Marques Tuiasosopo joins Huskies as assistant strength coach
Former quarterback won't be able to help with football-specific drills.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Marques Tuiasosopo has a new full-time job with the University of Washington athletic department, though he hopes everyone involved understands if he hopes that it's not necessarily permanent.
When UW opened fall practice Monday at Husky Stadium, the legendary quarterback who led the Huskies to the 2001 Rose Bowl victory over Purdue, was back on the field, working as an assistant strength coach. He can't be involved with football-specific drills because of NCAA coaching limitations but he can help out with calisthenics and other conditioning drills.
The 30-year-old Tuiasosopo has been trying to latch on with an NFL team after not being re-signed by the Raiders, with whom he spent last season. Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian was Oakland's quarterback coach in 2004 when Tuiasosopo played for the Raiders.
And if an NFL team comes calling, Tuiasosopo says he will leave in a heartbeat. But until then, he's happy working at UW.
"I would still love to play, and that's my first thought," said Tuiasosopo, who has spent eight seasons in the NFL — seven with the Raiders and one with the Jets. "And if something were to open up, that's what I want to do. I've still got the bug. But being here is great. I can stay in shape, keep my mind sharp. I'm around football every day. But it also gives me a chance to see what this is all about and if this is something [to do] in the future."
Tuiasosopo relocated to the Seattle area from Oakland this summer and has been working out at UW to prepare for a hoped-for call from the NFL. Along the way, he had some conversations with Sarkisian, who eventually suggested the strength coach job as an option.
"We have a great strength staff," Tuiasosopo said. "Whatever they need me to do I am willing to do. This is day one, so I'm still learning."
Sarkisian also noted that Tuiasosopo can't be involved in on-field coaching but said that "he can be encouragement. He's a presence, a great motivator. He's been a championship player at this level, at this program, so to get him around our guys in the weight room and conditioning work is exciting."
Sark happy with first day
Sarkisian had hoped that his team could simply pick up in the first fall practice where it left off last spring and not show any regression, and he felt it did just that during a workout that lasted about 2 ½ hours.
"It was a lot better than our day one in spring, I can say that, just from an execution standpoint on both sides of the ball," he said. "We were playing faster, and you can tell we studied and prepared all offseason. Was it perfect? No, But we did things really well that jumped out at me."
In particular, Sarkisian said all three of the team's scholarship QBs — Jake Locker, Ronnie Fouch and freshman Keith Price — had good days. And he also liked the play of three of the team's JC transfers — tight end Dorson Boyce, safety David Batts and cornerback Dominique Gaisie.
"I feel way more comfortable," said redshirt freshman running back Chris Polk. "I actually believe the plays we call, the schemes we do, I actually believe they are going to work. Last year, I was guessing like 'man this is not going to work so I'm just going to try to do my own thing.' That's something I never did before. But now it's like what they are telling us, if we do it correctly it will work. ... We actually believe in what we are doing now."
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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