Washington’s work week of preparation for Thursday’s Pac-12 opener against Stanford is just about over, and Steve Sarkisian met with the media for one last time this morning after practice.
In one bit of news, Sarkisian said Travis Coons will handle the first punt vs. the Cardinal. True freshman Korey Durkee has kicked all of UW’s 15 punts in the first three games but is averaging 36.9 yards per kick and Sarkisian said after the Portland State game that the job would be open to competition.
For now, Coons — also the team’s kicker — has won it, though Sarkisian said each could punt against Stanford.
“Potentially both guys could punt in this game depending on some of the situations that we are in,” he said. “The first time we go punt the ball, Travis Coons is going to go punt the ball.”
Both wear No. 46, so observers will have to stay alert as to who is actually out there kicking.
Sarkisian also reiterated that linebackers Nate Fellner and Jamaal Kearse — who have yet to play this season due to injuries — will play.
“I think they will be back,” Sarkisian said. “To how much we will have them a little bit remains to be seen. They have to play football and we have to assess that more. But so far so good with those guys.”
Here’s a little more of what Sarkisian said today:
On getting done what they wanted during the bye week of practice: “I think so. Just talking to the guys about this, I think in the span that we’ve had with the week-and-a-half to get ready for this game, we got better as a team. And we got better in individual spots, but just the way we practiced, the sense of purpose and urgency that we practiced with. Learning from some of our mistakes has been very encouraging in the last week and a half.”
On the theme of not focusing on Stanford: “I think at the end of the day we want to be 1-0 in Pac-12 play, that’s been the goal now for two weeks, a week-and-a-half, and that’s the goal Thursday is whatever it is going to take to get to 1-0. Obviously we have to beat Stanford to make that happen, and so it’s not that we have neglected Stanford from a scheme standpoint, but emotionally, mentally, our focus and our attention to detail, to beat Stanford we have to execute and we have to play a brand of football in which we don’t have penalties and we play hard and physical, we’ve got good pad level, we throw and catch the ball, we tackle really well. And so not to take anything away from Stanford, but to win that’s what has to happen.”
On what he wants to see early in the game to show that the team is on the right track to matching Stanford’s physicality: “The same stuff I talked about. I want to see our pad level right. I want to see us tackling well with the proper technique and form. I want to see a sense of urgency on offense in executing the things we are trying to get done — that’s what I’d like to see at the start of the game and not wait until the second or third quarter, but really come out and start fast the way we are capable of doing.”
On if there are any personnel updates and Fellner and Kearse returning: “I think they will be back. To how much we will have them a little bit remains to be seen. They have to play football and we have to assess that more. But so far so good with those guys.”
On the punting competition: “Potentially both guys could punt in this game depending on some of the situations that we are in. The first time we go punt the ball, Travis Coons is going to go punt the ball.”
On how Stanford’s corners played against USC and the challenge that presents for UW: “It looked like their corners played with a great deal of confidence. I thought their entire secondary had a nice game. USC is a difficult team to cover — they attack you down the field in a variety of ways. And I thought their secondary gained in confidence, especially after the first couple of series of the game and as they started to make some plays their confidence grew and grew and grew and so I expect them to come out and be confident against us.”
Here’s video of Sarkisian talking today:
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