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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 14, 2009 at 2:53 PM

Sarkisian says it’s just another week

Of course, it’s not just another week for the Huskies — it’s USC and the Pac-10 opener, and for Steve Sarkisian and Nick Holt, a renunion with the program that basically set them up for the high-paying jobs they have now.
But Sarkisian insisted throughout his 25-minute press conference Monday that as much as will be possible, he will treat this like just any other week.
“I think that once the kickoff comes and goes, it’s just going to be football,” he said.
“I think the excitement of it is it’s the Pac-10 home opener. I’m excited to see our Husky Stadium rocking again, the electricity going again. I’m excited for our kids that they’ve got a win under their belt and they continue to grow from it but stay humble. I think our biggest fear is we put too much into this game, we try and build this thing up to be too much than it is. This is a Pac-10 football game and at the end of Saturday, come 4 o’clock, whether it’s a W or an L, it’s all the same as if it was against Stanford, or UCLA or Cal. It’s worth one point and if we try and put too much into this there can be the repercussions after the game if it doesn’t go the way we want or if it does go the way we want there can be repercussions afterward. so we’ve got to be careful of that.”
Players echoed that view, saying that so far, the coaches haven’t given any different vibe than they did before either of the first two Husky games.
“I mean, I haven’t seen it,” said tight end Kavario Middleton. “You can speculate that because they came from there. But I really haven’t witnessed it.”
Sarkisian, though, had lots to say about other topics. Here are a few highlights:
On how similar the offense at USC is now to what it was when he was there: “It’s very similar. The schemes are very similar, the formations the personnel groupings. It is what it is and it’s a credit to Pete (Carroll) that you stand by what you do well and they’re doing what they’ve done well for years. they’re running outside zone, inside zone, they’re tossing the ball to their good players and they’re utlizing a really nice play action package to get the bal into their playmakers hand.”
On what has surprised him the most the first two weeks: “I think what Johri Fogerson has brought us has been so unexpected. We went into summer and he was at safety, the first day of training camp we moved him to running back and the guy is a playmaker for us. I like the elements that we are a diverse offense and a lot of guys are making plays for us. And thirdly the impact of the crowd has on the game is new to me. Our crowd definately has an impact on the football game and it’s definitely an advantage for us and I think as a coach I’m still learning to understand how powerful that really is.”
Any new assessment of the pass defense Saturday?: It’s some communication things. Guys doing some new things. We played a lot of young kids. I don’t know if our zone drops were as we would have liked. I don’t know if we rushed as hard as I know we can rush the passer. So we’re going to clean those things up. I liked how we played red zone defense in our pass coverage. I thought we performed very well.”
Can either of you do anything to surprise the other?: I don’t know. I know for us from a mentality of going into this game, we have to be careful of too much analysis because you can get paralysis by analysis. If you look too deep, too far into something, if you’re searching for things you can lose the scope of what your team does well, giving your kids the best opportunity to do well and play fast. So we’ve got to be careful of that, that’s for sure, on our end.”
Doesn’t there have to be more incentive this week?: “I don’t know why that has to be more incentive though. People keep telling me that and so I’m trying to access it because maybe I’m missing it, but I don’t feel like there is more incentive there. The incentive is these kids deserve a great week of preparation. These kids deserve a great game plan. These kids deserve myself and our staff’s undivided attention to get them ready to play. The moment we get caught up looking at the game and the history and the things that build up the game then we’re missing that point. I don’t feel the extra incentive. Our kids and our fans deserve a really good game plan and a great effort.
Is the team were you hoped it would be right now?: “I was hoping to be 2-0. I like the effort that we’re eplaying with. I like our attention to detail. I think our kids are (paying attention) every snap, every quarter, every half so far we’re learning. we’re learning what we’re expecting out of them from a mental standpoint, a physical standpiotn and a schematic standpoint. as i view it as a coach. Are we perfect? No. But we are getting better as a football team.”
On what his No. 1 goal is for the defense: “To create turnovers. That’s the No. 1 thing. I think we’ve gotten one in each of the two games, and in a perfect world, we want to get three. So we have to get after the football. The first area of concern for me is we’ve got to create more turnovers.”
Are the pass defense issues more the result of a lack of a rush?: “I think it all works hand in hand. Obviously, you want to pressure the quarterback as best you can to get him out of his comfort level. But it’s also route recognition in coverage on the back end and challenging balls.”

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