For a while, the Huskies literally had a little more spring in their step during Monday’s practice following one of the better wins in years Saturday against Oregon State.
As the song “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” played during a drill, a few of the offensive linemen broke into a little playful jig.
UW coach Steve Sarkisian, though, he says he wants to treat this like any other week — to move past Oregon State and move onto Arizona.
Monday night during his coach’s show, he reiterated what he’d said earlier in the day, that he thinks the real key to this game will be containing Arizona’s defensive ends Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore — the two seniors are 1-2 in the Pac-10 in sacks, Elmore with six and Reed with 4.5.
“They get off the football really well and if there’s one key to look for it’s our ability to block their defensive ends,” Sarkisian said.
That will put the onus on UW getting solid play from offensive tackles Senio Kelemete and Drew Schaefer. As noted earlier, Sarkisian said the line will open the week staying the same as it was for the OSU game, with Greg Christine at center and Ryan Tolar and Colin Porter at guards.
One wildcard could be if Erik Kohler makes a rapid recovery from mononucleosis.
Kohler worked at left guard with the second team during practice Monday, which was the usual lighter affair with players in helmets only. It was about a 90-minute workout overall, and non-contact.
Sarkisian said afterward during his radio show that “He got back out there today and we’re just going to keep monitoring him closely. We’re not going to push him too quickly but we are excited to get him back out there.”
Devin Aguilar and Johri Fogerson, each out recently with hip injuries (Aguilar the last two games and Fogerson since the opener) also worked during practice, the first step toward getting back on the field.
Watching practice, however, was DE Talia Crichton, with his right knee in a wrap. Sarkisian said on his radio show that Crichton will “be out some extended time, just exactly how long we are not sure yet.” He added that they have not yet seen the results of an MRI but that “it’s a knee issue but to what extent we don’t know.”
IN OTHER NOTES FROM THE COACH’S SHOW. …
— Asked about the improvement in the defense, Sarkisian said “I think we are starting to believe, is one thing I’ve noticed. We are playing faster because we are believing in the calls. … all in all, we’ve improved. The last six quarters I think they have played really good football for us.”
— Asked about Jermaine Kearse, he said: “When it’s all said and done he’s the MVP of that football game. The first catch is a heck of a catch in the corner of the end zone. … coming in with what he was dealing with in the past, just proud of him.”
— Asked about the play of Porter, he said: “He did pretty well for a true freshman, his first start.”
— Sarkisian talked about the changes Arizona may make offensively having to go with Matt Scott instead of Nick Foles at QB and said of Scott “is he as effective as a thrower as Nick Foles, I don’t think so but that doesn’t mean he can’t be as effective a player.” He also said he doesn’t think the base of Arizona’s offense will change, including the ubiquitous bubble screen. “They are going to keep throwing that until we stop them — I would,” he said.
— He said the Huskies may try to bring more pressure on Scott, however. “I know we’ll have another aggressive game plan defensively and I know our kids’ confidence on defense is getting higher and higher. … there is a lot of confidence on our team right now and believing in what we are doing.”
— He said Chris Polk had 70 yards after contact Saturday — of 105 total. “We leaned on him a little more this week, we wanted to, and he responded,” Sarkisian said.
— He said again that he thought Desmond Trufant did everything right on the play where he was called for pass interference in the second OT. “I wouldn’t tell him to do anything different,” he said. “If that’s a PI, then that’s a PI, but I thought it was a heck of a play.”
— Asked about the fact he stayed calm after the call, he said: “When those flags get thrown like that, at that point they are not going to change the call becaue I’m yelling at them, and I didn’t want my team to see me in distress and up in arms. I wanted us to be calm and in the moment and understanding and in focus, and it took us a play but we were able to do that on the two-point play.”
— Asked why UW doesn’t do more press coverage in the secondary, he said that “we are mixing it more than we have in the past but we are not quite where we want to be — we wish we could play press every snap but we are not quite there yet.” He said that the goal against Oregon State was to not give up big plays and that playing press coverage increases the risks. “We really came into this game wanting to keep them in front of us and, if we keep them in front of us we’ve got a chance to win the game, and that was the thought process.”
— Asked about the play where Jake Locker’s run was reviewed and then determined to be short, he said there was no reason to ask for a measurement because “we were obviously short of the first down, you could see that, so the measurement fact of it is that we were already short.”
— Asked about the replay process, he noted that TVs are not allowed in the coach’s booth in the press box so all they have to go on are the live action and the replays on the big screen.
— Asked about the four false start penalties, he noted two were on James Johnson and two on Daniel Kanczugowkski, two players who haven’t played much this year, and are maybe “not feeling as comfortable as they need to be on the field.”
— On his overall thoughts on the game he said “the defense really what won the game for us … we have played good defense for the last six quarters. … the big key coming in was not giving them the big play, the week before they had numerous big plays in their game at Arizona.”
— He said OSU’s final TD, after the interference penalty, came on a play where UW wasn’t lined up right. “We screwed up, didnt get lined up and gave up the touchdown,” he said.
— He said again that he thought Mike Riley did the right thing in going for two being on the road against an offense playing well. He said that the Huskies doubled Jacquizz Rodgers on the play — he was lined up in the slot — forcing the Beavers to throw the ball elsewhere.
— He said since UW was at home, it would not have gone for two in a similar situation. “At home you extend it as long as you can and we would have no doubt about it.”