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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 18, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Sark bites, pre-Arizona edition

As always, UW coach Steve Sarkisian held his weekly Monday press conference today. And as always, here’s some of what he said:
Opening statement: “Well it’s time to get back on the horse. We said it after the Arizona State game, after a loss, we’re saying it after the Oregon State game, after a win. We enjoyed it, it’s a nice win for us. I thought we showed some real resiliency there, especially at the end of the ball game…a credit to our defensive players to get refocused for the last snap and not dwell on the play before when the pass interference was called. Whether (Joe Halahuni) dropped it, or Cort (Dennison) got a hand on it or Cort caused him to drop it, I’m not sure. The ball hit the ground and we won. It was a nice win for us, I think a much-needed win…but time to move on.”
On facing Arizona with Matt Scott at quarterback instead of Nick Foles: “We’ve got to be a little more prepared for the zone read stuff that Matt’s able to do, but at the end of the day they are going to run their plays. They are going to use (Keola) Antolin and (Nic) Grigsby to run the ball and they are going to get the ball to (Juron) Criner and those other wide outs…we have to prepare for their schemes.”
Thoughts on the new offensive line: “We’re just trying to give our football team the best opportunity to be successful. Drew Schaefer at right tackle provides a little more stability, a little more athleticism out there to handle some of these rush ends that we’re faced with. I felt like we needed to be bigger at guard, especially with (Erik) Kohler out, so that’s why (Colin) Porter’s moved in at guard, with (Ryan) Tolar on the other side. And Greg Christine’s a bright guy, and he can get us blocking the right people at the right time, so that’s why he’s in at center.”


On Kohler coming back from mono: “We don’t know yet. It’s going to be a day-to-day thing. They monitor how much he can to, and to what extent, and so he’s on the depth chart – but I don’t know yet, to be honest with you.”
On Talia Crichton’s condition and MRI : “We’ll get the results this evening.”
On the health of the team after OSU: “I thought we did OK. We got beat up a little bit…bumps and bruises…that was a physical ball game. Oregon State is a physical team. We’re a little banged up, but nothing serious. We should be OK.”
On what it would take to get injured players back for Arizona: “They need to practice. I’m not a big believer in you don’t practice but you can go out and play well. So they need to practice. So Devin, Johri, Erik Kohler – they need to practice if they want to play Saturday.”
On close losses and learning to win: “We just hammered home the thought process of finish, and finishing. Not about just making a great play, it’s about being attentive to your details, knowing your assignments, not making things up or trying too hard…just doing your job and focusing on the task at hand on that snap…not about what’s occurred all game long, not about what might occur if I do or don’t make this play…just play the snap and we’ll focus on the next one.”
On breaking through with winning a tight game: “I think it’s huge, especially at SC on the road, from the psyche perspective of going on the road, coming from behind was big. And then to beat a team that’s beaten you six years in a row, and who probably handily beat us the worst last year when you look at all our losses – I thought that Oregon State really physically beat us up last year – for our kids to respond that way and then finish the way we did, I was very proud of them.”
On the win-loss-win-loss pattern: “Obviously we’ve analyzed it and looked at it and trying to find out why…I don’t think it’s because our guys think they are the greatest thing ever, and now we can relax and we can go and beat whoever…I don’t think that’s the mindset at all. Sometimes maybe we put a little too much pressure on ourselves, like ‘OK, we won – now we can go win two in a row’. Let’s just go play, forget what just happened last week and what might occur if we win or don’t win – let’s go play the game, and play with great effort and great energy and passion and see what happens. If we win, great. If we don’t, it’s back to the drawing board. But let’s not worry about consequences; let’s lock in and go play. Hopefully we can break that trend this week. It’s obviously a tough assignment going to Tucson, but all we want to do is put our best foot forward.”
What was it like to celebrate a win twice? “No. It’s kind of fun, though. You get to plan your celebration for the second one because if you didn’t like the first one you can change it for the second one.”
On Jermaine Kearse bouncing back: “I wasn’t as concerned about it. We addressed it with him, he’s a great kid, he’s got a tremendous work ethic. He came right back and caught nine balls, so we are going to keep throwing it to him.”
Can you talk about the day Chris Polk had? “That was a blue collar day for old No. 1. A typical Chris Polk day, yards after contact, pounding the football when we needed him to. He’s a Warrior, that’s for sure.”
Does he get more amped up to go against big-name guys? “No. He’s been playing consistently. He’s probably been our most consistent guy all year. He’s matured quite a bit since last year. He practices well and just locks in and goes.”
On the struggles with the offense after the 21-0 lead: “That happens. I think you can relax a little bit and then you jump offsides four times and then you have second and longs and third and longs and it gets hard. You can make it hard on yourself, never mind what they are doing. But that’s typical of teams when they start, it’s that good, it’s that easy, you can lose your edge in a sense and step back. So we’ve got to do a better job of trying to keep them locked in. I was watching the USC game Saturday and they score 42 points in the first half and then in the second half they can barely get a field goal. It just happens, it’s human nature, that’s why we coach to try to fight that.”
How has Polk gotten better? “I think just his attention to detail. He’s matured in all phases of his life not only on the football field but in the class room and his personal world and so all in all it’s making him a better player.”
On defending against Arizona’s dangerous kickoff return units: “We’ll keep working on it. We practice it a lot. Just got to continue to fit. Unfortunately we got out of a lane again twice last week andn boom, it seems every time we do it they are right there. So we will continue to work it. It’s been a huge point of emphasis for us and has been now for two months and we’ve just got to keep working at it.”
On who played well on defense:Mason (Foster), he’s ridiculous. I looked at the stat sheet, he’s got 72 tackles halfway through the season, he’s on pace for 150 tackles in a year, it’s ridiculous. So he’s playing great. Nate Williams had a fantastic game. I thought Victor Aiyewa had some nice stops. And then a guy who can go unnoticed, Alameda Ta’amu had a nice ball game.”
Was it Ta’amu’s best game? “I don’t know that, making that comparison now. I like when he plays like that, he is able to control the middle, especially in the pass rush ability that he has to get one-on-one matchups for him he’s really going. He’s a load in there.”
On more man coverage: “Yeah, we’re trying to. We want to. Part of that is the confidence of guys playing man-to-man coverage. I thought that Tru (Desmond Trufant) and Q (Quinton (Richardson) had a nice ball game. I thought Nate Williams, Sean Parker, those guys did nice jobs in their man-coverage stuff to allow us to get to the quarterback.”
On whether it was the best the defense has played all year: “Yes, yeah. I thought they played really fast. You know, unfortunately we missed some tackles, but that guy is hard to tackle. But I thought all in all, we played well.”
On the improved energy level Saturday: “Oh, it was tremendous. Night-and-day difference. Great job by our coaches, great job by our seniors, to get that done. I thought the crowd was fantastic Saturday night, and really provided a lot of kind of spark for our guys — even at some of the moments that we were not there. What they were bringing on third down and in overtime was really great, and I’m glad we were able to reward them with the win.”
Why so different in one week? “I don’t know. If I knew I’d be traveling around the country answering that question for a lot of teams that sometimes don’t come out with the same energy from week to week to week. We work hard on it. We talk to it, and try to capture it when we have it and when we don’t have it try to build it back up. But that’s the challenge of coaching, and to have your seniors help you with that. Hopefully we can find that same energy level and bring it at Arizona on Saturday night.”
On Jake Locker running: “Well, yeah, I thought Jake did a good job of using his legs the other night. But we just try to take advantage of whatever’s there. They blitzed us in that last instance, and he made a heck of a throw. We just try to be as multiple as we can.”
On what is most concerning about the Arizona defense: “The two ends. They’re monsters. These guys, they are the whole game to me, in my opinion. Our ability to block them is going to determine, in my opinion, is going to have a signficant factor in the outcome of this ball game.”
On if Crichton can’t play: “Yeah, Jamora would step in and play.”
On Cameron Elisara playing despite the stinger injury: “Yeah, did a nice job. One of his better ball games. We just kept watching him, he played well.”

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