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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 6, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Sarkisian: Bowl is “another step in the right direction”

The Holiday Bowl berth, UW coach Steve Sarkisian said during a teleconference today, is “another step in the right direction” as the Huskies continue their rebuilding process.
The second-year coach spoke to the media about the matchup with Nebraska and other topics,
and said that rather than the bowl game being a relief, it’s an accomplishment that “reiterates” that the progam continues to make progress.
But now, he said, the goal is to try to beat a Nebraska team that dominated the Huskies 56-21 in Seattle in September.
He said the game with Nebraska is “what you want” and that getting a chance to play the Huskers again “is a great opportunity.”
He said he didn’t try to anticipate where UW might go so he wasn’t surprised by the rematch with Nebraska.
UW is off until Friday with many coaches on the road recruiting.
But Sarkisian and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and defensive coordinator Nick Holt have stayed behind to begin formulating the gameplan for the Cornhuskers. Obviously, there’s a lot of familiarity already there, with the trick being to learn from what happened in the first game.
“We need to play to our strengths and understand where we were exploited and try to address those issues,” he said.
He said the week after the first Nebraska game that he would have liked to play the Cornhuskers again, not knowing he’d get another chance so quickly.
“I’d just like to go out and put our best foot forward and that will be the goal in our preparation to go out and out our best foot forward and play Husky football the way we can play it,” he said.
UW will practice Friday-Sunday of this week before again taking a few days off early next week. Sarkisian said the practices this week will be reserved largely for the young players on the team and continuing to get them work for the future, while resting some of the veterans. He said the real task of implementing the game plan for Nebraska will begin the following week.
Here are more notes from Sarkisian’s teleconference today:
— He reiterated that WR Cody Bruns and DT Semisi Tokolahi will be out for the bowl game. Each was injured in the Apple Cup, Bruns breaking a clavicle and Tokolahi an ankle. Bruns’ holding duties will continue to be filled by William Chandler while Sione Potoa’e likely gets first crack at filling in for Tokolahi. But the coaches obviously have some time now to figure out how to adjust.
— He said he hopes S Sean Parker (stinger) and DE Talia Crichton (knee) can make it back but that it is too soon to know. Those were the only two injured players he mentioned as having a chance to make it back for the bowl game.
— Sarkisian said the obvious when asked if the game will help recruiting. It said it would because it’s “a marker” that shows that the program is going in a good direction and will also give UW additonal exposure in the talent-rich southern California market.
— Asked about Kiel Rasp’s fake punt, he said that was a call specifically for the WSU game and that what made it work is having Jermaine Kearse line up as a gunner close to the UW sideline, where he could get on the field quickly before the Cougars could notice. WSU’s DB, Sarkisian said, played Kearse solely as a tackler and not a receiver so Kearse was able to make the adjustment to catch the ball. He said the throw “wasn’t perfect” but good enough for Kearse to make the catch.
— On the play where Jake Locker fumbled on a fake to Jesse Callier at the goal line, Sarkisian said the two players “just got too close together.” Locker was supposed to fake it to Callier, with no intention of handing the ball off, and then keep it — it’s the same play that Locker ran for an apparent TD that was called back early in the game. He said it appeared Locker would have walked into the end zone for a TD if not for the fumble.
— He said a practice site for the Holiday Bowl has not yet been selected. He said he and a few others will be down in San Diego later this week for a site review to firm up such details.
— It was indeed Taz Stevenson who wore a couple different numbers during the game (and Kevin Smith also did it once.) Sarkisian said there were a few more starters than usual on some special teams so Stevenson had to wear numbers no one else has.

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