Coach Steve Sarkisian, among the most-followed college football coaches on Twitter, explains his views on social media and how players use it; OL Erik Kohler returns to practice.
By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE – When it comes to head college football coaches, Steve Sarkisian is extremely social.
Yes, the Huskies’ 39-year-old leader is prominent on Twitter — to the tune of 49,504 followers (and counting) of @coachsark as of noon Thursday. Back in May, about 3,000 followers ago, Sarkisian had the seventh-largest Twitter following among all college football coaches according to this compilation by the Tulsa World newspaper: http://www.tulsaworld.com/blogs/post.aspx/College_football_coaches_by_number_of_Twitter_followers/11-20166.
The Huskies’ coach also has a Facebook page. He’s on Tumblr (coachsark).
And, yes, unlike some coaches, he does his own Tweets and postings.
Sarkisian’s has just one rule for his players and social media: “We don’t talk about Husky football. We don’t talk about the things within our organization.
"But if they want to … post the things that they have going on in their lives, hey, that’s what life is today," the coach said.
Keith Price has more than 8,800 followers on his Twitter account (@KeithPrice17), but he has posted fewer than 1,000 tweets. Must have something to do with all the studying of school books and defenses the quarterback does in his day jobs.
Bishop Sankey (@_GotTheJuiceNow) has 3,700-plus followers — and a new background picture of the nation’s No. 2 rusher blowing past Illinois earlier this month. Sankey is a more prolific poster, with almost 8,500 tweets.
"The majority of our players, if not all of them, have Twitter and Facebook accounts. And I am ‘friends’ with a majority of them," Sarkisian said following this morning’s practice for Saturday’s Pac-12 opener against Arizona. "And I encourage them to be ‘friends’ with me. If you don’t want to be ‘friends’ with me then you are probably putting stuff on there that your wouldn’t want me or your mom to see."
The coach says if they don’t “befriend me” on social media then he immediately wonders what’s going on.
"Why would you not want to be my ‘friend’?" Sarkisian said with a smile. "I’m a relatively cool guy. Every once in a while."
Sarkisian says he wants his players to embrace social media, to prepare them for life after UW.
"I try to educate these guys on real-world scenarios so that when they walk out of here they can operate in the world and be competitive in the world," he said. "If I have to shelter them now, then what good am I doing them when they have to move on in the real world?"
INSIDE THE DAWGS: Two-year starting offensive lineman Erik Kohler has practiced this week for the first time since spring ball in April, before he injured his foot in June. He had been in a walking boot. Sarkisian said the candidate in March to be UW’s starting center is progressing, but for now he is nowhere near in the game condition he needs to be to keep pace with the Huskies’ fast, no-huddle offense. When he returns the 6-foot-4, 294-pound Kohler will add valuable depth with experience starting at both guard and tackle.