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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 15, 2009 at 8:04 PM

Highlights from Sark’s radio show

Tuesday night also means Steve Sarkisian’s weekly radio show.
Here are some highlights:
— Thoughts on the Idaho game: I though our kids were extremely efficient to only have the (58) plays and one three and out. Idaho was doing a really good job of moving the ball and milking the clock and you’ve got to take advantage of your opportunities when you get them
— He later compared the atmosphere USC faced at Ohio State and said “I’m just hoping they feel like it’s them against the world again Saturday when they come to Husky Stadium.” That would be a theme of the show.
— Asked about the health of USC QB Matt Barkley and safety Taylor Mays, he said: “We don’t know if they are gong to be there or not. What we do know is that as a staff we are preparing for two really good schemes on offense or defense that have stood the test of time no matter who is there at quarterback or safety. If they play, they play, if they don’t, they don’t.” He indicated he thinks both will play.
— On Barkley, he said that “I’m hoping we can make Husky Stadium as tough an environment as we can make it and hopefully he will make some of those freshman mistakes.”
— Asked about the giving up 409 yards to Idaho he said: “We played a lot of young kids in the game and some guys made some freshman mistakes, but the only way we can grow through those things is through the experience. We are allowing them to play through some of their mistakes so they can learn from them.”
— He said he was impressed by Idaho and they “are going to surprise some people. They have a very good offensive line” and that both guards could be NFL draftees, including Mike Iupati, a possible first- or second-rounder. “They did a good job working the clock and shortening the game.”
— UW is second in the nation in third-down conversions to Florida at 22-33. Sarkisian noted the team works hard at it but that “the challenge is we’ve had way too many third-and-longs” and that the team has to get better on first down “so we can eliminate some of those third downs and not live and die by third downs.”
— Asked about Jake Locker, he said “the guy has proven himself to be a pocket passer” and noted his 60 percent completion percentage and said that “he is doing all the things we’ve asked him to do.”
— Asked about the third-and-one play that turned into a James Johnson touchdown, he said that play was indicative that “we have a very aggressive mentality, an aggressive play-calling mentality. We are a team that is not going to sit back and wait but a team that is going to attack you.”
— Asked again about the defense, he noted the youth and said “there were some things we wanted our young kids to play so we didn’t have a bunch of different calls.” He said he liked the way the Huskies stopped the run.
— Asked a fan question that actually came from former UW linebacker Tahj Bomar about the defensive game plan for USC, he said the three keys are to stop the run, eliminate the big play and force turnovers. He said stopping the run is critical given all the good backs USC has and the good offensive line it has. “They are a great running team,” he said, adding that “if we can find a way to do those three things, we’ve got a great opportunity.”
— Asked about the team’s attitude going into the game he said “I think our kids in general believe in themselves and what they are doing. We are going to go play hard. This isn’t just everybody come out and watch USC play. We are going to go play. We are going to give them a game.”
— He said he won’t expect USC to remember last year’s game and think that’s the team the Huskies will get. Instead, he thinks USC will expect to get the team UW has been the first two games. “I don’t expect them to come in flat and think they are going to get something different. They are going to play hard and we are going to play hard and we’ll see what happens.”
— Asked if he might have an advantage by knowing their personnel while USC may not know UW’s personnel as well, he said “I think to some degree you can, especially on special teams” noting that some of the guys who don’t play as much tend to fill out the special teams. But he said that in the end he thinks it “really is a wash” and that he can’t get too caught up in trying to overthink the game.
Bob Rondeau brought up the 2007 game which USC won just 27-24 in part because it made a lot of mistakes and said maybe UW would need that type of game to have a chance. Sarkisian said that “I’m hoping that we can execute too and we can force and create some of those things to happen and not just hope tha tthey do it but that we force them into some of those things. … Hopefully we can disguise some coverages and get the young quarterback to throw into some coverages to us.”
— Talking again about the pass defense he noted that the young players were still learning the proper places to be on their zone drops and that that should get better as the season goes on.
— Asked about a story that reported that Quinton Richardson had guaranteed victory, he said that the story misinterpreted Richardson’s comments. He said Richardson merely repeated one of UW’s mantras to “expect to win” and that the Huskies would expect to win Saturday against USC as they do against all teams. “That shows how things work. Those things are going to get out like that. But Quinton is fine with it and we’ll move forward.”
— Asked if UW would try some different screen passes he said yes and that “we’re still very young into the season, just two games in. We’ve run a total of 135 plays, so we have a lot of plays we need to show and hopefully we’ll get to them through the year.”
— He said downfield blocking has been a big key for UW so far this year and that he likes how unselfish the skill players have been blocking for each other.
— He said he will not be at the Skyline-Oaks Christian game but that some of UW’s assistants will be. Said it’s a great game for high school football in the state.
— Asked how the team deals with recruiting in season, he noted that teams are allowed one phone call to recruits a week this time of year. He said those are usually made on Monday nights, sometimes spilling over to Tuesday night. He said the coaches also hold a 2-3 hour recruiting meeting every Wednesday to go over all aspects of recruiting.
— Asked about luring Nick Holt to UW and whether Pete Carroll was ever upset, he said “I think there was a 24-hour period where Pete was upset” but that “after that you move on.”

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