By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
SEATTLE — A University of Washington football program that typically lets its action speak louder than words has perked a few ears leading up to this week’s game at USC.
Word out of Los Angeles is that the Trojans have made bulletin-board material out of a comment Huskies defensive coordinator Nick Holt said when responding to The Herald’s question Saturday night about facing the USC offense.
“I’d rather play USC than Oregon, quite honestly,” Holt said late Saturday night, shortly after the Huskies lost 34-17 to Oregon.
Then on Monday, head coach Steve Sarkisian undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows on a national level when he was asked about USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
“If I’m an NFL head coach I’d pick Matt Barkley over Andrew Luck,” the Huskies’ coach said Monday afternoon, comparing Barkley to the Stanford quarterback and probable No. 1 overall pick in the April NFL draft. “I think (Barkley) is playing at that high a level.”
Sarkisian, who helped recruit Barkley to USC, didn’t back down when a reporter tried to question the remark.
“I didn’t stutter,” Sarkisian said.
As far as Holt’s comments go, Sarkisian stood by his defensive coordinator and said his remark was being taken out of context.
“I think you could ask every defensive coordinator in our conference the same question and they’d tell you the same thing: Oregon is hard to prepare for because of how unique they are,” Sarkisian said when asked about Holt’s comment during his Monday press conference. “That doesn’t mean that SC is not really good; I think they are a tremendous football team, and I think Nick would agree with that.
“The comment was about the preparation of an offensive style, and as we’ve all seen it now for years since Chip (Kelly) has been at Oregon, they are hard to prepare for. The speed and the tempo in which they play at, it’s difficult.”
Sarkisian didn’t seem to mind the notion that Holt’s comment had become bulletin-board material.
“If that quote makes SC play better, than it makes them play better,” he said. “I don’t know. We don’t motivate that way here.”