Along with the sessions from the podium that receiver wide coverage, Pac-12 Media Day also offers chances to talk with coaches and players off the podium.
Here’s some of what UW coach Steve Sarkisian had to say when talking afterward following his session on the podium.
On the status of injured players who missed the spring: “They all look great, really. Kevin (Smith), remarkable he has come to think he did that mid-December, to get to where he is now, you can hardly tell looking at him ‘what’s the problem? What’s the issue?’ It’s going to be tight to get him game ready to play, we’d obviously love to have him — his experience, his leadership. Colin (Tanigawa) looks really good, as well, so that rehab side of it is maybe different than what like Deontae (Cooper) went through a year ago. They have handled it really well and have come along really, really well.”
On if it’s unfair to have big expectations yet for Cooper: “I think so. So much for Deontae is, yeah there’s the physical aspect of it. But there’s the mental aspect of it, too. ‘Okay, now I am playing, now I have to get to playing the style of football that I am capable of.’ So I don’t think there is any one guy on the team, the teammates, the coaches, the administration is pulling for then that guy because he’s such a good kid, he works so hard. I think we all want to see him get his opportunity and hopefully he does.”
On if there is anybody ruled out when camp starts: “Theoretically they will all be cleared to do something to some degree. How much, and how much from a back-to-back day work or even the days we have our double days, some guys being limited to one practice a day, things of that nature. But they will all be out there.”
On if there is anyone that really looks different physically from their off-season conditioning work: “I think Hau’oli (Jamora) looks tremendous. He’s really put himself in the weight room. I think Travis Feeney has really dedicated himself to the weight room. It’s kind of hard because I don’t get a chance to be around our guys that way — I get them when they pop up in the office or something. Sean Parker, I think has really done a nice job of changing his body and it’s been a bit over time but I think he looks really good. Those would be the guys that first jump out at me.”
On if everybody is in and eligible: “Everbody is admitted into school. There are two guys that the NCAA process of clearing players, there are two guys still under the process of finally getting NCAA clearance and that’s Dwayne Washington and Cory Littleton. Anticipate them clearing but those are the last two.”
On Antavius Sims moving to receiver: “We are going to give him an opportunity out there, get him into space a bit more. Obviously in the return game we will be doing a lot more actual minutes to get him in his comfort zone doing that stuff, as well.”
On if there are any other position changes: “I think you will see Josh Perkins playing more of what would be an H-back type position instead of just putting him out at wide receiver, getting him more around the line of scrimmage doing stuff to complement what Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) has done doing that type of thing to get us some depth there.”
On the offensive line and if he wants to get that solidified early: “It would be great to get Colin back so we know what he is. Great to get Drew (Schaefer) healthy, remember he got kind of nicked up in spring ball, which gave guys a lot of really good experience, so that ‘okay, who are we now?’ Guys been playing different spots, let’s figure out who we are that first week or so, the first 7-8 practices and figure it out and move forward with the line so we know what we are doing.”
On if that needs to happen two weeks in or so: “I hope so. I hope that’s it. If we can’t figure that out that probably means we are not playing very good and I don’t want that to be the case because I think we have talented guys at those spots, it’s just a matter of getting that continuity right and getting that confidence in what we are doing.”
On the backup QB position: “We are going to let all three of those guys battle this training camp. And (Keith Price) may not want to hear this but some of his reps might be a little bit limited early in camp as we build toward the season and that will enable the other three young guys to get a lot of reps that we want to get them some extensive stuff. You’ll see even a little bit more post-practice work where we are going to do some young guy, 7-on-7 things so we can get as much information as we can on film on those three guys and figure out who would give us the best chance to be successful if, knock on wood, something happened to (Price).”
On if Jeff Lindquist learned a lot during the spring when he attended some practices: “I think so. I think it just helps. He might not recognize it right now. But ‘okay, here comes installation.” It’s natural. The more you hear things. The more you talk the language. The more natural it starts to come to you. UI think that helps jeff quite a bit. I know that Cyler (Miles) and Jeff in talking to them both have been competing like crazy with another. Neither wants the other to get a leg up on the other. It will be agreat competiong with those guyas.. They’ve got a great mentor in Keith – a guy that they can lean on and talk to. The experience he had of trying to fight to be Jake’s backup.”
On if he talked much to Shaq Thompson while he was playing baseball: “Texting a bit here and there. Justin Wilcox has been in contact with him much more.”
On if he was down from his struggles hitting: “No. I don’t think his expectation were very high. He played one season of high school baseball. I don’t think you can expect to go play professional baseball and be really successful. I think he understands it’s a work in progress. He’s excited to get to Seattle. He’s coming up at the end of the week. And he’s excited to get going.
On if he’s in football shape: “I don’t know exactly what he looks like He’s a great looking athlete. I’m sure he’s got some pounds here and there he’d like to lose or move or whatever. Just to get him back into running shape. We have to be cognizant of that. We can’t push him past that point. We are going to have build him up in training camp as we go.”
On what he saw on film from the defense in the spring: “I thought the speed of our defense was definitely prevalent.I thought our coverage skills really jumped out at me. Justin has done a really nice job of teaching the back end, along with Keith Heyward of covering route concepts and then covering guys man to man and then ultimately making the plays in the one on one opportunities and having the confidence to make those plays. That is really one of the biggest things that has jumped out at me – it’s their ability to cover. It’s such a distinct difference from what we had the previous three years. That part is really encouraging.”
On what is fair to expect for Desmond Trufant: “He’s an all conference corner. You could argue he could have been one last year. Unfortunately our team numbers were as good as they needed to be in pass defense. But he led the conference in pass breakups. He’s a physical guy. He has playmaking ability. But I think now the confidence level has risen even more. I think Keith Heyward has been great for him. I think Justin has been good for him, putting him in positions to be a playmaker – getting him in nickel and getting him around the ball. He’s int he best shape I’ve seen him in. He looks really good. He looks strong. But the maturity, the confidence level he possesses is the biggest thing.”
Sarkisian said that realistically, they will not be able to have any practices open to the public during fall camp due to the renovation of Husky Stadium and they do not intend to practice at CenturyLink Field other than a mock game shortly before the season that will be closed to everyone. He said the Huskies can choose to practice at CenturyLink during the season but that “it’s not that big of a deal” to go there much. “We’ve been there enough,” he said.