Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, as is the usual custom for a Tuesday during a normal game week, did not meet the media after UW’s practice this morning. But he did talk on the Pac-12 Coaches Conference Call.
Here is some of what he said:
— Asked about the impact of first-year defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, Sarkisian said one of the keys was that the first thing he did was “come in with an open mind and assessed our roster and the recruiting class we signed and what was coming in and then began to form and develop the defense along with the other defensive coaches that best fit” the abilities of the players on the roster and what they do well. He also said he has taught his schemes well and motivated well and “the kids have really bought in, bought in to the new schemes, the new systems, the beliefs, the aggressive style, the tackling. All those things have been bought into by the players and the end result is we are playing pretty good.”
— He agreed with a questioner that the linebackers “are playing pretty well.” Asked to cite who among that group is performing well, he said John Timu, Thomas Tutogi, Travis Feeney and then Shaq Thompson “when he is in the linebacker fold.” “Those four guys have really played well up to this point.”
— Asked for a few other keys to the defensive improvement, he said one is the “way we are playing internally up front on the defensive side of the ball.” He said another is “the belief in our corners to play out on an island and one-on-one coverage” which allows them to “do some unique things” with the rest of the defense. He said Desmond Trufant is “having as good of a year as I’ve seen at his position here in a long time.”
— Asked if the rivalry aspect of this week has hit yet he said “it hasn’t yet, quite honestly. We are just kind of in the infancy stages of game planning and figuring out their offense and their sped and their no-huddle and their defense. … I’m sure as we get closer to the game, emotions rise. That’s part of college football, the pageantry of college football, but (right now) it’s more about getting ourselves prepared mentally and physically for the demands of the ballgame.”