Sticking to a self-imposed 24-hour limit on celebrating his first victory as a college head coach, Washington's Steve Sarkisian delayed any public discussion about facing his old team - the Southern California Trojans.
All he said addressing the topic following the Huskies’ 42-23 victory over Idaho on Saturday was, “I’m not worried about (the matchup). I’m going to enjoy this win. I’m not going to be in a rush to go and get to the next one. I think sometimes we can make that mistake in this profession, as soon as the game is over, start thinking about the next one.”
But UW players sense how important this week is going to be for their new coach, who spent seven seasons at USC as an offensive assistant, including the past three seasons as the offensive coordinator under coach Pete Carroll.
The 35-year-old Sarkisian left the Trojans in December to run his own program, signing a five-year deal to coach the Huskies.
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“I think it will be even more crazy than last week, because obviously Sark was the offense coordinator, and (Nick) Holt (UW defensive coordinator) was over there,” Huskies safety Nate Williams said. “I can expect the intensity to be higher this week. We’re going to pick everything up. We’re going to watch more field, and work hard the whole week.”
USC has won seven consecutive games against the Huskies, whose last win came in Carroll’s first season in 2001 (27-24 victory in Seattle).
Last season, the Trojans won in Los Angeles, 56-0.
“It’s (USC), so of course it will be a big game – Coach Sark was there,” UW receiver D’Andre Goodwin said. “We honestly treat every game the same.”
“Yes,” Goodwin said, breaking out in a big smile.
“You play hard, and that’s what it is,” he – and the grin widened – continued.
Running back Chris Polk said the game is more personal to him. He originally gave an oral commitment to USC, then changed his mind to go to the UW.
He’s also from near Los Angeles.
“I think there’s a little more at stake because they didn’t take it too lightly when I de-committed to come here,” Polk said. “They were kind of talking stuff when I was hurt last year, so I feel like I have to go out there and prove myself.”
What was said?
“There was this thing on Google,” Polk said. “They put my face on Al Bundy’s body (from the television show, “Married ... With Children,” whose character played for Polk High). ... so, yeah, it’s a little personal battle for me.”
For him, and lots of focus for their new coach.
“Everybody is amped up,” Polk said.
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