Another Tuesday, another edition of listening to the Steve Sarkisian coaches show so you don’t have to (though not so sure the folks at KJR-AM would love that slogan).
Anyway, here are a few highlights:
— Sarkisian began with a review of the Oregon game and said again he thought the Huskies played well in the first half other than the special teams mistakes. “Offensively and defensively, we were in control of the game and then the special teams really kicked in,” he said.
— He said that once the special teams mistakes hit and Oregon stopped UW on the first drive of the season half that he thought the Huskies got kind of worn out. There was lots of talk about how all eight teams UW has already played could be in bowl games and Sarkisian said “we are a physically and mentally tired football team,” he said. He said the bye is coming at a good time and he anticipates the Huskies coming back from it and being ready to go into the final four games.
— He talked about Jake Locker’s injury (and said it happened in the third quarter though I think he meant first) and said that it’s a good thing the Huskies are off this week because if they weren’t “I don’t know if he’d be able to play.” Sarkisian said it’s the kind of bruise that doesn’t just disappear in a few days. He reiterated what he’d said Monday that it impacted his play-calling as the game went on as Locker couldn’t run as well as he normally can — he had just three non-sack rushes for nine yards in the game.
— Asked about going for it on fourth down when UW was down 8-3 he said like the play call, thought it was important to get the momentum back and the crowd into it again and that it’s important to show the team he believes in them. He also said it would have felt like a defeat to kick an FG at that point in the game.
— When UW didn’t convert that, Oregon then drove down the field for the drive that was kept alive by a fake field goal. Sarkisian said he felt that “was the biggest momentum swinger and transition in any of our games this year.”
— He said he thought the recent history of the series played out some after halftime as he said he thought Oregon came out with a belief that it would win while UW was hoping it could win, and he said you can’t win hoping.
— There was talk about time outs in the game as UW never called any. Sarkisian said he wanted to save them for strategic situations but the game just didn’t unfold to need any. He said he should have called one before Oregon’s two-point play but didn’t realize until it was too late that there were only 10 men on the field for the Huskies.
— He said that “in the first half, offensively and defensively, ultimately we outplayed them … you look at it, physically we outperformed them.” But he said when UW went three-and-out on its first possession of the second half “that really took the wind out of our sails.”
— He was asked a question about the 2010 recruiting class having just three OLs and said that said that he would like to sign six. He said “we’ve got three really good ones and we’ll go out and get two, three more to solidify this class.”
— He was also asked why the fourth down play went to the short side of the field and he said that was to have Locker running away from Oregon’s pressure. He said Oregon tended to bring pressure from the field or wide side and going the other way would have Locker running away from it instead of into it.
— A caller asked why the Huskies seemed out of position on Jeremiah Masoli’s two TD runs and he said that “when desperation kicks in, mistakes are made. We made mistakes, no question.”
— Asked about the officiating, he said he was disappointed there was no flag on the play where Locker’s helmet was ripped off in the first half. But he noted that there are probably calls Oregon feels like it didn’t get. He said he thought that was “a momentum-changing type play” since it would have given UW a first down in the red zone.
— There was talk of whether there ought to be a national coordinating body of officiating rather than just each conference doing it and Sarkisian said he didn’t think it was economically feasible to have refs flying all over the place to do games instead of just sticking to their regions.
— He said the three goals for this week are to “self-scout ourselves” and assess what the team is doing and what is working, etc.; recruit — coaches will be on the road Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and begin preparing a game plan for UCLA.
— There was general talk of recruiting — he can’t discuss specific players per NCAA rules — and said the Huskies don’t get caught up in star rankings but in making their own evaluations of players “We trust the value that we put in a kid and how good he can be and so far, so good. I think we are right on point.”
— He said he talks about UW’s history as well as that of the coaches who came from USC and had success there. “We play to our strengths, that’s for sure.”
— He said he would be on the road Thursday and Friday and then home Saturday to celebrate Halloween with his kids and also just have a Saturday to enjoy Seattle and watching football on TV.
— He talked about the USC-Oregon game and said USC “is just over the top physically in the way they can play” but that the game being in Eugene and all of that means it will undoubtedly be a close contest. “It’s a classic matchup of two really good teams and mark my word, the team that wins the turnover battle wins that game, hands down. They are that close so whichever team can take care of the ball wins the game.”