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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 12, 2009 at 6:58 PM

Huskies get needed validation

No doubt there are all sorts of nits to pick after this one, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
But as Husky coach Steve Sarkisian said later: “That’s the beauty of winning, knowing that and realizing there is always room for improvement for all of us at every position.”
A lot better than trying to find the bright side of yet another loss.
The mood was understandably euphoric, though also for some guys understated with the knowledge that much bigger tests await.
But especially for the guys who had been around a while, they took some time to soak it in.
Safety Nate Williams, remembering how so many games have gotten away from the Huskies in the past, said he didn’t relax until the final seconds ticked off.
“It feels great for me,” he said. “It’s been almost two years. We haven’t won since my freshman year. All the hard work we have put in sincne January, the winter workouts were tough, camp was unbelievably tough. So to be able to feel this win and know that all the hard work we’ve been putting in for nine months, the yelling from the coaches, the 6 a.m. workouts, the two-a-day lifting, we can finally feel like it’s paying off for us.”
Indeed, that’s a critical part of getting any new program off the ground, getting some validation that what you are doing is working. That was something Tyrone Willingham struggled with, getting every single player to believe that what they were doing was going to work. And especially early on, any positive move in that regard is needed. Two weeks in, the Huskies have gotten two pieces of validation — improvement against LSU and now a win against Idaho.
“We are trying to turn things around,” said senior guard Ben Ossai. “We took the first step to turn things around.”
Times columnist Jerry Brewer wrote a little more about Washington regaining that winning feeling here.
Here are a few more reactions to winning:
SARKISIAN: “It’s exciting. I think what happens is the first one you go play and all of a sudden that little money jumps on your back andn he can grow the longer it takes to get (a win). I just kind of got that money off my back. It’s just hopefully one of the many milestones you get as a head coach. It feels great. ”
DANIEL TE’O-NESHEIM: “A couple of the older guys were like ‘what should we do when the clock runs out? Should we go shanke hands first? Or should we go sing the song?’ It was kind of funny. It feels awesome to win a game.”
JORDAN POLK: “Oh, this is great. This is fun. This is my first college win. I haven’t had one since high school. So I’m going to enjoy it with my teammates and we’re going to get back at it on Monday and get ready for USC.”
And here are a few more quotes on some other aspects of the game:
JAKE LOCKER ON HIS SCRAMBLE AND THROW TO D’ANDRE GOODWIN IN THE FIRST QUARTER: “Well, a guy knd of got free on the right side there and I tried to get out and I saw another guy so I was just turning to figure out a way to get out of there and not take a sack. Then once I did had a lot of room to work with from the hash to the sidelines, so I just got my eyes downfield to see if a guy could get open and he was running across the field wide open so I just threw it down to him and we were able to convert on a big third down.”
E.J. SAVANNAH ON IDAHO’S PASSING: “We thought they were going to come out and try to smash-mouth football and run some powers at us. But I think they watched the LSU film and saw we were stopping the run pretty well so they came out at us with a lot of passing attack. We’ve got to prepare for it. They got a few yards on us but it’s okay.”
SARKISIAN ON THE FAST START: “I thought on offense we played really well. We actually started off a little slow. We ran the ball pretty well early and then Jake [Locker] really got playing. I think what woke him up maybe was that third and long play where he scrambled out of the pocket, made the play to D’Andre Goodwin, took a big hit on the play and I think maybe that just kind of started him. He played fantastic all day.”
SARKISIAN ON LOCKER: “He kept his vision. He kept his eyes up and that’s when you can create a lot of big plays in the passing game. That’s the threat of having a mobile quarterback. You don’t know if he’s going to run or throw and they come up and he’s able to make a big play down the field. The fast start was great – three series in the first half, three touchdowns.”
SARKISIAN ON IDAHO’S OFFENSE: “The first thing they did was pass-protected really well. We weren’t able to get to the quarterback early. And they did some nice things in just throwing the ball down the field. When things weren’t there – a tribute to their quarterback – he checked the ball down to the back and then it was second and five or second and four. They stayed out of the real third and long situations. They had some tough penalties that hurt them early on, but I was proud of our defense. It’s classic. It was kind of a tale of two games. They were in the red zone three times in the first half and only got nine points and didn’t score any touchdowns. It’s very similar to how we were last week versus LSU. We had a lot of opportunities in the red zone. But when you don’t score touchdowns or when you can hold a team to field goals, that creates separation in the score and that’s how you get a 12-point lead at the half.”
SARKISIAN ON IF THE DEFENSE GOT BETTER THIS WEEK: “I think so. We were obviously better against the run. I thought we were starting to understand what we’re trying to get done. Now we just need to clean up our assignments and get guys playing faster. We played a lot more people today. We saw all those freshmen in there – from Pulu to Semisi [Tokolahi] to Crichton to Trufant – we put a lot of guys in. We played with a kid at safety today who had never played safety before in Justin Glen. So the challenge is to get all these guys cohesive and doing things right, not only playing with great effort.”



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