As always on Monday, here are a few notes from Steve Sarkisian’s weekly radio show. …
— Lots of review of the LSU game, and Sarkisian was asked if he thought it indicated larger issues with the program or was just a bad night. Sarkisian said he thought it was “just a bad night” and that he was not going to overreact to the outcome.
— He reiterated what he’d said in his press conference earlier that one of his major second guesses was the first series after the fumble recovery and that he wishes he’d gotten the ball to Kasen Williams or Austin Seferian-Jenkins on the second- and third-down plays.
— He was asked if the offensive struggles are tough to live with right now as a coach who made his name on that side of the ball. He said “It’s hard when you pride yourself on offensive football and quarterback play and all those things. It tears at your pride a bit because this is my livelihood. I love what I do. I’m passionate about it. So you just exhaust yourself in every analytical approach of ‘what can we do to make this better and make our players more successful.”
— But he also said not to expect major changes away from UW’s general offensive schemes. “I’m not waving the white flag here and giving up on our offense. This is two games into our season . … but we have to get right and we have to minimize the self-inflicted wounds. The focal point this week is really and totally about our best (plays) and we are going to run the things we do best Saturday to get us back on track for Pac-12 play.” He added later that “I believe in our system and what we do. I believe in our players and to go out and execute it.”
— He said the objective going into the LSU game was to “win first down” to set up manageable second and third downs, but that that didn’t happen. He said of LSU’s defense that “they are a physical defense that can run and when they got to the football they let you know they were there and over time that physicality they put on us took its toll.”
— He was asked if it would be fair to use the 2009 LSU game and this one as a comparison of where the program is now. He talked again of how the emotion of the 2009 game and being at home helped the Huskies greatly that night, something that was missing Saturday with the game on the road. He also said if UW had kicked some field goals instead of going for it on fourth down the score could have been closer and the game looked more competitive. “Sometimes the score isn’t always indicative of the flow of the game,” he said.
— Talking about the reshuffling on the O-line that may be needed, he said things he “can guarantee” are Micah Hatchie at left tackle and Drew Schaefer at center but the rest will be sorted out this week. He said he thought Schaefer and left guard Colin Tanigawa “held their own” and that Hatchie played better than might be perceived by those who look only at the two sacks he gave up. But he said “the right side of the line was a work in progress and will remain one until we find the right combination of guys. So we’ve got to see where we go from here.”
— Asked about the youth on the team, he said “we’ve got a young, talented roster and a lot of kids that got valuable experience against a talented opponent. … we’ve got a couple probably playing a bit too early. We’ve still got a roster that is poised for a very nice football season but we’ve got issues we need to get fixed and get fixed quickly and that’s the task at hand.”
— He was asked about getting the fullback spot more involved and said the plan this year was to do more two-tight end stuff which takes the fullback off the field. But he said “we haven’t gotten the production I think we are capable of at the second tight end spot” so they are evaluating maybe getting the fullback involved more.”
— He said a goal for the defense is to “to be imposing more of our will than we did Saturday night” especially in pushing piles back. He said there were fewer missed tackles than had been the case in the opener but that too often LSU was simply able to keep pushing the pile even after contact.
— He praised the play of Danny Shelton, who had 10 tackles, though he said “I don’t know if you want a nose tackle making 10 tackles” while adding a few came downfield and were due to “great effort.”
— He also praised the play of Thomas Tutogi and said he could see more time, especially when UW plays more teams that are power running teams.