The Huskies are done with their Thursday practice, their last significant work of the week before heading to Boulder tomorrow for Saturday’s 10:30 a.m. game at Colorado.
A couple of quick personnel notes:
— UW coach Steve Sarkisian talked more about the move of Shane Brostek to defense, saying again it’s not necessarily permanent and more to help fill in the depth right now (Pio Vatuvei out, Josh Banks, Talia Crichton, Semisi Tokolahi all nursing injuries): “We are nicked up on the defensive line right now and Shane having already played a good amount of football on the offensive side of the ball and having a background on the defensive side, was just a guy that I think can swing over there and help us from a depth standpoint. He’s an athletic guy, strikes well, and so we’ll see how much opportunity he gets in this game — we’ll see. But for him to be able to give us that and a guy that can potentially if something happens on offense can fill in on offense and if something happens on defense can fill in on defense, that’s a feather in his cap that he is able to do that.”
— Sarkisian noted Brostek played a lot of defense in high school: “He’s a very aggressive guy and he’s extremely athletic. When we are running and doing different conditioning drills he is always the first offensive lineman winning those types of races. So when he goes to the defensive line, his athleticism, it isn’t like your traditional O-lineman moving over because he is so athletic, so it gives him a chance to be able to do those things.”
— Sarkisian also said backup linebacker Jamaal Kearse and backup running back Dezden Petty will not make the trip to Colorado. He said Kearse got hurt against Utah and Petty this week in practice. He said everyone else (obviously of those not already out) should be able to make the trip.
You can watch what Sarkisian had to say below, with more quotes after the jump:
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On the altitude in Boulder: “One of the keys with the altitude is to get your rest so that you’re at your optimum energy level. And you have to hydrate. Those are the two things that you have to do, and it can’t just be the day before the game. It has to be a week-long process, and I think our guys have addressed it and understand that.”
On home remedies for altitude: “Just be rested, hydrated and not let it get to you mentally. We’re not making that big a deal out of it.”
On if anything has changed in the winning streak: “I don’t think that we made any drastic changes, wholesale changes. We didn’t scrap our offense or defense or anything. We had a lot of stick-to-itiveness. I think some things changed from a mentality standpoint. There was obviously a real sense of urgency. Everybody wants to win on Saturday when the game comes, but that same want-to has to be there Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday…that has to be collectively the entire team, it just can’t be spotty – some here and some there. I think a lot of those types of things were addressed and then ultimately our execution has improved. The Arizona game was a bit disappointing in all three phases because we didn’t execute great. And maybe part of that is the plan and what we were trying to get done and how much we were giving the guys, and two – ultimately when you step on the field you have to execute and make your plays. And we weren’t great at that at that time; we’re much better than that now a month later.”
On learning things about the team going through that stretch: “I think we’re maturing, one – from a psyche standpoint. We’ve been a football team that has played with a great deal of youth, but we’ve matured. And that’s pretty cool to see as a coach that your younger players are growing and maturing. I’ve even talked to even some of them about that here this past week of how proud I am of them because there was some rough stretches in there for some of our younger players that, in turn, made it some rough stretches for some of our older players. But from a maturity standpoint, it’s been great. I think our ability to run the football has been impressive in this stretch run that we’ve been on and we’ll continue to do that. I think that’s helped our passing game, quite honestly, offensively.”
On the run game and improvement: “I think there’s continuity amongst the offensive line, the same five guys playing together. I think it’s Bishop’s (Sankey) comfort level and maturity and growing and understanding the position. And I think it’s our coaching staff understanding what these guys do well and then ultimately putting in a game plan and then calling plays that is conductive to what they block well and what he can run well.”
On peaking at the right moments and playing their best at the end of the season: “We’ve always tried to harken that, our ability to finish. Talk about, you guys have watched us practice, the end of our practices are sometimes more intense than the beginning of our practices for that very reason. We talk about our ability to finish in the fourth quarter of tight games. We talk about our ability to finish seasons and our ability to play well down the stretch in seasons and we have done a pretty good job of that in our four years here and this is giving us another opportunity to do that. It just keeps hammering home that mindset of our ability to finish and execute and playing hard. There is something to it. We are excited that we have strung three in a row together and excited about the opportunity to try to make it four in a row this Saturday.”
On being pleased with the week of work and the team being as confident as it has been all year: “I think that’s been growing. I think our confidence has wavered at times, and naturally so. We have played some tough games early on. But better than if we are more confident than we have ever been, I think we have more belief than we have ever had. We believe in ourselves and our ability to do a good job and to do well whether it’s at home or on the road, and that’s something that when you go back a month ago, that’s something that I felt was shaky was our belief. Confidence is easy to have but when you have belief that really comes from deep down inside and I think our belief has really risen here in the last month. So yeah our belief is probably as high as it has been since training camp.”
On that coinciding with some of the team leaders and Keith Price having their belief growing in how they are playing: “Sure, I think it helps with Keith especially because I think guys really feed off of Keith and his body language and his demeanor and how he is acting. You can’t fake body language — it is what it is. And his has really improved, even through a couple of rough stretches, even at Cal, he was right there in the forefront, leading the guys and again especially last week against Utah. I think that helps the guys, especially the younger players, that if 17 is feeling good about what we are doing than ‘okay I can feel good about what we are doing, too.”’