Another Tuesday night means another one of Steve Sarkisian’s weekly radio shows.
A few belated highlights:
— Sarkisian repeated that his team had the best practice of the year saying that the execution was so good it ended a little bit earlier (since plays didn’t need to be repeated) and that the intensity was high. (He probably also liked it because it’s the one day of the week he doesn’t have to talk to us).
— He said at one point that the team has consistently worked hard and shown a good attitude all season. “I don’t know what happened last year but they are locked in, energetic and enthusiastic this year,” he said. And he said Jake Locker was particularly good passing today and Chris Polk running, indicating each is healthy after both had some lingering aches from the game Saturday night.
— There was lots of talk about the last few minutes of the game. Sarkisian said that he would defend Nate Williams on the last TD, noting that the coaches had emphasized stopping the out routes and that when Williams saw the ASU WR crossing he figured that should be his first priority and that ASU QB Danny Sullivan simply made a good play by looking to his left and resetting his feet and finding Chris McGaha. “That’s football,” he said. “Stuff happens.”
— Asked if Williams hadn’t done that if UW would have stopped the play he said “you never know” and that the important thing is to learn from it since he said UW will have similar situations in the future and needs to react better next time.
— As for the last offensive series before the TD, he said he wanted to be aggressive, but that starting at the 10-yard-line wasn’t ideal so he wanted to get a little room before getting really aggressive, and also had wanted to ensure that the game would end with UW having the ball. So that was the rest for the first two runs. He said the third down pass was a play he really felt good about. The ASU CB on that side, Pierre Singfield, had been getting increasingly aggressive jumping slants, he said — such as the third-down play on the previous drive near the goal line. So the plan was to fake the slant and then pump and go. He noted that Singfield made a great play and didn’t jump the slant (and it also looked as if the safety got over to double-team James Johnson, as well).
— But he said while next time he’d probably run it and get the first down and then throw it, he would change his general attitude of being aggressive in such situations saying “the day I’m not aggressive is the day I’m going to retire.” He said he “got to this point in my career” by being aggressive and that “I’m not going to change.” He said that was one of the pieces of advice he got from Pete Carroll, to be himself, and making that kind of a call was evidence of his aggressive nature. “I’m an aggressive coach,” he said. ‘I’m not going to change.”
— A caller asked which unit of the team has improved the most and which has maybe disappointed the most. The caller said he figured the WR corps had improved the most. But Sarkisian answered the defensive line saying h thinks it “keeps playing better and better” and noted the pressure that it put on Sullivan at times in the ASU game. As for disappointment, he agreed with the caller about the return games saying he thinks the potential is there for those to be a lot better but that it just hasn’t happened yet.
— As one person in the audience asked a question Sarkisian said “love your shirt.” The shirt apparently read “Beat Oregon — Nothing else matters.”
— Asked about all the personal fouls Vontaze Burfict got Saturday — three in all — he noted there is no limit. He said he was disappointed that the UW players and coaches got caught up in the emotions of the game Saturday night. He said it was addressed with the coaches and players and the message is for the team to worry about itself and not what the other team is doing or the officiating. “The bottom line is the calls are the calls and we have to live with it,” he said.
— He was asked about the time outs before the Erik Folk missed FG at the end of the first half and said he thought that the one before Folk kicked it, that the whistle hadn’t been blown in time — that it was being blown as Folk kicked it — so he was upset with that. But he said he has no problems with the rule that allows for those time outs to be called, saying it’s part of the gamesmanship of football. “I’m good with it,” he said.
— Bob Rondeau revealed that Sarkisian was apparently pretty sick Saturday, feeling especially bad in the morning and early afternoon. Sarkisian joked that he also didn’t feel well in the first half but got better after he “went berserk” on the players in the locker room at halftime, upset with some of the things that had happened in the first half. “That worked for me,” he said.
— Sarkisian said it has been hard to get Locker outside the pocket lately because teams “are getting a lot of edge pressure stuff to keep him in the pocket.” Said ASU was particularly effective at that.
— Asked about the impact on recruiting of beating Oregon he said “it obviously has an effect” but that maybe only on “a kid or two” and that recruiting is mostly about selling yourselves and your own program and not so much what teams you just beat.
— It was noted that UW used to own the Oregon rivalry and the Northwest in general and Sarkisian said that was “part of the reason I took this job. I knew what Washington once was and I don’t think it’s going to take us very long to get back to that and I think we are on our way.”