UW’s Monday format is a little different this year, with Steve Sarkisian’s radio show at 4:30 here at the Don James Center.
That enabled Sarkisian to coach practice until right about 4:30, then run up the steps and into his seat in the DJ and start talking about the game. I attempted to follow the coach, though I didn’t have the super-secret password to go straight into it and went around and up the elevator
Frankly, not a ton to report from practice in terms of news. It was a brisk affair that lasted about 90 minutes or so, with the team in helmets and shoulder pads. The emphasis was on a quick tempo, and this one seemed like it might have had the quickest tempo of the season. It seemed like they were running a play about 15 seconds or so during when the No. 1 and 2 offense went against the scout team.
A few nice catches highlighted things, including a diving grab by Devin Aguilar over the middle.
But in terms of personnel, the lineups were just as portrayed as on the depth chart (with the QBs running plays in the order listed on the depth chart, as well). Kalani Aldrich did a little work with the defense, just as Sarkisian had said he would as they want to test his knee a little early in the week to see if he can hold up and play on Saturday.
As noted, I followed Sark up to his radio show and listened in along with 20 or so other people.
Here are a few notes from the radio show:
— Asked about the defense, Sarkisian said that the defense was a surprise throughout camp and that “maybe the majority of camp (the defense) might have outplayed (the offense). They are playing fast, playing hard. I love our defensive back play because it’s allowing us to play more man-to-man coverage so we can be more aggressive up front.”
— He repeated what he told us a week ago or so that he thinks UW is especially strong on defense up the middle. “You’ve got to be good up the middle and the spine of our defense is great,” he said.
— Asked about the importance of the game, Sarkisian said he didn’t want to overstate it while acknowledging that it is big. “I don’t want to say it’s a statement game,” he said. “It’s a long season, this is just one of them. I’m not going to put all of our eggs in just one basket.”
— A listener asked an interesting question about Jake Locker being too impatient on quarterback draws and not waiting for the play to develop. As he did, Sark pointed to his practice card and then said that that was something the team had talked about today. “It’s a big point of emphasis for us,” he said, noting that UW has a variety of QB runs for Locker. “When he knows he’s getting the ball, he wants to get it and go,” he said. “There is an art to the QB draw and it has been a point of emphasis for us and I think Jake understands that it is called a draw for a reason.” At the risk of putting too much emphasis on it, this seems like the kind of attention to detail that could be the difference in a season like this in the second season for Sarkisian and having better knowledge of his personnel.
— There was some talk about the 2008 game and Sarkisian said it won’t really be anything he will emphasize during the week. He said he doesn’t want to play up any revenge factors. “I just want our guys to go play good football,” me said. “That was a couple years ago and we are a different team and it’s a different era, a different time.”
— Sarkisian said that Deontae Cooper will have knee surgery to repair his ACL “in a little over a week.” He said Cooper will go home for a few days prior to it and then return to Seattle for the surgery. Cooper was walking around at practice today without much of a limp.
— Asked about some of the true freshmen, he said that Kevin Smith will be on the field on both return units and on offense. He also said that Sean Parker would be starting it not for having a senior like Nate Williams in front of him. He talked of how Erik Kohler stepped in for Senio Kelemete for a week during practice and “we didn’t skip a beat.”
— Asked the biggest surprise of camp, he said “the overall depth that our receiving corps is playing with right now. We’re seven deep at the wide receiver spot, which is very cool.”
And now, a few links. …
— Times columnist Jerry Brewer says he thinks the Huskies will finish 8-4 this season.
— Here’s a take from The Salt Lake Tribune on Sarkisian saying today he didn’t love having to shave daily while attending BYU.
— Jon Wilner has UW fourth in his can’t-miss college football preview.
— Lots of good Pac-10 links from Ted Miller.
— Here are the weekly game notes for BYU, which includes a depth chart.
All for now.