After a week off, the Huskies were back at it this morning, practicing for almost two hours in the Dempsey Indoor.
It was a workout devoted largely to the second and third units, with UW not yet knowing where it will play or who against in a bowl game. Unlike basically every practice since the bye week, there were no scout team numbers, the younger players running UW plays. Most of the starters did not participate in team sessions, though everyone other than those already out for the year were suited up — the team was in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts, so no full contact. The only player in red was safety Will Shamburger (stinger).
UW coach Steve Sarkisian said these are the kinds of practices that are a real benefit of making it to a bowl game — teams are allowed 15 practices prior to the bowl.
“It’s big for us,” he said. “It’s big for our program as we continue to build forward. These are some valuable reps. I think of stuff like, we had an emphasis on the punt team today and teaching the fundamentals and techniques of punt protection with our freshmen kids for the longevity of our program as we continue to build are big for us. And then just from a morale standpoint, to come back out, the regular season is over and we are still practicing means a lot to these guys.”
Asked if anyone caught his eye, he said: “I thought (running back) Dezden Petty looked pretty dang good, He’s come a long way from training camp to where he is now. Some of the young defensive lineman, Jarett Finau I thought really stood out today. Corey Waller made a nice play, (receivers) Josh Perkins, Jamaal Jones, a lot of young guys, so it was good. Excited to see them come back out and do it again tomorrow.”
I asked Sarkisian about the offensive line now that guard Colin Tanigawa is out for the year. Nick Wood started in the Apple Cup, but Sarkisian said again that “we’ll re-evaluate it. We’ll continue to re-evaluate it. We’ve got a lot of practices left, we’ve got 14 more until the ball game and so we’ve got a lot of work we can get done and we will evaluate some things to see what is the best fit for the opponent we will have. We don’t know who we are playing yet.”
The No. 1 OL today, however, was the same as it was for the Apple Cup, with Senio Kelemete at LT, Wood, Drew Schaefer, Colin Porter and Erik Kohler. The No. 2 offensive line looked this way, right to left — Ben Riva, Kohler/Skyler Fancher, Mike Criste, Dexter Charles and Micah Hatchie. The No. 3 OL looked this way — Charles, Ben Teichman, Siosifa Tufunga, James Atoe, Ross Dolbec.
Also, Sarkisian was asked about a couple of columns in Los Angeles papers that have mentioned him in connection with the UCLA job — worth noting there has been no reports that he’s an actual candidate for the job in terms of UCLA having interest in him.
The question ended asking “is there any interest there?” This was his response: “Nah. I think this is the best way to start this, because hopefully we can continue to be successful here and those rumors and different things come about and I can start now and say I can’t talk about ‘what if’s’ and ‘speculations’ and so I’m not that concerned about it.”
Here are a few other quotes from Sarkisian:
On a bowl preference: “No, I’m just going to be happy that Christmas morning I’m going to be waking up in a hotel room. That’s a good thing.”
On how he deals with waiting for the bowl announcement tomorrow and if there is any nervousness in waiting: “No, quite honestly. We will come out and practice in the morning and I will get prepared for our banquet tomorrow night and they will tell us where we are going and we will plan accordingly. Our work is done, it’s out of our hands, and whichever bowl decides they want us to be part of we will gladly embrace that.”
On if the banquet is when the team finds out: “They’ll know beforehand. They’ll probably know before I know in this day and age, they know how to get around on the internet pretty good and figure it all out. But tomorrow night obviously is the official announcement, the banquet, but they will know by then.”
On thoughts on the WSU coaching change: “Ask me in a year after we play them.”
On if he knows Mike Leach: “No.”
Here’s some video of Sarkisian’s meeting with the media today:
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