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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 30, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Monday Sark bites

Today marked the first of Steve Sarkisian’s weekly Monday noon meetings with the media. Here’s some of what he had to say:
Opening statement: “Well, game week. I’m excited. I think our football team’s excited. It’s been a long time coming. We’re anxious to get into it and start practicing. It’s going to be a fun event. BYU’s a very physical, smart football team, extremely well-coached. It’s going to be a great challenge for us to go on the road against a very talented, top-25 program. It’s going to be a great challenge for us.”
Thoughts on going back to BYU: “It’s a business trip, for sure. I’ll take a few moments Friday at the walk-through to kind of reminisce. I had some great moments there, some great wins there. But ultimately, my concern is about these 105 kids that we have in this program and the 76 of them traveling with us to Provo. This is their weekend, this is their day, and so that’ll be my focus.”
On whether he keeps in contact with anyone there: “Not as much. I still have a little contact with Chad Lewis here and there. He’s a great Cougar, a good friend. Dwayne Busbee’s still there, Lance Reynolds still on staff, Robbie Bosco, Tom Holmoe, a lot of guys who were there when I was there. All in all, we’ve all moved on in our own directions. I’m fortunate enough to be the head coach at the University of Washington. There’s a lot of other people that are involved in that program who are still there; some have moved on, for obvious reasons. So I think that’s just part of life.”
On what kind of reception he thinks he might get: “Well, I hope better than the first half in 1995 versus Utah, when they were booing me. I think, all in all, it was great experience for me the Y. The fans were tremendous to me, the community was very good to me, my family. So I think it would be cordial.”
On what expectations he has for Jake Locker and whether the sky is the limit: “Well, the sky’s always the limit, right? Nothing should ever hold anyone back. But that’s just a philosophical little note for you. But I think having Jake, it means a lot to our program – not only from a skill-set standpoint but also from a leadership point of view. Anybody that knows Jake Locker personally knows that he’s a better human being than he is a football player. And as talented as he is physically – as big, as strong, as fast – he’s a great person, he’s humble, he’s loyal. And I think that, in and of itself, means a lot to our program.”
On the travel roster: “It’s pretty clear. You’d like to take as many as you can take. But you don’t want this to be a trip to Disneyland, either. You’d like it to be a business trip. All 76 guys that we’re bringing on this trip are going for a reason. They’re serving a purpose, they have a role. So it’s been pretty clear for us; it’s been pretty easy.”
On the mock game at the Seahawks’ facility: “We’re just trying to get better at everything we’re doing. Obviously last year, we didn’t perform as well as we would’ve liked on the road. So we tried to mock a road game. We went and stayed at another hotel here in town that was not our traditional home hotel. We went through our Friday walk-through as if we were going on the road, we went to the hotel, we had our meetings, we woke up there and had our meetings again, we got on the bus, we went down to VMAC, we put on our road uniforms and simulated a game on the road, with substitutions and everything it entailed: in and out of the locker room, how we warmed up. I think we’re just trying to expand our comfort zone and get guys comfortable with being on the road so that we can play to the best of our abilities.”
On any depth chart surprises from what he would have thought last spring: “Greg Christine would be the first, just because he’s coming off the injury. I’m pleased and happy with Austin Sylvester, that he’s gotten to where he is. D’Andre Goodwin, surprise, he’s worked his way back; I’m really, really happy for that young man. Everrette Thompson, to be able to come back and start from that injury is a big deal for me. I think that’s the extent of it.”
On the battle at free safety: “Well, just the experience. Nate Fellner’s got a lot of experience. He’ll get the start, but Will Shamburger’s going to play quite a bit. It may come down to them alternating series; they’re going to play that much. They’re both going to play in nickel. So they’re going to get extensive playing time.”

On Everrette Thompson getting the nod over De’Shon Matthews: “Um, I think overall game, style of game. BYU’s a very physical team, and we’ve got to be able to hold up at the point of attack. Now, De’Shon Matthews is going to play a bunch. This two deep, it’s important to recognize that. You’re going into Provo, Utah, it’s going to be warm Saturday, we’re obviously going to be dealing with some altitude. So you’re going to see a bunch of guys. Although guys are listed as starters, our two-deep, the entire two-deep, is going to play.”
On James Johnson and being third on the depth chart: “Well, James is listed as the third guy there, and part of that is because he just hasn’t practiced. And the other side of that is, D’Andre Goodwin’s had a great camp, Cody Bruns has had a great camp, Jordan Polk’s had a very good camp. So it’s a deep position for us at wide receiver. And again, like the defensive line, we’re going to need all these guys on Saturday night.”
On Cody Bruns: “Well, he’s doing things right, first of all. He’s lining up right, and he’s running the right routes. That’s half the battle at wide receiver; you’ve got to be able to run the proper route. Secondly, Cody has got real speed, and he’s playing with that speed. He’s not hesitating, he’s not feeling his way, he’s playing with real speed. And then the third thing is, when the ball’s in the air, he’s making his plays. He’s catching balls, he’s making tough catches, he’s doing all the things that you need a guy to do from the wide receiver spot.”
On whether he thought Greg Christine was finished after he broke his leg last year against Arizona: “Yeah, I really did. When a guy’s a walk-on, an overachiever in a sense, and you have that type of injury, you think: man, I feel for the kid, but I’m glad he got to play for us when he did. The recovery he’s made has been tremendous. He’s a really neat personality on our team; he provides a great deal of energy, leadership. I’m proud of him. He’s worked his way back, he’s earned it.”
On the split between Jesse Callier and Johri Fogerson and how much each might play: “I’m throwing it out there, I could see them each getting, depending on how the game’s going, 10 to 20 snaps, roughly. I don’t know. It will all depend on what the guy who calls plays wants to call the next snap. I don’t know.”
On Chris Polk and whether there are any limitations: “No, he’s going. He’s ready to go. We’ve had a physical camp. He’s great. He’s ready to go. He’s in tremendous shape. He looks really good, and he’s playing really good. I’m kind of excited to watch him play.”
On how big a role Michael Hartvigson could play: “Oh, I think he could have a very big role. Mike has had a good camp, a very good camp. Obviously, for a freshman, he’s showed the pass-catching ability down the field but he’s proven himself to be an adequate blocker, not only in the run game but in pass protection. And he’s got the right mindset. He’s a blue-collar guy, tough-minded. He’s going to have a significant role.”
On the 12 freshmen and whether they all will play: “We’re going to be strategic with it. We’re not just going to throw them out there for a snap. If a guy plays, there’s going to be some significance there, whether it’s on special team or on
offense or defense.”
On how he did with the honor code at BYU: “I didn’t get kicked out”
On what was the biggest temptation, with Jim Moore reminding him it was Tell the Truth Monday: “It is tell-the-truth Monday. … You know, the one thing that is hard for me: I’m not a big shaver. I’ll go a couple days here without shaving. At BYU, you are not supposed to have facial hair. That one was tough for me. You’d go in to take a test and you’d go into the testing center and you are not cleanly shaven and then they kick you back out and tell you ‘You’ve got to go home and shave before you can come back again.’ I had a little bit a tough time with that one.”
On the kick and punt returners: “I feel great about our returners. Devin Aguilar has had a tremendous camp. He is a tremendous catcher. BYU is a difficult team from a punt and kickoff-return standpoint because of the altitude and the ball carrying. They are very good. If there was a top five of concerns, that is one of them, just catching a ball that is traveling more than it usually is. And Chris Polk at kickoff return along with Kevin Smith, Jessie Collier, Desmond Trufant _ you could see a few of those guys (returning kicks) in this week’s game. So I feel good about it. But until those live ones happen it remains to be seen.”
On the kickoff returners being interchangeable: “Sure. Sure. Chris Polk will be the first guy back for us.”
On the other top five concerns: ” I don’t want to give them all away. Bronco might be getting these quotes. But we have some concerns, no doubt. They are a football team that is very physical. They have an offense that is very interchangeable. They have three receivers who are great. They throw to their backs quite a bit. They have two quarterbacks who are two totally different players. So there’s some concerns for them offensively. Defensively, they get after the quarterback. They are a big zone-pressure team. They do a nice job in the back end. They don’t give up big plays. So we have plenty of concerns.”
On whether knowledge of how Jake Heaps plays helps: “No. No. They have a system there that has withstood the test of time. They are running their plays. Jake Heaps, if they deem him ready to play, means he can execute that offense.”
On whether the BYU offense is any different now than when he played: “Not a whole lot. Not a whole lot. They throw it more now — no, I’m just kidding. I didn’t have too many quarterback runs there when I was playing, either. It’s very, very similar. The passing concepts are very similar. A little bit different now with the line splits and whatnot. But a very similar-looking team. The uniforms look the same. Kind of an eerie feeling.”
On whether he could call out the plays as he sees them: “No, not to that extent. We only have a sprinkle of that offense in our scheme now. I’m hoping that Nick Holt and Mike Cox and Demetrius Martin and Jeff Mills and Johnny Nansen can yell it out, though, and call it out, though. That’s the goal. They … It’s going to be interesting to watch and see. We are preparing for two different offenses, in a sense, with the two different quarterbacks. I would not be surprised if both quarterbacks are on the field at the same time for them. So we have some real challenges.”
On whether other true freshmen not on two-deep could play: “Potentially … the plan right now is not, but you always take them. You never know when you’re going to need somebody on the road first game, injuries happen. Potentially, yes.”
On Kalani Aldrich’s knee status: “That knee is just not coming back the way we want. We’ll give him a real, good, hearty evaluation here early in the week. We hope he’s ready. We need ready, from a depth point of view. But it just hasn’t responded very good.”
Is Aldrich out?: He has not been ruled out. We’re going to evaluate him the here the first few days of the week.
More on James Johnson: “James is a little further along that Kalani. James had a nice practice on Saturday, first day back. He was a little sore afterward. Got the day off yesterday. I think he’ll practice and look fine today, but we’ve got to see what it looks like. I think that’s why he is where he is on the depth chart. We need to see him practice for a day, and see how he bounces back the next day.”
On having more trust in a senior QB: “A little more flexibility at the line of scrimmage. We’ll allow him to do some things, change some plays, change some routes, work with the cadence a little more. We were a team last year, our cadence, we remained the same. We wanted to make sure we could get up and snap the ball, and he didn’t have to worry about that aspect of the game. We are doing much more with our cadence – mix it up, have some variety, and that’s all on the quarterback to manage that, in the huddle and the line of scrimmage.”



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