Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said on Monday that this would be a week that would test the team’s “zero distraction” mantra this season, what with Sarkisian being linked to the USC opening, the national media coming to campus and, oh yeah, the behemoth that is No. 5 Stanford awaiting on Saturday night.
The Huskies are currently featured on the front of ESPN.com’s college football page, there’s an SI.com feature on the program’s rebuild and Sarkisian is scheduled to be on the Jim Rome Show around 11:30 a.m. (right now!).
In the past, Sarkisian said, “we’d get into some of these games and we’d listen to what people had to say about us or if we were supposed to win or not supposed to win or any of those types of things (that) are potential distractions. What if we win? What if we lose? Those are all things that used to get in our way a little bit. Now our team doesn’t think like that.”
He added earlier: “I don’t feel like (the players) are making this game out to be bigger than it is. It’s a football game and we get to play at 7:30 on Saturday. I think that the preparation is good, which is the most important thing — the mental preparation and the physical preparation. … I think we’re very mature. This group is led by juniors and seniors, and not freshmen and sophomores, and I think those guys understand and follow the lead of our vets. And to the younger players’ credit, they’ve done a good job of understanding their role in that way.”
There were 78 players who made the first road trip of the season, to Chicago. The limit is 70 for Pac-12 games.
“Sometimes I like to bring guys that I know are redshirting, for the sake of bringing them and getting that experience. We’re at a place now where our roster’s so deep, we really can’t afford to do that. There’s been years past where we’ve been six or seven short, and I’m bringing guys knowing they couldn’t play — whether they were injured or redshirting, just for the sake of filling up the 70 spots. But now we’re at a place where we’re bringing 70 guys that can all have a role and contribute in our success on Saturday.”