Sarkisian & Assistant Quotes - USC

While they were excited about Washington's thrilling 32-31 win, the coaches admitted there was still a lot to work on, but each said they were heartened by their players' ability to battle for the Huskies' first road win in almost three years...

Head Coach Steve Sarkisian

Opening Statement: "I feel like I just played. That was a very cool football game to be part of. We challenged our kids, two weeks ago, after the Nebraska game with their competitiveness, their ability to battle regardless of what the score looked like, and what they gave us these past two weeks in practice showed on the field obviously. We battled, we played with huge hearts and, we weren't perfect by any means – obviously a tough time stopping the run and some missed opportunities on offense – but to get a pretty good stop there in the fourth quarter to give us a chance and to make those plays and, shoot, Erik Folk he's unbelievable, what a performance by him and what a performance by number 10 (Locker), legendary. Those are games where legends are made and I couldn't be happier for a young man. You guys know me enough, when I refer to him, he's a better human being than he is a football player and I mean that and he showed us how big his heart is, that's for sure."

On Locker's health: "He was fine. He got his bell rung, but he also had the wind knocked out of him. It was a combination of the two – he couldn't breathe very well and he was a little woozy."

On the 4th-and-11 play on the final drive: "Just a guy making plays. I thought we had a chance on the 4th down on the drive before and it was a bang-bang play where we didn't get the (pass interference call) so we came back to a similar play and Jake made it happen and a great play by D'Andre (Goodwin)."

On Keith Price's touchdown pass: "That was the called play. I didn't want to put him under center because he hadn't gotten any snaps so I wanted to something out of the ‘Gun' and I just felt like we'd been running the fly-motion and we'd have a chance and Izbicki was wide open."

On his feelings: "I love this stuff. I don't get concerned; I'm not nervous; I'm not worried; I love the emotions of the game; I love how tight the game was; It's why we do what we do."

On winning at USC: "It's a wonderful experience, one I will always remember, that's for sure."

On the team's psyche: "We knew we had a good plan. Our kids didn't get frazzled at all tonight. We just played ball."

On staying in the shotgun most of the night: "We just felt like we had to against these guys. They're a big, physical front and we thought the best chance that we had was to keep it a spread out game."

On Jake's growth: "I just think he's continuing to grow as a quarterback. I don't really dwell on the stuff that didn't happen, I just know he got it done tonight, some tremendous effort running the ball and throwing the ball, so we'll take it."

On Jake's first series after in injury: "That was a big deal. We got under center and got some runs and tried to run it right at them. I wanted to see how he responded. I knew he was fine – our doctors checked him out and said he was fine, but I wanted to assess him myself on the field so that's why we got under center and ran the ball."

On Chris Polk's final drive: "An amazing effort. That last drive, he ran how he always runs, he always breaks tackles, keeps his feet moving and falls forward and really was impressive. Jesse Callier too; Devin Aguilar; guys just made plays tonight."

On the effort of the team tonight: "We grade effort first; we critique effort first and then we critique our execution and I wanted to make sure, when we graded out this ball game, that our effort was 100% and we didn't grade out that way after the Nebraska game and that was the point."

On Jake running more: "There were some things that we liked and then there was some opportunities when pass plays broke down that he got a couple of flushes and did some good things."

On Jake coming back from a bad game against Nebraska: "Quarterbacks have bad games, that's football. We wish we could all be perfect, but we're not so it's a learning process and he showed his true character tonight."

On what he told the Folk before the kick: "I just told the guys in the huddle that ‘we're going to kick off Sportscenter, let's go'."

On Folk being automatic: "He's got ice in his veins; he's unbelievable."

On the fumble: "We thought the ball went out of bounds. We didn't have a great view of it, but on a play like that it's worth it to try and challenge. I thought it was a horse-collar tackle, but they didn't think so."

On his words to the team at halftime: "Just battle. We get the ball (first), let's go battle. The one thing we came here to do was battle and if we won, we won and if we lost, we lost and we can live with it, but let's make sure we battle in the second half."

On how big this win is: "We're 2 and 2, 1 and 0 in the conference, a big ball game next week at Husky Stadium, actually the next two weeks. The road win thing, you guys make more out of this than I do. We were 0 and 1 on the road this year. We don't make a big deal out of stuff that doesn't need to be made a big deal out of, we just go play. It doesn't matter where we play or what uniform we've got on or what uniform they've got on, let's just go play."


Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt

On the USC game: "This is good for our confidence. I think our quarterback just played tremendous and I think this is going to jumpstart guys, so we need the defense to keep on getting better. We had some guys injured and hopefully we can get them back, but it's awesome to win your Pac 10 opener, no question, especially on the road. We hadn't gotten a road win in a while so now we can put that skeleton to bed and move on."

On the atmosphere in the Coliseum: "It feels kinda normal. We've had a lot of success here, but as an opposing team coming in here and being on the opposite sideline, it felt really, really weird, but it's just fantastic coming down here and winning a ball game."

On when the field goal went through for the win: "‘It would be a great plane ride back' that's what I thought."

On when Stanford came in a few years ago and beat USC: "I remember when Stanford came in here and got a big win and now look what they are doing, so we could do that, but we just have to keep battling."

On getting the stop and them missing the field goal: "It was almost like Déjà vu, the same thing happened (last year) up in Seattle and then obviously that fourth down was huge and we dropped a couple of balls and our quarterback made a huge difference again."

On this team being a better team: "Quite honestly, we got back to being ourselves. A couple of weeks ago we got flustered and started doing stuff we've never really done and this week we got back to being Huskies. We were tough and physical and they got a bunch of nice plays and we just got back to what we do and got the win and now we just keep working and getting better and battling."

On getting key stops: "We came up and got some stops when we needed to. At times we didn't play as well as we'd like, we missed some tackles, but the thing about tonight's game was that we battle. Our kids just hung in there, hung in there, hung in there and the kids did some good things and got a good stop in the fourth quarter."

On some key changes: "We changed a few things at halftime, but we missed too many tackles, we missed some big opportunities and in the third quarter there were some kids that came unblocked and didn't make play, we missed a tackle and good teams, they don't miss those opportunities."


Linebackers Coach Mike Cox

On Mason Foster's game: "He made a lot of plays. He had like 10 tackles at halftime. He wasn't perfect by any means, we still have a long ways to go, but they just kept fighting. They gave up some long runs and lost our fundamentals, but guys just kept playing."

On this week's effort vs. two weeks ago against Nebraska: "We played harder. We probably made more mistakes than (USC). The first touchdown run was just an alignment error and we can't do that if we want to play well this year."

On Victor Aiyewa's game with his injury: "I thought he fought through it. It's hard to play the tight end with one hand, but he played hard."

On the difference Cort Dennison made tonight: "Cort is an outstanding leader, a phenomenal leader and just is a calming (presence) as far as getting the calls at the line and the communication is better. He played hard, shoot, he had some battles in there."

On it being like Déjà vu again: "It was crazy. We had a stop when we needed it, we got good pressure on the field goal attempt and they missed and then our offense did a great job."

On their being a turning point: "It was just like a heavy weight fight where we were trading blows."


Running Backs Coach Joel Thomas

On Jesse Callier: "Jesse's been outstanding. He's really had a nice introduction to Division One football, Pac 10 football, today. We'd like to keep on feeding him more. Obviously we have a great back already, but I think we had pretty good balance between the two, but the guy, in the first half, all he did was make plays and it was pretty cool to see him making plays in his hometown in front of his family today."

On Chris Polk's mood: "I made the comment today that he was a little surly, which is good because I want him surly on Saturdays, where he has that chip on his shoulder and he has that confidence about himself and says he wants the ball in his hands."

On UW's attitude and mood: "We had two weeks to sit on the last game and we let it set in on us and we said ‘enough is enough'. We wanted to go out there and play Husky football and play like we practiced in the game and you saw that tonight."


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