As detailed in the entry below, the Huskies were a little bit sloppy offensively today, a few too many penalties and dropped passes.
But while UW coach Steve Sarkisian echoed the mantra surely being heard in just about every college football camp this time of year that there’s still lots of work to do, he also said he’s happy enough with where the Huskies are, now having less than two weeks to kickoff of the first game.
“I wish we were 100 percent healthy first,” he said. “You go through a scrimmage without Chris Polk, without Alameda Ta’amu, without Quinton Richardson, you know that’s three potential all-Pac 10 guys for you. No, we’re not where I wish we were, but I am pleased with where we’re at. I think we’ve accomplished a lot in two weeks’ time, I think we’ve established an identity of who we want to be and now something we can build upon. But we’ve got to get healthy and we’ve got to clean the little things up that I thought plagued us today. Obviously the line of scrimmage offensively, and defensively our ability to get off the field on third-down or fourth-down situations which is something I thought we got at at the end of the year , we just have to get back into that mode.”
You can also hear some of Keith Price’s comments in the video below, where he repeats what Sarkisian said about their being work to do, especially in cleaning up dropped passes and penalties.
[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1120546670001″][/do]
Here is Sarkisian’s overall assessment of what happened today: “I thought it was a good physical scrimmage. Offensively, maybe a little anxious is the best word. Guys that hadn’t been dropping balls all of the sudden today decided to drop far too many balls for our standards. Some formational things – illegal procedures, false starts. A couple holding penalties which we haven’t had all camp. So that’s my assessment offensively. I know we’re better than that but we’ve gotta be able to play through those things when we get into these settings and we’re on the field on our own. On the defensive side of things I thought it was a, physical day. It was good that we had to play extended drives – drives where it wasn’t four or five plays. I think the first drive against the first defense might have been upwards near 12 plays, I’m not exactly sure what that number is and so it’s good that they had to play through that and get into football shape. That’ll be our goal as we move into next week is to get used to playing extended periods of time and utilizing our substitutions and our depth that we have so that we can be fresh. We can understand what it means to play eight or 10 plays in a row and then what we need to get done mentally so that we can play physically. I was pleased with the special teams stuff that we did, you know, we didn’t emphasize a lot of it. We went with quality over quantity and I thought that really showed up. I thought Erik [Folk] kicked the ball extremely well on his kickoffs, right he needed to be. I love the return game there with Kevin Smith. It was blocked beautifully. It’s good to see Kasen [Williams] catch a punt in a live setting and what that looked like. So, all in all, the special teams aspect of it I thought went well, but definitely we have plenty of room to grow from this and we will.”
Smith had long return for a touchdown during the special teams setting, while Williams was one of two punt returners to get a shot — Devin Aguilar was the other (Callier was also on the first-team KOR unit while Bishop Sankey and Desmond Trufant were the second-team returners).
The offensive starting unit appeared the same as it has throughout (Aguilar initially worked with the second unit with Williams working with the first, but there was lots of rotating as the day wore on.)
Defensively, Garret Gilliland and Princeton Fuimaono rotated at the weakside linebacker spot and Justin Glenn and Nate Fellner at safety. The rest of the defense appeared the same other than the spots where there are changes due to injury. Anthony Gobern ran with the one defense at cornerback in place of Richardson and Lawrence Lagafuiana ran with the one defense in place of Ta’amu with Shelton starting out with the second team.
As noted in the earlier post, the No. 2 units got the better of the starters for much of the day. The No. 2 defense stopped the No. 1 offense on two of three drives, and the No. 2 offense drove for a TD and a field goal in three attempts against the No. 1 defense.
Sarkisian said he thinks that’s a sign of increasing depth for the Huskies.
“I think anytime the twos go against the ones there’s always a little bit of that underlying motivation that they want to be with the ones, and that’s how it should be,” he said.. “They should compete and if the ones don’t show up the twos should play really well. And I think that we’ve recruited well enough now that there shouldn’t be that much disparity between the ones and the twos and I thought that showed today.”
Asked if there was anything concerning about the way the ones played against the twos today he said: “No, not at all, that’s how we were hoping we could get. Our goal is that scrimmages and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of game week are tougher for our guys than Saturdays are and we’re getting closer to that. We’ve got a lot of playmakers, you know, and guys that are fighting for spots and guys that, if we were actually playing a game, guys that are on the twos would be playing with the ones – they’d be rotating in and playing and, in a lot of spots, you could flip a coin with some guys if they’re a one or a two.”
IN OTHER NOTES. …
— Here was Sarkisian’s take on how the offense looked without Polk: “We tried to do some things where we could get Keith some completions to get him going and feeling good about himself in today’s scrimmage, unfortunately we didn’t catch the ball very well early on in the scrimmage, but I thought Jesse did some nice things, really did a nice job of blitz pickup today, picking up some stuff, especially interior blitzes. I thought he had a couple of opportunities to maybe really get up and create some big runs. Didn’t quite, slipped on one and kind of got bottled up on another. I felt good about what he brought. I think if this was a real game and it wore on and he had more carries, I think he’d see those runs and create some bigger plays.”
— Price slid into the end zone on the play where he scored, something he admits in the video above he shouldn’t do (QBs are supposed to be off-limits to contact). Said Sarkisian: “It’s just a great competitor. I wouldn’t expect anything less. I think Nick (Montana) would have done the same thing. You know, you get playing and it’s hard, all of the sudden you’re playing not to compete to score a touchdown, and so I kind of actually enjoyed that.”
— The No. 1 offense converted two fourth-downs on its scoring drive, Sarkisian saying: “I don’t know [if I would have normally gone for it on all of those plays]. There was some stuff that we were doing today that I wanted to do and I wanted to see our guys react. This wasn’t exactly a game as in we’re treating it just like a game. There were some situations we went for today that, you know, in all likelihood, we would probably would have kicked field goals depending on the score and things of that nature of the ballgame, but today it was good to see some short yardage plays on 4th and 1 on both sides of the ball and see the quarterback have to play on a 4th and 5 situation, so it was good for us.”
— Here’s what he said Anthony Gobern’s play today: “I think well. I’ll have to see exactly where he’s at, you know, looking at the film, but so far so good. I thought Greg Ducre actually, although he started off with the twos, made a couple of really nice tackles there early in the scrimmage and those, for Greg, that’s been one of our concerns with him – consistency tackling. It was good for him to show that early in the scrimmage, two tackles right off the bat.”
— And here’s what he said about Price: “Oh, I like where Keith’s at. I thought he managed the clock much better today, you know. We’ve been fast with the 40 second [play] clock on purpose on him to get our guys in and out of the huddle, and that, in part, might have been why we got a couple of the illegal procedures because we were trying to hurry, but we wanted to put the pressure on him a little bit and I thought he handled it much better today, much more composed, knew what he was trying to get accomplished on plays and so all in all I was impressed with him.”
— UW’s annual Picture Day is Sunday from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Husky Stadium. The next practice open to the public is Monday at 3:15 p.m.