quarterback position between Keith Price and Nick Montana up for grabs heading into spring camp.

Price played in eight games, including a start at No. 1 Oregon, this season while Montana - the son of NFL Hall-of-Famer Joe Montana - redshirted in his first season.

"I think we’ve got two young players with very bright futures in Keith Price and Nick Montana. They’ve both made great strides in their time here. They’ve got a real feel for the game. Football comes natural to them. (The have) very high football IQs," Sarkisian said. "So it’s going to be exciting to watch them as we prepare for spring practice, then lead into spring practice to watch them compete and get better and push each other and ultimately … (lead) our football team in the direction that we head as a football team."

Other areas Sarkisian touched on Wednesday:

* Despite rumors that running back Chris Polk, who just completed his sophomore season, might be seriously considering a jump to the NFL, Sarkisian said none of his talented underclassmen (which also includes receiver Jermaine Kearse) has indicated they were leaving the team.

"The reality of it is we’ve got some good juniors coming back on this team that would be seniors. So until something changes, they are all on our team," Sarkisian said. "Again, I don’t anticipate any of them leaving, but things could change here in a week or so’s time."

* With the flurry of job openings around the country, Sarkisian said he has not doing anything purposely about eliminating his name from consideration, and reaffirmed his satisifation with his current employer.

"I love my job; it’s a great job," Sarkisian said. "I love working for (athletic director) Scott Woodward. The University of Washington is pretty special to me. I’m proud to be a Husky. So I haven’t really concerned myself with it at all."

* Staff changes are not imminent, either in assistants leaving or a change in job description.

"We’re hopeful that we stay intact, and I haven’t heard of anything that wouldn’t make me not think that would happen," Sarkisian said.

* The second-year UW coach did identify a couple of personnel groupings of concern heading into the offseason.

One is tight end. Marlion Barnett and Marek Domanski are expected to return, and Gig Harbor High's Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a 2011 recruit, is slated to enroll at the UW this spring.

"(It) is an area one where we can really improve in – not only with the current players on our roster, but as a focus in recruiting, because it’s an aspect of our offense that we’re accustomed to using not only in the pass game but in the run game," Sarkisian said. "So it’s going to be a point of emphasis for us to get back to being a part of who we are as an offensive football team."

The other one is at linebacker. Mason Foster and Victor Aiyewa are graduating, leaving Cort Dennison as the only returning starter. Touted prospects John Timu and Thomas Tutogi have enrolled at the UW this semester:

"I don't want to call it concern because I think we've got a lot of good, young football players at those positions, but it's going to be interesting to watch as they grow as a (linebacker) unit," Sarkisian said. "We've obviously got tremendous leadership with Cort Dennison in the middle. But we are going to need some guys to really step up here to play those two edge spots for us at the linebacker position. I think we've got a lot of great candidates there, but only time will tell as we go through the off-season and head into spring ball as to who those guys might be. But we've got a lot of good candidates."

* On some current injuries, running back Deontae Cooper (knee) is right on schedule with his rehabilitation and should be fine heading into the regular season. Cornerback Quinton Richardson (hamstring) and offensive lineman Erik Kohler (leg) came out of the Holiday Bowl with ailments. In fact, Kohler had a small infection that required surgery to "cut out."

* Lots of buzz that graduated quarterback Jake Locker, or Sarkisian might be on hand to raise the "12th Man" flag at the Seahawks playoff game Saturday against New Orleans.

Sarkisian was coy when asked about it: "I don't know that yet. Going to have to ask the Seahawks, I guess."

* About the upcoming class of recruits, which sign letters of intent Feb. 2, Sarkisian noted the Huskies will have a "full class" without specifying how many.