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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 3, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Thursday practice notes and Sarkisian video

Of course, there are no practice notes today as the Huskies announced last night they were closing today’s practice — the last it will hold in Husky Stadium before the renovation, save for a walkthrough tomorrow.

UW coach Steve Sarkisian, though, said there was no real ulterior motive for closing the workout.

“I just wanted to make sure we were focused, I really did,” he said. “I wanted to make sure we were focused on the things that needed to be focused on. I thought it was a great practice. You have certain practices that you feel really good about, and other ones, ‘Yeah, we could have done that better, or that better.’ I thought they had great energy. The execution was good. I thought the intensity was where it needed to be. Always in practice, there are some adverse times, whether it could be a drop, or a blown coverage or a bad snap. When something like that occurred in practice today, they responded really well on the next play. That is the stuff I am looking for.”

Asked directly, Sarkisian said closing practice had nothing to do with new uniforms or anything of that sort.

“No, no,” he said. “We don’t have any black helmets or throwback uniforms or anything.”

In terms of personnel updates, Sarkisian said: “The guys looked good – we looked better today. I was encouraged by that. I am encouraged by the fact we’ve still got 48 hours until kickoff for some of the guys who are little nicked up to get healed up and get their treatment. We’ll see. I imagine that James Johnson would be a game-time decision – he would be the real one. Talia (Crichton), a game-time decision; he kind of banged his knee again. We’ll see.” So we’ll assume that means Kasen Williams is good to go after he retweaked his ankle in practice on Wednesday, an injury Sarkisian said at the time wasn’t serious.

This is a busy week for the Huskies as along with preparing for Oregon there is also the renunion of the 1991 team as well as the closing of the stadium.

Asked what kind of interaction there will be with the current players and the 1991 guys, Sarkisian said: “The only real activity is Donald Jones is going to do our chapel Friday night before the game. But I’m sure there will be some non-planned interaction. Guys are going to be around, and I’m sure that a few of them that are in town are going to be at our walk-through tomorrow.”

Sarkisian said he wasn’t planning on having any of the members of the 1991 speak to the current team in any official way. “I’m not a big ‘talk-to-the-team’ kind of guy,” he said. “I like my messaging, but I have invited those guys to be around – whether it’s a team meeting tomorrow or the walk-through tomorrow or even stopping by the hotel.”

Sarkisian said he thinks his players have handled well so far the possible distractions of this week. “As I’ve touched on since Monday at the press conference, of our ability to focus on the task at hand. Recognize the things that are going on around us, but focus on the task at hand – and that’s the ball game. We’re not naive enough to think that: oh, we don’t recognize that this us the last game at Husky Stadium, or that Don James is doing the coin toss, or that the ’91 team is getting recognized, or that our seniors are getting recognized. We understand all of that’s happening. But what I’ve been proud of our guys is that they recognize it, they’re embracing it, and they will embrace it Saturday night, but yet the process of preparation is what’s been key to us. And I think we’ve had a good week of work.”

Asked what he’s talked about with his team this week about the 1991 squad, he said: “There’s two things that jump out to me when you go back and reflect on that team…and I knew ’em very well, I had a high school teammate (cornerback Josh Moore) that was on the team, so I watched the ’91 team quite a bit, as much as I could. One was the physicality by which they played the game – offense, defense, special teams. That was a very physical team. I think they really put a stamp and a brand on Husky Football of the way you want to play the game. And we’re on our way – obviously we’re not there yet – of adopting that style of football. And two, they had a real killer instinct. When they got on people, they got on you. They didn’t let you hang around, they didn’t let you back in the game. They had a real killer instinct, and as we grow as a program, I’d like to develop that as well. So as we talked to those things – two things that jumped out at me if you say the ’91 Washington Huskies, what were they about – they were physical, and when got you, you had a killer instinct.”

He said he thinks his players have paid rapt attention to the talk of the 1991 team. “I think there’s a great deal of respect. They understand that part of the reason they came to the University of Washington, why they are on this football team, is because of what that ’91 team did. We talk in recruiting all the time about the National Championship and the Rose Bowls and conference championships – that team epitomized all three of those things. I think there will be a great deal of respect when they do see some of the players around and are humbled by that fact – but inspired as well.”

You can see all of Sarkisian’s meeting with the media in the video below:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1257287424001″][/do]

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