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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 12, 2009 at 4:31 PM

Monday’s Sark bites

Here are some of the more notable quotes from UW coach Steve Sarkisian from today’s press luncheon:
Opening statement: :It was a great win. It was obviously exciting for our kids. It was fun to watch them battle and compete for four quarters, and to reap the benefit of effort, and doing things right in critical moments. I think for our football program and where we’re headed, it gives us some validity about the things we are preaching, the things we’re trying to get done in meetings – not just team meetings, but individual meetings that – that hard work, preparation, effort and doing things right really pays off. That the power of, ‘Don’t worry about looking at the scoreboard, keep playing hard and good things will happen,’ was alive and well Saturday night. When you look at the game, I really thought the game really hung in the balance in the red zone. For our guys, our defense, to come out and not only give up the yards, the time of possession – all the things that occurred in that game – but their ability to hold Arizona to field goals and not surrender touchdowns, and our ability to score touchdowns when we were in the red zone is really the difference in the ballgame. And as always, when you look at it, you never when they’re going to occur, but if you win the turnover battle, 2-1 – and fortunately for us, it happened on their last two possessions – when you win the turnover battle, that’s how you win football games. I think there were some great things for us that we can take from the game. We obviously can play a lot better. The third quarter was nothing to write home about by any means, in all phases. But I think we’re getting better. And I think we’re getting healthy. It would be good to get Nate Williams this week, D’Andre Goodwin, Johri Fogerson, to get some depth back. It’s unfortunate to lose Greg Christine for the year, but it’s obviously an opportunity for other guys to step up to take advantage of.”
On bowl possibilities: “That’s a long way away. We’ve got to worry about Arizona State on the road. We haven’t gotten a road victory yet this year. We didn’t perform very well at Stanford. I thought we rebounded and performed much better and got used to what it’s like to be on the road together, and played much better at Notre Dame. And now hopefully we can kind of just take that next step and find a way to get a ‘W’ this week.”


First impressions of ASU’s defense: “Excellent up front, as good of a front as we’ve seen this year. Dexter Davis is a fantastic pass rusher. Lawrence Guy inside. Mike Nixon. The freshman phenom, Vontaze Burfict – these guys are really good up front. They do a nice job in the run game, but then they also do a great job in the pass game because they apply so much pressure on the quarterback. They force the quarterback into bad decisions, throwing the ball into coverage and it allows them to create turnovers.”
Who gets the opportunity in Christine’s place:Nick Wood will elevate (into the starting role), and we’ve got to be able to do some things, whether with Mykenna Ikehara or Drew Schaefer, so that we have enough depth in there to get guys in.”
On Chris Polk returning kickoffs: “I think he’s going to stay there for now because no one else has seized the opportunity, or taken advantage of it, unfortunately. In the perfect world, you don’t want your starting tailback returning kickoffs for you, but we just haven’t had another guy step up and seize an opportunity to take that role. We’ve tried different guys, and we’ll try again this week to look at some guys to give them opportunities, but it just hasn’t happened for us yet. Sure enough, Chris goes back there, even with the hurt shoulder, and has a huge return for us there in the late third, and in the fourth quarter as well.”
On why Mason Foster didn’t jump the bubble screen plays earlier: “We would have liked him to. I think we’re still learning schematically what we’re trying to get accomplished on defense. As much of that play was Mason, it was also Victor Aiyewa as well. He shot his gun and went for it too. And as we continue to grow as a defensive football team, our guys will understand the time and the place when to take those shots within the system to make those plays, to create those turnovers, to create those big plays, instead of sitting and waiting the whole time. I think that will come as we get more comfortable with what we’re doing. But it was obviously a great time to go for it on both guys’ part. They are down players. They aren’t deep players. If they were deep players, if Victor was supposed to be playing a deep half, I wouldn’t want him jumping a screen because if it’s not a screen we’re in trouble. But if you’re down, you’re down. Take your shots, and they were able to do it.
On red-zone success the past two weeks: “I think it comes down to execution. In the red zone, they are really locked into the calls we’re making. For us, it’s something to grow on. We need to transition that out to the middle of the field now. The belief in doing what we’re supposed to be doing and the effort they play with in the red zone is the same. It shouldn’t change when we’re out in the field. I think they are understanding that. When you play really hard and you’re executing like we are in the red zone on defense, those stops can occur earlier. I’m anticipating that coming. I think our guys are starting to grow into this system and understand their responsibilities and when it’s their opportunity to be really aggressive, to make those plays, and also when it’s important to do your job and eliminate the big plays. We’re trying to find that fine line in there of being aggressive but yet ultimately be somewhat conservative in the back end so we don’t give up the big plays.”
On whether the shorter field helps the red zone success against passing teams like Arizona: “I think it’s a big deal because the concern of the deep ball isn’t there. You’re able to sit on routes and route recognition, and that’s a tribute to coach (Jeff) Mills and coach (Demtrice) Martin of our guys locking into route recognition down there and jumping routes. Even the touchdown pass that Arizona throws, Greg Walker has a great opportunity to make a great play on that ball. So we were on that one as well.”
On Adam Long: “Adam had a really nice week of work. He was a guy that we’ve been trying to get back out there and get ’em playing. He had a nice week of practice, and when the opportunity came up to put him on the field we put him out there. I think that’s been indicative of how we’ve been all year. If a guy practices really well he’s going to get his opportunities to play. Adam did that and he played pretty well.”
On Jason Wells being back and what that might bring: “Hopefully some stability. We’re trying to get some depth going back there. We were paper thin last week. To get Jason back out there, to get Nate Williams back, it gets us some stability and some depth, some veteran leadership that we’re desperately needing.”
On whether they will spend more time working on defending the bubble screen now: “Football is just like anything. Whatever anybody runs against you that works, they’re going to keep running it until you stop it. Just like Arizona ran, I think, five power plays at us and we stuffed it every time; that’s the same thing Stanford ran against us that we couldn’t stop. Until you prove you can stop something, you’re going to get it. So, yeah, we’ve got to devote time to it.”
On whether Jake Locker necessarily has to run more this week against ASU’s tough run defense: “No. It’s about what’s going to fit this week. They’ve done a nice job against the run, against a variety of runs, quarterback runs or the traditional runs. We’ve got to do a good job in the game plan of finding an advantage at the point of attack with some misdirection and different things. I think we’ll put together a nice plan because, as always, we don’t want to become a one-dimensional football team because in the end, that’s not a winning formula. We need balance, and we’ve got to keep striving for it.”
On being young in the secondary: “I think it affects us in a way that these guys are doing things right but there is a confidence level that can set in to where you’ve got to have belief and when you have belief you can really shoot your gun and make your plays when your opportunities are there. And our guys are still trying to find their way when their opportunities are there to really go make a play. I think Desmond (Trufant) is really starting to mature that way and you saw it there at the end to get the interception but I think people think and I’d be the first one to tell you a guy like Quintin Richardson is a veteran guy — he’s a sophomore, he hasn’t played much football; Nate Fellner hasn’t played a true freshman first game; Victor Aiyewa he hasn’t played that much football. So we are still inexperienced in the sense of actually playing and believing and actually going and making your play. We are getting better but I know we can get a lot better than what we are at right now.”
On the importance of the UA win: “It’s huge especially coming off last week’s game against Notre Dame where some doubt could have crept in, can we really win a game late that maybe we are not supposed to. But our guys they stayed in it and with four minutes and 12 seconds left and down by whatever we were there, our guys stayed in the game, they kept battling and for us on our end from a coaching standpoint, man there are some really great teachable moments we can take from that for the future. It wasn’t that different than maybe the Stanford game where the score was 27-14 in the middle of the fourth quarter and we are only down two scores that we had some guys waver and maybe drift off, this game our guys stayed locked in and battled and good things happened.”
On whether it was a lucky win: “I think luck is when preparation meets opportunity, that’s luck. Bad luck is when you are not really prepared and the ball gets tipped in the air and a guy dives and it hits on the ground. I think our guys were prepared, we were in the right spots, the ball went up in the air we made our play, so to me that is a football team that is really well prepared and is playing with great effort.”
Surprised by the special teams miscues?: “I was, to be honest with you, especially in the third quarter. That’s not us, that’s not who we are. We’ve got to find out why that occurred. Will Mahan is having a fantastic year for us and to drop the snap was obviously very odd, to not be able to catch the kickoff all the sudden was odd. The things that occurred were not who we are in my opinion so we have to find out why that occurred and be able to fix it quicker.”
On why Locker ran more against Arizona and was it by design: “There was some of that there. There was also when Chris (Polk) got nicked up I was concerned about ‘man, I don’t know how long he can hold up.’ I thought there were some opportunities in the game plan where Jake could make some plays so we utilized his legs a little bit more to try to get some momentum back on our side.”
All for now.

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