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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 5, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Some select quotes from Steve Sarkisian’s press conference today

Here is a partial transcript of Steve Sarkisian’s press conference today:
On how the goals are different this year: “You know, what I cared about last year was being competitive. I wanted to see our guys fight, battle, claw, scratch. I wanted to make sure when the opponents walked off the field they knew they played the Huskies. That was the ultimate goal last year. Now we need to play well and we need to play well at the critical moments in the fourth quarter — that is the next step, those critcal moments, fourth quarter, on the road, hostile environment, we’ve got the ball, 3 minutes left, what’s going to happen? That for me is where I’ll be able to get a gague. Can we continue to execute or do we go out of ourselves, try too hard and make mistakes and that’s how you end up losing ball games. I’m not going to point fingers at anybody, but we obviously lost three games you can point right to on the road last year — Arizona State, Notre Dame and UCLA — that in my opinion we should have won and we’re an eight win team all of a sudden.”
On the Expect-to-Win mantra: “The whole Expect-to-Win mantra isn’t something to put on t-shirts just because it looks good. It’s a belief and it’s a belief within our coaching staff. From day one, I said it the very first press conference, I dont’ think it’s going to take us long and I firmly believe that. We expect to do well, we expect to win. We’re going to practice well and we’re going to paly well, and I think that transformation process from the coaching staff into our players may have taken some time, but I don’t see one guy on our football team that truly doesn’t believe we’re going to be a good football team this fall.”
On the physical transformation of the line: “The game is about speed now, it’s about speed and explosiveness. I thought we got faster last year, I thought we were lighter and faster, but we needed to address the explosiveness of the game, the snapping of your hips when you’re blocking a guy, the snapping of your hips when you’re tackling somebody, to make those tough tackles. I thought we addressed that really well this offseason, but the game of football in 2010 is about speed. It’s constant movement. Very rarely do you lineup with a guy headup on you and butt heads with him and drive block and sumo wrestle like the good old days. The game is about movement. The defenses are always moving, not just laterally but verticaly. Offenses are now more spread out, there are more guys pulling, more moving, you have to be able to play in space. So I think we’ve addressed that part of it and what remains to be seen is how explosive we really are when we put the pads on. I know we’ve addressed it and I know (strength and conditioning coach) Ivan (Lewis) and his staff are excited to see what the end results are.”

On what he wants to see from the team the first couple days of camp: “Training camps keep shrinking. Have you noticed? We start practice Aug. 9 and play Sept. 4th. That’s not a lot of time. We’ve got to get as much information on these new guys we’ve got on our football team — how they can help, where they fit, how they mix with our current roster. You think about we’ve got almost 30 new football players stepping on the field with us, that’s nearly half of our players we’ve got going. Imagine in the NFL if an NFL team with 54 active palyers on their roster and have 15 or 20 new players plopped into that, that’s what we’re experiencing. That’s the first thing we’ve got to get done. The energy is going to be there, I want to see us execute really well, this is going to be the fourth time installling the offense and defense and everything, but we need to gather as much information as we can on these new players and how they’re going ot fit on our football team.”
On the linebacker position: “The linebacker position is really curious in that we’ve got two really good players in Mason Foser and Cort Dennison and then it’s a little bit of an unknown. Victor Aiewya is a safety coming off shoulder surgery that we’re moving to backer. I think he can do it. Matt Houston has been limited play guy. Jordan Wallace, we have high expectations for but that remains to be seen. And then we’ve got a bunch of young kids — Brandon Huppert is coming off a knee injury, so there is a little bit of an unknown at that third linebacker spot and I’m curious to watch these guys go play and how it’s going to shake out.”
On Josh Shirley playing at defensive end: “(He brings) Speed, he can rush the passer. He’s natural, he’s got great speed, he’s got tremendous instincts. And I think for him, where he’ll benefit, he played end in high school, but he also played inside quite a bit as a three technique even at times as a nose guard. He understands leverage, he understands pad level, he undersatnds how to use his hands quite a bit. He’ll be fine at the point of attack. His main gun is speed.”
On the freshmen OL and whether any redshirt: “I think you naturally try to speculate in your own mind. But I’ve really gotten to the point that I’m keeping an open mind to this whole deal. We intentionally didn’t recruit all the same types of lineman. Obviously you go from a James Atoe at 345 pounds to a Micah Hatchie who is at 270 and maybe a little more athletic and the variety and range in that. You’ve got left tackles, right tackles, centers, guards. We tried to get a complete group and not just one where they were all going to line up behind each other. So part of that is going to shake up where there is more needed depth on the offensive line and part of that is going to play out with who really emerges and potential injuries that naturally occur on an offensive line and force guys to the forefront.”
On freshman he is anxious to see: Greg Ducre is one of them I’m anxious to see. Sean Parker, anxious to see, Taz Stevenson. Josh Shirley anxious to see off the top of my head. Hau’oli Jamora anxious to see. Andrew Hudson, hearing great things about him, anxious to see him. Anxious to see all of these guys, The way the NCAA works is I haven’t had a chance to really see them do anything. They look good walking about in their t-shirts and shorts and backpacks walking around, but I haven’t had a chance to watch them run, lift, hit catch, throw, none of that. So I’ll be kind of like you guys the first practice of just kind of watching these guys to see who is Kevin Smith, DiAndre Campbell, Lawrence Lagafuanina, who are these guys? And get as much information as I can get to see who they really are.”
On whether UW can take advantage of USC being on probation: “I think this, that prior to sanctions I think what Pete Carroll did at USC for seven years, seven straight BCS bowl games, seven straight conference championships, seven straight top four finishes. I think he changed the Pac-10 because he forced every university within this conference to reevalute themselves, who the coach is, what style of coach it is, the way they recruit, the way they prepare, the way they coach, the style of play, the commitment to defense. I think the Pac-10 and the parity we are experiencing now and will continue to experience in my opinion started years ago because it changed the way people had to play the game if you wanted to compete against them. Whether it’s Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona, Cal, you are seeing a commitment to defense, a commitment to running the football. And in turn there is parity in our conference, and for good reason — programs have gotten better. I don’t think it’s because programs have gotten worse. I don’t think it’s because USC is coming down to the pack. I think it’s because everyone is rising up to them because if you don’t you are going continue to get beat. Sanctions are sanctions so USC, there are a few more scholarships each year out of kids from Southern California. Everybody in our conference recruits down there so I don’t know how much we are all going to reap the benefits of USC being on sanctions — we may get one more player a year out of the deal. But all in all I think the parity in the conference started years ago and now you are starting to see the effect of 3-4-5 years in recruiting and a shift in the style of play.”
On whether anything will look different at practice this year: “From a fans perspective not sure it will look a whole lot different. What I think fans will see is a better conditioned football team. We made it a real point this summer to condition ourselves to play in the fourth quarter on the road so that we are mentally and physically sharp on the road in the fourth quarter, and BYU is that first one to get ready for that.So we will continue to address the conditioning aspect of our football team so that we can remain mentally and physically sharp to avoid fatigue and I think that’s the one thing that might show up. I don’t even know if you need to look at practice to see that. I think you see our guys walking down the street we look more fit like we are better conditioned athletes.”



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