UW coach Steve Sarkisian was a guest on the Dave “Softy” Mahler show on KJR-AM this morning. Here are a few highlights:
— Asked if Keith Price is 100 percent, he said no, and that “I don’t know if we are going to get that tomorrow. He’s not 100 percent, but that was a pretty good ankle sprain he took at Utah, maybe a little worse than we had foreseen right then. But the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time — the knees are great, but the ankle is still lingering. Hopefully it doesn’t get re-injured tomorrow and it starts to get healthy …. until then we’ve got to be smart with him.”
— Asked by Hugh Millen if there maybe has been some advantage to Price’s injuries in helping him develop as more of a pocket passer, Sarkisian said there could be something to that, saying “I think Keith has benefited from the injuries that have allowed him to play within the system and stay within the pocket. … he’s had to play within the system and get to these secondary reads and get the ball to his backs.”
— He said the most worrisome things about Colorado include running back Rodney Stewart, calling him “a fantastic football player” and that Colorado is “the best screen team I’ve seen now here in three years.” He also said he expects injured CU receiver Paul Richardson — listed as out on the team’s official game notes — to play. “I think he’s going to be playing tomorrow. We’ll see. I think a competitor like him, it’s been a week and a half now and I think he’ll try to go.” Richardson has been out with a sprained knee.
— He said what worries him about CU’s defense is “their ability to get to the quarterback is something that keeps me up at night.” He said CU has “NFL style blitzes” and that UW’s “ability to recognize those pressures so we can throw the ball down the field is going to be key.”
— Asked about Kasen Williams, he said “he looked really good yesterday, almost as good as he has since the ball game. The key is how he responds today and how the ankle feels today and then ultimately how he feels tomorrow.” He said even if Williams can’t play as a receiver “we’d like to get him back there in the return game if he is healthy enough to go.”
— Asked about the team’s defense and what has improved of late, he said “the line of scrimmage has been key for us. Our ability to negate the running game, which we have done now for six quarters has forced our opponents to be one-dimensional throwing the ball. … when we do that, now we’ve got to play really good pass defense” pressuring the passer and coveraging and creating turnovers, which he said he feels is improving.
— Asked if he thinks the defense has turned a corner, he said “without a doubt I think we have turned the corner. I think we are playing a brand and style of defense we can be proud of. … people are going to get yards, the key is can we defend our end zone and create turnovers, and that’s what we have really tried to preach to our kids and we are seeing that.”
— Asked what can improve on offense, he said “we need to get Jesse Callier back in our offense. He’s gone a little bit silent with the injuries and things. And we need to continue to go to the tight end and that makes defenses have to defend everybody. … I love that ability about our offense to spread the ball around and we’ve got to get that going a little bit.”
— He said to expect Justin Glenn and Sean Parker to start at safety but that “we are going to play Nate Fellner’‘ and that Glenn and Fellner “will rotate pretty good, and you’re going to see Will Shamburger tomorrow, too.This is a long haul we have to prepare for down the road, so we are going to rotate as we have done.”
— Asked what he learned from Al Davis, he said one of Davis’ offensive philosophies was to “take at least two (deep) shots a quarter, eight shots a game” something he has tried to incorporate.
— Finally, asked about Nick Montana, he said he and Montana have got a “great rapport” and that he’s “not nearly as concerned” about whether Montana might be unhappy with his role as some people might assume. He said again that Montana is “going to get his opportunities. … I really think when his time is called he’s going to play well for us.”
ALSO TODAY. …
— Phil Steele named a few Huskies to his mid-season All-Pac-12 team.