Under normal circumstances, veteran Washington offensive-line coach Dan Cozzetto exudes a fiery, look-at-me-at-your-own-risk temperament.
This week, anyone within the same Zip code is bound to feel the wrath of Cozzetto, who is particularly heated after UW’s 53-24 loss at Arizona State on Saturday.
“That was an abomination. That was embarrassing. It made me sick,” Cozzetto said after practice Wednesday. “It was one of the worst performances of one of my offensive fronts I’ve had in a long time.”
The Huskies managed minus-5 yards rushing and allowed seven sacks against the Sun Devils.
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“If we can’t protect that quarterback, then we’re in trouble,” Cozzetto said. “It’s got to start right here with us. It starts with me. And we have to get it done to where we get back to playing our brand of football. We have to run the football, but we’ve got to be able to have a quarterback confident enough that will step back there and throw it — and right now he’s not. And I wouldn’t be, either.
“The fact of the matter is, it’s up front where it starts. Let’s not fool ourselves, don’t cover it, don’t sugarcoat it. Get it done.”
Starting left guard Dexter Charles did not make the trip to Tempe while nursing a shoulder injury. He’s doubtful for UW’s home game Saturday against California (8 p.m., Fox Sports 1). Junior Erik Kohler, out for more than a year with multiple injuries, made his first start of the season in Charles’ place against ASU.
“It’s my job to get it fixed, and we’re going to get it fixed,” Cozzetto said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with substitutions or who is playing or not playing. That’s an excuse.”
Senior quarterback Keith Price said several UW linemen approached him this week and apologized. Price, quick to protect the guys who are supposed to protect him, said that wasn’t necessary.
“It’s not all on them. It’s on all of us,” Price said.
Coach Steve Sarkisian also blamed himself earlier this week for abandoning the running game against ASU. Bishop Sankey, who entered the game leading the nation in rushing average, was held to 22 yards on 13 carries.
“To stand in front of you guys and look at the stat sheet and (see) he has 13 carries in a ballgame, a critical ballgame in the season — that’s not enough,” Sarkisian said.
Sarkisian said he’ll make a decision on the Huskies’ starting quarterback after practice Thursday morning.
Price was limited again at practice Wednesday, Sarkisian said, as the senior quarterback continues to rehab his injured right thumb. If Price is unable to play, Sarkisian said he wouldn’t hesitate to call on Cyler Miles for the redshirt freshman’s first start against California.
“I’ll be really comfortable if Cyler plays,” Sarkisian said, “and we won’t be limited at all.”
Price said he has been rehabbing his thumb “relentlessly” this week. Asked if he planned to start Saturday, Price said: “I’m preparing, I’m preparing. I’m not sure. It depends on Coach Sark and how he feels, but I’m preparing myself as if I’m starting.”
Price is also mentoring Miles. The two spent about a half-hour Tuesday going over specific cut-ups of Cal film as Miles continues to learn how to dissect a defense.
“He’s still a young guy, so a lot of things are confusing to him,” Price said. “So if he (has) any questions, he knows he can ask me. … He’s doing an awesome job of preparing.”
Miles, a four-star recruit out of Centennial, Colo., has appeared in three games this season in mop-up duty.
“I try to prepare the same every week, no matter what the outlook is,” Miles said. “I just do what I have to do every day, and whatever happens, happens on Saturday.”
• Cal announced that its players will wear a gold decal on their helmets with “DJ” in purple letters on Saturday night as a tribute to legendary UW coach Don James, who died Sunday.
|Washington’s offensive line has had problems protecting its quarterback the last three games.|
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @a_jude