It’s kind of a different week with UW having been off on Saturday, and then a game on Thursday against Stanford.
But UW coach Steve Sarkisian held his usual Monday press conference today.
Here’s the video, with some of the transcribed quotes below:
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Opening statement: “Game week, the byes are unique in that there’s a lot of self-reflection and there’s also a lot of preparation of your opponent, so there’s a lot of multi-tasking, doing two things at once. The uniqueness of this week being a Thursday night game, this game comes much quicker. So normally I’m here talking to you guys about the last ball game and what the week should look like – we’ve got a lot of work in already and there’s not a lot of time left until the ball game.
“So that being said, I think it was a good bye week. We addressed things internally that I thought needed to be addressed that will help us Thursday night when we take the field. We’ve had a nice preparation for Stanford, a very good football team…extremely well-coached, and excited for the game.
“This is the first day of school today…I’m fired up for the atmosphere Thursday night at CenturyLink Field with the Black Out, the Dawg Pack in full effect…should make for a great atmosphere on national television. I know our kids are looking forward to the challenge and can’t wait to get started.”
On why it’s so hard to run against Stanford: “They are good. Like all good run defenses, they are disciplined one, they’ve got good personnel up front, they have great length that allows their guys to utilize the two-gap scheme they like to play in their 3-4 defense. And they tackle. I think those are pretty common ingredients to stopping the run. They aren’t doing anything earth-shattering schematically. They are disciplined in what they do, they are sound in what they do, they have the personnel to fit what they do – and then ultimately they make their plays.”
On how UW got Chris Polk open for a couple of long runs last year: “I’d like to think we designed a couple pretty good plays that allowed us to get some space against that defense, which is hard to do. I would like to think if the score hadn’t been what it was and the game didn’t get out of hand that maybe we could have ran the ball more than we were able to. When you’re trying to come back and the way the score went in that game, I think we had some other stuff there for ourselves. But unfortunately you’re trying to play catch-up and trying to get back in the game and we weren’t able to do that. So I would like to think that maybe we had some other runs there for us, but as those games go you have to try to catch up.”
On looking at programs like Stanford and being envious of the upperclassmen in their depth: “We’ll be there. We’ll be there some day. We’re not that far away from that. We’re just…where they restructured their program and where we restructured our program, they are a couple years ahead of us. When coach (Jim) Harbaugh came in and really turned that thing over and had a plan for what they wanted to get done, and then coach (David) Shaw picked up right where coach Harbaugh left off and has done a great job…they are a couple years ahead of us. In two years from now, we’ll be a pretty veteran group as well. As of right now, we’re a young, talented team, and that’s how we play.”
On receiver Dwayne Washington getting into school and whether he will redshirt: “It was a process that was a long one when you submit everything to the NCAA. We didn’t think it would take this long. We brought Dwayne into our summer LEAP program. He was here all summer working out with our guys, took a class this summer, but he wasn’t cleared and so we didn’t think at that point if they didn’t get it cleared we were going to send him home and hopeful we could get him back in the winter time, in January. When they notified us that he had been cleared it’s a real credit to our admissions process here in getting all the proper paperwork submitted to the NCAA and Dwayne and his mother and Gahr High School to make that happen. We are just in the infancy stages with him. I’ve seen him on the practice field now for three days and so I don’t want to make that statement on him yet (whether he will redshirt) until I actually get to see him work a little bit. He’s a great-looking kid, running fast, catching the ball. We’ll see what happens.”
On what aspects of Stanford differ from David Shaw and Jim Harbaugh: “I think David is coaching that team to be his team and I don’t have exactly internally what they changed or what changed in the playbook or philosophically — I don’t have those things. What I do know is that they have moreso than ever dedicated themselves offensively to the big personnel groupings. It used to be interchangeable for them and they would sub in and out of it. But they have really dedicated themselves to it. Now I don’t know what the 49ers are doing, I haven’t had a chance to watch them if that’s what they have done as well so I’m not sure. But I do know that they have dedicated themselves to it to where it’s a lot of big guys all the time, even in some really obvious passing situations, their tight ends are remaining on the field and they are their pass catchers. So that part of it, moreso than they have ever been in the past, is something that is unique to David.”
On the young guys on the offensive line progressing this week and being more comfortable than against Portland State: “I’m hopeful of that. We’ve really challenged them not only mentally but physically and I think the bye week was good for them to assess their performance in the Portland State game and what they needed to work on. We’ve seen definite improvement there. But again time will tell and we will find out Thursday. They’ve got a great task ahead of them, Stanford’s front is tremendous.”
On Colin Tanigawa not being on the depth chart: “Colin will be out the remainder of the season.”
On how much he looks at last year’s Stanford film: “We look at it from a schematic standpoint. They’ve obviously got systems in place on offense and defense and special teams. We do offensively and special teams. Obviously we’re a bit different defensively. When you look at the film from a schematic standpoint maybe from a personnel standpoint. But this is a different team. We are a different team. We shouldn’t have to use those sorts of things to motivate our guys. We should be pretty well motivated internally.”
On what changes are brought by school opening today: “You know, we’ve been so wired into the morning practice schedule, even though when we’ve been going in training camp and things we’ve had really early AM walkthroughs to get our guys accustomed to it, then came back and practiced later in the morning. But I’m hopeful the challenges aren’t nearly as big as they have been in the past. This is part of the reason why we went to the AM practice format, so that our guys could be fresh and energized at the start of the morning really focused on football, then have the rest of the day to get their classwork done. I don’t exactly yet. That will probably be a better answer three or four weeks down the road to see how our guys respond to it. But I know our guys did a nice job responding to it in spring football when we went to the morning practice schedule. And I don’t think there was a kid on our team that wanted to go back to the afternoon practices. They love the AM practices, so that’s why we stuck with them here for the fall.”
On the USC-Stanford game and was it Stanford’s run or pass game that beat the Trojans: “I thought it was a combination of both. Stanford did a nice job, I don’t want to say double coverages, but did a really nice job rolling coverages over the top of Lee and Woods. And to do that, you have to be stout up front. If you are going to play a two-high safety look and play over the top of receivers in almost a double coverage-type setting, you have to be able to maintain the integrity of the defense in the box. They were able to do both, and I think that’s what became really frustrating for SC in that sense. They were doubling those guys but they couldn’t get anything generated in the middle of the field and in the run game. And once they got going, like any game when you are an underdog when you create some adversity for your opponent and feed off that emotion anything can happen, and I think that’s what happened in that game.”
On if Stanford looked different against than it did in its opener against San Jose State:“San Jose State didn’t score a whole lot of points either. I don’t remember exactly what that final score was. I think it was a 24-21 or 23-20-type ball game (actually, 20-17). I think there were probably a couple of plays USC missed on that they would like to have back and different things that might have changed the complexion of that game and maybe got them to 24 or 21 points. So, similar. And I think San Jose State is a pretty good football team, we’re coming to find out. So I don’t know that that much changed. Their personnel haven’t changed. They are playing the same guys. Their scheme is their scheme. Maybe one thing that changed was they were playing that much harder, because SC is SC and it’s a rivalry-type game for them.”
On if Travis Coons or Korey Durkee will punt Thursday night: “I know Thursday night number 46 is going punt for us.”
On if there is strategy involved with both players wearing No. 46: “Not really. So many times with numbers guys are double numbered all over the place. They’re hard to find numbers and I have a hard time when a punter or a kicker is wearing 98. It doesn’t look right to me so get them in a decent number and we’ll take it.”
On fake possibilities and schools using double numbers: “There is so many things out there that surprise me every Saturday. I was watching Louisiana Monroe vs. Baylor Friday night and they were playing with two quarterbacks at the same time. One was left handed and one was right handed. They were running zone read with pass routes down the field so nothing surprises me what guys do or don’t do anymore especially in college football. Very innovative and especially offensively so everybody is looking for an edge to get another first down.”
On if he wished he did that with Jake Locker: “No, I think about recruiting left handed quarterback now because they had guys throwing righty and lefty. Depending on the hash they were on one guy would play quarterback and the other running back and they go the other hash they would switch it so it was pretty unique.”
On Stanford QB Josh Nunes: “You see from him the some of the same mannerisms as Andrew Luck had. You can tell they do a very good job of coaching the position because the quarterback looks similar. The way he handles himself at the line of scrimmage, mechanically technically how he delivers the football. Something that jumps out at me if you notice in the game a couple quarterback scrambles on third down kind of remind me of Andrew Luck. The way Andrew would when things weren’t there would pull the ball down and take off and run. So I’m seeing a lot of the same mannerisms come out of him. He’s a guy who’s made three career starts. He’s made a couple big plays and big passes in that SC game probably his first big ball game that way so he’s a good player.”
On Stepfan Taylor being as important to Stanford as Chris Polk to UW: “Probably similar in that you look at the guy he’s not only leading them in rushing but he’s leading them in receiving. The screen game was a big part of what they do offensively. I thought was probably one of the bigger factors for them offensively against SC was their ability to hit some screen’s to Taylor out of the backfield so I would imagine coach Shaw would say the same thing he’s an intracule part to what they want to do.”
On if UW’s pass rush has gotten better during the bye week: “I think it’s been good. I think we’ve address some things technically. I don’t’ know if this is the best week to get a real assessment of that when you’re playing power-I football. But ideally if we can force them into some third and long situations and allow our guys to rush the passer I’m hopeful and I think it will show up that our pass rush will be there. But we have to get to that point and that’s playing good on first and second down.”
On if Stanford passes the pregame eye test in the same manner as LSU: “Different, much different. Interesting stat, and I might be off here a couple of numbers … Stanford has I believe 43 or 46 players 6-3 or taller on their roster. I think Oregon is at 36. I think ourselves and SC are at 22 or 23. So they have made it a real point to recruit taller players, longer players, so that is the thing that will jump at out you in pregame warmups is the height of their football team, the length of their football team. LSU is different that way. I don’t know if they were necessarily that tall but how physically gifted — the size, the explosiveness — their athletes was something in the eye test that jumped out at you.”
On where that height shows up: “It shows up up front especially on their defensive line, their linebackers they’re taller, longer. Up front on offense, the tight end position. I would like to think we’re getting closer to that number from where we were, from where we started to where we are headed but they definitely have recruited to their defense. They are a 3-4 defense and outside of their nose tackle up front just about every other guy is a long, tall defender and that helps them in the run game.”
On UW going with a 3-4 defense being similar to what Stanford runs: “Not as much. There are principles of 3-4 defense that carry over, whether it’s the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Stanford Cardinal or Oregon Ducks for that matter. And then you have to take all those principles and what fits your personnel groupings. I don’t know if we necessarily looked just at Stanford, but the principles of 3-4 defense and then how you play it are going to hold true regardless of who you are watching. Right now our personnel and the way we look and the way we play 3-4 is not the same as Stanford does it.”