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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 14, 2009 at 8:46 PM

Sark says coaches “are not going to let a letdown occur again”

The last time the Washington Huskies went on the road following a rousing home win didn’t go so well.
So whether or not it was a let down that led to the Stanford defeat — the most decisive of the Steve Sarkisian era — the first-year coach isn’t taking any chances this time.
Sarkisian and the other Husky coaches seemed especially animated during the team’s two-hour practice in the Dempsey Indoor today, Sarkisian at one point throwing his play pad the ground in frustration when the WRs couldn’t get open against the DBs in a seven-on-seven drill.
“I think you can hear me a little better in here,” Sarkisian said later, before acknowledging that maybe reporters really were seeing a more amped-up coaching staff. “But this to me, and our coaches addressed it, this is a week we felt like we are not going to let a letdown occur again. We set the stage, we bring the energy, our intensity, our enthusiasm, and our guys will follow us. And I think they have done that this week so far.”
Sarkisian said setting that kind of tone is particularly important at this stage of the season, with UW playing its seventh game inn seven weeks.
“We haven’t had a bye yet with a chance to take a deep breath, so you’re kind of grinding away and going through the bumps and bruises andd injuries and school starting and all the things that go into this, and guys losing starting jobs and gaining starting jobs — big win, heartbreaking loss, big win,” he said. “So there are a lot of emotions that go into this thing. So we have to kind of tighten the screws week in and week out and I think our coaches have done a good job of that.”
HOLT TALKS DEFENSE — Wednesday also means our weekly chance to talk with defensive coordinator Nick Holt, and there was obviously lots to discuss in the wake of the Arizona game.
The first topic was the team’s front four, which has seemed to be a little bit of a revolving door, except at the end spot where Daniel Te’o-Nesheim plays.
Said Holt: “It’s just some guys are really good run stoppers and some guys are in there because they can move around and (other teams are playing) the spread offense. And we want to keep them fresh and a lot of them, three or four of them, are pretty similar and we just rotate them and get them all reps and keep them fresh and playing hard.”
But he said two young players playing well of late are Everrette Thompson, now almost solely a DT, and Alameda Ta’amu, also a DT.
“I think Everrette is coming around. It’s really unfortunate because his ankle was bad and he’s just starting to move a lot better and not bother him. I expect him to have a really solid second half of the season. Really counting on him. And Alameda has gotten better the last couple of weeks. I know there were some busts against Notre Dame, some mental assignments he didn’t do very well. But physically he is getting in better shape. He has lost some weight and he’s moving a lot better. In the run game, he was very effective against Arizona.”
Asked about Te’o-Nesheim, who has had trouble getting sacks (officially 2.5 for the season), Holt praised his effort.
“He had a sack last week and he’s had some great pass rushes,” Holt said. “He will get his production. We’ve got a second half of the season, and I think it will all come together. I don’t know how many he has, three. And he probably should have four — against LSU they didn’t get him that sack in the end zone which they screwed up that call. But it will come back. I think he will crank it up, and he is feeling comfortable. He is all over the quarterback. He just hasn’t gotten him down yet. But he will.”
As noted in the practice notes, one of the more notable sights today was Adam Long again taking almost all the snaps with the starting defense ahead of Quinton Richardson, who was removed at one point late after being beaten on a play. (Should note that Richardson had his left foot taped pretty well and that seemed to bother him at times, but we didn’t get an official word on what it is).
But Holt said he didn’t know who would start Saturday.
“I just depends on who is healthy and who is not,” he said. “They are all rotating, so other than (Desmond) Trufant, they are all the same to me.”
Asked to assess Richardson’s year, Holt said: “He needs to become more consistent. He is giving sold effort and there are some nice plays he’s had and some not so nice plays. He’s got to keep working. He gets down on himself, and he’s got to play with more confidence for him to be a good player. He really has all the tools — he’s not the fastest guy, but he has good speed and good size, and at times he’s really effective. At times he’s his own worst enemy. He gets down on himself. So he’s got to play with more confidence. He’s got six more games to really come together as a sophomore.”
Asked about the leaders of the defense, he said Donald Butler and Mason Foster and Te’o-Nesheim and Cameron Elisara. “There is no question those guys have done a nice job.”
Finally, asked about the Arizona game, where the Huskies gave up 461 yards, including 384 through the air, he said: “It’s never the plan to have all that yardage. But first of all, you’ve got to take them out of the run game. They were averaging 230-plus yards and they ended up with (77 on 30 carries). We did a nice job. so they figured they weren’t having success running the ball, let’s spread them out. They knew we were deficient in the secondary with two starters out, so they went with that plan, Plan B, and they got some yards. But they didn’t win the ball game, and they didn’t get as many points as they could have, and really, we waited them out. And that’s sometimes what you’ve got to do when you are a defense like ourselves right now with some guys playing.”

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