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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 7, 2010 at 8:45 AM

Sark on with Mitch, and a few links

UW coach Steve Sarkisian was a guest on KJR-AM with Mitch in the Morning this morning, so I’ll start with a few notes from that interview, then give a few links. …
— One of the most interesting things was Sarkisian’s explanation of the Keith Price TD pass, which provides a peek into his overall philosophy. Sarkisian has been asked numerous times since then if he was worried about having Price throw a pass in that situation. “I never worry about stuff like that,” he said. “I just call what is the best call for the moment, at least in my opinion. I wanted Keith Price to know I believe in him, not for just that play but for going forward. And it was sending a message to our team there are no concerns or worries, let’s go score.” I often get questions on here about why doesn’t Sarkisian do certain things to guard against failure — such as one I’ve gotten a few times this week about why he didn’t call a time out to leave a few seconds on the clock in case of a bobbled snap or something. Sarkisian, as the comment above indicates, doesn’t think that way. His philosophy is to coach out of confidence, that the team will execute properly. That’s an important point for fans to realize.
— Mitch asked a lot about the 8-yard run by Jake Locker on third-and-five from the USC 28 and under a minute left. Sarkisian said the Huskies didn’t want to pass there to run the clock down as much as possible. “Whole theory is that when we get in those situations we want to end the game with the ball in our hands,” he said. “And if we win, we win; if we lose we lose.”
— He said the play was a basic zone read and Locker had the ability to hand it off or keep it — “he could have easily handed that ball off.”’ But given that UW had just had three TB runs up the middle “I was giving him some signals to keep it, but it was a read. … I love the ability to call that play for Jake to pull it (and run) because they had kind of been drawn in and sucked in.” Sarkisian said they were “content” at that point where they were on the field since they were inside the 30 and any kick was going to be 47 yards and in, a spot from which they have confidence in Folk.
— He said about half of the plays where Locker looks like he can keep it or hand off are options, and about half are designed for him to either keep it or hand off.
— He was asked about the TV shot of him shouting at receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty on the play after the one where Locker fumbled and Cody Habben caught it on the final drive. He said it was “just about a personnel grouping. As people get to know me, I love coaching football, I love those intense moments when we are in those exciting type games, and I embrace that stuff. It’s not an outrage of it’s too tense or that I dont want the moment I love it — it’s just a matter of getting things right. That’s just coaching ball.” Pressed further on what he was mad about there, he said “some of those things are left on the field.” But the obvious implication was that the proper WR personnel grouping wasn’t on the field.
— Asked about the change in play-calling philosophy against USC, he said that: “I just wanted to give our guys the best chance to be successful and felt we were able to do that Saturday.”
— Asked about the struggles of the defense he said that: “I think from a philosphical approach we want 11 really good college football players out there, that’s when you are good. … we knew going in it was going to be a real challenge (against USC). … I hesitate just to lay blame on one thing or another thing, Ultimately we are striving to get better we are continually getting better and two weeks in a row we have faced two really good running teams and it’s been a challenge for us.”
— He concluded about the defense that “ultimately we got some stops running the ball late in the game and I think that discouraged (USC) some (and forced the Trojans to throw), so I wasn’t as much concerned. Once we actually just settled in and played we were okay. Those were two huge stops in the fourth quarter that set up the last drive.”
— He talked again about the change in approach after this year’s win over USC instead of last year, when they felt they had to bring the team back down to earth. “I thought last year we beat SC and the first thought that comes to mind is you can’t let the kids get on a high, you’ve got to get them down to reality. … well sure enough we didn’t play as well against Stanford as we did against USC, we brought them back down.”
— This year the approach is that “‘I want to keep playing as good as we are playing — to bring them backk down to earth doesn’t make sense, we are on earth.” Asked how the team has responded, he said: “I think our guys have responded beautifully and we will continue to assess it. But all in all our kids have practiced really well and that’s the most important thing.”
— On Arizona State, he said: “They are a scary, scary football team. They move the ball up and down on offense, they are a wide-open attack. … they’ve been turning the ball over, especially in the red zone, and if they get that fixed they are even more scary.”
— He also noted that “they’ve got the best kickoff return team in the conference, which has been a real challenge for us going on.”
A FEW LINKS. …
— For my story for today, I wrote about kicker Erik Folk and also threw in a chart on some of the great UW kickers of the past and recounted some of their most famous kicks.
— The Arizona Republic has a feature on ASU DL Corey Adams and a Wednesday practice report. Notable in the practice report —- RB Deantre Lewis will play, and DT Lawrence Guy was out Wednesday with the flu.
— ESPN.com’s Ted Miller picks ASU 33-30, noting that every team that has beaten the Sun Devils would be favored to also beat UW.
— He also cites Lewis as a key matchup for the Huskies.
— The Arizona Daily Star is covering the Pac-10 meetings but reports that nothing was decided on Wednesday.
— Here’s a story looking at some of the challenges the Pac-10 faces in setting TV start times.
— More Pac-10 links from Vince Grippi.
All for now.

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