Here are a few notes from Steve Sarkisian’s weekly radio show. …
— Though unfortunately, I was stuck in traffic for quite a bit of the first half hour or so. Much of that time was spent talking about some of the same themes as expressed during Sarkisian’s press conference earlier, specifically his frustration with the mistakes that let the Oregon game get away early, as well as Keith Price. He reiterated much of what he said about Price earlier in the day about wanting Price to not worry as much about the team around him and just concentrate on himself.
— In what might have been the biggest personnel news, Sarkisian indicated that Austin-Seferian-Jenkins will play against USC. Specifically, he said of ASJ that “all signs are pointing that he will be okay to go.” Sarkisian did not specify the injury but said “we got encouraging news” about it, though he cautioned that since the team had not practiced yet this week “we don’t know for sure” if he will play. ASJ suffered some sort of foot/ankle injury at Oregon.
— There was talk of the play of Cory Littleton and Sarkisian reiterated what he’d said during his press conference about how well Littleton played against Oregon. He also acknowledged that having Littleton in that role means less time for Josh Shirley. He said he doesn’t think Shirley “is waving the white flag” at having his time taken and that “hopefully he will be back on the field and being productive.”
— He again praised the play of the offensive line and said specifically of Dexter Charles that thinks “he can be special.”
— In response to a question from a caller he said he took no offense to Oregon attempting to throw deep on the last series of the first half with the score 35-7 and said “that’s up to them.”
— That led to some discussion of Oregon and Sarkisian said “I really do believe we are gaining ground on them but unfortunately the scoreboard didn’t indicate that. That’s where my frustration was coming from.”
— He said he doesn’t think “there has been another program in the country that has played the schedule that we have played” noting both LSU and Oregon were No. 2 in the country when they hosted the Huskies. He said as a coaches poll voter he looks at some of the other undefeated teams and wonders how they would do against a similar schedule and especially considering the injuries UW has suffered. He added “I still think we are a very good football team. I think we are young, which is okay. We are a relatively young team on both sides of the ball but that’s okay. I think we are improving every week and I think we will see that again this week.”
— There was talk of this game ending the first half of the schedule with yet another ranked team. But Sarkisian said he noted from the beginning that the second half is also challenging saying that to him in some says “the bigger six are the second half of the season … those games are probably as big or bigger than the first six to take care of business in the second half of the season.”
— He talked again about Marvin Hall’s punt fumble and how that was a call to go ahead and return it that Sarkisian gave to Hall from the sideline. He said it is simply a verbal call given in those situations since the crowd is usually quiet during punts. He said UW had a punt block called on the play so Hall was originally supposed to fair catch it. But he said he noted that UW had Oregon “really jammed on the inside” and that left only the gunners to tackle Hall, so he gave the signal to Hall to return it if he wanted. He said it was his fault and that “I’m taking that one for him.”
— He said one underrated key to the improved running game is the blocking of Kasen Williams and DiAndre Campbell and how well they are blocking on the outside to create running lanes.
— He said a key matchup this weekend will be Desmond Trufant against USC’s receivers and said when NFL scouts come to UW they tell him that Trufant is “arguably” the second-best corner in American right now.
— That also led to some talk of USC WR Marqise Lee and Sarkisian said one of the keys for UW is to get a pass rush on Matt Barkley to not allow him to throw to Lee and Robert Woods. Of Lee, Sarkisian said “he arguably might be the best football player in America.” He said one of the most impressive things about Lee is how well he blocks and that “he blocks like he was put in the game just to go block.” He said one way USC’s offense has changed of late is in doing more things to get the ball to Lee and Woods in space. Of USC he said “they will make for a great challenge for us and hopefully we will make it a great challenge for them.”