Prior to his regular meeting with the media later today, UW coach Steve Sarkisian was a guest on KJR-AM this morning with Mitch Levy and Hugh Millen. Here are a few highlights. …
— Sarkisian said he has felt the offense coming around for about a month leading to the breakthrough performance against Utah. He said the game “was as normal as it’s felt all year for me calling plays. … I really think this even going back the last few weeks it hasn’t been about our opponent it’s been about us. When we’ve been stopped we’ve been doing it to ourselves.”
— Intriguingly, during an answer to a question about Austin Seferian-Jenkins playing defense and whether Shaq Thompson would play offense anytime soon, he said “I’d say we potentially could have done that Saturday night but we decided not to do it.” Asked if that means Thompson playing offense could happen in the next two games, he said “it potentially could. I don’t know it depends on how the game goes.” He then repeated what he has said in the past about not wanting to sacrifice defense for offense and that Thompson’s main job will remain on defense. “He’s playing really good defense for us right now. He’s an integral part of what we are doing and I want to make sure he continues to do that.”
— Asked whether there was any worry about ASJ getting hurt on defense, he said “I don’t think you should be concerned. Football is football. We lost (linebacker) Princeton Fuimaono last week on a Tuesday practice on a drill guys never get hurt in. That’s the nature of the game that injuries can occur and do occur. If we play the game out of ‘I hope we don’t get injured’ we are going to get beat. He is going in on obvious passing situations, the third and longs, where we are trying to get better on third down to get our defense off the field. So he doesn’t have to play the variety of plays — he’s not getting power runs at him or double teams. He’s rushing the passer.” I’ll note we did not get an update on Fuimaono so not sure the extent or nature of his injury though it was obvious he was not in uniform Saturday night.
— Sarkisian said ASJ was in on eight or nine plays on defense and said the reason was that allowed them to then move Andrew Hudson inside and have Josh Shirley on the other side and create what he called “a speed unit to get our four fastest pass rushers out there. And it was relatively effective.”
— He said the idea of ASJ playing end goes back to when he was being recruited and they had him in a camp. He said they matched up against a top OT prospect who did not sign with UW and “it was four straight rushes, four straight sacks.”
— He also talked about Bishop Sankey and said one change from earlier in the season is how decisive he is being in deciding where to run. He talked about UW’s zone blocking schemes and how it requires backs to make decision and generate and create their own holes by making the linebackers make decisions and making cuts off of those.
— And in talking about finding a third receiver, he said “we’re not really searching. At this date late in the season we know what we have. We have some guys over there who do some specific things well and there are other areas of their game that other guys do better than they do so we try to put them all in position to do things they do well and they all contributed Saturday night.”