The Huskies returned to the field Saturday morning for the first time since the 31-28 overtime loss in the Apple Cup Nov. 23.
It was close to a two-hour practice in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts in the Dempsey Indoor, with much of it devoted to the team’s younger players.
Obviously, UW does not yet know who it will be playing and where and when. But like all bowl eligible teams, it is allowed to practice. So UW decided to practice today, tomorrow and Monday, workouts that will largely be focused on developing younger players.
“Not that our vets don’t get reps, but the majority of them go to our young players and we really let them play football,” said UW coach Steve Sarkisian. “We do the individual work and the fundamentals but I want to see them play and see how far they have come in a year’s time.”
Asked for a few standouts, Sarkisian said: “Erich Wilson had a nice touchdown run there at the end. Cyler (Miles) had a nice drive, Derrick (Brown) had a nice drive with the young guys. Some of the interior stuff is tough to tell until you look at the film. All in all I thought it was pretty spirited for giving them a week off. Sometimes you come back and it can be tough to get going but they came ready to go today.”
Sarkisian, in fact, said he thought the entire team has bounced back nicely from the disappointment of the Apple Cup.
“I didn’t feel a hangover,” he said. “We had a nice talk about it this morning as a team. The entire team watched the game last night, obviously we saw Stanford win the Pac-12 Championship. And we talked about (that) we were the one team in the conference that beat them, and the only other team in the country that beat Stanford is Notre Dame, who’s playing for the National Championship, and that came down to an inch, and possibly a bad call.
“So, I think we’re aware of what we’re capable of, but we also understand in Stanford that that’s a very consistent football team. Week in and week out they come to play, and that’s something for us to strive for, because obviously from a capability standpoint, when you beat the conference champ and you’re the only team to say that you can, that’s a standard that we can play to, and now consistently we need to be able to play to that level.”
Sarkisian has said in two radio appearances in the last week that he thinks UW may be heading to the Las Vegas Bowl. He was a little more circumspect about that today to the larger media group when asked where he thinks UW is heading.
“I really don’t (know),” he said. “I think everyone has a general idea of what the potentials are. But until they tell us officially it’s like anything, I guess. It’s like rumors and I tend not to respond to rumors.”
The general expectation remains that UW likely won’t know for sure until tomorrow. However, the results of today’s games (specifically the Boise State-Nevada game kicking off here soon) might begin to clear things up a bit.
Sarkisian said he has no preference where UW goes.
“We are going to go somewhere,” he said. “We want to go to the best bowl possible, obviously. So it’s exciting to find out your fate and where you are headed and start preparing for the trip from a schedule standpoint and also from a gameplan standpoint and your opponent and who you have to prepare for.”
Speaking of not responding to rumors, Sarkisian also reiterated that will be his stance on rumors involving himself or members of his staff — though to be clear, at this moment there are no specific reports linking anyone on the UW staff to anything.
Here’s what Sarkisian said when asked about this being the season when there are lots or rumors out there: “I think you can’t ignore it. It’s so much in your face. But the reality of it is it’s really rumors until something is solidified and sometimes it feels a bit like the high school girls’ bathroom. But until there is something substantial it is hard to comment whether it is regarding me or somebody else. I don’t know how you comment about it. The best people to comment about it are the ones who are making those decisions. So you don’t ignore it. I follow it relatively, you want to know who your opponents might be, who might be the head coaches in your conference and what not, who might be leaving, but until it’s solidified you really don’t know.
Players and other coaches were not available to the media today.
Here’s some video of Sarkisian’s session with the media:
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