Price had two interceptions and lost a fumble against Arizona and now has 10 turnovers in the past three games.
TUCSON, Ariz. — It might have struck some Washington fans odd that quarterback Keith Price stayed in UW’s 52-17 loss to Arizona to the bitter end.
But UW coach Steve Sarkisian explained the move was done in part to try to let Price continue to work through some of the issues that have bedeviled him.
After another tough night — Price had two interceptions and lost a fumble and now has 10 turnovers in the past three games — Sarkisian spoke openly of Price having lost some trust and confidence in himself and the team.
“The way I’ve seen him before on game days and what it looked like tonight, he’s got some doubt in his mind right now, and it’s hard to play quarterback when you have doubt in your mind,” Sarkisian said.
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Price didn’t argue that assessment, saying Sarkisian was imploring him during the game to “trust what I see” and let plays develop.
Price also admitted of Arizona’s pressure that “I think that did get to me. There were a couple of times I got out of the pocket when I had time to deliver the ball. I just have to trust what I see and trust my preparation. Man, I prepare so hard, and it’s just unfortunate. …
“One of things coach Sark said was, ‘I will never put you in a position to make a bad play.’ I thought I’d seen something I didn’t and he told me you can’t be playing against ghosts and just stick to your rules, stick to your reads and just play football. … I’ve got to trust in him and trust in the system that it’s going to work for me. There were a couple of times where I didn’t truly believe.”
Sarkisian said all of that led into his decision to keep Price in the game throughout.
“I just feel like there is something to be said about battling and competing,” Sarkisian said. “And sometimes that’s some of the best ways to fight your way through the funk that you are in and I felt like to be fair to his teammates and to him, to have him out there battling and competing with him for the entire 60 minutes was important.”
Price said he agreed with the decision and that it was important to “keep playing through when it’s ugly. Obviously it’s embarrassing, but we finished, and that’s one of our mottos on the team is to finish the game.”
Price said he was fine physically after the game.
Pass defense breakdowns
What had been a UW strength the first six games — the team’s pass defense — broke down against Arizona as the Wildcats had three touchdown passes in the first half, a couple coming to wide-open receivers.
“We just didn’t play good,” said cornerback Desmond Trufant. “We played terrible. That’s what I can say to that. We can’t play like that if we want to compete at a high level.”
Asked if Arizona’s scheme was an issue, Trufant said, “I don’t think that was the problem. They just played better than us.”
Sarkisian noted that some of the plays were man-coverage situations and said the breakdowns typified a night when he thought the entire team played without much confidence.
“We got beat one-on-one and that’s some of the stuff I’m talking about, because I think we are capable of covering those guys but we have to believe that we are covering them,” Sarkisian said.
No injury report for now
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott attended the game and said the conference for now will not pursue a standardized injury-report policy.
Conference athletic directors debated the issue at meetings earlier this month but decided it didn’t make sense to do it when few other conferences do so. Scott said he may try to get together with commissioners of other conferences in the offseason to see if a national policy could be agreed upon.
Riva back at right tackle for Huskies
Washington’s beleaguered offensive line got a boost with the return of Ben Riva to right tackle.
The sophomore from O’Dea High School earned a starting role early in spring and held it throughout fall camp and into the opener against San Diego State.
But he suffered a broken forearm in the second quarter against the Aztecs and had not played until Washington’s game at Arizona.
With Riva out, UW had started three different players at right tackle in the past five games, with sophomore James Atoe starting the past three.
With Riva back, the Huskies moved Atoe to right guard in place of true freshman Shane Brostek, who started the past three games at that spot.
The other positions on the line remained as they had the previous four games — Drew Schaefer at center, Dexter Charles at left guard and Micah Hatchie at left tackle.
Famous names dot Arizona roster
Arizona’s roster includes a some famous namesakes — cornerback Jonathan McKnight and freshman receiver Trey Griffey.
McKnight is the younger brother of former USC and current New York Jets running back Joe McKnight and entered the game leading the Wildcats with five interceptions.
Griffey is the son of former Mariner Ken Griffey Jr. Trey Griffey, who played at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Fla., is redshirting this season.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org