The Huskies didn’t practice Monday, instead using the time to “regroup,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said two days after a 53-24 defeat at Arizona State.
The defeat was UW’s third in a row, making this “a challenging, challenging time for us.” The Huskies (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) have had a losing streak of at least three games in every season since 2004.
“Fortunately, but unfortunately, we’ve been here before,” Sarkisian said during his Monday news conference. “And we’ve always responded. We’ve always bounced back. And we’ll do it again. I don’t have a shadow of doubt that our guys are going to come out and play a great football game Saturday night.
“What I do know ... is that a year from now today, it’ll be a different press conference. This won’t happen again.”
Uncertainty remains about UW senior quarterback Keith Price heading into the game Saturday against California (1-6, 0-4). Price, who initially injured his right thumb Oct.5 against Stanford, reinjured it in a new spot and had to leave the Arizona State game early in the fourth quarter.
“He’s sore. His thumb is swollen,” Sarkisian said. “But I know Keith Price is a tough guy, he’s a fighter. … He’s going to prepare himself mentally, emotionally and physically to be ready to play. We’ll have to figure out if that’s good enough.”
Before the Stanford game, Price ranked second in the Pac-12, and 12th in the nation, with a passer rating of 173.6. In the past three games, defeats against Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State, Price had five touchdown passes and two interceptions. His passer rating has dipped to 146.2, seventh in the Pac-12, and his completion percentage has dropped from 72.3 to 64.5.
“It’s easy to look at the one guy who’s holding the ball every snap,” Sarkisian said, “but as a team we just didn’t play as good (against ASU).”
Redshirt freshman Cyler Miles finished the game at quarterback, his third appearance in mop-up duty. Even with Price injured and struggling, Sarkisian said he hadn’t considering going with Miles earlier in the game.
“I have belief in (Price),” Sarkisian said. “I have been in some knock-down, drag-out games where I’ve seen that guy get knocked down and get up and fight and compete. … I wanted to give him his chance to fight and compete in a game in a tough environment (that) we knew would be a tough one, and unfortunately it didn’t work out.”
Sarkisian said the injured thumb has affected Price’s grip. An X-ray taken during the ASU game revealed no break, Price said Saturday night.
“He’s an extremely accurate passer — one of the more accurate guys I’ve been around. And when he misses sometimes the way he’s missed the past couple of weeks, to me that’s a direct result of the thumb not being where it needs to be,” Sarkisian said. “So I’m going to have to assess that this week to make sure that he’s capable of making the throws that he’s been capable of making these last five years.”