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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 21, 2009 at 6:44 PM

Wednesday practice report — Holt, Williams talk

The Huskies are off the field after a full-pads practice that ended under the lights. UW coach Steve Sarkisian said it wasn’t quite as crisp as Tuesday’s, which he dubbed “the best practice of the season.” But he was more than pleased with the way the team has worked this week.
Afterward, it also meant the last clean-up of the Arizona State game as we got our first chance to talk with defensive coordinator Nick Holt, as well as safety Nate Williams, since the disastrous ending to the Sun Devil games.
If Holt may have been a raging inferno in the minutes after that game, he was good-natured Wednesday in addressing the 50-yard TD pass with five seconds left that shockingly turned the game ASU’s way.
“We were playing a little prevent defense, three-man rush, drop eight,” he said. “A call that our guys have executed really well all season. And we just had some assignment errors, and unfortunately at the wrong time we didn’t play it as well as we have. The kids played hard the whole night. It was just too bad we didn’t finish up the game ”
Asked if there was something he would do differently he noted again that defense has been a good one for UW this year.
“That is one of our lead defenses in that situation,” he said. “Obviously it didn’t work out. But that defense has won a lot of battles for us. Obviously hindsight is 20-20 and good. I wish we had that play over again and maybe do something different, whether it’s a different call or reminding our guys of what we could do here. And that’s more than anything (what he might do differently) just keep reminding them when we go out there ‘you guys got to do this really good on this last play.’ We had just punted and then a couple of guys were late getting out there. Unfortunately we just didn’t finish the game.
“I feel really bad for the guys, putting them in that position and having something like that happen. Especially in the second half, our defense played really, really well, played really hard. I just felt really bad for them and I was frustrated with myself. You look at that and say ‘why don’t you do this, why don’t you do that.’ But that’s something we had executed pretty well in the past. We showed it on film and said ‘need to this’ and we’ll get better from it.”
Holt said there were three or four calls that could have worked in that situation and the Huskies just picked one that didn’t.
“You could blitz and then somebody falls down or you have a bad matchup, something like that,” he said. “It’s just really executing some stuff better. And we’ll learn from it. Obviously when that happens you go ‘you should have done this, should have done that.’ Obviously you think about that. But unfortunately you don’t get the second chance so you’ve just got to live with it and learn from it, which we do, andn learn from it as a coach and say ‘next time, let’s do this.’
“You have three or four calls that you have going into a situation like that and three times out of four you get it right and the next one you get it wrong, and that’s what happened.”
Williams, meanwhile, has taken a lot of the public blame for the play as the safety who was assigned to the middle third of the field, leaving McGaha alone to go cover T.J. Simpson, who crossed and then turned upfield.
Asked if he should have done something differently, Williams said: “I don’t know. That’s not my call. I just was out there playing and that’s what I saw. And a couple of guys were out of position, and that’s what happens when you try to do a little too much. But I’m not pointing fingers at anybody. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Asked if it seemed like a hard decision with two receivers coming into his area, he said: “Yeah, kind of. But like I said, just too many guys were trying to do a little too much and we just got caught out of position. That was it.”
Asked if it’s been a tough week, he said: “Not really, I had a talk with coach Sark on Monday and he told me that kind of stuff happens to even the greatest of the great players and he told me to put it in the back of my mind and just move on because we have Oregon this week and I need to have a good week of practice and just leave that one in Arizona.”
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— UW linebacker Donald Butler told reporters after practice that Holt told them in the locker room afterward to “blame me.”
— DT Cameron Elisara, suffering from a stinger suffered last week, did not practice again and Sarkisian said that he is not officially being ruled out, the Huskies are planning as if he will not play. Everrette Thompson will start in his place.
— Holt said that Victor Aiyewa hurt his shoulder against Arizona State, one reason he has been running with the twos in practice this week. That puts Nate Fellner in position to start this week at free safety with Williams at strong safety. Holt said he also likes that alignment because it gets Williams at his more natural position.
— WR Jordan Polk had surgery last week to clean up cartilage in his knee. Sarkisian said the surgery went well and the hope is that Polk will be able to return for the UCLA game Nov. 7 following the bye next week.
— WR Anthony Boyles again sat out practice with an illness. RB Curtis Shaw is also still sick, Sarkisian said, but he did practice.
— With Polk and Boyles likely out, the WR depth is pretty thin. But Sarkisian said Cody Bruns and Tony Chidiac have each had good practices the last few weeks and he is confident in both. Bruns saw lots of time with the starting offense Wednesday (the receivers rotate liberally so he wasn’t ahead of any of the other regular starters but just was on the field a lot) and Sarkisian said he has practiced especially well the last couple weeks. “He’s had two straight weeks now of really good practices, and Chidiac’s been stepping up again another guy for two straight weeks now,” Sarkisian said.
— Here’s Sarkisian’s take on practice today: “Good. We had a great practice yesterday. The tempo was good, the energy was good. I thought today was good again. We had a little bit of case of the dropsies early, but things got going, it was a spirited practice. It was fun.”
All for now.

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