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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 26, 2011 at 3:46 PM

UW’s workday done, and defensive press conference quotes

Washington’s workday here at the Alamo Bowl has concluded.

The team held what would be a usual “Wednesday” practice at Alamo Heights High School, and then defensive coordinator Nick Holt and a few players headed back to the media hotel here for their official press conference. We had no access to UW coach Steve Sarkisian, and practice was closed, so there are no personnel updates in terms of any possible injuries on the offensive side of the ball.

Holt said in an interview off the podium that he doesn’t expect safety Will Shamburger, still bothered by a stinger, to be able to play so Nate Fellner will get the start at free safety. The rest of the defense appears status quo though as Holt said, the way Baylor plays means there will be a lot of different combinations in the secondary throughout..

The main themes of the press conferences today were as you might expect — how will the Huskies try to contain Baylor’s offense and Heisman winner Robert Griffin III? Here are a few quotes from the press conference. I will have some more video and notes a little later:

NICK HOLT

On preparation so far: “So this has been our Wednesday. Just got done with our Wednesday practice a couple hours ago, just got back. Practices have been going very, very well. We have a tremendous, tremendous job ahead of us of playing this fantastic Baylor offense with their Heisman Trophy winner. The quarterback is a fantastic player. They have great, great receivers. They have a great running back, and the offensive linemen are a very experienced group of offensive linemen, big, physical, and they do a lot of really good things. It’s a tremendous, tremendous opportunity for us, and hopefully we’re up to the challenge. We’re excited to be here. Our kids are going to play hard for four quarters, and I think it’s going to be a very exciting football game.”
On the challenge of Griffin: “Well, first of all, he’s the best player in the country, and there’s no doubt about that. Obviously he’s the Heisman Trophy winner. He’s a tremendous athlete, and has the unique ability of being able to run the ball very effectively, but he has got a heck of an arm, throws a great deep ball and is very accurate. He’s the best of all the worlds for a quarterback. He’s mobile, good athlete, he can run, he can scramble, he makes good decisions, and he has a heck of an arm, and he’s accurate. It looks like he’s an excellent leader. The kids respond well to him it looks like on film, and it’s just a tremendous ‚Äë‚Äë it’s going to be a very difficult task stopping these guys. We’re working very hard to get that done, and hopefully that will happen on Thursday night. ”

On people overlooking the UW defense in this matchup: “I’m not sure we get caught up in those terms. Obviously we’re playing against a very explosive offense with some explosive football players, and I think maybe that’s kind of the headline going into this game with them on offense having such fire power and having such a good quarterback. If we go unnoticed, that’s fine. Hopefully we don’t go on noticed on game day and we rise up to the challenge, and I think our guys will. I know our kids will always play hard and give us great Husky effort and make the fans proud and make the Pac‚Äë12 proud of us. That’s hopefully what we aim to do. Regardless of if they overlook us, we can’t help any of that or we have no control of that, we’ve just got to make sure we do ‚Äë‚Äë control what we do and play really, really hard.”

On the help provided by coaching staff continuity: “Well, it provides continuity, that’s for sure. And we’ve been together for three years, and most of us have coached together before that, before we all got to Washington, so we all know each other real well. We don’t have to worry about some things that arises maybe during the course of a week in practice or during game day because we’ve been with each other so long. And I think it helps with our kids, the continuity, and week in and week out doing the same things and hearing the same clich√©s and the same coaching remarks and coaching points and things like that, doing the same thing in spring ball, carrying it over to fall camp and throughout the season. I think late in the year we improved. Maybe didn’t show up sometimes by the wins and the losses, but our kids have gotten better, and it’s because of continuity with the staff and the system we run, I think has to do with it. We have good kids. They try to do the right things. They’re all hard workers, extremely intelligent young men, and they’re fun to be around. They’re fun to coach.”
On Baylor’s weapons aside from Griffin: “Yeah, the running back, he’s a heck of a football player. If you don’t respect him and not get ready for him, he’ll beat you. I think he had 1,000 yards, did he not? 1,300 yards? And against some good defenses, too, he’s getting 100‚Äëyard games, and you see that on film. And then all their receivers are good football players. And then they spread you out and they create a lot of mismatches, and they’re very, very explosive on offense, and they have good schemes, but they have really good players. The running back and the wide outs are plenty good, and they make the quarterback a good player, too. He’s a fantastic player, but he’s got a good supporting cast. He really does.”

On the size of Baylor’s OL — all are 300-pounds plus: “They are (the biggest UW has played) and I think ‚Äë‚Äë and they’re pretty athletic. We’ve faced some good offensive lines. This might be one of the bigger ones, and we’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully we’re ready for the challenge and play really well. We need to. Our front needs to play well for us to have a chance, there’s no question. These two guys right here need to have really, really good games. Not try too hard but they’ve got to play within the system, but they’ve got to do a nice job as well as the other guys up front.
Their offensive line, they’re an experienced group, a lot of two‚Äëyear, three‚Äëyear starters, a couple All‚ÄëBig 12 guys, I think, all‚Äëconference offensive linemen that have played a lot of snaps, and you can tell them continuity. And they’re older; a lot of fifth year or ‚Äë‚Äë fourth year juniors, fifth year seniors, things like that, and it doesn’t look like they’ve had a lot of injuries up front, and they’ve maintained their continuity, so that’s why their numbers are so good.”

On if there are any similarities in the preparation for this game and last year against Nebraska: “Well, we had the opportunity to play them earlier in the year, did not play very well our first go‚Äëaround, and I think that motivated us a little bit in our preparation. I know our guys prepared really well for last year’s game, and I think it was because out of respect for Nebraska. Our kids respected those guys because Nebraska got after us that first game. And I think our kids respect Baylor. And when you respect somebody, I think ‚Äë‚Äë our kids and our coaching staff, we’re going to try hard because we respect these guys. We know they’re good and they’re going to give us their best shot. We’ve got to be ready to go, and so in our preparation, in our 15 practices that we will have, we try to give the kids all the looks that they will see, and we’ll see something that we have not practiced against, but it’s concepts that we try to get and talk to our kids, and our kids do a nice job. These guys watch a lot of film, and they’re into it. They have good coaches, and our kids are very, very intelligent young men, like I said before, and we’re multiple, and we can be multiple at times because we’ve got smart guys that can do all this stuff. Now we’ve just got to do it really, really well on Thursday night, and hopefully our effort is really good on Thursday night, we fly to the ball, and if we have that type of effort that we know we can play with, that will make up for maybe lack of talent or some mistakes that might happen on Thursday night.”

SEAN PARKER

On facing Griffin: “On tape he’s a real good player, throws a good ball, and the team responds to him, and he makes great plays. He extends plays, and he just makes everybody around him better. That’s going to make it harder for us, but then we have to focus on our game plan and what we have to do to stop him from doing that.”
CORT DENNISON

On going from 0-12 to two straight bowls: “Yeah, it’s huge. Our program just keeps building and keeps going up and up. Me, Everrette and Alameda have been here when some times were tough, when we were 0 and 12. Like I said before, you only appreciate success when you’ve been at the bottom, and we’ve been at the bottom, and we realize how that feels. Now we realize what success feels like and how hard you have to work to get there. It’s a testament to our team. It’s a testament to how hard we work not only on the field but off the field in all phases of our lives. I’m really proud of the guys, and we’re only going up.”

DESMOND TRUFANT

On how to stop Baylor’s big plays: “I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. You know, when you have a great quarterback, a lot of the attention goes to him. When you’re in the secondary you have to have disciplined eyes, so when you’re looking at the wrong thing you give up those explosive plays. Plus like everybody has been saying, they’re great players, so they’re going to make some great plays, busted coverages, there’s a lot of things that go into it. But we’ve just got to come ready to play and be disciplined.”

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