Originally published Monday, September 19, 2011 at 8:02 PM

Washington coach Steve Sarkisian: "I've got to show more composure"

Washington coach Steve Sarkisian still doesn't like three calls that went against Huskies in loss at Nebraska but says "my emotions got the best of me."

Seattle Times staff reporter


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Two days later, Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian had no better idea of what happened on a few controversial calls that went against the Huskies in their loss Saturday at Nebraska.

"Nope," he said simply, when asked if he'd received any further explanation.

What he did know, however, is that the next time something similar happens, he'll react a little differently.

The third-quarter "meltdown" that Sarkisian said cost the Huskies in their 51-38 defeat began at the top, and he promised that won't happen again.

"I am a passionate guy," he said. "I want to do everything I can for our kids to give them the best chance to win. And I felt like there was a point there that maybe my emotions got the best of me because I didn't feel like it was right. But I've got to show more composure, if I want our kids to show more composure."

The emotions came to a head early in the third quarter when Desmond Trufant was called for interfering with a Nebraska punt returner who had called a fair catch, according to officials.

It was the third call UW coaches thought was not correct, and when they let officials know about their displeasure, they got another flag for an additional five yards for what was delicately termed "delay of game" on the official play-by-play.

Many viewers assumed the call was on UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt. But Sarkisian said Monday, "That's not what he was doing. He was bringing his defense up. ... I was challenging the call ... Vehemently."

He said it was as upset as he had ever been for an extended period of time in his coaching career. His mood didn't improve when he watched the film and said that in his opinion, none of the calls made by the Big Ten officiating crew seemed any more valid. There was also an excessive celebration call against UW following Jermaine Kearse's first touchdown and punt returner interference on Cort Dennison wiping out a potential Huskies fumble recovery.

"We talked to the Pac-12, gave our official complaints on what we thought should have been, and we'll move forward," Sarkisian said. "That's all we can do."

The two interference calls helped key a 27-0 run by Nebraska from the late second quarter to the early fourth.

Price: left knee is

"40 or 50" percent

Quarterback Keith Price took the usual snaps with the first-team offense in practice Monday despite having a left knee that he described as being "40 or 50" percent after it was sprained Saturday. He had already been playing with a sprained right knee, that he said now is close to being healed. Sarkisian said the brace Price had been wearing on his right knee will be going on his left.

Price said he was injured when he was trying to get down and "then I heard something pop in my knee. I just slid."

But Price said he anticipates recovering rapidly during the week and that he'll be fine for Saturday's game against California.

He also said he wanted to continue to play against Nebraska despite noticeably limping near the end.

"They'd probably have to cut my legs off," he said of what it would take to get him out of the game.

Sarkisian: defense will improve

Holt has come under criticism with the UW defense having allowed an average of 36.7 points.

Sarkisian on Monday said he has faith Holt will turn the unit around.

"I trust Nick Holt," Sarkisian said. "I believe in Nick Holt. I believe in our defensive staff. They are tremendous coaches. I've seen them coach for years. And we will get better."

Asked what he thinks has ailed the defense, Sarkisian said the good field position Nebraska often had Saturday was one factor.

He also said, "I think our players need to believe in our calls better. When we are calling pressures, you need to go. This is the third straight week where we have players unblocked against protections and we are not hitting the quarterback. So we've got to coach that aspect better, we've got to do it better.

"Three, we need to listen to the coaching points better. When we remind you that one of the first two plays is going to be a play-action pass and they are going to try and throw it over our head, it's not OK to get beat deep. That's not OK. So we've got to coach that better."


• The Oct. 1 game at Utah will kick off at 4 p.m. Seattle time and will be broadcast on ROOT Sports.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or

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