Doing double-duty here with a post wrapping up Monday’s practice and some of what UW coach Steve Sarkisian had to say during his weekly radio show:
First, a couple quick notes from practice:
— As is the usual Monday custom, UW practiced in helmets only (shorts, jerseys, etc.)
— Nick Montana took the snaps with the one offense during the team period allowing Keith Price to rest his knee. Price worked during the individual drills.
— Quinton Richardson practiced as did Jermaine Kearse. Kearse looked particularly good, at one point making a leaping grab over the middle.
Now, the radio show:
— Sarkisian opened with much of the same theme as his press conference saying that his team didn’t have the right mentality on Saturday against Eastern, and then continued with some harsh talk about the team’s performance against the Eagles. At one point, he said that UW not having a pass longer than 10 yards was “embarassing” and “a joke.”
— He said that he was being as critical as he was because “if I didn’t think we were better than that I wouldn’t be disappointed. But I think we are better than that.” He also said that “this is a great wakeup call for us. … I think we got enough of a wakeup call and we still won the game. We were awoken today and we will practice better and play better.”
— He talked about the team meeting the team held prior to practice — which to be clear is the usual meeting the team holds on Monday, so the actual meeting isn’t a big deal — and that that it was “a very open team meeting” and that “I don’t think there was any mixed message. I would imagine we will practice very well and play real well this week against Hawaii.” Asked the reaction of the players, he said that: “I opened it up to the floor but nobody wanted to respond.”
— He also said that the most disappointing aspect of the game to him was UW’s inability to run out the clock when it got the ball back with 3:43 left. “Our inability to get two first downs was the most disappointing portion for me as a head coach, and play-caller — disappointing. They know we are running it, we know we are running it, so what. Our inability to do that bothered me.”
— Of the offense he said: “That was by far and way my biggest disappointment with our lack of physicality up front, offensive line, tight end play, we were okay and that’s not good enough. … we kind of got pushed around and that’s not okay.”
— Sarkisian said Price is “only going to get better” but that he needs to get healthy. But said he was efficient in the game and there were opportunities to make bigger players, mentioning again the Kevin Smith drop in the end zone.
— He repeated what he said during his press conference that his play-calling got more conservative once Price was injured and he stopped calling plays to have Price run. “The game just got played in between the tackles and we weren’t able to grind them out of there,” he said.
— Said a lot of the passes completed in front of the defense were because “we just weren’t playing quite fast enough. I think that will improve.”
— Sarkisian agreed with a caller that the stadium seemed a little quiet on Saturday: “I’ve felt it better. Kind of went along with the theme of the day, it felt a little bit flat.” He said he would challenge UW fans along with his challenge to the coaches and players.
— He said he hopes to get Bishop Sankey more involved in future weeks. “He’ll play more. As the game wore on, the tension of the game, that was my fault. I was starting to lean on old No. 1 there more than we could have or should have. But he’ll play more — he deserves to play.” Said that one reason for taking the redshirt off Sankey is that “injuries are somewhat inevitable in football so if you don’t prepare for them early in the year you don’t have answers for them later in the year if they occur.”
— Said he was very impressed with Eastern QB Bo Levi Mitchell and Eastern’s passing game. “They just didn’t make crucial, crucial mistakes outside of a couple of interceptions on his throws. …. ordinary guys don’t make those plays. He was special Saturday.”
— Asked about the team playing more press coverage in the secondary he said “I would have loved to have pressed more” and that there were a few times that press coverages were called and not executed. He said “the reality is we have to get our confidence right” to play press a bit more.”
— He said UW was not caught off guard by the “quick, short passing game” and that “I wish we would have challengd those short routes better than we did. We are going to have to this week because we are going to see a similar approach this week but with a different type of receiver, shorter, qujcker types.”
— Asked if the Huskies didn’t open much of the playbook, he said that was true to an extent, especially once Price was injured. “I would say that especially when Keith got nicked up I pared things back and probably to a fault, probably got too cautious. I think at times it got a little bit consesrvative for us and I felt that the best player on the field was No. 1 and I wanted to get the ball to No. 1 as often as I could to make sure we got the victory.”
— On the third and longs, he said: “It’s disappointing because we did play some pretty good first and second down defense to get to that point. It is discouraging. It can be deflating even though the drive is not done. .. It’s going to be key for us as we move forward as a football team to get off the field on third down.”
— He said he “would agree with some of that” when asked that it seemed like the defense played soft in pass coverage. He said some of that is scheme and some the way the players played, saying again that being hesitant and not being aggressive enough helped make it look like soft coverage at time.
— He said again the team has to be more assertive with its pass rushes: “When you are going to rush the passer you have to go with the intent to sack or hit the quarterback and not ‘am I right, am I wrong?’ We’re going to come and come hard and you’ve got to hit the quarterback. If the team is a passing team you’ve got to hit the quarterback.”
— He said Polk was still not quite 100 percent and that “when he really gets back in game shape I think a few of those runs might have gone the distance.”
— He said the loss of Kearse definitely made an impact and that “I think Jermaine wouuld have caught 6-8 balls.” In talking about the depth of the receiving corps he said that “I still think Jermaine is our go-to guy in that he’s going to have the most catches.”
— He said he hopes to get the tight ends involved more as the weeks progress. “In a perfect world would have liked to play Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) more and gotten him more opportunities.” He said there was a play in the fourth quarter where Seferian-Jenkins was open for a possible touchdown, the throw instead going to Michael Hartvigson to set up a field goal. He said he also wants to get Evan Hudson in the game more.
— Talking about Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz and his increased running, he said: “I think what we are seeing a little bit is a new receiving corps, some new offensive linemen, some growing pains for them right now, so hopefully we can continue that trend a little bit. But he’s a talented guy and the moment you worry too much about him throwing it he tucks it and runs as he did against Colorado. … they’ve changed a few things, running a bit more speed-option type things to allow him to run.”