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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 6, 2010 at 4:08 PM

Monday Sark bites

Here is some of what UW coach Steve Sarkisian had to say today in his regular Monday meeting with the media:
OPENING STATEMENT: “Well, it’s been obviously a day now since the BYU game and it’s a disappointing loss. It’s disappointing on a lot of fronts. I think the thing that is most prevalent now is that we have created an environment where losing is unacceptable — that’s the bottom line. We are here to win. I’m proud of the effort that we played with in this ball game. When I look at the game that we went on the road against a perennial top 25 opponent in a tough environment — we had an opportunity to win. We had the ball in the fourth quarter, 25-yard-line, third down with two minutes and change left in the game against a very good opponent. I think when you look back, we could have been at home against a lesser opponent and gotten kind of an easy W of some sort, but I think we found out a lot about our team and the character that we have and the way we play. And I think the reason is there is so much disappointment is higher expectations, and that’s okay. We have very high expectations within our locker room and in our team room and I think that’s why there is such disappointment. But I can tell you we are not going to dwell on this football game. We are going to learn from it, learn from out mistakes and move forward and go on to the next one.
“As I said after the ball game, and I feel good about saying it again today almost 48 hours after the game, this one football game is not going to define this team for the 2010 football season — it’s one game. It’ a game I think we all would have loved to have won and we all feel like we should have won. But we will move on, learn and get better for it. I think a critical juncture of the game was the third quarter where we were shut out and they put 10 points up on the board. I think it really swung the momentum of the game. It swung the momentum, in my own mind, also I think what played a big part in this ball game was our inability in short yardage offense to convert three third downs of two or less and one fourth down of two that we go 0-4 on. I thought that had a big impact on the ball game. 1-7 on third down, another big impact on the game, especially on the first drive of the third quarter where we convert on the third-and-long on the screen pass and there is kind of the phantom tripping penalty (on Jermaine Kearse), I’m going to call it, that kills the drive and in turn creates a field position and momentum in their favor. They dominated us on the field position battle. They were playing with short fields we were playing with long fields. And in turn, as we talked about some of the keys going into the ball game, it’s difficult, especially early in the season in a week one game, to put together really consistent 8-10 play drives and score touchdowns — it’s a hard thing to do. In doing so, that’s what was so critical for us creating turnovers and short fields and we didn’t get that done. Not that we didn’t play pretty decent offensive football when you have, excluding the snap over the punter’s head, when you have almost 407 yards of offense against a good defense, but only 17 points to show for it, I think is pretty telling that it’s hard to go the length of the field to score points, especially early in the year to be efficient and continually doing things right.
“I think all in all, I thought our conditioning was good. To think in the fourth quarter of that game in 93-degree weather in that altitude, that our defense was able to go out on the field in the fourth quarter and get stops, and give our offense an opportunity to win the football game, I was impressed with. I was impressed with the fact that we didn’t turn the ball over offensively. I liked our effort, and as I touched on I liked our fourth quarter defense. Now with all that being said, we are here to win and we are disappointed. We’ll move on. We’ve got a tough opponent in Syracuse coming in. Coach Marrone has done a fantastic job in rebuilding that program. They are in a similar situation that we are in. Very similar schemes. They’ve got an athletic quarterback that they rely on, not only in the passing game but the running game. They’ve got a physical back in Carter who will pound the football and they are sound on defense. They are 1-0, we are 0-1 and it’s going to be a good matchup. We are anxious to get back to Husky Stadium to play in front of our fans. It will be a great atmosphere, I’m sure, I know they are going to be excited and make it electric and pulling for our guys to make sure we go out and perform well to get our first W of the year.”
ON JAKE LOCKER AND THE OFFENSE: “Well I think he has made great strides. We’ve changed the style of offense they were in at that time to what we are in now. He’s made great strides not only as a passer but his overall knowledge of the game of football. I think as we continue to grow and looking back at our last week’s ball game I think we need to continually strive in consistency in not only Jake’s game but in our offensive football team’s game. I felt like right now we are a big, little offense. There are some really big plays that look good and then there are plays that are for zero or minus and I think that is something we will strive for in Jake’s game as well as our overall offense.”

ON THE RUNNING GAME AND WHAT CAN BE DONE TO GET MORE PRODUCTIVITY: “Well I think we need to identify the types of runs that are successful for us and continually try to identify whether it’s which back or Jake the types of runs they are successful at and put them in a situation to do those runs, and ultimately we need to continue to communicate better. Generally the breakdowns that we had in the run game were for a lack of communication where we were leaving somebody free in the hole and that’s hard for any back to be successful. I thought our mentality was good and physically going up against a physical defense we held our own. I don’t think we exactly knocked them off the football but ultimately you’ve got to block people and block the right people to give a back a chance so we will try to identify the runs that are successful for us and expand on those and the ones that aren’t successful we will move on or coach them better.”
MORE ON THE PENALTY AGAINST KEARSE: “He didn’t trip him. He cut him, like there are cut blocks on every play. I don’t understand what the penalty was.”
ON WHETHER HE COULD HAVE CHALLENGED ANY CALLS: “We really can’t. They did a nice job explaining to me, especially that one when they said, ‘Coach, we’re delaying this so they can get a view of it up top.’ But I had a good view of it. The ground caused the fumble, I mean, it was right in front of me. It wasn’t like I didn’t see it. It wasn’t like, if there is a camera shot of it. They would have had to make a mistake to give us that. So I didn’t think it was worth challenging that one especially.”
ON THE IMPACT OF THE TRIPPING CALL: “Well, I think it was big, you know. We had the ball coming out at halftime. We had the lead. Obviously a lot of momentum going into halftime with the field goal. It’s a conversion on third and long which is somewhat deflating to a defense. We were crossing the 50 yard line, with a lot of momentum. That hurt. That hurt. It kind of really swung the emotion of the game. It deflated our sails, in a sense — which it shouldn’t, we should be mentally tough enough to handle that. But it did. In turn, we were forced to punt, and then they went down and scored and the game changed, the complexion of the game changed.”
ON THE PLAY WHERE THE BYU RB FUMBLED THE BALL FORWARD: “The explanation was, it was not a fumble but a lateral because when he lateraled the ball the running back never gained possession of the ball. So you can advance that, because it was a lateral and not a fumble — if that makes sense.”
SPECIAL TEAMS CONCERNS. HOW DO YOU FIX THOSE? “Number one, the bad snap, I thought Brenden Lopez settled down after that. I thought it showed a lot of mental toughness to have, because the very next punt we have is out of our own end zone and he’s perfect, and was perfect from then on. So I think that one has kind of fixed itself. The roughing-the-punter, I mean, Greg Ducre, the ball goes through his hands. We had a block called, he’s right there, and the poor kid he has it blocked and it goes through his hands and he ends up roughing the punter. So we’ve got to continually teach our block technique. In the kickoff return, we’re changing our return. We are going with two guys who are going to be back together, so we don’t have the opportunities when guys shank kickoffs or mis-kick kickoffs where the one guy back there has to be the one fielding the ball. We’ll have two guys back there to hopefully combat that kind of stuff.”
WILL POLK BE ONE OF THOSE GUYS? “He will be one of those guys, yeah.”
AND THE OTHER ONE? “It will probably be Jesse Callier. Kevin Smith will get his opportunities back there as well.”
SPECIAL TEAMS AND THE 13 FRESHMAN, IS THERE ANY POSSIBLE SECOND GUESSING? “No, they are going to play more. Those guys are athletes. What showed up was, when we didn’t have those blunders, we can run with people now. We can sustain blocks. We’re going to be a better punt-return team. We’ll be a better punt-block team. We’re going to be a better kickoff-return team, as well. I don’t second guess or I don’t regret playing those kids at all. They are good football players. They are going to play more for us.”
HOW CAN YOU PRACTICE SPECIAL TEAMS KICK COVERAGE WELL WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO SIMULATE THE SPEED OF THE GAME? “I think, the bad snap — all competitors, all of us who ever played — man, you got pregame jitters. You are going to have those jitters when you are snapping the ball. So that one, you can only try to create a game-like atmosphere the best you can. But after that, like I said, he was fine. The punt block, we go full go when we are blocking punts, and Greg’s blocked a bunch of them in training camp, and he had a chance to on this one. I’m not hesitant. We will continue to teach our technique, but he is a guy who can get there to the block point. So we are going to continue to do that. And kickoff return, to simulate the speed I think is challenging. When they’ve got their best guys running down there covering kickoffs I think is something that is challenging to get that speed for our blockers. We need to do that. We need to give our guys full-speed looks on our kickoff return. Plus we are changing our scheme which I think should help us as well.”
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON THE GAMEPLAN AGAINST BYU: “I felt good about what we were doing. You never know which way games are going, so you want to make sure to have enough run and enough pass depending on the situation of the game. I felt like we had enough two-back stuff to do some things to utilize some play-action pass, but yet enough spread stuff, depending on what they were doing. I felt good about it. The first game traditionally, typically you have a little more volume, because you have the stuff coming out of training camp that you have at your disposal. Generally, as the weeks go on, that things starts to taper down until maybe you get another bye week where you can build back up. I felt good about our guys, assignment-wise doing the right things, especially our skill guys. We didn’t have a lot of busts. There were some things up front that we’ve been doing for weeks that we made mistakes on, which, to me, is a lack of communication, which was a big focus going into this game. You get on the road, you get a little hot, you get a little tired with the altitude, and it gets a little loud – their crowd did a nice job – and we made some mistakes where we weren’t on the same page.”
MORE ON THE COMMUNICATION ISSUES UP FRONT: “Mistakes happen late with game tight: No, I think they just happened periodically for whatever reason, and I can’t put my finger exactly on why that is, except maybe just lack of focus at some point. Part if it, too, is we’ve got to be together, do this thing together. All five guys up there – and if you want to throw in the tight end, make it six, and if you want to throw in the fullback, make it seven – those guys need to be cohesive, and do this thing together and take pride in doing it together, and not, ‘Oh, so-and-so made the wrong call, so we were all wrong.’ Well, if you think he’s making the wrong call, somebody else has got to fix it. That’s what is going to be our point of emphasis this week.”
ON WHAT HE SAW OUT OF JESSE CALLIER: “Tthe game wasn’t too big for him, it was easy for him. He went into the game and performed. You’ll see more of Jesse – you’ll see more of him in the run game as well as in the pass game.”
ON GETTING POLK MORE THAN 16 CARRIES: “I would have liked to, in all reality. Now I’m talking about trying to get Jesse Callier more carries as well. We went into the game plan trying to get Jake some carries. We felt like we could exploit some things there, and I think Jake took away a little bit of Chris’ carries that way. But, yeah, I’d like to see Chris get 20 carries a game, that’s obviously the goal going into it every time. He’s got some big-play potential, which he showed in the fourth quarter popping the run down their sideline. Ideally, 20 carries is what we’re looking for.”
ON BY CONTAINING LOCKER’S OUTSIDE RUNNING: “Their scheme allowed it to keep him contained. They’re a 3-4 defense, so they’ve got edge (LBs) standing out there and they had some of the times, didn’t even rush. They sat there and waited for Jake. There were some big third downs where they rushed two guys. The rest of their (LBs) and defensive linemen stood at the line of scrimmage, and they were waiting for Jake Locker. That’s what is going to happen to a quarterback when you’re a good athlete. That is why it is so imperative our pass game is precise, and he’s on point with everything we’re doing on that end of it so that you can’t defend him that way. If you that is what you’re plan is, we’ve got enough pass protection to handle that so we can throw the ball down the field and hurt you if you’re not going to rush him.”
MORE THOUGHTS ON THE LAST OFFENSIVE PLAY: “He wasn’t rushing, he was waiting. That’s why he was able to jump and time his jump. He wasn’t in pass-rushing mode. He was looking and waiting.”
WAS IT DUMB LUCK? “In a sense. It’s a good job by them. I think we need to recognize that a little quicker up front, and if we feel guys are jumping, we’ve got to do a great job with our punch on the OL to keep their hands down.”
ON DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS: “Mason Foster was fantastic. Official stats had him at 14 tackles; we had him at 17 tackles. He was the football player we hoped he’d be. Nate Williams had a really nice football game as well. There were some things to clean up, but I thought in the run game, he was physical. I thought Talia Crichton did a nice job. This was a difficult game because of their splits, and sure, I would have loved for him to come out there with two sacks or so, but from where he was last year to where he was this year and the way he played in this game against the run and in some of our zone-drop stuff, I thought he did a nice job.”
ON BYU’S LONG TD PASS: “They got us. They did a good job of understanding the coverage we were in, and isolated a back up the seam. It’s kind of a difficult matchup for us to get adjusted to, and they got us. Good job on their coach’s part.”
ON GETTING MORE PRESSURE ON THE QB: “One, we’ll get more pressure. We pride ourselves in getting after the quarterback, and we’ll continue to do that. This game, in particular against BYU, they’re notoriously a tough team to rush the passer on. They take really big splits, they get rid of the ball quickly and with the added dimension of the quarterback runs, it was hard to call just pressure to go get the quarterback if you’re not sound on the triple-option stuff and the zone reads. we’ll get more pressure. It’s a huge point of emphasis of ours as a defense from day one. This is one game. This one game is not going to define the way we get after the quarterback, either. We’ll get there.”
ON LOCKER SEEING THAT KIND OF WAIT-AND-SEE DEFENSE EVERY WEEK: “I think it was unique, in a sense, they had not shown that on film. We’ve got to be prepared for that; he’s got to be prepared for that. We’re going to see that kind of stuff, and the variety of those things. That’s a sign of respect to him that they’re so concerned with him running the football that they would not rush the passer. We’ve got to be prepared for it. The key thing for him to understand, if they’re not rushing him, he can take his time on certain plays and really buy time, and even slide out of the pocket to buy more time if they’re not going to rush him. It’s a sign of respect, but he’s got to be prepared for it.”
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF LOCKER: ” I thought he was good. I’ve seen Jake Locker play better, and he’ll play better. I thought his play was a microcosm of how our overall offense played – big-little. Man, there were some great plays – he made some fantastic throws, some big plays to Kearse down the middle of the field, the touchdown run, the touchdown pass to jermaine with a guy in his face – there are some great plays in there, but the overall consistency of our game as a team, an this game, we have to raise that level, and that’s what we’re striving for.”
ON THE COMMUNICATION ISSUES BEING THE KEY PROBLEM UP FRONT: “I think it was communication. It’s easy to see, we’re not the Nebraska Cornhuskers with Tommie Frazier and those guys, and Lawrence Phillips where they were just lining up and pounding you off the ball. But we’re physical enough to block people. But if you don’t block the right guys, it can make it difficult. We’ve got to make sure we’re blocking the right guys.”
ON ANY NEW INJURIES: “We came out great. You’ve got your traditional bumps and bruises after a first ballgame. Nothing serious. On to the next one.”



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