Steve Sarkisian talking slightly more USC than other coaches are

Stephen Dunn

The Washington head coach says he has "great respect for USC", but maintains his focus is with the Huskies.

Since Lane Kiffin's dismissal from USC, rumors have been flying about the former head coach's possible replacement in Los Angeles. One of the favorites for the vacancy has been Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian, who spoke about the open job Tuesday, via The News Tribune's Christian Caple.

"And I have never once, and I will never comment on hypothetical scenarios," Sarkisian said. "I know that's the world a lot of us in this room live in, and that's your job to do and I understand that. But I've never done that in the four and a half years that I've been here, and I won't do that. I have great respect for USC and the rich history and tradition that they have, but I'm proud to be the head football coach of the 15th-ranked team in America right now, and all the hard work that we put into this program for the last five years to get to this point, to be in an awesome match-up on national television Saturday night against a national championship contender in Stanford, and that's where my focus is."

While that may seem to be dodging the question, Sarkisian's comments are a lot more ... on-topic than some of the other proposed candidates. Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin responded to each USC question by talking about the Commodores' win over UAB and upcoming matchup against Missouri, Oregon State head coach Mike Riley plainly denied interest while Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin took it as a compliment, and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and Stanford head coach David Shaw seemed to think the idea that they could take over at USC was ludicrous.

Sarkisian differs from those other coaches when he talks about the respect he has for USC "and the rich history and tradition that they have," but he also differs from those other coaches in that he has ties to the program. Born in California, he had two separate stints as USC's quarterback coach before two years as their offensive coordinator from 2007-08. He took over at Washington in 2009, and has a 30-25 record with the school.

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