Arizona goes on the road to take on a Washington Huskies squad that was playing a very competitive brand of football up until their performance two weeks ago against Stanford. UW head coach Steve Sarkisian believes his team has put the blowout loss in the rearview mirror and that his players have focused their attention on the game against the Wildcats.
"I think we are great now," Sarkisian said. "I think it took a little time. But that's okay. That just shows me that they really care."
The Huskies' head coach acknowledges that his team has come off of big defeats in the past and the group has been able to respond well after those occurrences.
"We've unfortunately been faced with some of these challenges before in our past, and responded really well," Sarkisian said. "I wouldn't expect anything less from us. I think we will respond well Saturday."
Sarkisian understands that the Wildcats have one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Nick Foles. The head coach plans on attacking the UA offense in a variety of ways and will attempt to confuse Foles.
"He's a veteran," Sarkisian said. "But he's not a 15-year NFL vet yet. We've got to try; we'd be foolish not to try to. We need to throw some things not just at him but at their offensive line, their backs and their receivers. We've got to continue to mix things up. One thing with veteran guys - when you sit in one thing then it gets too comfortable for him; too easy for him. So you need to continue to try and throw different things at him and mix it up and make him work at it."
Much of Foles' success stems from the talent he is provided at wide receiver. Sarkisian is well aware of how talented the Arizona wideouts are and understands he will have to adjust his defense accordingly.
"Well obviously they've got some big receivers when you look at the two big guys on the outside - (Juron) Criner and (Dan) Buckner - and the ability to throw fade routes to those guys is one of the key elements to their offense," Sarkisian said. "I think the bigger bodies that are out there, the better we'll be...at least it should be that way. We'll see."
The Wildcats are battling the injury bug on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the secondary. Despite the depleted unit, Sarksiain doesn't plan on attacking it any differently than he normally would.
"I don't think so," Sarkisian said. "We've got a plan and we've got to be prepared for some different things. They did some different stuff versus UCLA."
Back in the 1990's, then-head coach Dick Tomey had Arizona's defense up there with some of the best in the country. Sarkisian noticed that UA interim head coach Tim Kish went back to those roots against the Bruins last week and expects to see a variety of defensive schemes this Saturday.
"They went back a little to that old Desert Swarm defense there - that flex defense," Sarkisian said. "So you've got to be prepared for the stuff they were doing earlier in the year and the stuff they were doing last game. So we've got a plan in place and we hopefully can go out and execute it really well."
UW looking to respond after loss
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