Huskies Insider Blog

Full transcript and audio of Steve Sarkisian's signing day press conference

Here's a few minutes of video

Finally got the full audio of the press conference downloaded, and the videos are also coming along.



Well, I think recruiting, just in general, has taken on a little bit of a shape of its own here in the landscape of college football. It’s changed, obviously, quite a bit. And we’re seeing that more and more now with what’s going on with social media, the recruits’ ability to tweet and Facebook and all the stuff that’s out there now. We’re coming to find out that, this thing, you’ve really got to have the ability to finish when it comes to recruiting. With all of the things that happened to us this past month, with staff changes and hiring guys and getting guys into place, our staff’s ability here this past week, and probably most notably here this last 48 hours or so, to close and to finish the way that we did, I couldn’t be more proud of the staff, for the efforts that they put into this and the efforts that it took, from not just the coaches but from everybody involved to make this happen.

When I look at this class, it’s a very complete class. I think it assesses a lot of our needs but yet brings in some very talented kids that aren’t just about filling a need, that are going to have some special qualities that will elevate our football team that make us better. It is also a complete class, when you look from the quarterback situation to running back to wide receiver, o-line, d-line, linebackers, defensive backs as well as specialists. I think it’s extremely complete. We cover a lot of bases. And at the end of the day, we’re better for it, and not just from a physical standpoint but a mental standpoint. These are good kids, they’re good students, they’ve got a competitive nature, they come from good programs, they’re used to winning. And ultimately, I think will continue to push us in a direction to where I think we’re headed, a championship-level football program. As we all know, I’m the first to let that know, sooner rather than later. We can get into specifics. I’ll touch on each player and each position group as we go. Couldn’t be more excited. Again, in a perfect world, you sign every kid you want and you get every kid you want. But the reality of it is, recruiting is recruiting, and kids make decisions that are best for them, or at least in their own eyes. And I can’t fault any kid for that. I believe every kid in the country, the best place for them is the University of Washington. They don’t always believe me. But the reality of it is you try to identify the kids that fit your personality as a football team, from a skill set. Some of them accept it, some of them move on and do other things. The reality of it is, you have to try to assess and then ultimately put the pieces together so your football team can get better because of your recruiting class. I think we did that in this class.

On the O-line …

(Shane Brostek) This has been a three-year project with this first kid, and obviously his father playing here and the great history and tradition of playing here. Getting Shane Brostek was a big get for us. From Hawaii, Hawaii Prep high school, same high school as Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. Tremendous kid. Tremendous work ethic. I think from a physical and mental standpoint, can come in and contribute early. Physically, Bern has worked him extremely well in the weight room. He’s prepared  himself mentally for this. And so we’re excited about Shane. He’s a guy that’s more than likely going to be an inside guy, a guard-tackle type.

(Nathan Dean) A kid who played down in the Marine All-Star game. Tremendous kid. Tremendous work ethic. A kid we had in camp. He’s got the right mindset. He’s physical. He’s got that nasty streak to him. A guy that I think we can anticipate being a tackle for us at some point, whether it’s right or left tackle, but a guy I think will definitely help us. Is the right type of body type to help us with the frame, 6-5.

(Jake Eldrenkamp) We all know what Butch has done at Bellevue for years and years, and Jake’s been a big part of that, with the championship runs they’ve been on. A kid that possesses a great deal of athleticism. Played offense and defensive line for  Bellevue. And I thought what was cool about Jake is you look at the best games he played were against his best opponents, his toughest opponents. You look at the Oaks Christian game, you go back to some of the playoff games, you look at O’Dea, you look at Lakes. Those were his best games, and that made it very clear to me that this guy belonged at the University of Washington. Tackle-type body, but also has the athleticism to play inside at the center spot. Really fired up about Jake.

(Cory English) Comes from Auburn High. Former teammate of Danny Shelton, now future teammate of Danny Shelton. What I like about Cory is the versatility, the strength for a high school kid. More than likely an inside guy, but has that nasty streak that you like, that physicality that you like.

(Taylor Hindy) Probably the sleeper of the group, which I’m glad we made it this far with this kid being here. This kid Taylor Hindy, from Chaminade High School in California, who his high school coach I have a great deal of respect for, who we had in camp. Kind of tried to let him fly under the radar as best we could, and we were able to do that. He was committed to another school here at the end but we made it work here at the very end. We knew we wanted to take him for a few weeks now and was able to make it work here at the end.

(O-line) What I like about this group of offensive linemen, I think they possess the mentality that you need to be a really tough, physical, tough-minded, and then a little bit of a nasty streak in them that it takes to win in this conference. The versatility’s there. You’re looking at a couple tackles, a couple inside guys, a couple potential centers, which is key. So the versatility is there.

Wide receivers

(Kendyl Taylor) A fantastic player. Very versatile kid. Comes from a program that’s used to winning, Hamilton High. A kid that does the WR stuff, runs all the routes but has the ability to do the bubble screens, the fly sweeps, even lines up at tailback. Just a tremendous kid. Great kid, great parents, love him to death.

(Dwayne Washington) Another kid who has a lot of versatility. Look at what Dwayne Washington has done. A former teammate of Josh Perkins, who is on our roster. A big-play guy. A very physical guy. 6-1, 205, gonna get bigger. Love what he brings to the table. He’s had a tremendous career there at Gahr. We’re expecting big things out of him.

(Jaydon Mickens) Obviously it came down to the wire here last night. Electric player. One of the keys for us at this wideout position was to get faster. We obviously did with Jaydon, a kid who played wide receiver, quarterback, some running back. The versatility with him. But ultimately the ability to stretch the field with Jaydon is huge.

(WR position) And then the guy that we signed last year who’s on campus now, I like to throw into this group Marvin Hall. So  the speed factor at the wide receiver position I think has definitely increased for us, which is key.

Running back

(Erich Wilson II) A kid who we’ve earmarked for quite some time now and shocked he’s kind of flown under the radar by the experts’ opinion, Erich Wilson. Fantastic player out of Serra High School here in the Bay Area. East Palo Alto kid, tremendous, tremendous senior season, tremendous career. You look at the records he broke at Serra High School, and some of the names of the records he broke, from Lynn Swann, most notably. Just a tremendous player. I think he’s really going to step in and help us in a  lot of different factors, maybe not just on offense but on special teams as well.

(Psalm Wooching) A kid that, as we continue to look at our offense and expand our offense and do more with our offense, that versatility at that fullback/H-back spot for us, it’s critical. And this is a guy who can run the football, he catches the football very well, he can line up all over the field. He’s got a very tough mentality about him. He’s not afraid to put his face in there and block and do those types of things. So Psalm Wooching, I think, will really have an instant impact in our offense, an added dimension we haven’t had here for a couple of years.


(Jeff Lindquist) Obviously, a homegrown talent here in Jeff Lindquist. I went to his game this year, I think it was a Thursday night game, and I called one of our coaches here after two drives and I said: ‘He’s a pro.’ And that’s really what I think of him. He’s a tremendous kid. He’s got all the physical tools at 6-3, 230 pounds. The arm strength, the smarts to do what he can do. It’s just going to be a matter of transitioning that to college football. Love what he brings to the table. Just what a special person he is. He’s a great human being. Love everything about him.

On the defensive line we’ll start right on top, Kalei Auelua a kid from St. Louis high the tradition there at St. Louis, a kid that had a tremendous senior season, we had him in camp, he’s a great pass rusher. Not the biggest of guys but resembles Hauoli Jamora type. Great work either, real technician when it comes to using his hands and rushing the passer. Had just about 17 sacks his senior season at St. Louis. He’s a kid who suffered an injury late in his senior season so he potentially could be a grayshirt. We’ll see.

Josh Banks is a junior college defensive tackle, three technique which in my opinion is a need for us. A guy who can come in and fill an immediate need from a pass rushing standpoint at the three technique is big. Great first step, good hands, a guy we’re expecting to have an immediate impact as well.

Damion Turpin is kind of a tweener. Could play a defensive end/inside guy from Dominguez high school a program we respect so much. His recruiting kind of opened back up and we got in on him. We’re looking for him to develop into a solid defensive lineman for us.

Pio Vatuvei, kind of knocked him into the boat at 12:30 last night. Great relationship with the kid. I thought Coach Nansen, coach Lupoi did a tremendous job with Pio and his parents and getting them to the point where he really believed this is the best place for him. Anytime you can go into California and get a defensive lineman when that big school down there is on him, that’s a feather in our cap about getting Pio on board. He’s a special talent, 6-3, 270 pounds coming out of high school as a defensive end is a real type of athlete that can come in and do some things right off the bat.

At the linebacker spot we really fulfilled some different needs there in almost three different spots for ourselves. You look at Cory Littleton, 6-4, 218 pounds who I believe has the frame to grow into a 230, 240 pound outside linebacker, but at 6-4 with the wing span getting us longer on the edge is big for us with Cory. Fired up about getting Cory.

Ryan McDaniel, linebacker from a great area of southern California, Torrance, California, I know a guy from there. But anyway, I don’t know how we got him. He’s a kid that played running back, linebacker, kind of a Willie- type linebacker, similar to what a Donald butler was here early in his career. A guy coming off a knee injury I think his future looks even brighter than it is right now. Again, when you can go into southern California and beat some of the teams we beat to get him up here is a big get.

Blake Rodgers, a kid out of Tesoro HS, a true inside linebacker type. Very bright, a running back gets the game sees the game from both sides, offense and defense, just three really cool linebackers there.

From a specialist standpoint, as we all know losing your punter and your kicker you have to fill some needs and fulfill those needs immediately. Went and got a JC kicker in Travis Coons, who comes from great pedigree with Chris Sayler and all he does. Tremendous leg strength, really bombs kickoffs which is key as we’re finding out in college football. NFL moved their kickoffs up, we’re still back on the 30 so you’ve got to have the leg strength, especially at Husky Stadium. Travis will have a big impact on us early.

Korey Durkee a kid out of gig harbor, joining back with Austin Seferian-Jenkins here as a teammate. Punt and kicks. Has the accuracy from a kicking standpoint to do PATs, shorter field goals but also has the punting aspect of it.

Then in the defensive backfield, an area where we absolutely nailed it. IT was  big need for us. It was something we wanted to focus our attention on and we really did. Early on in recruiting we nailed Darien Washington a kid out of orange Lutheran, a hybrid, a kid who can play corner, can play safety, plays very physical, can cover. Fills a lot of those needs for us now as we see more and more spread offenses.

Cleveland Wallace, a very versatile kid. Can play safety, play corner. Also can cover, does kickoff returns, has played on offense. A very versatile kid. Again, trying to raise our football IQ on the defensive side of the ball and I think that kid does it.

And then as everyone calls it, the big fish in all this thing, for us to get Shaq Thompson is just awesome. This kid is a tremendous football player. We all saw that, the US Army All-American game, what Shaq brings to the table, but what’s cool is everyone in this room as you get to know this guy he’s an awesome kid. He’s got tremendous work ethic, he’s an excellent leader, but he’s also 6-2, 215 pounds playing safety who can run, played tailback in high school, not afraid to put his face on anybody coming across the middle of the field which I think is important. He’s a very intimidating figure back there and couldn’t be more fired up to have Shaq as part of our program.

I’m probably stealing his thunder a little bit but he said it’s ok to do, Brandon Beaver is on board, corner out of Compton Dominguez high school. Beav is a cover corner at 6-1 about 180 pounds. When you look at those four defensive backs we absolutely nailed it in every capacity to get all four of those guys on board to go along with Antavius Sims from last year’s class who is now on campus they really fulfilled a huge need for us on that end.

I’m still not going to talk about the other quarterback that I know we signed, but I can’t, so don’t ask me about it. We’re fired up about him to as you can imagine.

How have the emotions been the last few days:

I’m tired. This recruiting has gotten to a point where we’ve had kids that we’ve had kids we’ve had committed to us for months and months and months and even at the end at the 11th hour you’re still talking to those kids every hour, on the hour. .So you can’t take anything for granted. It’s the nature of the game of the rules which we’re playing by. The same as last year, you have to recruited everybody, all of these 25 guys up until that fax comes in. that part is a bit exhausting. And you have to role with the punches. You’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some and you have to understand that kids are ultimately making decisions for what is best for them and you have to move forward. You can’t get hung up if you do you might lose the next one, the next one, the next one.

On social media:

Sure, that’s a given. Kids are able to express themselves more on twitter. Fans are able to express themselves more on blogs and voice their opinion when they use to have to voice their opinions at the water cooler at the office now they’re spreading it to the world. Sometimes those opinions can get expressed from fans that aren’t necessarily fans of your program, but act as if they are and can place a negative opinion on a kid, so in my opinion it’s an absolute mess and we have to figure it out.

Q: Staff changes and how positive were those changes for recruiting purposes?

I don’t know if they were directly recruiting related. There were some as we got into it. We assessed the staff and made the decisions we made and then had to hire a staff. It was one hiring good coaches, but then two we had to hire good recruiters. It’s not so much of what we do. We want to pound our chest on how much football we know, but if the players can’t execute it, then you don’t have the talent to execute it, then that part is a bit irrelevant. You have to have the players in place to do it. So, we went out and tried to identify some guys that I think were not just good football coaches, but were good recruiters. I think in the end, it did have a direct impact on what we were doing. It’s a credit to our new coaches that have come in to do some of the things they’ve done, but also guys that were on our staff that are still on our staff to hold this thing together until we could get some momentum here at the end to make this happen.

Q: Talk about the impact of new coaches and how different it was to have those guys on the recruiting trail?

I think it was helpful. You know, change in recruiting for whatever reason, I think perks kid’s interest level for whatever it is. You look at some of the new staffs around the country, when you can pitch something that might be a little bit new that is this is what we’re going to do type of mentality; across the country, you’re seeing that. I think that can perk interest. There is an energy level that gets revived. There are things in that nature that can help. So those guys did a tremendous job in getting to that point. Not to discount what our previous guys did. The Johnny Nansen’s, the Jimmie Dougherty’s, the Joel Thomas’, Danny Cozzeto’s of the world. What those guys did as well to make that happen. So there is a give and take in both. We were in somewhat of an awkward situation for a time when you bring in five brand new coaches and we didn’t have a full staff meeting with all of our coaches until yesterday morning. Together, one room, at the same time. So, it was a bit awkward at times. Guys were crossing paths, shaking hands, introducing themselves, but we were hitting it on the road, and quite honestly, we didn’t have an entire full staff meeting until yesterday morning, with our entire staff together. So, there was a lot of give and take that had to get done with the old staff members meshing with the new staff members.

Q: With the recruits being brought in, how does it affect the philosophy?

I don’t think so as much. I think a lot of these guys are very versatile type players. We wanted to get a little bit bigger the defensive end spot than we’ve been. That’s why Pio was so big for us. You like at a Damion Turpin, two guys that are 265-270, potential defensive ends for us. To get a little bit bigger there. And then, maybe transition ourselves into maybe a Josh Shirley type, an Andrew Hudson and even a Cory Littleton type can play more of a hybrid outside backer, defensive end type player. So that we can do a little bit more of some of the 3-4 type principle things we’ve talked about. But one of the bigger keys was in the defensive backfield. Just to get more playmaker type players back there. Not necessarily the guys that just play corner, but player running back, played receiver, did punt returns. So, to show the versatility, to increase our ball skills, to get more interceptions. So, those two areas were probably the biggest in that aspect.

Q: What does getting longer at OLB do for you?

We tried to address this last year and I think we did with the Scott Lawyer’s, the Cory Waller types. The game of football is played in space. And you need to have length to play in space; to minimize that space. And that’s the two biggest areas of concern that outside backer spot, that safety spot. To have the length to play in those positions. I think we did it last year with Travis Feeney, Scott Lawyer, those type of guys, Evan Zeger. Obviously bringing in a Shaq Thompson type; 6-foot-2 safety. The length is a big key to us and I think we addressed that. I think the length on the offensive line, you look at the heights and Shane Brostek is probably closer to 6-foot-4 than 6-foot-3. Then 6-foot-5, 6-foot-5, 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4, I think we got longer on the O-Line as well.

Q: Brostek not talking to media

I think if Shane Brostek was in the state of Washington or the state of California, he’s probably a four, arguably maybe even a five-star type recruit. He’s on Kona and his parents did a tremendous job of keeping him away from the media and that aspect. Focusing on the things that are important and that was his academics, that was his workouts, that was playing football. At the end of the day, we got a very quality individual, as well as a tremendous football player with a great work ethic.

Secondary has the potential to be one of the best in conference.

S: That’s what I hope. You throw in a senior leadership guy in Desmond Trufant and what he brings to the table coming back for his senior year. The excitement surrounding a Marcus Peters and what he did as a redshirt freshman and Travis Feeney. So there is a lot of excitement going on in that back end and I think coach Heyward, with what he’s done at Oregon State and now coming here with the talent we have in place in that secondary, we’re obviously very excited as well.

Emotions to get Shaq.

S: You know, I’ve had a very good relationship with Shaq from the beginning. When you’re recruiting a player at the same school, especially when their best friend is James Sample, there are conversations here and there, over the phone, different things that build to this. Then, obviously Shaq took an official visit to us in September, where that relationship only grew. Then I think it’s a credit to coach Lupoi and coach Heyward, since they’ve come on board, to foster that relationship. I really believe that Shaq and ours relationship started a year ago this time, or maybe even earlier quite honestly. So, there is a lot that went into it. So, for it to come all the way around full circle, for him to be on board and for us to be talking one night at 11 o’clock and for him to put a tweet out just to say hey, I’m going to the University of Washington, I think speaks volume.  He could have had all the fanfare he wanted. He could have had every media member in the Bay Area there to see his announcement, but in the subtle way he did it, I think it speaks volumes to the type of kid that he is. That he was sitting on the couch with his mom and sent a tweet out to where he was going to school.

One of the biggest recruits you’ve ever gotten?

S: We’ll find out. He’s got to produce now. We’ll see.

Ryan McDaniel enrolling early. Anyone else?

S: He’ll be the only one.

Guys being lower ranked than they should be?

S: Yeah, I would say so. Erich Wilson’s surprising to me that he’s not a higher ranked kid, for whatever reason. Probably Kendyl Taylor, quite honestly. I think he is a fantastic player. Shane Brostek I touched on. Taylor Hindy, I’m glad we were able to kind of keep him low profile that way. I don’t even think he is ranked, quite honestly, which is pretty cool. Pio, I probably think of a little higher of him than maybe other people do. And Cleveland Wallace. I think he’s a dynamite player. A guy that I know there were some other bigger schools that came in at the end and we were able to hold on to him there, which was pretty exciting.

On Beaver and how his decision came about:

"We've been close with Brandon for quite some time. We've had a good relationship with him, Coach Nansen did a tremendous job with his father and his mother and they are very good people and you know, ultimately the silent commitment is a silent commitment. You know but you never really know until  it is done and we are just excited to have Brandon as part of our football program.''

On losing the in-state guys:

"I think naturally in a sense, sure, I would loved to have gotten all of those guys. But again, the reality of it is they are doing what's best for them and they are going to tremendous places and I wish them the best of luck. They are all good kids. But we ultimately have to do what's best for us and what fits us and I think that the recruiting efforts by our staff were focused and balanced across the board and there will come a day when every kid in the state of Washington dreams and hopes of  playing for the Huskies. We're just not quite there yet and we'll get there it's just, we are not quite there yet. But there will be a day when we will have to turn some kids down, unfortunately. But the reality of it is those kids are going to tremendous places and wish them the best of luck.''

On social media and fans interacting with players on social media:

"I don't know. I really don't know exactly what to do about it, but I don't like it --- I can tell you that. I don't like it, it just kind of tastes bad to me, for whatever reason. I feel for these kids. They are trying to make a decision that is a lifelong decision and they are making this decision in the ultimate team game, which is football, where it takes 11 guys every snap collectively to do their job and they are forced into a very personal decision and one that puts themselves out there and puts us in a position where we have to try to break them, back down and put them back in that locker room. It's unfortunate in a sense but I guess in another way it's good for college football that fans have that much excitement about college football and care that much about college football. So we will try to figure it out and what is best and where to embrace it and where to try to find some limitations on that end. So it's challenging and I feel for the kids and their families for those that have to read things negatively written about them and I feel for the coaches in a sense that maybe some things are written better about a kid as a potential player than what the feeling is not exactly what it is, he's pumped up maybe more than he should be. So there are a lot of challenges that go into it and we are kind of in uncharted waters, we'll have to try to figure it out. I'm sure I will call  my old boss, President (Mark) Emmert and we'll try to figure something out because I think that it is getting to a point where it's not out of control yet but there are some factors that are and we've just got to try to figure it out.''

On if an early signing period would take care of much of that:

"I think  it would help. I've been an advocate of that here for quite some time. We have it in a lot of our others sports and football is not one of those, but I don't think an early signing period could help, and an earlier visitation period where maybe we did some spring official visits could help. Those are a lot of topics that are on the table for discussion right now.''

On Big Ten schools offering four-year guaranteed scholarships:

"It's been another topic that's been on the table for discussion. In my opinion, the way it is structured now it essentially is. The only reason a kid's scholarship isn't honored is if he doesn't hold up his end of the deal from a social or academic standpoint. If a kid is getting in trouble with the law, or a kid isn't getting it done in the classroom. It doesn't have any bearing on his athletic ability. If a kid can't play, that's our responsibility not the kid's responsibility. So if that makes people feel  better, that's fine, I'm all for it.''On staying friends with guys like Lane Kiffin and Jim Mora through all of the recruiting stuff:

"I think  one of the challenges in recruiting, especially, is it potentially can get personal. And that's unfortunate. And I think that is one of the keys that it doesn't become personal. One kid isn't going to make or break our program --- I'm a firm believer in that. And when one kid gets in between coach's personal relationships that's when problems can occur. I've been on the phone with Lane today probably four or five different times, I was on the phone with Jimmy Mora just the other night. So I will never let that happen with me and I fight for that not to happen because it's not worth it. One kid isn't going to make or break our program and I truly believe one kid isn't going to make or break another program. I just don't think it's worth it for that to happen to that magnitude. And unfortunately it does in some instances.''

On how an assistant coach can sell a program when he hasn't even been on campus yet:

"His credibility is easy. He can go into his track record and what he has done as a position coach or a coordinator or whatever he has done --- that part is easy. Conveying the power of the university and what a university of a young man, generally we will never send in a coach who is just brand new into a home by himself. There  will be another position coach in with him or myself who can represent the university in a fashion that can talk about the university and all the positives that the University of Washington brings with it.'''

Have you seen the fire dancing video of Psalm Wooching?

Is that awesome or what. We watched that on a Friday night before a game as a staff. I said to myself I gotta to have that guy. It probably took a little longer than I wanted it to. We had to make our numbers work. But that thing, I can’t wait for him to do it in Husky Stadium before a game or something cool that way.

So much was made of Tosh’s relationship with Shaq, but was it more than that to get him to Washington.

I hope it’s more than that quite honestly. I think the world of Tosh as person, a coach and a recruiter or I wouldn’t have hired him. I think the world of Shaq as a person, a player and the student that he is. Shaq’s not coming here to play for Tosh. Shaq’s coming here to play ultimately myself and for Coach Heyward and for Coach Wilcox, the defensive coordinator.  I think those relationships as much as anything is the reasoning why Shaq is here, and his teammates and the relationships he forged with our players on his official visit as well as on his unofficial visits, and ultimately having one of his best friends on our rosters in James Sample. I think there was lot of factors in making that happen.

Do you anticipate signing any more players?

I don’t know. We potentially can by guidelines. But we won’t take a guy just to take a number. If he fits the mold from a character standpoint, an academic standpoint, and ultimately an athletic standpoint then we will. But as of right now, no.

On bringing in two quarterbacks

We needed to. We needed to. Our numbers are a little scary right now, quite honestly. One, is that Keith’s offseason is big for getting his body right. We saw some of the physical things he had to deal with last year, but to get our numbers right. Quite honestly, we are light. You should have five on your roster. Right now, we will be sitting on four come the fall. They dynamic is we have to get these young guys ready to play – Derrick Brown and the young guys coming in.

How do you make it work, recruiting two highly regarded QBs in the same class?

It’s about developing them. It’s about the process of getting them prepared to play in the national football league. It’s about the process of earning a tremendous degree. And ultimately getting the overall knowledge of playing the positions. We’ve had some really good success of guys coming into together and staggering them with redshirts and not. And guys that have never even started a game and getting drafted and now being one of the highest paid players in the national football league. There’s a lot of evidence that says you can bring in two guys and both can be very successful.

How important is athleticism in recruiting quarterbacks?

I think what’s so cool about our offense is that we’ve continually adapted to the quarterback we’ve had. I think that’s what is unique to our system. We’ve had a variety of different quarterbacks from a Carson Palmer, to a Matt Leinhart, to a John David Booty, to a Mark Sanchez, to a Jake Locker, to a Keith Price now. Our system has adapted and adapted to change and fitting the quarterback to what he does well and his strengths and have the ability to not force things on him that he isn’t good at. I think that’s the beauty of our system. We are seeing with Keith Price now. Keith Price and Carson Palmer are two completely different players and both are thriving in our system. I think that’s the cool part of our system.

So would you take an elite level passing quarterback that wasn’t mobile?

Without a doubt, I think this system has been proven. Matt Leinart, and no offense Matt if you are watching, is not the most fleet of foot guy and he won a Heisman Trophy in this system. I’m attracted to really good players, really good quarterbacks that have a strong head on their shoulders, that are disciplined and dedicated to the position, that are great leaders, that are wiling to work. If they are 6-6, 240 or 6-1, 185, somewhere in there we can make this thing work. And it’s been proven.

Using Shaq in non-defense roles?

Sure we’ve talked about that. He’s a tremendous tailback in high school. There is some potential for Shaq being used on the offensive side of the ball. I don’t know if Coach Wilcox necessarily wants to hear that right now. But as the play caller, I’m kind of excited about flipping him the ball a couple time and see what happens.

Freshmen QBs vying for back-up spot

We are going to push them both to compete for that back-up job. Both That process begins tomorrow. We have to get going.  Ultimately, as we get into fall camp and the dust starts to settle and we start to play, one of them will be a little ahead of the other. I don’t know which one, honestly. As we move through fall camp, we are going to push those guys. And they are going to push Derrick Brown, and he’s going to push back. We’ll see what happens. One of those two guys could be our back-up come fall.

Decision to take a JC because Folk didn’t get his redshirt?

Us taking a kicker for sure was. If Erik would have gotten his sixth year, then we wouldn’t have taken a kicker. But Erik not getting his sixth year then we needed to take a kicker. We got a couple of kids that are going to come in and walk-on that could compete for the job. I really wanted to address our kickoff situation to get more touchbacks and get a bigger leg guy like Coons, and that’s why we did what did.