By Christian Caple The News Tribune
SAN FRANCISCO — As Washington’s Friday matchup against Brigham Young in the Fight Hunger Bowl draws nearer, speculation about the future of UW interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo is increasing.
And, as expected, the former UW quarterback is having none of it.
Tuiasosopo said during Monday’s media availability at AT&T Park that he’s “in the same place” in talks with new coach Chris Petersen as he was the last time he was asked, and that his sole focus is Friday’s game.
“I’m going to finish this game and then decide what’s going to be in my future here in the next probably week or two,” Tuiasosopo said.
Reports last week indicated that Petersen plans to bring Jonathan Smith with him to UW. Smith coached quarterbacks under Petersen at Boise State. That was Tuiasosopo’s job this season at UW before coach Steve Sarkisian left for USC, so many are wondering if Tuiasosopo might follow Sarkisian to Los Angeles.
Asked whether he’s been offered a job on Petersen’s staff, Tuiasosopo said: “Whatever’s going to happen will happen. My focus right now it just to get this game done and do it the right way. Soon enough.”
Lupoi in San Francisco
Despite on ongoing investigation into whether he committed an NCAA violation by allegedly paying for a recruit’s tutoring expenses, UW defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi is in San Francisco with the team and is expected to coach in the bowl game.
“The proper officials are investigating at our school,” Tuiasosopo said. “Until something comes out officially, for sure, then he’s still coaching this week, until we hear otherwise.”
Lupoi, in a story published last week by the Los Angeles Times, is accused of paying $4,500 to help pay for tutoring expenses and online classes for former UW recruit Andrew Basham of Lynnwood, Wash.
Tuiasosopo said he doesn’t think it’s a distraction for UW’s players.
“I think just because it’s not right in front of them, they don’t see that. They don’t feel it,” Tuiasosopo said. “They may read about it in the paper. I really think they set their focus on preparing for this game, and with Coach Sark leaving, I don’t know if there would be anything bigger than that for them to really focus on.
UW running back Bishop Sankey, a junior, told reporters Monday that he received a third-round grade from the NFL college advisory committee. Fox Sports reported that tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins received a second-round grade. … Gary Cavalli, executive director of the Fight Hunger Bowl, said a near-capacity crowd is expected for Friday’s game. AT&T Park seats 38,184. … For the first time in FBS bowl history, two members of the officiating crew will be female. Sarah Thomas (Pascagoula, Miss.) will serve as the line judge, and Maia Chaka (Virginia Beach, Va.) will be head linesman on the Conference USA crew.