Sarkisian Pac 12 Media Day Quotes

He stood on stage for a little over 15 minutes answering questions, but shortly thereafter, Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian met with the local press corps and answered questions for over 30 minutes on a number of different topics...

On if there are any surprises on the healthy front: "I hope not. We've got a little over a week now until training camp begins. I think, so far so good. Everybody seems good. I'll get a full assessment of exactly where we're at on the medical front next week when I get back in town. I'll sit down with our medical staff and they will literally take me through our entire roster of anything that anybody has had, whether from last season, through spring ball, through the summer, whether a guy had a cramp, a twinge in his hamstring, a wrist, whatever, I want everything going into training camp, anything anybody has had so that we know what we're dealing with. So I will be better able to answer that, probably at the press conference before we start training camp (August 5th) and what if anyone will have any limitations."


On attrition: "We're all the same, so anything of that sort, that happens between now and next week I'll know when we get going."


On the scholarship count: "We're right at 85. Some years you're right there and some years you're down around 82 or 81 and you have opportunities to put kids on scholarship that are walk-ons and it's great things to do. We've been fortunate to be able to do that the last few years, but this year's not working out that way. Now, like I said, there's still eight more days to go and I've seen stuff happen every year that's mind-boggling to me. "


On Kasen Williams' case: "It's hard because I take a lot of pride in being there for our guys and really trying to develop our players and help them make great decisions and grow as men. So when guys make mistakes, I take it hard, I take it personally. I feel invested to them. I feel like so much of what we do is, yes there's x's and o's, and yes there's conditioning and practice and film, but it's also mentoring, it's talking, it's decision-making, it's how to handle themselves and conduct themselves and how to represent when they put on that ‘W' every day. That part is what's hard for me, but again, I'm not naïve to the fact that they are 18 to 22 years old, they are going to make mistakes, so I don't ever want to overact to anything because it's not fair to them and I wouldn't have wanted that when I was a kid and made bonehead decisions. It's hard and it wears on me, but I want to make sure that the message is clear to our team, that they understand the standard they are held to, that we're all held to and that we can all be better for their mistakes."


On not talking publicly about what Austin Seferian-Jenkins' punishment is or will be: "He's not done with the process yet. There's still things that he's doing, that other people don't know, that are part of our requirements for him to earn his way back onto our team. It's not finalized yet and I don't think it's a distraction quite honestly. We haven't started football and when we start next week, I'll address it one more time before the start of training camp and that's going to be it and we're going to move forward."


On the punishment he's already gone through: "I think the worst punishment is spending a night in jail and thousands of dollars when you're a college kid and the public humiliation as a 20 year-old guy that he's had to go through. That's pretty severe. Now, that being said, that's all punitive. That's what the legal system does, it's punitive. We've tried to make it rehabilitative at times, but I think the reality of it is, those are all punitive punishments in that way. As I've said before, when we get to a final decision of what we will do, as much as what we do will be about developing Austin and rehabilitating Austin as more than just punishment. I look at every time with any instance with our kids, who really benefits from punishment and how severe that punishment is? That's always the hard part when you're in this situation as a head coach and you're making those decisions, so that's why I always say that I look at every incident separately, I look at every individual separately to that incident because the true character of the individual, as I know it, and the incident they were in is what will dictate what the process will be for the individual to earn his way back onto our roster."


On the feeling of the team heading into camp: "I think for me and for the players and being with them, I think there's a real chip on our shoulder. I don't mind it. I kinda like it. There's a little bit of an edge going on right now with our team and I think it's a good time. I think they're hungry. I think they want to get back to work. They want to show and prove that they're better than what our record showed last year because we think we were better than that, but unfortunately we were 7-6 and it doesn't matter what we think, the one stat that does is the wins and the losses and so, I think that our guys have a chip on their shoulder. They're eager and hungry and ready to go out and get to work and to compete and to play that first game on August 31st.


On 2014 being a barometer of his coaching abilities: "I don't know. I love coaching college football and I love our guys. I love the University of Washington and it's been an awesome four years up to this point. Sure there's been moments we'd love to have back, games we'd love to have back but there's also been some special ones I wouldn't trade for the world. For us to find that consistency as a team and enjoy more of those really good moments, I think that's a big key. For that to really happen, we have to go on the road and win. We've been 11-2 at home over the last two seasons. The real issue for us to continue to improve as a program is to maintain that at home and keep that edge we have at home, but how do we bottle up that energy, that enthusiasm, that execution, that fight, that want to, that energy and take it on the road with us when we play at Oregon State, and play that way at Stanford, and play that way at UCLA, and play that way at Arizona State and play that way at Soldier Field (vs. Illinois). That to me is what is going to be key. If that makes me a better coach, that's not for me to answer. I just want to put these guys, our players, in the best position to be successful so that they can go out and perform and enjoy college football."


On the practice changes from the NCAA: "They don't affect us too much honestly. Even the days when we would have double-day practices, they weren't both full-contact any way. When we're in-season, we've never gone over two days a week of live tackles, so I think they're good rules. I'd like to think all 12 of the coaches in our conference are thinking of our players' safety first, whether we're in-season or out of season, so I think it's a positive thing for the Pac 12 to step up and take the initiative on this."


On breakout players: "I think Brandon Beaver is a guy I'm really excited to watch this spring. We moved him from corner to safety in spring and then he's had a really good offseason, a healthy one now this summer and he looks great. I'm intrigued to watch him this training camp and then maybe what he can do this fall. I think the continued development of Dwayne Washington at running back is another guy I'm going to be intrigued to watch just because he had such a presence in spring football running the ball. We saw Jaydon Mickens last season kind of up and down a bit, but I really thought in the second half of spring he was tremendous in what he was able to do making plays. And I know this sounds odd, because he played for us all season, but I'm excited to see Danny Shelton play. He's going to have a real impact on our season. He was a dominant football player the second half of spring practice when we came back from spring break and if he continues to play the way he played the second half of spring we'll be much better on defense than we were last year."


On some of the new faces: "(Marcus Farria) sure looks good. It's hard for me, because we obviously didn't get to have him in the spring and I can't be around him on the field during the summer, but when he comes around the offices he sure looks good. He's sure got a good look in his eye, a focused look in his eye. He's extremely competitive. He's got a leadership mentality. He's a tough-minded kids.

"I thought that the receiving class had a chance to really contribute. I really think John Ross is going to add an element to our offense that we haven't had with the sheer speed that he possesses and Damore'ea Stringfellow, we just went through the official weights, and he's 232 pounds and is a wide receiver. He reminds me of Anquan Boldin, that strong and physical guy, so I'm hoping both can have an impact for us."


On the stadium and new facilities: "It's awesome. I think the anticipation of getting into that stadium is as high as, obviously, it's ever been throughout this entire process. Not just me the coach or the players, but it's everyone in our organization. It's been 18 months. The last time we were there we were walking off the field after a tough loss to Oregon and we haven't been back in that stadium since then. But at the end of the day, like I've told the team numerous times, the new steel, the new bolts, the new nuts, the new wood, the new jumbotrons, the track being removed, that's not going to make Husky Stadium special again, it's how we play and what we put on the field is what will make that place special and that's what we're focused on doing."


On selling Seattle to recruits: "There is so much to offer in Seattle. That's what makes the city so unique. The picturesque views, Lake Washington one side, Lake Union on the other side, the Puget Sound, the skyline, the food, the things to do, the economy, the life after football, there's so many things that go into that stadium, selling it's not the hard part. The hard part is just getting them there. Once they get there they see the beauty of the city, they see the beauty of the campus and they recognize the power of the degree."


On concerns heading into camp: "My concerns are really solidifying the secondary with who are going to be the other two guys to replace Desmond (Truant) and Justin (Glenn). Really solidifying and getting the continuity of the offensive line so that we're feeling great about ourselves. Obviously, coming off the heels of last year's training camp where it seemed like every day we were losing a guy and (lastly) making our return-game a factor. I don't feel like, last season especially, our return-game was a factor. We'd been a really good kickoff return team two years ago when it was Kevin Smith and Jesse Callier back there returning kicks for us. We didn't have either of those guys, really, last season. Kevin just never got quite right and we lost Jesse and then the punt return game, we just haven't done much, so it's been a focus of ours. I want that to be a better part of our football team, a better aspect of our team and so I want to get that right in this training camp."


On Travis Coons possibly kicking and punting: "I hope not. But Korey Durkee has got to do his job and Cameron Van Winkle has got to push Travis and hopefully we don't put that all on him, because he's a talented guy, but when you're doing all three, fatigue is fatigue and I think that took a toll on him (last year)."


On the offensive line and the depth they appear to have: "Being able to rotate those guys is a big deal. I do want continuity, but I also want competition because competition makes us all better. Obviously, it'll be a point of topic for everybody in a lot of practices, especially those first two weeks, but I want it to be a strength for this team. I don't want it to be a concern."


On the center spot: "Mike Criste had a great spring. When you go back and look at those cut-ups from the spring and that battle Mike Criste had with Danny Shelton every day was the best thing he had for him, having to go toe-to-toe with that guy every day and Mike performed well, so this isn't just ‘hey, welcome back Eric (Kohler), come on in', I think it's going to be a real dogfight."


On Bishop Sankey: "I don't think we've seen his best because he only got better as the year went on. His best game of the year was our last one when he had over 200 yards rushing and nearly 100 receiving, so I think his best days are ahead of him. I think he's maturing. I think his confidence got better and better and better as the year went on. We were going in thinking he'd be splitting carries with Jesse Callier and we're one series into the season and Jesse's out and Bishop's getting the ball 25 times a game. I think he's poised for a really good season. I'd like to give some other guys some carries and maybe take some of that load off of him, but if he doesn't let them, he doesn't let them.


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