UW is off the field after its Thursday practice, held inside at the Dempsey Indoor, the second time this week the Huskies have used that facility, though they were outside for the two heavy days of work on Tuesday and Wednesday.
UW coach Steve Sarkisian said he went inside “to eliminate the distractions of the weather today. We had it the last two days. To get inside, I thought our guys were really focused, locked in – a good week of work.”
Here are a few quick notes from practice:
— Jake Locker took all the snaps with the first team offense and appears his healthiest since before the USC game. Said Sarkisian: “I think he looks great. This has been his best week of practice in almost a month. I thought he looks good. His movement is much better than it’s been in the last few weeks. I expect him to go out and play a really passionate football game.”
— WR Devin Aguilar had another good practice and appears back to resuming his regular role. Said Sarkisian: “That’s a really good sign. I think we’ve missed him. He provides a real spark to our offense – a real playmaker. It’s good to have him back.”
— Tight end Chris Izbicki (sprained foot) did no work during the team period but has not been ruled out for the game. Said Sarkisian: Izbicki is going to try and go, so we’ll see.
— In fact, the only player ruled out for sure is DL Cameron Elisara, though S Will Shamburger (concussion) and RB Johri Fogerson (hip) again did not practice so they each are unlikely to play.
Here’s some more of what Sarkisian had to say:
On practice: “I thought our speed, especially our offense – I thought our tempo was excellent today. We generally finish a little bit behind the defense on a Thursday because of the number of plays we ran. Today, we finished before them – it was a really good tempo by the offense.”
On the win one, lose one trend: “I think it shows us we’re a resilient group, and this team is learning how to get back up off the mat, and to fight, and to continue to fight, and throw another punch. I expect us to get back up again and throw another punch Saturday against a good football team.”
On the special teams getting better: “I think the amount of work, and time and effort we’re putting in. When we started at the beginning of the year, as you guys know, we played a lot of freshmen on special teams from the beginning. I thought we’ve progressively gotten better, week after week after week, in all phases. I think that’s a sign of maturity in some of our young guys, and also maybe we’re putting a little extra time into it, in general, in special teams. All in all, we’re reaping the benefits of it.”
On whether Zach Fogerson will get more work and being a short-yardage back: “Hopefully. As the year goes, and as his career goes on – he’s a big, physical runner, and he’s got great feet. His feet remind me, at times, of Lendale’s (Lendale White). He’s got excellent feet – so hopefully we can continue to work him in and get him part of the game plan. … he missed so much of his senior year. I wasn’t sure what to expect. He’s got a real bright future ahead of him.”
On whether it was hard to install the offense and get it in rhythm the last few weeks with Locker limited: “I don’t think so. We’re an offense that prides itself on running the same plays, just out of different personnel groupings and formations, so I think our guys enjoy it. They like to know to know what is in next, and what formation is in and how we’re going to run it this week. They have a lot of fun with it.”
On the Notre Dame tragedy: “It’s obviously a tragedy, and so unfortunate. Sometimes for me, what it was able to do for me is it really put into perspective how many people’s lives you’re really responsible for – not just your 105 players, but your entire organization. I felt for coach Kelly, and I feel for their program. That’s tough.”
On dealing with losing: “I’ve been sick. It makes me sick. I can’t stand losing. But we go back to work. I’ve been proud of our guys – they fought back. They’ve continued to fight back, and we’ll fight back again Saturday. There will come a day when we’ll win week-in and week-out, but until then, we’ve got to continue to work at it.”