The Huskies are off the field following their Wednesday practice, the last of the heavy installation days prior to Saturday’s game at LSU.
The Huskies will practice again here tomorrow morning and then head to LSU.
And no, there no was no tiger there today, Sheena having moved on her way.
Today was our first chance to talk to Steve Sarkisian about the tiger’s visit on Tuesday.
“Just trying to minimize distractions,” he said. “There can potentially be a lot of them when you get down there with the stadium, the crowd, the heat, the tiger outside the locker room. So we are just trying to minimize the distractions so we can focus on the task at hand.”
Asked if he thought it worked how he hoped, he said yes.
“I thought it worked kind of how I hoped it would work,” he said. “Guys came on the the field and stood around and stared at the tiger, guys took pictures of the tiger after practice. So hopefully Saturday when we walk out of the locker room we are not so enamored that that might be the first time someone has seen a tiger before when we get warmed up and get ready to play.”
Another issue for the Huskies Saturday is the heat and humidity — the forecast calls for 89 degrees and scattered thunderstorms.
Sarkisian said the Huskies are doing what they can to prepare for the conditions.
“We’ve been making a conscientious effort to stay hydrated,” he said. “I think it’s too late to try to hydrate the day of the game or the day before the game. So we are doing it all throughout the week in taking breaks on Gatorade and different things to hydrate ourselves and get prepared for it. I think we have to recognize guys early in the game potential fatigue guys and sub earlier in the game than we normally might. And then utilize the TV time outs and things of that nature, bring your fans, all that kind of stuff. It’s going to be warm, we know that. But they are playing in the same temperature we are playing in. Maybe they are a little more used to it, we’ll see. But I think we are doing everything in our power to be prepared for it.”
The Huskies may also rotate a lot of guys on defense to also try to match up with LSU’s offense — you could see more of the jumbo packages up front, for instance.
“I think they are big up front offensively for sure,” Sarkisian said. “That’s a big offensive line. Defensively, they are big on the interior, the edge guys are fast. So they have a nice combination on their football team of size and speed and so if you just try to match them size for size, you can get the speed factor can take its toll on you. If you just try to play fast they start leaning on you. So you have to try to have balanced lineups on the field whether it’s on offense, defense or special teams to match the style of play that they play with.”
Sarkisian said he knows about UW’s history of having won a few games that had a somewhat similar setup, such as the Whammy in Miami in 1994. Sarkisian said the real key is the week of preparation leading into the game.
“We are just making sure we execute right now,” he said. “We haven’t gotten to all the motivational factors. We just want to make sure when you step inn between the white lines and a guy’s number is called that we are executing at a high level. The Whammy in Miami and wins of that nature were a byproduct of guys playing really well, executing really well and then now those guys who were a part of that get to tell a story that they were there and a part of it. So I think for our guys the focus has been on preparing well. Getting through a couple of hard-nosed tough days here, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then having a really crisp, clean Thursday practice.”
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— The practice was definitely intense enough, with the players seeming a bit, well, chippy at times. No big brawls or anything like that, but just a definite intense feel throughout the practice, which was often conducted in deafening piped-in crowd noise.
— So significant new injuries apparent at practice. Antavius Sims sat out and CB Greg Ducre left the field late in the practice but returned to the sidelines (no specific word on either).
— Sarkisian said he thinks Keith Price has bounced back well from a game Price called one of the worst of his career on Saturday. “I like his focus. He’s very wired into the gameplan and the ball game Saturday night,” he said.
— Kicker Travis Coons was 2-3 during the team kicking sessions. More important was how well he struck the ball during that session and kickoffs, Sarkisian said. “Had a really nice day today. Probably his best day in quite some time. Kickoffs were excellent. Struck his field goals extremely well. So I don’t know if he’s 100 percent yet but he’s much better than he’s been.”
— Asked if he will talk to his team about the opportunity it has this weekend, he said he definitely will: “We’ve got some young players on this team. It’s not like the NFL where you have a handful of rookies. We have a pretty good amount of young guys on the team. So we still talk to that kind of stuff. The key for our guys is we all want to play well on Saturday night. To do that you can’t sit around and daydream about that kind of stuff — I think that’s the mistake so many people make. You’ve got to work and you’ve got to prepare and study and practice really well Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday so that hopefully you can perform on Saturday night. ”
— And asked if the Huskies kept a lot in the playbook against San Diego State, he said: “I don’t know. Our offense sometimes can change from week to week and it can look almost different than it did the week before. So we went into last week’s game with what we thought was a solid game plan. It didn’t probably pan out as well as we would have liked and there were some missed opportunities that probably could have swung the game in our favor even more and allowed us to do maybe some more things, But we will have a gameplan in place for Saturday night that I think will show some variety, some versatility to what we do and allow the guys on our offense to do the things that they do well and to try to be successful at it.”
Here’s video of Sarkisian’s post-practice meeting with the media:
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