Sports Out West

Steve Sarkisian on Don James’ passing and potential QB change

Husky head coach Don James and his wife Carol (photo: go huskies.com)

University of Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian kicked off his Monday press conference by paying his respects to long-time Washington Husky head coach Don James (1932-2013).  James passed away on Sunday after battling pancreatic cancer.

Sarkisian also reviewed the disappointing 53-24 loss to Arizona State on Saturday.  The Huskies failed to execute on both sides of the ball.  The fifth-year head coach placed the blame on himself. 

Don James

In 18 seasons with the Huskies, James led Washington to the 1991 national championship, won six conference titles and had a 153-58-2 record.

“It goes without saying we lost a legend,” Sarkisian said.  “…Coach James set a standard of excellence that is felt here every single day…He’s left a tremendous impact on a lot of lives here.”

At halftime of the California game on Saturday, the Husky Marching band will perform their own musical tribute to James.  Former that Washington football players plan to attend, while the current team will wear helmet decals to commemorate their legendary coach.

A memorial will be held on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Hec Edmundson Pavilion.  The service will be open to the public. 

Arizona State loss

Sarkisian didn’t mince any words in judging how he performed.  He cited the lack preparation as contributing factor in the loss to the Sun Devils.  “I didn’t get it done on Saturday,” Sarkisian said. 

“The ballgame on Saturday it didn’t get any better looking at the film,” he said.  “Challenging, challenging time for us.”  

On the ground, Bishop Sankey, the Pac-12’s leading rusher, ran for 22 yards on 13 carries, or an average of only 1.7 yards per carry.  He has rushed for 921 yards in seven games.

The offensive line failed to protect quarterback Keith Price as the Sun Devils recorded six sacks.  Price completed only 16 passes on 39 attempts for 217 yards and is suffering from a thumb injury to his throwing hand.

Sarkisian would not commit to his senior quarterback starting against California.  UW coaches plan to monitor Price’s physical and mental well-being before making a change.  

“He’s a tough kid,” Sarkisian said.  “We’ll have to figure out if that’s good enough.”

According to Sarkisian, backup signal callers Cyler Miles and Jeff LIndquist have the talent to step in for Price.  

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John Zielonka

John Zielonka has covered the Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Seahawks and University of Washington men's basketball and football. He's written for Yahoo! Sports, 710 ESPN Seattle, Goal.com and is a member of the North American Soccer Reporters.