Steve Sarkisian - "I'll say the Valero Alamo Bowl and ESPN got what they were hoping for tonight. What a game. What a game to be part of for these guys. That's a good football team, obviously. We knew coming in it wasn't just about Robert Griffin, it was their entire offensive football team. They weren't the No. 2 offense in the country just for a fluke. They were good. We knew the challenges coming in for us offensively were not only that we had to keep pace but set the pace of this game, and I thought we were able to do it.
"It's unfortunate that there's a couple just missed opportunities for us there in the second half that I think we could have really put a string to hold onto this game and put it in our favor, and we just couldn't do it. But what a great game to be part of. I thought our kids battled and competed, and it was just a back-and-forth game, one of those crazy ones that these guys will remember for a lifetime that they were a part of.
Coach, definitely one for the record books. The offense, history out there, but just defensively can you talk about the effort and how frustrating that was for your team? - "It was frustrating in the sense that we knew they were going to move the ball. You don't average 571 yards a game over a season on accident. You're good. And you've got a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and a first round draft pick at wide receiver and a 240-pound tailback. I mean, they're good.
"Offensive line averages 320 pounds or whatever they do. They're a good team. I think the part that was disappointing was the number of big plays that occurred. We just were there, especially early in the game, we're getting stops, 1st, 2nd, they convert a 3rd, convert a 4th down to keep drives alive, and then the breakdowns occur there in the second half where we just gave up big plays. That's the part that I think was the most frustrating aspect of it all.
"Maybe part of that is their scheme and their offense and maybe we were fatigued to a sense of just how many plays and up and down the field the game was going. But again, frustrating that way, that the big plays occurred, especially in the second half.
Can you talk about Keith's performance tonight, four touchdown passes and he looked like the healthy Keith Price. - "I thought he was awesome tonight. I think we'll have a hard time the rest of the Bowl season to see another quarterback play better than Keith played tonight. And I think -- I even got probably more excited than I normally do on the one touchdown one just because I was happy for him that he got to play the style of football that I know he's capable of playing, when he can really utilize his legs as well as throwing the ball down the field.
"He had a great bounce in his step. I thought he threw the ball with real conviction down the field, stood in the pocket, and then again showed his creativity to improvise when there was opportunities to do so. But a tremendous performance quite honestly. I couldn't be more proud of him.
You talked about the frustrations on defense, and it was actually a school record for yards allowed in one game. How shocking is that, and does a game like this make you reevaluate some things? - "I'm not shocked. Those guys averaged 571 yards a game. I saw them, I think, have almost 700 yards against the same Texas defense that held Cal to 100 something yards last night. I'm not shocked that Baylor moved the ball. Again, the disappointment came with the big plays in the second half of the game. That's the ultimate disappointment. You know, I'd be naïve to think we were going to come in here and shut Baylor out. You just don't all of a sudden does that occur.
"So that part of it is not shocking to me, but there is definite frustration because I think there were opportunities for us to make some plays on them that in turn they made plays on us. The touchdown Robert has on the run, I felt like we had him sacked by three different guys and he escapes and scores a touchdown. The long run there late in the third quarter right down on our sideline, I felt like we got the guy bottled up on our sidelines, and boom, he goes down the sidelines for 70 or 80 or whatever it was.
"That part is the frustrating part to me. Numbers are numbers, records are records, all that kind of stuff. That doesn't change your perception or view of things. There's a style of play in which I think we need to pride ourselves on playing, and that didn't happen tonight. That part is the frustrating part.
There was a stretch there where your defense was all over the field, in particular Josh Shirley and Hudson and Ta'amu, all freshmen. Can you talk about how that happened and what it says for… - "Well, I think football, especially college, is about momentum, and there was a point obviously in that game where momentum was really on our side where I felt like our defense was feeding off our offense, our offense was feeding off our defense, and we really got some momentum going there and got a chance to make them a little bit more one-dimensional where they had to start throwing the ball more than they would have liked that allowed us to rush the passer a little bit better. It's some encouraging signs that we've got some good young football players that are playing and making plays for us and in my opinion have gotten better as the year has gone on."
8:15 to go in the game, they were up 60-56 and you got the ball at your own 22. Talk about your thought process in terms of trying to expire the clock and score and what have you. You had a 4th and 1, you went there on your own 31 and so forth. What was the thinking there? - "Well, the thinking at that point was okay, it's a one-score game, which is what we always like to get to. If you can get to a one-score game, my goal was let's see if I can make this a one possession game, and I thought we had a great chance to do that. We got ourselves across the 50 there, and by running the football, converting some 3rd downs, convert a 4th down, and the idea was to keep working ourselves to get us to 3rd and mediums, 3rd and shorts to keep the clock moving and then ultimately give us a chance in the red zone to win the football game late. And we were on pace to do that, and unfortunately the 2nd down play goes astray, puts us in a 3rd and long, 3rd and long, the shovel, goes astray, and it put us in a difficult 4th and long situation which obviously wasn't the plan of that.
Again, credit to Baylor. I don't know how many snaps we had in the game, like 75 snaps, and that was the one snap of the game they doubled Kasen. So credit to them. Good job.
Can you just talk about the chess match going back and forth with Coach Briles and what are your emotions going back and forth when it's such an offensive slugfest like that? - "Well, I think the emotions are that you can't go into a shell. You have to stay aggressive. I think the natural thing to think is in a game like this against a team like Baylor you've got to try to keep them off the field. The reality is you've got to keep pace. You've got to score with them. You can't let them start pulling away. When it got to 21-7 in my mind, we've got to score. I probably would have went for it on 4th down on my own 20 on that drive, too. We had to score. And then we got momentum back in our favor to keep the pace and then extend ourselves out.
But again, it's just unfortunate because I think there were some chances for us there to even extend the game more, and we just couldn't do it. We just couldn't take advantage of it.
"So you know, back to the drawing board on that end."
You talked about getting back to the drawing board in terms of some of those things. Can you talk about the other side of the ball and what that means in terms of getting back to the drawing board? - "Yeah, we obviously have a position to fill already on that side of the ball with Demetrice (Martin) there, and that process will begin tomorrow. I didn't feel like we needed to be distracted with that heading into the Bowl game. Everything we do in our program will be evaluated, myself included. We've got to figure out some issues of why things are the way they are and how we can improve as a football team in all three phases and beyond that, more than just the three phases, on the field. Off the field, as well. It's obvious we need to improve. We need to get better on the defensive side of the ball, and it'll be addressed and addressed as quickly as possible.
Can you maybe explain the difference between this team and what you saw in Oregon? Were they faster? Was it the same defensive game plan you used, and can you talk about Keith? - "Well, I think the difference with Oregon and these guys quite honestly is the quarterback's really ability to throw the ball, and the difference in the back, the back is a lot heavier than what Oregon plays with. The style is very similar in that they're up tempo and all that, but different styles at quarterback and different styles at running back were different challenges for us. When you're chasing around LaMichael and De'Anthony and Kenjon Barner, that's different than really trying to tackle Ganaway pouring right down at you at 200, 245 pounds. Then when they stress you on the edge, then comes that speed factor again.
"So different that way. The game plan I think was similar but not identity. But that means we had calls that were similar to what we used against Oregon. We had things that we added for this game, as well.
But they're a good team. Baylor is a heck of a team, and there's a reason why that kid won the Heisman Trophy, and there's a reason why they won ten games and beat some pretty good teams on the schedule.
"As far as Keith goes, I can't say enough about the performance. I felt heading into the game this would be a game where we could see Keith Price's, what I've kind of known that he could be, that his teammates know he could be. It's just unfortunate he had to fight through injuries all year long and had to be a pure pocket passer. At the end of the day I think that helped him. We obviously see the athleticism that he possesses and the plays he made with his feet tonight, but also the ability to stand in the pocket and deliver the football down the field from under center or in the shotgun. He's a very versed player at the position. He's got a great understanding of our system, tremendous leadership qualities, a great competitor, one of the best I've been around. So I think his future is very bright and I think our future is very bright because of what he brings to the table.
Are you concerned at all moving forward that you may not have the right scheme in place defensively, the right personnel defensively? - "You can keep asking me the same question. I've answered it three times. I'll say it one more time. As a program collectively, I'm going to evaluate everything. I am concerned about some schemes for us offensively, as well, and on special teams and on defense. We obviously need to improve, and we'll look at every facet of it to see if we can improve with what we have or if we've got to go in another direction."
On what he saw in RGIII - "He's a fantastic player. They're skilled; their receivers are really good football players. The running backs are good players, just really good skill. And they spread you out and it's just really really difficult. Plus they go really fast too."
On how they were different than Oregon - "A little faster tempo. Receivers are better, their quarterback is a Heisman Trophy winner."
On 700 yards being hard to swallow - "I thought our kids played their butts off and did some really good things. They're going to get their yards; they average a lot of yards. And I'm proud of our kids and they battled and battled and battled. We just came up short on a couple big plays."
On Josh Shirley - "He played well, he played well down the stretch. He played well against Washington State; he did a heck of a job. He and Andrew Hudson, the two freshmen did a great job on the edge as far as rushing the passer."
On Danny Shelton on the kickoff return - "He's a big strong kid, it's hard to tackle a 330 pounder."
On the effort - "We go down 21-7 and our guys knew they were going to get back into it because our offense was going to score on those guys and late first quarter, second quarter, our guys are playing lights out. Go into halftime the guys were fired up and we knew we were far from the finish line. What really hurt us were those two long runs in the third quarter – golly. We just missed a couple tackles and didn't do exactly what we needed to do. Give those guys some credit, heck of an offensive football team and we were in it ‘til the very end."
On the long runs - "In the third quarter after we turnover the ball and it's first down on the 11 yard line, couple guys were playing a little too much pass conscience on that first down. We let the run get out and didn't have anybody to catch the guy. And then the next series or two series later after Josh Shirley gets a sack it's 2nd and 14 I believe and we're playing the fly sweep really really good and we lost leverage on it really quick and the guy was really fast. That receiver was carrying the ball and he went down on our sideline and thank God for Tru (Desmond Trufant) he caught him, unfortunately they scored a couple plays later. Our kids gave great effort, just got to clean some things up and we will. Our kids played their ass off."
On guys he is looking to next year on defense - "All the young guys that are coming back that played. We have a lot of red shirts, but they got to learn their stuff too. But we have some nice prospects especially at the skill positions. I'm excited about that, we redshirted a couple D-linemen, but we keep getting better. Our kids were great on the sideline."
Athletic Director Scott Woodward:
"It's really heartening to watch these kids battle. The outcome wasn't the way we wanted it. I hate losing like everyone else, but I'm proud of these kids."
On Keith Price - "There's no doubt that Keith Price is an elite quarterback. It's fun to watch him play the game –especially with his health back. Being able to do what he did was really quite remarkable."
On the national stature of the program after a game like this - "I think we're making continual progress, incremental progress, which I love. We won a game more than we did last season in the regular season and I like that. We just need to keep building and keep going and keep doing the things we need to do to get better and I couldn't be more happy."
When you were down 21-7 what were you talking about offensively to get back into the game? - "We just knew that we needed to score. We needed to score fast, just to give our defense a boost."
Can you talk us through that last offensive series? On 3rd down it looked like you might be trying to do a shovel pass and they had it kind of guarded, and what happened on the 4th down play? - "I kind of figured I was going to Kasen the whole time and I told him to make a play for me and I threw the ball too hard. If I put that ball on his numbers or throw a catchable ball in there, he's going to come down with it. He's been coming down with those catches all year. I've just got to throw a better ball.
On being able to play somewhat healthy - "Some what healthy, but I'm still not all the way there yet. I can't wait ‘til I'm ready."
On if he felt like he only had one leg at times during the year - "Oh yeah definitely, but my team needed me and I had to play regardless of circumstances."
On if he noticed Baylor's small DB's - "Yeah sometimes, but I was just going through my reads and people were coming open for me and people were making plays for me."
On what worked - "I feel like everything was working. It took a while to get our run game going, but once Chris got going it just made our offense that much better."
On Polk coming back next year - "We'll see. I'm anxious just like you guys are."
On the last two offensive plays – shovel pass and the throw to Williams - "My first read got bumped off on the shovel pass. I just got to make a better pitch to James and hopefully he could turn it into more positive yards. I just got to hit Kasen. No excuse I just got to hit him."
On if he felt the pressure on the last throw - "I didn't feel it while I was throwing it, I just missed it."
On what Polk has meant to the program - "He's helped me out. He's like an older brother out there and he just keeps working hard and he keeps running hard every week. I don't have to ask him if he's ready, he just comes and play."
The play where you fumbled, kind of an unlikely play for you to do that. Did the ball just kind of come out there or what happened? - "My helmet was coming off, but great running backs don't fumble in a situations like that. They hold onto the ball. You know, it's obviously something I'm going to have to work on. But I really felt like right there I let my team down. I've just got to continue to get better and just work extra hard and just have the overall belief."
You've always been a team-first guy, but how cognizant, if any, were you of how close you would have been to the record? You said in the past that was a record you'd like to get. Was that going through your mind? - "That was never on my mind. Over here, what got us here is the team, so you come to the Bowl to win, you don't come just to have individual records. But I've never -- I wasn't really even thinking about that. I was trying to do whatever it takes to win rather than have 100 rushing yards or two, as long as we get the win, and I did my best, and I didn't leave my teammates out to dry and did everything I could. That's good enough for me."
On ever thinking he'd play in a game where the team would score 56 points and lose - "Naw, I never imagined it, but that's just how some things go. You can only control your side of the team, you can't control what the other team does, so you have to just tip your hat off to them."
On whether this was his last game as a Husky -
"I haven't even thought about that yet, but I'm going to have kind of a long time to think about it. It's going to be something that I'm going to have to really focus on, really talk to my family, and really pray on. I gotta do what's best for me. I wouldn't mind coming back and wouldn't mind leaving, so it's 50-50 right now."
On whether a game like this makes him feel like he doesn't want to leave on a sour note - "Oh of course because you've got the loss and I came here to be the best and I didn't get the rushing record, so things didn't go how I planned it, but that's just the game of football."
Five catches, 198 yards, this is your family up here, your second family. How special has this ride been for you at UW and to go into the locker room with the guys? - "It was pretty disappointing with the loss, but this has been one of the best times of my life, to get to play this game with these guys up here. Coach Sark has done a great job changing the program. I went from 0 and 12 to two Bowl games in a row, and playing with an amazing quarterback like Keith, he's always smiling. He's a great person. I'm glad I got the chance to be around him and play with him and play with a guy like Chris Polk. No matter what happened in the fumble, Chris Polk is a beast, and he's going to continue to be a beast from now until whenever he stops playing football.
It's just a good opportunity to play with these guys, and I'm happy I got to."
On if having played his last game has sunk in - "Yeah it has. It wasn't the outcome we wanted, but one thing I'm proud of my guys about is they fought it out to the end. They gave it their all. One thing Coah Sark preached to us about is making sure the other team respected us and I think Baylor respected us."
On how confident the offense was - "Every series every drive we knew we had to punch it in because we knew Baylor would come back and score within a minute. Chris Polk making big plays and Kasen Williams brought us a lot of confidence."
On Chris Polk - "That guy really helped us out today in this game. He's fast, he can run it up the middle, go around you; he did a lot for us today. Very proud of him."
On 0-12 to 2 straight bowl games - "Part of me is kind of disappointed because I wanted to win, but the other part of me is still proud of where we came from and how I can look back and reflect on what I've been through and where I'm at right now. I'm really proud of what the guys have done."
On whether he's ever been involved in a game like this - "Only in video games. We really played in a classic tonight. Hats off to both offenses, it was a hard-fought game and I'm just so proud of everyone."
On feeling the offense needed to score every time - "No, I don't feel like we had pressure to really do that. We just went out there and we did what we did. We felt like we could score every time and if you feel like you can do it, why not do it."
On the experience of the bowl game - "You know everything was absolutely great. We played against a top-notch team, a top-notch quarterback, a Heisman winner. It was a blessing to be out here and play against a great team, you know, the way we played I'm so proud of us sitting here. We hung with them every step of the way until the end. It happens. Too bad we're not on the other side, but I'm proud of our guys."
On what this team needs to do to improve for next season - "Everything if we want to be where we want to be: blocking, receiving, defense, everything. Offense, we have a lot of work to do. Everyone has a lot of work to do if we want to keep getting better."
Is there anything that wasn't working for Baylor's offense - "In the first half I feel like we shut down a lot of things. In the second half, they went back and came out with a good gameplan."
On his last game as a Husky - "My last game as a Husky, no matter what, I'm proud of our boys. A lot of people said we were going to lose by a lot, and we actually had a chance against these guys. My last game, I'm proud. I'm proud of all the boys and there's no other team I'd rather play with."
On Baylor's reliance on the run catching them by surprise - "Yeah, we were expecting pass, pass, pass in the first half and they came and we were stopping it and they figured something out to get after us with."
On Robert Griffin - "He's a great quarterback, no doubt. Heisman Trophy winner. That's all I can say, he's a great player."
On what made him so tough - "Mobile. He can play like a quarterback who sits in the pocket but then when he gets in trouble he can get out and just break tackles. He's elusive."
On the end of the half clicking defensively before breaking down in second half - "Got to give a lot of credit to Baylor, they're a great football team and they have great offensive football players. When your number gets called you have to step up. The coaches can't do everything. They're going to put you in the right spots to make plays. When you need to do a job you have to do it, you can't do your own thing and end up hurting the team. It's hard, it's one of the craziest games I've ever been a part of, but give Baylor credit."
Josh Shirley - "We just didn't make the plays when they were presented to us."
On it being tough to talk about fundamentals in the 13th game of the season - "I feel like everybody played their hearts out. They played their hearts out. Baylor's a phenomenal team. My hat goes off to them."
On feeling like he had a breakout game - "I still have areas to improve on. The sacks, that's just how the game goes. Somebody's got to do it. I feel that I messed up a lot too. It's not just on everyone else. The spotlight's not just on me."
On helping RGIII off the ground - "We were just congratulating each other. He congratulated me, I congratulated him, got him for the next down."
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