Huskies Insider Blog

Transcript of Steve Sarkisian on the Pac 12 conference call

What is unique about Utah's defense?

I don’t know if it’s necessarily unique, but I think it is a great trait that all great defenses have - they play hard. They play with amazing effort. They fly to the football.  In turn, that's why they create so many turnovers. Obviously you can tell they teach tackling the football, the punch-outs, the swipes at the ball and all those things. The thing that jumps out at you is how hard they play. And that’s a great trait to have in a football team.

On Keith Price and extending plays, scrambling and keeping the play alive. Is it innate, is it taught.

I’d like to say, yeah, we taught it all to him. I think the reality of it is, this guy has that unique quality to his game.  I don’t think all of the sudden it just came to him. I think its been that way for him since grade school and into high school and then into college. I think it’s also a tribute to our quarterback coach and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier to work with Keith and making good decision on when to extend plays and when to throw the ball away. There’s a fine line in there. And I think Keith is still learning, but he's obviously made a few plays for us early in this season.On Cort Dennison

He’s a tremendous leader for this football team. He’s a guy that’s played a lot of football for us now in three years. He’s tough-minded, physically tough. He probably knows our defense better than - I know all the players, if not a few of the coaches. He’s just a very bright kid. He brings a real tough mentality to our group.On the QB's in the Pac 12 overallThey are unbelievable right now.  You get the conference stats and just look at the pass efficiency numbers that are going on in this conference, the touchdown passes, the completion percentages, the yards -  it’s what was the Pac-8, the Pac-10 and now the Pac 12 has been known for and that’s the quarterback play and I think it’s holding true again this year.

What’s it a product of – the way teams are playing, the QBs themselves …

There's really good coaches in this conference. Guys recruit talent around quarterbacks, they recruit talented quarterbacks and they have schemes and they know how to attack. I think it’s all of that coming together and ultimately guys playing well at that position.

On Utah’s bye week affecting game planning

I think everybody's different in that aspect. I think there’s something to be said about having a rhythm and playing week in and week out, especially at the beginning of the year. But for some people, it gives you an opportunity to extend your preparation a little bit and they can deem that helpful. I guess everybody is different in that sense so I guess we’ll see Saturday.

On closing practices and disclosing injuries, is there a competitive advantage?

I don’t know. Quite honestly, we closed a couple right before the season, and there’s some potential for us to close some more as the season wears on.  I think there is some reason to do that, competitively sure. At the end of every one of our practices, the first thing that is reported is who practiced and who didn’t, and who was on crutches and who was in a brace and all of that. If there is some advantage to keeping that information from your opponent, I’m sure there is a definite reason to close practice.

So you don't discuss injuries?

No, I do. And I’m still going back and forth on whether it’s the right thing to do or not.  I think that for a lot of reasons, it’s the right thing to do not to discuss them. On other fronts, with some other guys, Hau’oli Jamora is out of the year and that’s not a secret. We do disclose that stuff. It is one of the hardest things in college athletics right now, but you want to stay connected to your fans. But also when you are game planning and doing different things, you would like keep to some things private and not put them out there.

What do you think about adapting NFL injury guidelines

I don't know. Just tell me the rules, and I'll play by them.

On the pass efficiency rating , what’s a good number?

Sometimes we can get caught up in a quarterback’s rating and that determines if he's playing really good football. Sometimes a guy can have a good rating and still lose the ball game. Ultimately, the stats that matters the most is are you winning and that mean’s you are taking care of the football. But I would think in general, when a guy is over 140 and up, to me that’s pretty consistent and by the end of the year he’s playing pretty good football for you.   .

On seven Pac-12 QB's in the top-40 nationally

I think there is really good coaches in the conferences. These come from great schemes and different backgrounds.  They recruit really well.  They go find good players and they find good quarterbacks.  You put all that together and they know how to scheme and call plays, at the end of the day, quarterbacks are going to play well. That’s been going on for years in this conference.

On his relationship with Norm Chow

I was fortunate enough to play for Norm at BYU, and we had a great run and lot of tremendous wins together. And then to go on work with him at USC, I learned a great deal.  Now it's been so many years and we’ve faced each other before, I don’t feel like this is some monumental moment that I need to be concerned about. It’s about Utah versus Washington and that game and what it means in our conference.

On who might have an advantage?

Quite honestly, I call the offensive plays and Norm calls the offensive plays for them, so it’s not necessarily us scheming each other. I think we’ve both changed some.  Norm has obviously incorporated what he was able to do at UCLA last year with the pistol offense and different things. And we’ve changed. You have to continually change to fit your personnel and personality of your team. We’ve been apart now for some years, and I think we’ve both changed.