Here are a few notes from Steve Sarkisian’s weekly radio show.
As is often the case, a lot of the ground covered is pretty similar to what was talked about in the Monday press conference. So what I’m passing along here is just a few other notes. …
— Sarkisian talked about the special teams dominance and said he thinks it’s a continuing sign of the Huskies getting better in that area. He also noted that the blocked field goal came in what is a new alignment for the Huskies, with James Atoe and Austin Sefereian-Jenkins in the interior of the line. The intent is to have those guys create push up the middle and either get the block themselves or allow for guys on the outside such as Shaq Thompson and Desmond Trufant to get around the edge and get it.
— There was lots of talk about the injury reporting policy and his practices being open. Much of it was similar to what was said earlier so I won’t repeat what’s in the blog post below. But Sarkisian said he wants to continue having as many open practices as possible, and hopes that once that renovation is done they can have practices again open for fans, particularly in the spring and fall camps. He said “I think our players benefit from that when there are people watching them perform.” But he also reiterated that “I owe it to our team that i am not putting them at a competitive disadvantage” so sometimes he has to change policies as he has since taking over at UW. “Times change and things change and you have to be willing to be flexible,” he said. But in terms of being as open as possible he said “we’ll continue down that road.”
— Sarkisian said Arizona is the only school in the Pac-12 that regularly reports injuries, one reason he said he made the change he did last week. As for the conference instituting a policy he said he hopes it happens but that he doesn’t know if or when or how it will look. He also said that he thinks there will either be a policy or that no schools will report injuries. “I don’t think there will be any gray area. It will be clear that this is our policy and this is the way we are going to go. i don’t think it will be that it will be up to the school — it will be one or the other (all report or none report).”
— Asked if he thought schools would live up a policy, he said “I would like to think that we will have something in there (to enforce it and) that at least respect the game, respect the rule and not try to find the loophole within. But until we get to that point I really don’t know.”
— Asked about his halftime speech to the team, he repeated it was about playing the right way and the couple of penalties that had happened late in the first half. He said he is all for players celebrating and that he wishes the rules were a little more relaxed to allow more celebrating. “But the moment you go and celebrate in a manner that is degrading to your opponent, that’s where I draw the line,” he said, saying he felt that’s what happened a couple of times Saturday.
— Asked about Bishop Sankey, he said he made progress but needs to continue working on stepping out of hand tackles. He also said UW has to “find the complementary backs to him.” He said he was pleased with both Erich Wilson and Dezden Petty and said of Petty “he’s a heavier back than maybe I gave him credit for. I think we are figuring out what that stable of backs is starting to look like.”
— He talked about the philosophy of coaching a game that becomes a blowout. He said you “play the first half like it’s regular football.” He said his goal then was to get a good start to the second half, then it’s about respecting your opponent and respecting the game. He said UW from that point mostly only called passes on third downs to extend drives. He said it “makes me feel awkward when you start trying to rub it in and scoring for the sake of scoring. There is a definite line you draw on the types of plays you call.” He said he thought they got a lot done out of the second half working on perimeter runs, seeing the linemen pull and how Wilson and Petty looked and how Derrick Brown looked managing the game.
— Asked about Portland State’s long touchdown pass, he said it was “a great learning experience for Marcus Peters” in that he had just had a pick-six when he jumped a rout and Portland State then decided to call a double-move on him knowing he might try to jump a route again, which is what happened. “Hopefully it’ll be a great learning experience for him on being disciplined and when to jump on routes and when not to.”
— He said he was happy to see DiAndre Campbell get his first touchdown and that he has made a move in becoming one of the other receivers to get on the field regularly. “We’ll probably continue to see more of him,” he said, saying Campbell is versatile, can play anywhere on the field and is willing to block.
— Asked about the offensive line, he said he is “hopeful we get Ben Riva back here sooner rather than later.” He didn’t mention Erik Kohler or Colin Tanigawa, so read into that what you will. But he said getting Riva back would allow them to solidify one side of the line and keep working on the other. (As I Tweeted earlier today, Bob Rondeau said on his regular show on KJR-AM on Monday mornings that Tanigawa is deciding whether to have surgery on his knee or try to play through an injury).
— As for the performance of the offensive line, he said “I thought we performed well other than the one sack early in the game. They targeted well and played a physical brand of football which was encouraging to me.”
— He said again he was disappointed not to get any sacks in the game, despite the fact that Portland State got rid of the ball pretty quickly. “I thought we would get more out of it that. We missed a couple (of sacks) so we have to continue to drill the technique of how to sack the quarterback. … we’ll work on some scheme things to hopefully give us more opportunities and we’ll work on some personnel groupings to make sure we have people out there doing what they are good at.”
— Asked about Josh Shirley and his inability of late to get sacks, Sarkisian said: “He’s missed some. I’d like to think if he’d just tackle he’d have 4.5 sacks right now, but for whatever reason he has just missed. And I’ve seen him rush better than he hast last week. .. at the end of the day you have to finish the plays and that will be a big emphasis for Josh this week.”
— He was asked about having more screens and draws in the offense and acknowledged that’s something they would usually do more of and will going forward.