University of Washington

Fun times for Commodore Sarkisian

Nobody is happier to see the football season start than embattled USC coach Lane Kiffin, left, with star quarterback Matt Barkley at the Pacific-10 Conference media day Thursday.
Nobody is happier to see the football season start than embattled USC coach Lane Kiffin, left, with star quarterback Matt Barkley at the Pacific-10 Conference media day Thursday. Associated Press

PASADENA, Calif. - Planes, rental cars and power boats.

That about sums up Steve Sarkisian’s last 10 days as he prepares his Washington Huskies for the start of fall football camp, which begins Aug. 9 in Montlake.

Sarkisian seems to be having a relaxing, carefree summer – and carried that attitude to the podium Thursday at the Pacific-10 Conference preseason football media day at the Rose Bowl.

“I think this event is fantastic. I think it’s indicative of Larry Scott (Pac-10 commissioner) and his aggressiveness,” Sarkisian told a throng of reporters. “I think this conference is headed in a tremendous direction. I’m excited for our football program because I think we’re on the same wave.”

Well-documented was the new approach the Pac-10 took to media day this summer. The 10 coaches did a whirlwind tour of the East Coast before flying to California for their usual obligations.

That was the rough part. The good stuff for the Sarkisians came on Lake Washington.

The second-year coach purchased a new boat – a Cobalt 262, which is valued at nearly $100,000. Rarely a week has gone by when the family hasn’t had it out on the water.

“Never had a boat, and it is awesome,” Sarkisian said. “I enjoy it more and more every time.”

The boat has given him a different mode of work transportation. Three days a week, Sarkisian sails it from a dock in Bellevue to the UW’s water activity center.

“It takes about the same time as driving (about 15 minutes),” he said “Maybe it’s a little longer … when you have to go through the (Montlake Cut), where you can only go 7 mph.”

WOUNDED ANIMAL

No program has been in the news more this summer than USC.

Because of improper benefits given to 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush, the university’s football program suffered a two-year postseason ban, lost 30 scholarships and had to forfeit 14 wins as punishment handed down by the NCAA.

Moreover, earlier this week, officials of the Tennessee Titans filed a lawsuit against USC for the way Trojans coach Lane Kiffin recruited Kennedy Pola to be his offensive coordinator.

Kiffin faced questions – on those issues and more – as he sat hunched on the podium in his sunglasses.

“To get back on the field right now, with everything that’s been going on, is the best time of year for us,” Kiffin said. “Think about it this way, people expect USC to start crumbling right now with the sanctions and everything going on. Over the last couple weeks, for all the Trojans to come back … it speaks volumes of USC and the USC family.”

EXTRA POINTS

Sarkisian spoke Thursday about tight end Kavario Middleton’s dismissal last week from the team because of repeated failed drug tests. “You hate to get into a situation where you feel like you potentially can be viewed as giving up on somebody. But for the good of our football program, for the other 104 guys on our team, and our coaching staff, it was the right thing to do,” Sarkisian said. … The career of UW linebacker Alvin Logan (knee) is over because of ongoing injury issues, Sarkisian said. … Incoming WSU defensive end Xavier Cooper, from Wilson High School, will likely grayshirt, and enroll in January. … Oregon coach Chip Kelly was asked about the Ducks being No. 1 in a preseason media poll. He was less than thrilled. “Last year you picked us third and Arizona eighth. We were first and (Arizona second). I learned from last year’s poll, and am not putting a lot of stock into it,” Kelly said. … The always-alert Sarkisian had the funniest quip when he took the podium and saw refreshments waiting for him. “Got us purple Gatorade,” he said. “I like that.”

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports

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