Sarkisian Post Game Quotes - USC

Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian gives his thoughts after Washington's frustrating 24-14 loss to USC and also looks forward to the second half of the season...

"Frustrating loss to say the least. That's two consecutive weeks now that we took the field and we didn't respond good in the first half of the game. When you've got good teams and you go in the locker room ‘down' and it's hard, and it makes it hard to win. I will say that I was extremely proud of our football team in the second half. I thought they responded, they battled, they competed; they showed a great deal of mental and physical toughness in the second half. We just couldn't catch a break."

"I wish we had won them all. I think it's obvious we were faced with an extremely challenging schedule in the first half of the season but from the looks of it, it's not getting any easier in the second half. We've got a challenge that lies ahead. With all of the adversity I'm proud of the guys for their effort and preparation that they have given us. I would've liked to be 4-2 instead of 3-3 after the first six but there are a lot of opportunities that lie ahead of us."

On the fumble at the goal line: "It was a read option where Keith was reading the defensive end, he felt he enclosed, he pulled the ball, the safety did a nice job of showing up. I think Keith was trying to use a little bit of a pump fake to freeze the safety and then tuck the ball and the guy jarred it loose."

On switching the offensive line up in the second half: "I was trying to block them. I was trying to protect the quarterback, we felt like moving Atoe inside and bringing in Mike at right tackle trying to get a little bigger body inside to try to wad it up a little bit more, we thought that could have been helpful for us."

On what USC did on the blocked punt: "They came with more guys than they had been coming with. It's unfortunate because the natural thing to say is that the 3 guys in the back didn't get it done but we had a breakdown up front which caused the issue. That is something we practice everyday so we just didn't execute it very well."

On how well Keith played besides the goal line fumble: "I thought he fought his tail off. They were coming. We knew coming in this was a good defensive front. They've got some really talented defensive linemen. I thought he competed at a very high level, his ability to run the football to escape pressure, some of the throws he made downfield, but you fumble, you get sacked five times, he doesn't feel very good right now but I thought at least, he played. We talked about that this week about this week about not working but rather playing. I thought he played, you just got to continue to get better around him so he doesn't try to hard to feel like he has to make a play and ultimately leading to some turnovers there. The first pick he had was a great play by Bailey, a heck of a play by him, the second one, he's throwing the ball to Cody Bruns and Austin playing with good effort tries to catch it and tips the ball, Cody's open and they intercept it. The two fumbles, he gets hit hard, we'll obviously have to address that because that's two weeks now of the ball getting punched out."

On the way the defense played allowing only 17 points when you take out the blocked punt: "I thought it was really significant in the second half. The first run was a little disheartening because we basically had them stopped in the backfield and we let Silas out the backside and I think it's a 60 yard run or whatever it was after that. If you look at his numbers after that run, it's 25 carries for 100 yards, so 4 yards per carry is about 2 yards below his season average coming in. I thought we fought and competed, I thought we really did a nice job with minimizing them in the passing game, I thought Tru had an excellent game in covering Marqise Lee. We fought and I was proud of our defense especially in the second half when we needed to lean on them to try to get back in the game."

On what Trufant did well: "He played like he plays. He did some bump coverage, he played some off coverage, he found him in the slot, I don't know if he covered Marqise every play when they did throw it, it sure felt like he covered him pretty well and he felt confident in doing it. I thought Marcus Peters had a good game on the other side, Marcus, we challenged him some and did a nice job as well. A couple balls, they hit with Woods were really over the middle type throws than what they did on the perimeter."

On Austin becoming such a big factor in the second half after staying quiet in the first: "It was a little bit of, probably has to go into more of making a point of emphasis. It was just challenging, we want to throw it down the field but we want to protect Keith at the same time, when you get down 24-7, you take more chances, and we were able to get Austin a bit free down the field and Kasen for that matter too, it was unfortunate we missed him down the sideline there in the 4th quarter, he got behind them as well. We'll make more of an emphasis to get those guys more involved and not just in the underneath game but down the field."

On the mistakes like the blocked punt and special teams errors being magnified against a great opponent like USC: "I think so, we felt like we had a chance to go after the punt and I don't know if he missed it or not, we run into him, we fielded one punt sometimes you're aligned not on the ten but further up and the guy hits a big punt and you start drifting back, we field the punt inside our ten which is an obvious mistake, we missed the field goal at a pretty critical juncture in the game, we don't hit the field goal there, it wasn't our best game on special teams to say the least."

On not having the right mentality entering games: "I think that we need to come with a better sense of urgency, we need to play with, I don't want to call it a desperation mentality, but I want us to take the field when there's 60 minutes on the clock with a real sense of urgency, a real this is our chance mentality and I feel like the last couple of weeks, we've waited until we've been put into that mode rather than taking the initiative and really going for it."

On why the sense of urgency isn't there: "I don't know, we already addressed it in the locker room after this game and we'll address it again tomorrow in the team meeting, it will continually be addressed by us throughout the week and as we move into the second half of the season."

On the offensive line: "Well I thought they faced a better defensive line, those guys are talented, they do a nice job of rushing the quarterback, they do a nice job of setting the edge on defense and we knew that coming in, the Breslin kid has great motor, the Williams kid is going to be a good player, the Uko kid is going to be a good player, so we knew coming in this was a good front and there was going to be some challenges there for us, I thought our guys in the second half competed harder but at the end of the day, you have to block if you want to be a good offensive football team, so back to the drawing board on who is in and what we try to do to move the football."

On where they are right now ending the first half of the season: "I wish we had won them all, I think it's obvious that we were faced with a n extremely tough schedule in the first half of the season but it's not getting any easier as we move into the second half. You look at Arizona, you look at Oregon State, these are good football teams coming to town or that we are going to, so we have challenges ahead. I think that with all the adversity we've been faced with, I've been proud of our kids with their effort and their preparation that they've given us. I would have really like to have been 4-2 talking to you guys right now rather than 3-3 after the first six. I think there is a lot of good opportunities that lie ahead for us so we can play better football from the beginning to have better chances of winning and then see where we are at when December rolls around."

On the short routes and east-west spreading of the field on offense in the first half: "We're trying to make them run a little bit, make them run laterally, try to get the ball on the perimeter some and see if we could break some tackles and make some plays that way as well, but that wasn't working too great for us so we had to start to throw the ball downfield more."

On Cody Bruns' punt return: "I thought that was a nice return by Cody, it was really well blocked, I thought our guys did a nice job of pinning the edge and getting the wall there so we'll look at the film and see where we are at."

On how they stopped Bishop Sankey: "They set the edge really well on all of our perimeter runs so we had to go back to some of the inside running game and as we saw it getting adjusted back to the inside run game, we were able to have the one drive where we got the ball back on the perimeter again. It's unfortunate, that was a nice drive for us, we weren't able to capitalize it and get it in the end zone."

On possibly going for it on 4th down rather than kicking it on the missed attempt in the 3rd quarter: "There was, you guys know me well enough, when I see one of those opportunities to capitalize on, that was the right football move to make it a one score game at that juncture of the game. That was the right thing to do, we were looking at a 4th and five, and I don't know what the length was, Travis has plenty of leg for that kick, it was the right decision to make at the time so we did it."

On what he told the team after Austin's score: "I just wanted to make sure that we went and finished, just because we scored that one touchdown doesn't mean that that's okay, everything's good, it's 24-14, we can relax, we needed to stay locked into the mentality we had and we had to compete and fight and scratch to see if we could make some plays and I thought we did, it's just unfortunate we couldn't really catch a break late in the game when we had some opportunities."

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