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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 10, 2011 at 6:38 PM

Thursday practice notes

The Huskies are off the field following their first full week of work in their new environs — the East practice field behind the scoreboard of Husky Stadium, which is in full renovation phase now.

As we arrived, we could see rows of benches that are no longer there, and the East bleachers now removed.

UW coach Steve Sarkisian, though, said if there was any disruption, it wasn’t noticeable.

“It’s been great,” he said of the team practicing on the East field. “I’ve actually enjoyed it.”

One observer compared it to the field where the Huskies practiced before the Holiday Bowl in San Diego and Sarkisian agreed saying: “It does. The feel, the air, the weather we are getting right now, yeah.”

As for the week of work itself, Sarkisian said it was a good one. “It was an intense week,” he said. “I always hold out, find out what good is on Saturday. I do know that it was an intense one. It was a physical one. I thought the guys responded to some of the challenges that were needed for this week. We will see how we do Saturday.”

Among those challenges was one sent to the offensive line to up its play in the wake of Saturday’s 34-17 loss to Oregon. Sarkisian said there was increased competition on the line this week, though from our vantage point, there didn’t appear to be a lot of difference in the lineups themselves.

Sarkisian, though, was coy about what might be to come.

“There was enough (shuffling),” he said. “There was enough to matter.”

As for other personnel items, there’s not a lot. WR James Johnson did a lot more work than he had on Wednesday and Sarkisian said “I think he’ll feel better by Saturday, better than what he was. He will still be limited, in a sense. But he was able to do some things today, which is encouraging.”

Figure that to mean Johnson may be available but Kasen Williams, listed as a co-starter this week with Johnson, to get the start.

Sarkisian was also asked about Matt Barkley’s comment that Sarkisian was “sugarcoating” things when he said this week that he’d take Barkley over Andrew Luck if he had the first pick in the NFL Dract.

“I’m not sure what that meant, to be quite honest,” he said with a laugh. “I am not going to change my feelings of it. I think they actually grow stronger now that I’ve watched even more film of him. He is a great player – great player, in a good system. And he’s arguably having one of the greatest seasons ever in that school’s history at that position. He is knocking on (Matt) Leinart’s door for the Pac-10 record for touchdown passes at 38. So, you know, if I were a head coach and I had to run a team to run our offense, he would be the guy. That is not a knock on Andrew Luck – he is a great player. He will probably be the first pick of the (NFL) Draft.”

Saturday’s game will be the last UW will play in the regular season against a ranked team — UW is 0-3 against ranked teams so far this year. Sarkisian was asked if he has taken a different approach to this game than last week against Oregon. “No,” he said. “(There’s) a different buildup. There was so much buildup last week and so much going on around us, we tried to handle it as best we could. This is more about playing the game, and going down there and playing the game in a venue we have been in before, that we have won in before, against a very good football team.”

Asked if he thought all the “buildup” impacted the team’s play against Oregon, he said: “I don’t know. It’s hard to say. None of them will say that it did, I know that. They will all say ‘no it didn’t, no it didn’t.’ But how it could have affected anybody individually you never know. That’s the psychological side of the game that we have to deal with. I know there was a lot of emotion with the stadium and all that stuff so it definitely wasn’t a typical workweek for us as a team. I think we are back to the typical workweek for us now and it feels right, so we’ll see.’

You can see more of Sarkisian’s session with the media today in the video below:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1269077505001″][/do]

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