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Huskies will offer job to Sarkisian

December 05, 2008|Gary Klein | Klein is a Times staff writer.

USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will be offered the job as Washington's head coach, a source with knowledge of the situation said Thursday.

Sarkisian, 34, interviewed for the job over Thanksgiving. He said he spoke to Washington officials Wednesday but had not been offered the job.

"I'm one of some number of candidates, which I'm honored to be, but nothing has been finalized in any way shape or form," Sarkisian said.

The source, who declined to speak on the record because the offer had not been formally made, did not give a timetable for the job offer.

Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach and Fresno State Coach Pat Hill also were among those who interviewed, but they pulled their names from consideration Thursday.

Washington fired Tyrone Willingham, effective at the end of the season, on Oct. 27 in the midst of what has been a winless campaign heading into Saturday's finale against California. ESPN reported Thursday night that Sarkisian would be named the Huskies' coach.

Scott Woodward, Washington's athletic director, would neither confirm nor deny the report, according to the Seattle Times website.

Sarkisian said he was focusing on the fifth-ranked Trojans' game against UCLA on Saturday at the Rose Bowl. He said he would not consider an offer until after the game.

"My goal is to go out and for our kids to go out and play really well and win that ballgame," he said.

Sarkisian's agent, Gary Uberstine, could not be reached for comment.

Sarkisian, who was quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2004, turned down the chance to coach that NFL team in 2007. That job went to then co-offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who was fired this season and was hired Monday as coach at the University of Tennessee.

USC Coach Pete Carroll declined to comment on Sarkisian's situation and would not discuss possible replacements.

Former Trojans quarterbacks coach Carl Smith, who was most recently the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive coordinator, attended Saturday's game against Notre Dame and attended practices this week.

"He was coming out for some personal stuff and I got him to come by and hang with us," Carroll said. "He's been with us before, and he's a great friend and all of that.

"I called him a month ago about coming out here and just being around."

Several players, when informed of the ESPN report, said they would congratulate Sarkisian if it proved true.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez said, "I'll worry about it next week."

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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