It was a bit blustery outside today, so the Huskies went into the Dempsey Indoor to practice.
It was a typical Monday workout, about an hour or so, with no pads and lots of special teams work.
UW QB Jake Locker appeared to take part in most of it, sitting out some of the team portion but otherwise participating. UW coach Steve Sarkisian said later on his radio show that Locker looked “much better this Monday than the previous two Mondays, so he’ll be fine.”
In a few other practice observations:
— S Will Shamburger sat out with an unspecified ailment.
— WR Devin Aguilar appeared to get his most work since being injured prior to the Arizona State game and looks on the road to getting more time this week.
— WR James Johnson, who missed the UA trip with a sickness, was in uniform but didn’t appear to get on the field much.
— DT Cameron Elisara was out and as Sarkisian said earlier, appears unlikely to play this week.
Monday also means Sarkisian’s radio show. Here are a few highlights:
— There was some talk about last week’s conference realignment news. Sarkisian said that one advantage for UW, and being in a rebuilding situation at the moment, is that “it’s a quicker way to the top having to beat five teams instead of all 11, that’s how I’m looking at it.”
— He also said he’s in favor of having the title game on a host field. “I’m a believer the best team should host it. If you want to be the best team in the conference you should beat the best.”
— He said he’s not worried about losing any recruiting edge in Los Angeles if UW doesn’t play there every year. “Going down to LA four out of every six years is plenty good enough. …. the real goal is to be playing in Los Angeles on Jan. 1. That has a bigger impact (on recruiting) than anything.”
— He said one big goal for this week is first down defensive efficiency, specifically to hold Stanford to less than four yards per carry and incomplete passes to set up second and longs. He also said that “we’ve got to find a way to pressure the quarterback and still cover in the back end.”
— Offensively, he said first-down efficiency will also be important, that UW had “way too many third and longs (against Arizona) and those are tough to convert.”
— Said that while the team was inside today it will be outside the rest of the week to “get used to the elements.”
— Said one play call he regretted was throwing on first-and-10 from the Arizona 30 after the long pass to Cody Bruns late in the first half. Locker was sacked for a 10-yard-loss on first down and after two incomplete passes, the Huskies had to punt. “The most important thing is get some points, make it 30-17 to go into the locker room and then come out and score again and it’s 30-24 and it’s a different ball game.” He said nine times out of 10 he would run the ball there but they thought there was a chance to get a deep pass to Jermaine Kearse for another big play. Said since it was a two-minute situation, they couldn’t audible to change the protection, which might have prevented the sack.
— Said he still feels good about the direction of the program, saying they have a big mountain to climb and have gone a long ways but sometimes take a slide back down. Said the important thing is to keep getting back up. Noted that USC went 6-6 in Pete Carroll’s first year and then lost two games early the next year. “It didn’t happen overnight there, either,” he said. And he added that he thinks it’s tougher now, that “this era of the Pac-10 is a lot deeper than that era at that time in the Pac-10.”
— He said he thinks one reason for the inconsistent play this season is that sometimes there has been a “sense of relief” when the team has won a game. “The important thing for us to learn is that when we win there shouldn’t be a sense of relief,” he said. “At times this year when we have won some games we’ve had a little bit of a sense of relief. Not just in our locker room but maybe aorund our program, as well, and this is completely the wrong mentality to have. There should be a hunger to want to do it again.”
— He said the team needs to learn that it’s “not just winning a big ball game. It’s the ability to win two in a row, and then get to three in a row, and four in a row, and not get complacent and understand how hard it is to win one ball game and then recreate it to develope a belief system that we are going to go out and win.”
— He said effort wasn’t an issue Saturday, noting the way the game started. “It wasn’t about want-to,” he said. “Our kids wanted to win the game. They played with good effort. Unfortunately it wasn’t good enough.”