Marques Tuiasosopo Q&A

Dawgman.com spoke Wednesday with new Washington Quarterbacks Coach Marques Tuiasosopo, who was busy packing up in southern California. He's coming to Seattle Thursday but had time to talk about the job, how he got it, what he'll be looking for in UW's quarterbacks and whether or not he'll look to a sibling for some possible QB help down the road.

On who is the happiest to be coming back to Seattle - him, his wife or his parents? - "The wife…now we've got built-in babysitters."

On how he came to get the job - "He called me the Sunday before Christmas, the 23rd. He let me know that he had a QB job for me if I was interested."

Didn't have to interview or anything? - "Sark knows me real well. We kind of grew up in the same system; him as a coach and me as a player. He coached me and I was with him for two years as an assistant strength coach, so he knows exactly what I can bring to the table for his quarterbacks.

"We think a lot alike in terms of offensive philosophy and I think Sark feels comfortable that the things I'll be talking about in the meetings and going over would be the same things he would coach his quarterbacks back in the day."

Were you caught off-guard? - "I was so focused on what was going on down here at UCLA and the great year that we've had down here with these kids that I went down to the bowl game ready to win a bowl game and then hit the road hard in January so we could sign another good class. My focus was not on making a change at all. But when Sark called me and it was such a great opportunity - not only for myself but for my family as well - the opportunity to coach quarterback, that's what I know. My heart is at quarterback. To get together with some great coaches on offense - I know Danny Cozzetto and I know Sark is going to do a great job of bringing in whoever he brings in at running back, and there's also a guy that's been around a long time in Eric Kiesau…it's going to be a lot of fun."

On what gives him an edge coaching quarterbacks - "Playing quarterback in the NFL, especially back-up quarterback - it's pretty much a Phd in coaching. You're breaking down the film as much as the coaches are and you have a lot of input as a quarterback in the NFL as far as how the game plan is going to go. You understand how to break down the other team's defense and you hone those skills…I had the opportunity to do that for eight years. I was around Jon Gruden, Marc Trestman, Norv Turner - I'm talking about the passing game. I learned a lot from Jon Gruden about how to protect the quarterback. I learned a lot from Bill Callahan in the run game and Tom Cable in the run game…I've been around some good coaches. The last four or five years when I was in the league I approached it with the mindset that I was going to get into coaching. Norv Turner taught me how to handle quarterbacks on a day-to-day basis just by how he handled me and the other quarterbacks. It's how he made me feel as a player. He made me a better quarterback because he was just the way he was. That's how I am with the players as a coach."

On what he's going to be looking for in the quarterbacks now at UW? - "I just look at my own progression. When I got to the NFL, I definitely was an athletic guy. I could throw it was I wasn't a complete pocket passer - so I went through the whole gamut. I could throw it just as well as anyone by the end of my career; it was just that that's the way it goes in the NFL. Sometimes you just don't get those opportunities. But my progression in the NFL I think will help me tremendously as a quarterbacks coach. For the most part, kids these days are pretty good at an early age, earlier than I ever was. In some instances they don't know what they are talking about so you have to re-teach them, but for the most part if you are a college quarterback you're going to have some good skills down, so it's my job to hone it and make anything better so when they go out and play they aren't afraid of anything and can make their reads and all that good stuff."

On if he's going to be looking for quarterbacks that emulate his own style? - "Time will tell. Obviously it's natural for me to like the guys that can do a little of both, can throw it and run it. It's such an advantage, especially in college. There's so much grass out there, when plays break down and you have that ability to run - it's an ace up your sleeve and you can't defend that. So I naturally tend to go to the side of the mobile quarterbacks.

"To me I'm looking for guys that are natural and can show accuracy. I don't care if they are 6-foot or 6-5; I don't care if they have a great arm or not. Can you play the position? That's what I'm looking for. I'm looking for warriors, I'm looking for tough guys, I'm looking for leaders."

Have you been to huskystadium.com yet? - "It's awesome. I can't wait. When Sark called me he told me, 'Tui, you're gonna love the stadium. It's unbelievable."

On being a UW coach on the sidelines for the first game at the new Husky Stadium - "I'm really excited about that, I really am. That wasn't the main reason why I made the decision, but it's the cherry on top. I'm really fired up about that. Being there, I'm really excited. I really am. It's like signing as a kid coming out of high school to play ball. It takes me back to that moment when I did that."

On luring younger brother Matt back to football - "You know, he came down to visit me last year when I was coaching for Rick (Neuheisel). I told him, 'Let's just make this your unofficial visit. Just hang out, come to meetings and whatnot and just see if you get that buzz again.' I may ask him again. He's still fighting. I don't know if I'd put it past him. He could. I'd take him still. He was phenomenal. He was way more polished than I ever was at his age, at the same point. I got to work with him a little bit but he had some good coaches coming up. He was a better passer coming out of high school, he had more throws in high school. Man, I think he would have been great. He won the Elite 11. He won it over Chad Henne, and he's in the league right now."

Any final thoughts for UW fans? - "I'm grateful to Sark. You're not going to be disappointed. The quarterbacks are going to play hard, they are going to do their best and they are going to win games. I couldn't be more grateful for Coach Sark to give me this opportunity. There isn't going to be a guy that works harder."

Someone said we had to tell you this - you didn't look right in (UCLA) powder blue - "Somebody told me that too! A coach told me, 'I've seen you in that color and it didn't look good - so I'm so fired up that you're going back (to UW)."

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