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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 26, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Wednesday practice notes and Sarkisian video

It was a brisk afternoon turned early evening at Husky Stadium as Washington went through the paces of its Wednesday workout in preparation for Saturday night’s game against Arizona.

“Finally got football weather around here,” said UW coach Steve Sarkisian as he greeted the media afterward. “Feels good.”

Indeed, Sarkisian said the team seemed pretty lively today, having apparently put the Stanford loss behind it and moved on to the ask of beating Arizona.

He’d acknowledged earlier in the week that making sure the team was in the right place mentally would be a key to the week. After Wednesday’s practice, he said it was no longer a worry.

“I think we are great now,” he said. “I think it took a little time. But that’s okay. That just shows me that they really care. I thought yesterday was a very spirited practice for our group and they came back and did it again today. They are embracing the elements and enjoy it, they enjoy the coolness in the air. I’ve been proud of them. We’ve unfortunately been faced with some of these challenges before, in our past, and responded really well and I wouldn’t expect anything less from us. I think we will respond well Saturday.”

Sarkisian also addressed the criticism that has been levied recently at defensive coordinator Nick Holt, saying that all of UW’s coaches know that it comes with the territory.

“Well, he’s a stud,” Sarkisian said. “Nick has been through this before and in this profession you’ve got to take the bad with the good and understand the jobs that we have and the positions that we are in and the criticism that comes from that. And if you don’t understand that then this is the wrong profession for you. You’ve got to be able to be thick-skinned and you’ve got to find that even keel, that even space, to where you never get too high, you never get too low and you enjoy the experience of coming to work every day and I think Nick is doing that.”

Asked if any of the criticism was unfair, Sarkisian said: “I don’t know, you know, we didn’t play very well. That’s ok. That doesn’t mean we can’t get better. It’s not the end of the world. The sun’s going to come up tomorrow, I hope. And we’ll get up tomorrow and go back to work.”

That work includes trying to figure out a way to stop an Arizona offense that ranks first in the Pac-12 in passing at 373 per game led by quarterback Nick Foles, a potential high-round draft pick who is completing 70.9 percent of his passes this season.

Part of the plan could involve going with more nickel-type looks and having Quinton Richardson back outside more.

“Well obviously they’ve got some big receivers when you look at the two big guys on the outside – (Juron) Criner and (Dan) Buckner – and the ability to throw fade routes to those guy is one of the key elements to their offense,” Sarkisian said. “I think the bigger bodies that are out there, the better we’ll be…at least it should be that way. We’ll see.”

Will Shamburger also continues to get a lot of work with the starting defense at free safety, Sarkisian explaining that “you know, what I think Will’s done the best – he’s always been a nice athlete for us, has always run well, had good ball skills. What he’s showing us now is a real physicality to his game. He’s tackled extremely well the last few times we’ve played…he’s put his face on people. He’s playing the game with a real tenacity. He’s going for it. You can see it; he almost appears faster than he is. He’s playing really well.”

IN OTHER NOTES. …

— Sarkisian said there is nothing to mild rumors of a potential black helmet for this week’s game, saying that won’t happen.

— The Huskies are continuing to experiment with different combinations in the back seven aand Sarkisian said to expect that to continue: “We’ve been continually trying to mix those guys and play to our depth, I definitely think it’s one of our strengths…whether it’s (John) Timu and (Jamaal) Kearse, or all the four safeties and what they are doing, and (Garret) Gilliland and (Princeton) Fuimaono…we’re really trying to rotate those guys because I think we’ll be better for it — not just now but even in the long run.”

Semisi Tokolahi, who started against Stanford but didn’t play a lot near the end, is fine physically, Sarkisian said.
— Sarkisian on trying to mix things up for Foles: “He’s a veteran, but he’s not an 15-year NFL vet yet. We’ve got to try; we’d be foolish not to try to. We need to throw some things not just at him but at their offensive line, their backs and their receivers. We’ve got to continue to mix things up. One thing with veteran guys – when you sit in one thing then it gets too comfortable for him, too easy for him. So you need to continue to try and throw different things at him and mix it up and make him work at it.”

— Asked about trying to get Alameda Ta’amu going, Sarkisian said: “We’re just trying to conintue to push the buttons with him, push the right buttons. I think Alameda is a very good football player. I think he’s held to a little higher standard than everyone else. He’s a senior. We’ve seen what he’s capable of. He’s the one who set that standard. We’ve seen what the Holiday Bowl looiks like, so now what’s good a play for him, might not be for other people and vice versa. He’s just held to a little different standard. And he understands that.”

— Asked about trying to target Arizona’s secondary more due to the suspensions in Arizona’s secondary, he said: “I don’t think so. We’ve got a plan and we’ve got to be prepared for some different things. They did some different stuff versus UCLA. They went back a little to that old Desert Swarm defense there, that flex defense, so you’ve got to be prepared for the stuff they were doing earlier in the year and the stuff they were doing last game. So we’ve got a plan in place and we hopefully can go out and execute it really well.”

Here’s some video of Sarkisian’s meeting with the media:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1242482759001″][/do]

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