The Huskies’ quarterback had his first 300-yard game since 2011 and set the UW career record for TD passes in Saturday’s opener. Then he got a to-do list from the Seahawks’ equally driven, Pro Bowl QB.
By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE – Keith Price and Russell Wilson.
Now that’s a pairing that is going places.
Wilson was among the Seattle greats who were in Husky Stadium for its reopening Saturday night. The list of attendees included Don James, Napoleon Kaufman, Mark Brunell and Jim Lambright.
Wilson, the Seahawks’ rookie Pro Bowl phenomenon in 2011, wasn’t there specifically to see the unveiling of UW’s new, $280 million palace. And he certainly wasn’t there to see Boise State.
The Seahawks’ Pro Bowl quarterback was there to see his pal as he set UW’s career record with his 55th and 56th touchdown passes as a Husky.
"We’re good friends, man. Russell is a great guy, a great mentor," Price said Monday following the Huskies’ first practice since Saturday’s resounding victory.
Even though Price completed 23 of 31 throws for his first 300-yard passing game since the 2011 Alamo Bowl, even though Price was a large reason Washington gave Boise State its worst beating in eight seasons and in doing so raised eyebrows around the country, Wilson had some advice for his fellow Seattle QB.
“He sent me this long text — and said that I need to do better," Price said with a chuckle.
"So he’s awesome, man."
Specifically Price said Wilson, an instant Seahawks’ star last season as a rookie out of Wisconsin and North Carolina State, told him three things to improve:
*Keep his eyes down the field longer in plays and while avoiding a pass rush
*Don’t take sacks
*Slide after scrambling for gains
That may sound like a pro keeping a college senior in check. That may also sound like nitpicking a guy who just had his best game in 20 months.
But as Price himself said Monday, as the Huskies began looking through this early bye week to their next test Sept. 14 against Illinois at Chicago’s Soldier Field: “One game doesn’t define us. One game doesn’t define me. I understand that I’m supposed to perform like that from now on.
"And I take that challenge.”
Price’s first pass of the season was intercepted when he underthrew Kasen Williams on the sideline. Boise State had two defenders in the zone through which the quarterback was trying to thread that throw. But then Price completed nine of his next 10 throws, and 20 of his next 26 for two touchdowns through three quarters to make it a 24-6 game.
The only time Price was sacked Saturday came when he held onto the ball too long. That doomed the final drive of a first half in which the Huskies drove three times inside Boise State’s 13 yet had just a 10-3 lead.
That play caught Wilson’s attention.
"It was on me," Price said. "I should have thrown that ball away."
Price did adhere to Wilson’s first point of emphasis on the Husky’s best play on Saturday. Facing an all-out blitz late in the third quarter, Price pump faked a charging Bronco out of his cleats. That allowed his to roll left, buying extra time to look to his secondary option in the back of the end zone. That’s when third-string tight end Joshua Perkins broke free near the back line for his first career catch, an 18-yard touchdown that effectively sealed the win.
Yet Price even found fault with that exquisite play. He said Monday he should have fired right away to a “hot” receiver immediately upon seeing the blitz.
Coach Steve Sarkisian wasn’t quibbling about that Monday.
"That was one of the cooler plays" of the opener, Sarkisian said of the Price-to-Perkins improv TD.
The Huskies’ fifth-year coach said it reminded him of the pump fake Price put on Baylor while scrambling and then hitting Jermaine Kearse — now Wilson’s target for the Seahawks — for an 80-yard touchdown.
"It was just him going back to just playing football, which is what we wanted to get into," Sarkisian said of Price in 2013 versus his 2012. "Because when he does that, he’s pretty good."
Pretty darn good, in fact.
But not good enough for Price. Or for his fellow Seattle quarterback and mentor.
"He told me not to get too high," Price said of Wilson, who begins his Seahawks season this weekend at Carolina.
Price said he and Wilson met “right when first came to the Seattle Seahawks” in the spring of 2012.
"He actually called me up; I guess Jermaine gave him my number," Price said. "And we hit it off.
"I mean, he’s a good buddy of mine."
And a hard-driving one, at that.
SEFERIAN-JENKINS BACK WITH STARTERS
Austin Seferian-Jenkins practiced with the first-team offense Monday morning for the first time in weeks. He had surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago on a broken right pinkie finger then sat out the opener because of internal team discipline.
Sarkisian said his preseason All-America tight end was noticeably winded and not in the top condition of the starting offense and defense. Those units have been going ultra fast with UW’s new, no-huddle offense each practice day since March.
“(With) Austin you could see a noticeable difference in the other 10 (offensive) guys that have been practicing as opposed to where he was at because he hasn’t been doing it every day.
"It speaks volumes to doing it every, single day, and not being unique to one game week but doing it every day," Sarkisian said of the offense that ran a whopping 52 plays in its 15:55 of possession during the first half.
"Austin will get right back to it, and he’ll be in shape and ready to go a week from Saturday.”
INSIDE THE DAWGS: In a rarity, Sarkisian had the Huskies in helmets and shoulder pads Monday morning. Usually, first practices following games are in helmet and no pads. "That’s the schedule that we set, and we are supposed to go out and perform like (Saturday),” Price said. “I mean, it was a good win, but now we are back on the horse.” … How well-conditioned was the UW defense Saturday night? Boise State ran 88 plays, yet had its lowest point total since 1997. It averaged just 3.9 yards per play — Washington averaged 7.0 — and Sarkisian and his staff counted just two of those 88 Broncos plays as “explosive” gains of more than 15 yards. … The Huskies will treat this as a pseudo game week. Practices Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will focus on the game plan for Illinois. The players will be off Friday, Saturday and Sunday then return to repeat the same practice and game-planning week next week. They leave for Chicago following practice on Thursday, Sept. 12. … Sarkisian said the team came out of Saturday the healthiest of any UW team he’s led through five openers. That doesn’t necessarily mean offensive lineman Erik Kohler will be ready for Illinois, though. The two-year starter has been out since June with a left-foot injury. Sarkisian isn’t sure if Kohler will be able to get back on the field during this bye week or next week. And even if he can it will be a bit until the big man can get into game condition for this new, hyper-speed offense.