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December 4, 2008

Sarkisian says 'nothing is in writing'

USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was sitting in his office watching film Thursday night, when a USC team spokesperson told him that there was a report on ESPN that had Sarkisian being named head coach at Washington.

Sarkisian flipped on his television and saw his face on the screen.

"Maybe they know more than I know. Maybe that will be good news. I don't know," he said. "Contact has been made. I'm honored to be a candidate. As of right now, the focus with where I'm at is on this game with UCLA this Saturday…

"That's ESPN. That's not Washington; that's not me."

Sarkisian said that he's spoken to Washington about their vacancy at head coach as recently as Wednesday, but has not been offered the job.

"I have interviewed with Washington. They've interviewed a lot of people," he said. "I'm one of some number of candidates, which I'm honored to be. Nothing has been finalized in any way, shape, or form.

"There's been some communication and some facets, but nothing has been put down in writing one way or the other. As far as I am concerned, I'm a candidate for the job, and I'm honored to be one. I think it's a great job. It's one that's a great program in the PAC-10 and in the country. As of right now, Thursday night, my focus is on winning a PAC-10 championship on Saturday."

Sarkisian said the talks with Washington have gone well.

"We're learning each other. There are a lot of issues you have to work through to get to this point," Sarkisian said. "I've always been extremely patient when it comes to head coaching opportunities. I've been one to really address every situation separately and to see where they're at."

Sarkisian, once a candidate for the Oakland Raiders head coaching job, said he's been quiet about this opportunity because of USC's game with UCLA Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

"My focus is on the game Saturday and not getting caught up in this conversation for the next 48 hours. The next 48 hours need to be about beating UCLA," he said. "…My focus has been on our game, on UCLA and our kids, getting them ready to perform and play well. That's how I've always wanted it to be.

"When we've had windows with time off, that's when the conversations have occurred. It has not taken away from our preparation as a team or as a staff."

Sarkisian said he would not accept any job before the Trojans face the Bruins Saturday.

USC head coach Pete Carroll is aware of the situation.

"He understands the situation," Sarkisian said. "We're fine. We're on the same page."

Sarkisian said he doesn't think the report will affect his players.

"We'll clear the air," he said.

Still, as news of the report circulated around Heritage Hall, players reacted.

"You guys know how I feel," quarterback Mark Sanchez said. "It's just weird."


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