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October 17, 2011 at 5:42 PM

Notes from Sarkisian’s radio show

As always, Monday means UW coach Steve Sarkisian’s radio show. Here are a few notes. …

— The show begn with lots of talk about the Colorado game, a lot of what similar to what we heard earlier in the day. Sarkisian said “I didn’t want the first half to end … I don’t think we could have played much better.” He said he thought the Huskies were ready to play but that “you never know coming off the bye, especially when you had played one of your better halves there at Utah, you almost wanted to keep going,” so he was glad to see the way the game began.

— Lots of talk about the no-huddle offense and Sarkisian said that it was initially installed as a way to guard against lethargy after the bye week but that “it looked so good throughout the week we said we are doing to it regardless.”

— Asked about the defense, he said “I thought they had to get caught up to the speed of the game to live football — overall it was a well-rounded half of football for us.”

— He said it was one of the better games for the offensive line, saying it was “a real tribute to our offensive line that (Keith Price) didn’t get hit, the one time he got touched was a late hit. Our backs did a good job in the blitz pickup part of the game, which was one of our biggest concerns going into it.”

— Adding to the talk on the line he said “Drew Schaefer had one of his better games from a communication stantpoint keeping everyone on the same page, and then you have to block them.” He said Senio Kelemete is continuing to play “at an All-Pac-12 level” and that Erik Kohler is “getting better” and that guards Colin Porter and Colin Tanigawa are “continuing to improve.”

— He clarified the sideline interference penalty to say that he was getting notified of a potential injury by a member of the school’s medical staff and as the play started “we thought we were out of the way and the official ran into someone who wasn’t looking.”

— He said installing the no-huddle last week was part of his overall philosophy to keep the game fresh for his players, noting that at the ages they are, they like to have things changed up from time to time. He also said that’s why UW never practices for longer than two hours, that after that the attention span wanes.

— He also said the no-huddle makes teams look like they play faster, and he said it’s something he thought works well with the Huskies and with what Price can do and the receivers and that the Huskies are likely to keep using it.

— Sarkisian said the game helped reinforce what he has seen about how close the team is on and off the field. He noted seeing Chris Polk be among the first players to rush out to congratulate Bishop Sankey after Sankey scored late in the game. “There’ve been some really unique, cool moments that keep telling me how close this football team is and how much they want to play with and for each other, and that keeps telling me that maybe this team is really special,” he said.
— He also clarified the late hit penalty on Kelemete, saying that the player he blocked to the sideline was the same one who had levied the late hit on Price earlier in the game. He said the penalty is “not okay” but that “it’s another thing that lets me know that they are fighting for each other and want to play for each other” he said it has obviously dawned on Kelemete that “that’s his quarterback and he’s going to protect him, that’s a really telling sign coming from a senior and team captain that that’s his guy.”

— Asked about having Danny Shelton as one of the blockers on the kickoff team, he noted that Shelton is a “tremendous athlete” for being as big as he is and that Shelton and Thomas Tutogi are forming a block that is proving imposing. “We do a lot of double team work with those two big guys. … a lot of times what happens on coverage units is they tried to avoid those two guys and that creates a bigger seam for us and so far, so good. … I think Danny has done a fine job on that.”

— Asked about the punt return team last week appearing to let some guys run free, he said that Colorado ran a formation in which it can run some fakes. He said he decided early that he wanted to play conservative with the returns to prevent the fakes. “We went in and saying I don’t want to give Colorado anything on special teams, so we were a little more conservative than we normally would be,” he said. “But a couple of occassions we could have done some different things to give Kasen (Williams) more room to run. … they had a few more guys running down on our return.”

— There was lots of talk about Andrew Luck, and Sarkisian said that “he looks like an NFL quarterback playing college football. We need to find a way to get him out of his comfort zone.” He said that doesn’t mean sacking him a bunch of times, necessarily — Luck has been sacked just twice this year for five yards — but continually trying to harrass him.

— Sarkisian talked about the previous two games with Luck and said that he’s not sure he gave Luck enough credit after the 2009 UW loss down there when Stanford won 34-14 with Toby Gerhart rushing for more than 200 yards. But he said last year was a different story when Luck led Stanford to a 41-0 win in Seattle. “It was raining and he was accurate and he didn’t miss — I thought right then ‘this guy’s pretty special,” he said.

— Asked about what type of pace the Huskies may play with against Stanford, Sarkisian said he hasn’t necessarily decided to try to slow it down to keep Luck off the field. “The first goal is we need to score against these guys,” he said, noting UW has scored just 14 points (and only one offensive touchdown) against Stanford the last two years. He said “then it becomes what’s the best chance to win as well as score.” He said if the best way to score and win is to play at a fast pace then that may be what the Huskies would decide to do.
— He recalled that he thought UW had prepared well heading into last year’s game and he was in shock at halftime when the Huskies had been dominated and were trailing 28-0. “That was the real low point for our program the last two years,” he said.

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