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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 16, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Wednesday practice report — No decision on a quarterback yet

If who practices during the week means anything, then Nick Montana will be UW’s starter Saturday at Oregon State.

The redshirt freshman again took all the snaps with the No. 1 offense during Wednesday’s practice in the cold and the rain of the East practice field while Keith Price watched. Wednesday’s is typically the last full-pads practice of the week.

But UW coach Steve Sarkisian said afterward that he has not made a decison on who will be the starter. He also said that when he does make a decision he will tell the team but won’t tell the public. (He also made all other players and assistant coaches off limits to the media today).

He indicated that he will make the decision Thursday morning “depending on how Keith feels and stuff” but also said of Price that “whatever we decide to do – I’d like to see him get reps tomorrow so that we can see where he’s at.”

Asked what he saw in Price that made him think he might be able to play, Sarkisian said: “Just movement-wise. So much of what it is when you have a knee injury like he has where the swelling is what it is, and has been – the mobility is the issue. I don’t want to put him out here if I don’t think he’s mobile enough to move to avoid some of the hits that are potentially out there to take. And so he’ll be in to get treatment tonight and then again in the morning, and I’ll have a real understanding of what he looks like. …. I thought Keith moved better today. Wasn’t quite ready to put him in action with the rest of the guys, but I thought he moved better today than he did yesterday or the day before.”

He elaborated on Price’s injury to his left knee to say that: “It’s just swelling. There’s a sprain in there, a pretty good…obviously sprain to cause that swelling, but it’s not structural in a sense to where he’s got to have surgery or anything of the sort.”

As for Montana, Sarkisian said: “I thought Nick had a nice day. He threw the ball well, moved well obviously in the elements, considering. I thought he did a nice job.

Asked to clarify if it would be a gametime decision, he said: “No. I’ll make it much before then. You guys won’t know, but we’ll know. The team will know.”
He said keeping it quiet wasn’t strategic: “I don’t think so, no. We’re not going to change offensively. We run what we run. It’s a little too late in the season to right now change who we are and what we do – so we’re not going to change that way. But I think there’s a psyche deal to it for our team; they need to know. The players need to know so they can move forward.”

You can see Sarkisian’s session with the media below with a few more quotes after the jump:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1279977045001″][/do]

On if there will be any changes to the offensive line: “Potentially. But I thought the guys competed well today.” (From our vantage point, didn’t look like any substantial changes).

On if there are any similarities between a potential Montana start Saturday and Price’s first start in Eugene last year: “Well, I think, in a sense of style of play potentially. But, again, this is a different style of opponent, a different defense, what they do, how they do things. We are a different offensive football team than we were a year ago. There will be things that feel similar in that I’m not just going to handcuff him. He’s going to have his opportunities to throw the ball around, throw it down the field. But regardless of who the quarterback is, if we are going to be successful we’ve got to run the ball. And we’ve got to do it well.”

On if Price could be the No. 2 QB Saturday if Montana starts: “There is a potential of that, as well. Sure. We have a lot of options right now, which is a good thing.”

On Montana being able to adjust to stormy weather: “Yeah, but it takes a while to adjust to, though. That goes without saying. But he’s been here a while now for quite some time. He graduated high school early. He’s been through some of the tougher days out here. This was not as tough as it’s been and that we’ve seen it. It takes time to adjust, like it took time for Keith to adjust when he first got here. I thought again today all the quarterbacks threw the ball pretty dang well for a wet ball. All of them, Derrick (Brown) and Thomas (Vincent), all of them did a nice job.”

On getting the ball more to Chris Polk this week and not being able to last week: “Well, I think, we’ll have a plan and Chris will get his carries. But ultimately where the real limitations came was in the second half. He just didn’t get carries. And regardless of the score, we have to stick to our plan. And he has to get his carries.”

On Drew Schaefer doing extra work on snaps: “Like anything, you make a mistake like that everybody sees it. Everybody notices it. It’s different than when you block the wrong guy or something, you go the wrong way. You make a bad snap, everybody sees it. It’s like a corner getting beat deep or a quarterback throwing an interception. Everybody knows the mistake that was made. He just wants to fix it. In his mind he’s a competitive guy. He wants it fixed to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

On Derrick Brown’s improvement: “He has improved; he really has. I thought Derrick has improved. He’s shows good maturity, and a real seriousness for studying and preparing. That is hard to do when you are a redshirting freshman, and you know you are down the line. But to continue to study and work at it and prepare yourself – it showed this week, it showed. He has been in practice, and every instance he’s been in, he’s executed really well.”

On Oregon State being a house of horrors recently for Sarkisian in his time at USC and UW: “It has. They are good – No. 1. They are well-coached and play hard at home. They’ve got good fans. And for whatever reason, I feel like when we’ve gone there and played, they just have played really, really well. They haven’t made any mistakes. Even two years ago when we went back there as a team, they played just a flawless game. That’s how it’s been. We have to anticipate that being the case this Saturday, that they are going to play really well. To do that, to match that we have to perform – we have to be physical, we have to play with amazing effort and we have to execute.”

On the lack of turnovers by the UW defense lately: “Well, again, turnovers generally occur, for the most part, when a team is pressing, when they are trying – when the quarterback is trying to make a throw or the tailback is trying to make a run. And that occurs mostly when a team is behind – they are trying to make a play to get back into the game. We can help that offensively by executing, getting some scores early in games to where they have to throw the ball, to where they have to take a few more chances and the quarterback is dropping back more. You get more pass rushes. That is generally when those things occur. With that being said, I’d like us to get hands on more balls, especially early in the game whether it is in the passing game or the running game.”

On OSU being turnover prone: “It’s some of the youth of the quarterback that you have as growing pains going through it. Some teams, fumbles occur – it happens, it is part of the game. We’ve had our own issues with turnovers ourselves in the last couple weeks, and lack thereof generating them.”

On Montana’s high school offense being similar to UW:“There are some similarities in the types of throws. Obviously the verbiage and the language we speak is much different in protection schemes and all of that. But I think from just the types of routes and style of offense, it is very similar. He comes from an offense that is used to throwing the football.”

On the difference in the command of the huddles of the two QBs: “I think the difference is their personalities. Ultimately, for us, when you step in the huddle you have to be yourself. Because you don’t want to change all the sudden when adversity strikes. Which it is going to strike at some point Saturday, we are going to have to deal with some adversity. So you’ve got to be you. So that’s the biggest difference and you guys know their personalities now from having talked to them that they are different kids and that’s what the command of the huddle, the difference will be.”

On James Johnson: “He’s gotten better. I don’t think he’s fully healthy but he has gotten better and I think he can contribute for us Saturday.”

On how Keith Price has handled being out: “I think he’s frustrated. That’s natural. Keith is an amazing competitor. One of the better competitors I have ever been around and he wants to be out there in the worst way.”

On how much Montana has progressed” “The last month in general…I think he’s gotten better consistently the entire time he’s been here. I really believe that he’s improved. But the last month specifically have been his best practices. He’s playing faster, and part of that is – when you get game experience and you realize how fast the game is, you get back out on the practice field and you say, ‘Ok, I’ve really got to turn it up, I’ve really got to speed up’. And it’s been a noticeable difference since his first action.”

On how he’s done accuracy-wise: “It shows in his numbers. In the limited time that he’s had, he’s completed 65 percent of his balls right now – and that’s with some throws down the field. So he’s done a nice job that way.”

On what teams are taking advantage of when it comes to OSU’s defense: “I think in a couple of games…it’s who you play too. Stanford’s mixed in there, and remember they’re a good rushing team. We found that out ourselves. And in a couple other games, you fall behind and a team is more willing to run the ball. That’s due in part…when you look at our side, when we fall behind, we don’t get as many carries our rush numbers come down and our opponents’ rush numbers go up. That’s just part of the flow of the game. That’s where some of the numbers are showing up. I think that’s why you see what you see. The same thing with their rush numbers offensively; when you fall behind you’ve got to start throwing the ball.”

On if you can give the whole offense to Nick if he starts: “Well, there’s a lot of variables, obviously, Saturday. The weather, being one. You have to be smart with what you do weather-wise. Two, you’re on the road in a hostile environment and you have a kid that’s potentially making his first start. If that’s the case, then I’m not going to just throw him the kitchen sink. We’ll be very aware of what we give him and why we’re doing it, and he’ll understand what we’re doing and what the plan will be.”

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