Clearing out the notebook. …
— I thought the most interesting quote of the night was the one from Steve Sarkisian in which he said that the result of the game validated “that it’s not going to take us very long.” He’s said that before, though he has also understandably hedged his bets by saying he won’t put a timetable on the resurrection. But he’s now seen the team for 29 fall practices and one game and everything he’s seen, he said, has left him with the firm belief that the turnaround is coming soon.
Like just about everything about Sarkisian, that’s a stark contrast from his predecessor. After the Huskies had been blasted at home by Cal, 56-17, in the second game of the Tyrone Willingham era, Willingham volunteered quickly that “my boss (then UW AD Todd Turner) instructed me that it would be difficult. He did not tell me we would win 10 games when I came in here. I understood that and we are prepared to keep this going.”
At the time, it seemed like Willingham just stating the truth. In retrospect, it’s easy to see that as a moment when he began to lose some people, in part for using the buffer of Turner to state his own apparent feeling that the team didn’t have any talent and no one should expect wins anytime soon. Two coaches, two different messages.
— Sarkisian and staff have preached that jobs will remain open throughout the season and players who prove worthy of playing will get their shot. But Saturday night there was less rotating at some spots than we might have thought. As far as I could tell, the OL and LBs stayed the same the entire night. There was more movement on the DL and in the secondary, but some of that was injury-related and some due to schemes. But it didn’t go all that deep — David Batts, for instance, didn’t get any action.
The rotations at RB and WR were also shallower than expected — essentially just two TBs played other than one series for Willie Griffin, and just five WRs other than a couple plays for Cody Bruns.
Those seem certain to expand as the season wears on and some of the younger guys get more prepared to play. But for now, it seems to indicate who the coaches have confidence in — and also that the players are conditioned enough to handle it, especially the offensive guys who were on the field for 83 plays, the most since the 2007 Apple Cup.
— One reason UW stayed in the game is that the Huskies were 11-19 on third downs. Jake Locker had his hand in 10 of them, converting seven on passes (he was 8-10 on third downs for 127 yards, one completion falling just short of the needed yardage) and getting three others on the ground. He also converted a fourth-down on the ground.
— I neglected to get this out there last night, but Nick Wood and Craig Noble have each officially switched to the offensive line — each was listed as an OL on the flip card for last night’s game. The moves are obviously made to add depth on the O-line, which has had a few injuries, and create possibly opportunity for two guys who weren’t on the two-deep on the D-line. So if I’m counting right, that gives UW 14 scholarship O-linemen now. Both spent some time working with the OL last week in practice.
UPDATED — Just was watching the TV replay of the game and noticed that Andru Pulu was on the field for the final kickoff return. So that’s a fifth true frosh who played, joining Bronson, Tokolahi, Johnson and Trufant.
All for now.
Clearing out the notebook. …
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