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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 25, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Coachspeak — Steve Sarkisian

UW’s Steve Sarksian joined the rest of the Pac-12 football coaches on the weekly media conference call today. Here’s some of what he had to say. …

— Asked the two specific areas of the team he felt he needed to address first when taking over, he said attitude — “that was more important than anything,” he said — and the lines on each side of the ball. “Football is won up front and if you don’t have offensive and defensive lines I don’t care how skilled you are on the outside, it’s going to be hard. … that’s been one of the biggest challenges for us is to continually find and recruit offense and defensive linemen so we have the depth to compete.”

— Asked if in retrospect he had any different ideas on how to best defend Stanford’s running attack, he said the key is to “get good penetration up front with your defensive line. It’s taxing that way to do it because there are all these big guys, but you’ve got to try to find ways to penetrate, to try to knock off pullers (puilling linemen) and create some piles. And you have to make sure you have your gap integrity right and are lined up right. … There was a lot of pressure and sterss on our defensive backs to take on blocks and make tackles on some big backs. You need to try to get penetration and make sure your gaps are right and put the onus more on your defneisve line and linebackers than on your defensive backs.”

— He repeated what he said on Monday about feeling confident that the team will bounce back from this, in part because “unfortunately, but fortunately, we have been in this situation before where we sustained a tough loss earlier in the season against Nebraska and even in past couple of seasons, so this territory isn’t completely foreign to us. We did a nice job of recovering after the Nebraska game and getting ready to play Cal and Utah the next two weeks where we played two of the better games of our season.”

— He noted again that a big challenge this week is that Arizona is more “committed” to running the ball now after rushing for 254 yards against UCLA. But he said there is also a “vast difference” in playing a power team like Stanford and one like Arizona that will spread the field wide — as well as spreading the splits that the linemen take. He said it’s a particular difference for the front seven, which goes from “playing in a phone booth” one week to “now you are being spread out and playing in space.”

— Finally, he was asked about the fact that there has been an increase in penalties so far this season overall in the Pac-12. Sarkisian said he hadn’t really noticed that but that the key for him is the officials being consistent in their calls and that he thinks that has been the case this year, saying “sure” when asked if he thought the officials had been consistent.



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