It’s now officially break time for the Huskies, who had a 90-minute practice earlier today, then scattered not to return until Sunday night. The three days away from football will be the most for the Husky players since before camp starter in early August. For most of the UW coaches, it’s now a couple of days on the road recruiting before returning (and not just for this year but also to lay the ground work for future classes).
As noted in the earlier entry, a few of us talked to Jake Locker after practice, his first comments since it was revealed he suffered a deep thigh bruise early in Saturday’s game against Oregon.
Here’s the story I wrote from that interview.
Here are a few leftover notes and quotes:
— Here was Sarkisian’s overall view of the last three practices: “We got a lot of really good looks at some yong guys, (Anthony) Boyles at cornerback, Marlion Barnett at tight end to see what he’s doing, the quarterbacks, Ronnie (Fouch) and Keith (Price). Got to see our young defensivve linemen, Andru Pulu and Talia Crichton and Semisi Tokolahi got a lot of really good work. This has been exactly what we wanted, spirited practices this week. It’ll be good for our guys to get some rest then get after it Sunday night.”
— Asked to asses the two backup QBs, Sarkisian said Fouch remains ahead of Price on the depth chart but that he’s seeing improvement from both. “What I’m seeing out of them is the stuff that is our base offenese, they are executing much better, with much better tempo, a lot better completion percentages out of these practices than we had in training camp with these guys. I like what they are able to get done. They are not perfect, but there are plenty of things they can learn from.”
— He said he thought it was good for the scout team guys to spend a few days running UW’s plays again. “They get a chance to show how much better they have gotten.”
— He said he likes what he’s seen so far of Boyles at corner saying it’s probably a better fit than safety if he were to move to defense and that his speed and height and long arms could be a plus there. He compared Boyles to some of the tall Oregon State cornerbacks of a few years ago such as Brandon Browner. “He’s very intriguing there,” Sarkisian said, adding that “we’re trying to find a way to keep getting faster so we can be a more athletic football team.”
— He said Cort Dennison is sitting out with a stinger but indicated he should be okay for UCLA. Said Jordan Polk is still rehabbing and it’s uncertain when he will return. And that Greg Christine is out until at least the spring and it’s uncertain when he will return.
— He said he thinks the break will be good for his players mentally as much as physically in part due to the team’s schedule to date. “Just the way it’s been set up to have that many ball games come down to the last series is mentally exhausting, and every play for us has mattered so much that it can takes its toll on you mentally.”
— As noted in the linked story, Sarkisian said he thought Locker would have had trouble playing this week. “He would have struggled through today’s practice, and tomorrow maybe he would have gotten some stuff done, but I doubt he could really play on Saturday.” But he said he expects Locker to be able to play against UCLA.
— As mentioned earlier, Sarkisian said part of this week was spent in a “self-scout” or self-evaluation. He said one thing he noticed is that UW has been a team that has been “really high or really low” in terms of either making really big plays or giving them up.”I would love much more consistency,” he said. “That’s what I think we will really strive for these last four weeks, is to be a consistent football team, of doing things technique-wise really well so it’s not so much of a roller coaster as we go through ball games.”
— Asked for a specific thing found in the self-scout, Sarkisian mentioned how opponents are bringing pressure from the field, or wide, side of the field to hem in Locker. “People are obviously very aware of Jake’s mobility and we are getting a lot of field pressure stuff from every team to keep him in the pocket. So we’ll try to do some things hopefully to combat that to really take advantage of all the field pressure stuff we are getting. … Hopefully we can do some things in the run game and the pass game to take advantage of this field pressure stuff we are getting. To slow that down and hopefully move the pocket for us that we were able to do earlier in the year that we just haven’t had as many opportunities to do later in the year.”
— He said in terms of the overall that he likes the team’s balance. “We’re just about 50-50 run-pass and that’s where we wantn to be. I think we are starting to find an identity in the run game that doesn’t include the QB run, which is something we have talked about, and I think our play-action game is coming to where we want it to be. It is creating some big plays for us down the field.”
— He said the fourth down play Saturday was a run-pass option for Locker with the first option being the run (that’s discussed in the linked story, as well). He said Dorson Boyce was the primary receiver and Kavario Middleton the secondary — both were in the general direction of the harried pass Locker threw into the end zone that was picked off.
— A regular who has looked good this week, he said, is Johri Fogerson, who suffered with the flu and missed the Arizona game and then struggled a bit the following week. “He had the flu and was just in a little bit of a funk,” Sarkisian said. “But I think he is coming back.” He also said he liked the play of Demitrius Bronson against Oregon and that “he did some things there that excited us and hopefully be can close out the year strong like that. … I think those three guys (Bronson, Fogerson, Chris Polk) will have a nice role for us as we close this out.”
— Much of what Locker said is detailed in the story, including his thoughts on the facemask that wasn’t called. Locker didn’t want to state too strong an opinion on it but did say “that was a tough one, a real tough one” that the official didn’t call it despite standing just a few feet away.
— Locker agreed a little break will be nice and that every game is exhausting but “especially the games we’ve been in, so it’s nice to give both your body and your mind a little bit of a break for a week.”
— Locker said he probably shouldn’t have been as outwardly angry about the non-call as he was but that “I thought it was pretty blatant so I showed a little more emotion than I probably should have.” He said of the official that “I looked at him and he said he didn’t see it.”
— He said that with hopefully being healthy for the UCLA game, that he would expect to run a bit more than he did against Oregon.
All for now.