Steve Sarkisian Thursday Quotes
On this week's practice: "I thought it was really good. I thought it was an intense week again. I thought our players responded to some of the challenges that we posed to them to get better. I thought we executed well. This is an interesting week; when you're playing an option football team, defensively there are a lot of assignments and different things you have to go through so it's challenging mentally. Then offensively it's challenging mentally going up against this defense because they pose different threats, not only in their coverage, but in their pressure and what they do up front."
On Fellner and Stevenson: "Taz was really sore today, it's not as bad as maybe we initially thought, but he's pretty sore. I bet he's doubtful. And Nate won't be able to go."
On Tokolahi: "Semisi is going to play on Saturday."
On Crichton: "He's a little banged up, but we're doing something up front where we're trying to get Everrette on the outside to give us a little more length so trying to minimize Talia's reps a little bit."
On how many guys they can take to Nebraska: "Technically we can take as many as we want, we're taking 76. We took 76 to the hotel for the first two ballgames so it's the same number, but starting next week against Cal we can only take 70 to the hotel."
On if Fellner stays behind: "No we'll bring him."
On how he expresses the history of Nebraska to his team: "Well we haven't had to do it as much because this is the third time in a year so they have a pretty good idea of what the history is about, but going to this stadium and understanding the great games that have been played there before and that history and tradition is something we're talking more about. Just the overall tradition of Nebraska, these guys are well aware."
On using a bigger defensive line: "It's one of the beauties of having the depth that we have on the defensive line that we can move guys around and Everrette is unique in that he can play inside and outside and that's why if you remember in training camp we did a lot of that. We worked him there certain weeks where one week he was inside the next week he was outside to get him those reps and we're taking advantage of that this week."
On the younger DT's playing on Saturday: "Oh yeah, definitely."
On if the defense was able to see Martinez's speed against the scout team: "I thought Cody Bruns did a great job. Cody is a very multi-verse guy so for him to be able to play quarterback and really run the way he can run as well as throw, he gave them a great look."
On leaving a day early: "The reason we're going today, is obviously we're going two time zones and then the kickoff time for the ballgame. If we left tomorrow we'd have to get our guys up first thing in the morning, practice and fly to get there on time to do our walk-thru at the stadium at 5 o'clock so it'd be a really long day for our kids. So we're just trying to maximize their sleep-time because we're kicking off really 12:30 our time on Saturday so we want to make sure we're getting enough rest. Especially tonight, tonight's the most important night to get your sleep."
On traveling to far places as a player: "We'd go to Hawaii, yup, and we did that and I want to say we went two days before. At SC when we went to Hawaii we went two days before. When we were at SC we went to Nebraska two days before, we went to Notre Dame two days before. It's just once you leave two time zones, we're leaving a day early."
On embracing this opportunity: "It's awesome, it's great. It's why we do what we do for these opportunities and we totally embrace them. It's a great challenge for us believe me. It's a tough challenge, it's a tough place to play, but man we love the opportunity and I think our kids have improved and they respect Nebraska to the fullest. But they feel like they have an opportunity to go there and win and that's what we're going to try and do."
On Price saying he prepares for this like another game: "Realistically as a coach you try to hopefully find the consistency in your preparation that each week it is the same that these are guys aren't getting up for one team and not as much for another, that's how you get beat. Keith is right to that point and he is also right when you're playing a team for the third time this isn't unique in the sense where this is the only time we're going to play them – for a bowl game. We're accustomed to watching them on film and all that. The reality is the juices will get flowing and it will be an intense environment and I think Keith is right in saying he'd like to not get too hyped up, but being even-keeled is important as a quarterback and I think he's on it."
On the difference between pushing them to believe they can beat Nebraska now vs in 2009 against USC: "I think there is a much bigger belief in our locker room. These guys expect to win, they expect to go out and play well and you get to that point by earning it and doing it and we've had some great wins here the last couple years. This is another opportunity for us to go out and show what we're capable of, but at the end of the day we still have to go play, it's not always about what we're saying before the game, you got to play in between the lines on Saturday."
On Price's knee: "He wears a knee brace now, I wouldn't say he's 100%, but I think he's getting better by the day."
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Doug Nussmeier Wednesday Quotes
On approaching this game as just another game - "Any time you have to go on the road, you have to be prepared. It's a different environment than it is at home, and obviously there will be crowd noise - and we'll have to handle that."
On the differences for the offense going from the smaller schools to Nebraska - "This is a great football team. On defense they are really big and physical up front, and their linebackers they present multiple, different guys where they play different personnel groupings to match your personnel groupings, and they do a really good job of playing solid coverage. They've got really good schemes, and are well-coached."
On if Nebraska is different from what fans saw in the Holiday Bowl - "Well, they're a little bit different. Obviously they've got a lot of the same front four is there, and they changed a little bit the linebacker position, and the back end…but they've got the same coaches, so there's a lot of the same schemes."
On if losing Alfonzo Dennard really changes what Nebraska does defensively - "Any time you have a great football player like that…obviously I can only imagine what he means for their defense…every team we play along the way is going to have great football players, and he's one. I don't know if he's going to play or not, but we'll find out."
On game-planning like Dennard is going to play - "Sure."
On the DB mentality to jam - "They are good football players. They are long, have good length, and they run well."
On if they are better able to handle it now that they've played them twice in the past year - "Yeah…we've seen this team three times now, and so it's a little bit of the NFL mentality, playing within a division opponent. You see a team over and over again. Obviously from one season to the next their personnel has changed a little bit, but they have the same principles and a lot of the same things we've seen the first two times that we played them."
On the specific issue of UW's WR's having problems getting off the line against Nebraska last year - "Those two corners they had at the time of the Holiday Bowl…going back to last year…exceptional, exceptional football players. And they are good again. Any time you lose a guy that's a top-10 pick in the Draft, or whatever he was, you're losing a great player. But they are really, really talented."
On Chris Polk and improvement - "I think Chris has really stepped it up from a protection standpoint, and his overall knowledge of the game and our offense. One of the things that a lot of people forget about Chris is that he's a young player when you look at the amount of years, and those types of things. He is going to continue to grow in that aspect, and he's made exceptional growth. Obviously disappointed he missed some time, because any time you're not in there and you're not playing, it gets different. And he's really started again to elevate, and I think he'll continue to make some serious strides here in the next couple of weeks."
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Austin Seferian-Jenkins Wednesday Quotes
On what he knows about Nebraska - "A real big, stout group of defensive linemen, very strong, physical, get off the ball very quick. Secondary is great, and their linebackers are good as well. They are all-around a pretty good defense, and it's going to be a great game."
On picking his teammates' brains about Nebraska - "They've already played this team two times, so having them there and helping us out, watching in the film room - hey, this guy likes to do this, and I've been against him…so there's little cheat codes and stuff to get prepared against the player you're going to be matched up against."
On his confidence after the Hawaii game - "I don't know if it's really grown, but I have an inner confidence and belief in myself that my hard work and preparation will get me ready and set me free when I need to make plays. So it's not really a boost from the game. It's just a game, and I have to come out and prove myself this week. That's week's behind us. It's not Hawaii, it's Nebraska this week, so I'm coming out this week and working hard as I can so I can play well."
On if Hawaii was a breakthrough game - "It was just a good game. I had opportunities, and I made plays."
On his first road game, top-10 BCS opponent, and being excited - "It's going to be a great game, first of all. It's a very storied program in Lincoln, Nebraska. You always hear about their stadium and their fans…their fans are some of the best fans in the world…very respectful at the same time, but very great for their team. First of all, it's a blessing to be able to go out there and play against such a good team, and it's just exciting. I'm just enjoying every moment of it."
On watching them on TV last year, and now playing them - "Watching them twice last year as a high school guy, and now coming in and actually playing against them is pretty cool. Having guys that have already played against them really helps to know some of their tendencies. It's going to be a fun game."
On his emotions following the two games last year - "I was here for the first game. It was a good Nebraska team. Taylor Martinez had a great game and I just remember it was a hard-fought game, a tough game. And the second game was obviously the Holiday Bowl. You could definitely tell the difference in the passion and enthusiasm and everything when they played them in San Diego."
On looking forward to this game when he was getting recruited - "Anyone that wants to play college football wants to play on a big stage. To be able to play on a big stage is a blessing, and to be able to come out in front of a lot of people…it's going to be fun. It's a dream come true to play against a storied program and to be a part of a storied program at the same time."
On what he's learned through two games - "I've learned a lot. I've learned a lot about myself, the other people we play against - you have to respect every single opponent, no matter who they are. No matter what you see on film, you have to go out there and earn your respect too. You have to give it your all, every single play. You can't ever take a play off, or anything like that."
On learning about himself - "I've learned that if I work hard and do the things that I'm told, I put myself in good situations. When I get away from technique and the things that my coaches teach me, that's when I have a hard time out there on the field. So I've learned to trust in my coaches, and what they have for me - and I have all along. It's just that sometimes you get out there and you get a little mentally tired, and you go back to some old habits. And that's when you get in trouble."
On Nebraska being physical at the point of contact - "It really depends on their fronts. But yeah, they are a pretty physical bunch of guys, and they really do like to jam people. Sometimes they like to have the defense right on top of the tight end and jam him before he gets off, so…but that's nothing we don't work on in practice at the same time. You have to be ready to use your hands, and stuff like that. We've been working on it, so it's not that big of a deal."
On if Hawaii's approach to him changed after the first series of the game - "To be honest with you, I don't know. I just kept running my routes and doing what I'm supposed to do. I don't know. Maybe - I couldn't tell."
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Jesse Callier Wednesday Quotes
On third game against Neb in a year - "It don't feel weird at all. It feels normal. I've become accustomed to it, and I'm excited to play these guys again because they are a good football team. I'm ready to get after it."
On it having the feel of a tie-breaker or rubber match - "I'm just trying to approach it just like any other game. We're re-learning them, as if we never played them. We still have to find things that they do, and stuff like that."
On what he expects to see that's different from the last time - "I expect them to come out harder…revenge and all that stuff plays a part. I mean, it should be a good football game, so I'm excited to be a part of that."
On why he thinks Nebraska will be feeling revenge - "We obviously beat them in the Holiday Bowl, and they got after us at our home stadium, so it's kind of like a battle."
On how the season has started for him - "I feel like I've been doing good, but I'm never content. I can always can do better…just doing whatever the coaches want me to do. And if that means 15 snaps on kickoff, I'm willing to do that."
On the Wildcat - "It's cool. I really like that, because I did it in high school too, so it felt really good to get back into that."
On how much he played Wildcat in high school - "It was one of our packages. When I wasn't at running back, I was at quarterback in the Wildcat, throwing the ball and running."
On throwing the bomb right away against Hawaii - "Most definitely. You always have to keep them on their toes."
Any bombs in high school? - "We more focused on the run, but when they stacked the box they'd give me a fade to throw, or slant, or something like that."
On if the Nebraska game was big for him while getting recruited - "At the time, I was young and didn't know that much about Nebraska. But now I've heard that they have over 80,000 fans. That just brings the chills on me, because I love playing in environments like that. That just makes me play as a better player. I'm just excited to play in an environment like that, and we'll just see how it goes."
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Steve Sarkisian Wednesday Quotes
On Taz Stevenson's injury today: "He got rolled up on, on the knee that he had the surgery on so we'll have to see how he comes out of it, but he was pretty sore there after it."
On being thin at safety: "A little, but it's also one of the deepest positions on our team so I think we're ok."
On Fellner's status: "I'd say doubtful for Saturday, we'll see what he looks like tomorrow. We're trying to really rest it first before we start trying to push him again so I'd say doubtful, but you never know. I've seen better comebacks than that."
On Stevenson's frustration: "I'm sure it's extremely frustrating, you've hit the nail on the head with that."
On Tokolahi's chances to play Saturday: "Yeah, he's been getting more reps so he's coming."
On Pelini and himself rebuilding two storied programs and being cognizant of the past: "Sure, you have to be. I have been since day one when I took the job. I'd be foolish not to be so I'm very aware of it. Very aware of the rich history and tradition and the great players and coaches that have all been a part of this program and they built this place. We're just trying to clean it up and get it back to where it needs to be."
On if there is a bigger microscope here than at other programs: "Yeah, sure, we're one of the elite programs in America. It's part of the job, we (Pelini and himself) were both hired to bring success upon a storied program and that's what the goal is."
On Nebraska's press-coverage: "It can be really disruptive if you can't get off press-coverage. It can also be beneficial for an offense if you can get off press to create big plays so that's going to be a big challenge for Saturday."
On if it's a mindset/technique working against press-coverage: "It's all that. It's scheme first of all, it's technique second, you got to use proper technique, then the third is mentally you got to believe, you got to know you're going to beat the guy. When you can bring all three of those things together you give yourself a great chance."
On how the receivers have been working against it in practice: "We're much improved from where we were last year to where we are now. It's been a big point of emphasis for us this off-season and then all the way into training camp and again this week. We're fortunate; we have got good press corners that can help our receivers get prepared for it."
On if he knew Pelini before last year: "We have mutual friends but not really know him, know him, but I got to know him last year at the bowl game and really, really respect him as a football coach. He's a great defensive mind. Just really respect what he's done at Nebraska. That place was down and out and he came in there and got them to two Big-12 Championship games and now they're in the Big-10 and one of the favorites in that conference."
On if this can be called a rivalry: "I don't know, it feels like it."
On if the officials have contacted him about hand signal celebrations like they have to Oregon: "I know nothing about it."
On if Nebraska will target Ta'amu after maybe overlooking him in the bowl game: "I would imagine, I would. He's the center of our defense and they're a running football team so I'm sure they'll know where 74 will be."
On the O-line: "We're getting better. When you think about it we have 3 second year guys starting and they're getting more experience, more snaps, more games under their belt and they're improving."
On if they will target Seferian-Jenkins after last week's performance: "We'll see, I don't know, you got to ask Bo that one."
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Jeff Mills Tuesday Quotes
On the stress it puts on a secondary when you go from a spread look to a run-based team - "I think it's a change. It's not the first time I've gone through the situation, but it is, all of a sudden, shifting gears. The first couple of days are like, 'OK. We're not defending the pass every single snap. But there are leverage principles within the passing game too, so whether your outside run support or inside run support, those things come up on short, little throws all the time. You still have the same principles when you're defending the run, but now you just have to get in the mode of now, the ball is on the line of scrimmage, it's the quarterback-pitch responsibility. But when you get middle screens from Hawaii, and bubble screens and little hitch routes inside, you're working the same principles. Inside-out, outside-in…those things carry over. Those things never change. So like with any new opponent, it's just trying to understand what their favorites are, and favorite formation, favorite run.
"The bigger shift for a team like Nebraska is, you go from all four wides against Hawaii to going back to the things you worked on in fall camp, and all the things you've worked during the season versus two-back. Hopefully the combination of the number of repetitions you've done against that in the spring and fall camp, they retain it. That's why you practice in spring and fall and work on other offenses. But it takes a day or two of getting back in the flow of, that's a two-back alignment, that's a two-back run fit, that's a two-back coverage. But we made progress today."
On if his secondary is built to handle the run better or the pass? - "I hope not. Nowadays, you have to do both, so we're trying to develop the skills at safety that they can run support, they can play man-to-man, they can play zone…I think the guys in our program, they've improved and have shown the capability to do that. We've got some pretty good athletes, and they know coming into the season what they are asked to do, and that's be multiple in all the different techniques they do. So I don't think so. I hope not, because you really can't have any weaknesses. You're going to have strengths, but the areas for improvement you have to continue to develop. I'm pleased. With our guys, just continue to get them the looks as to what they'll see, and that's always a guess too as a coach. But I think they can play both the run and pass."
On if the staff circles a game like Nebraska on their calendar - "I don't. We don't look at situations differently. It's our philosophy that the way we practice…practice is everything. Every day we go out to practice competing - you've seen us out here - a competitive attitude. You shouldn't change your mode as far as each game you play. It's a mindset; every day we step on the football field - whether it's a practice or game day - we're competing to our highest and try to reach our full potential. So no, we don't do that, and that's what I love about our program. I've been at other places where they have emotional highs and lows, because they try and gauge things differently. Everything's important. Everything counts, every game counts, every rep counts. And practice is where it all starts."
On if his group has continued to respond to Sarkisian laying down the gauntlet last week - "I thought yesterday was a good day, and today was a good day - so yeah. Guys are working hard. I think guys are excited, and we just have to keep on building. Every day you have to build and learn what we're trying to do. Early in the week - Mondays and Tuesdays - when we're trying to grasp a game plan…but their effort was good yesterday and today. So I'm pleased."
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John Timu Tuesday Quotes
On the improvement from Eastern to Hawaii: "Yeah things were tough, got to get used to the game and the speed, the tempo of college football, but I was able to slow the game down with the help of my teammates and the coaches so that's been a big thing for me."
On the toughness to stay disciplined against the read-option: "It's real tough but throughout the game when you get tired when it gets hard you got to stay disciplined and that's how you beat them. The more disciplined you are the easier it will get throughout the game, but just stay disciplined throughout the game and know our keys."
On how much different of a challenge this is compared to the last couple weeks: "It's a big challenge they're a top ten team, it's nationally televised, that's one of the distractions for us, but we got to stay focused and like I said execute what we've been practicing all week."
On if he noticed this game when he was being recruited: "Yeah, I saw it, but every college football game is tough. It's college football, no team is easy at all, but we just got to come out and play."
On if he has been told how fast Martinez is: "Yeah, we've been hearing about it since the Holiday Bowl, since week 3 of last year, he's a fast kid. I've seen him around in high school and that's all I've heard. He's fast so we got to get after him."
On if he watched the regular season game against Nebraska last year: "Yeah I have seen some of it and that kid can fly so we got to go get him."
On if he's excited to play more this week since Nebraska has a different style: "Yeah we got a lot of base personnel so we just got to like I said execute, play the run hard and don't let anything over the top of us."
On how important the outside linebacker position will be against Nebraska: "They're a perimeter team and Martinez loves to keep it so like I said stay disciplined, stay outside, keep contain, and we'll come out with a victory."
On how important it is to get a lot of guys to the football: "Everybody on the team, all eleven hats to the ball, everyone has to stay alive, stay up, be around the football, anything can happen. Things that he can do are crazy; he can go one way then come back another. We got to stay up, stay alive and keep him in where we can see him and tackle him."
On if the energy is up where it was last week: "Oh yeah, I think our energy is still there, our passion is still there, but we got to bring it up a little higher. Throughout the season we got to keep accelerating and I think we're doing that."
On if he looks forward to playing the run: "Oh yeah, that's a big challenge for me, playing the run, being a linebacker, the first time for me ever playing it, so it's a big challenge for me and Princeton playing it so we'll see."
On if they take it personally that third down has been a problem: "We do got to get better, something that we have to do throughout practice, we have to execute. On third down we have been lagging a lot so we don't take it personal, it's just an area we have to improve big time."
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Alameda Ta'amu Tuesday Quotes
Alameda practiced Tuesday without a cast. He was wearing a splint heavily taped up, but had the use of all his fingers.
On not wearing a cast - "It was good I get to grab people again."
On the changes to his game without a cast - "My left hand I'm starting to use it more than my right. It's much more stronger than my right side. But I'm able to grab the offensive linemen and toss them a little bit."
On what he'll wear on Saturday - "I'm going to have this little splint.
Do you think the Nebraska linemen know you? - "Hopefully, they know about me. I feel like they are going to get after me this game. I'm going to be ready for it."
On players taking this game personally? - "Everybody said that game, the Holiday Bowl, they weren't ready. I feel everybody is ready, especially in a bowl game. But this game is game for us as a team to prove that we can continue to where we left off at last year and still play at that level."
Difference in your play - "I'm doing my own job. I'm not trying to make HAouli's tackles or everrette's tackle. I'm just staying inn my gap and trying to dominate the middle."
On trust of his teammates? - "We all trust each other even off the field. When we build that relationship, it follows us everywhere inn everything we do."
Feel like playing one handed the first two games? - "A little bit. I tried to tackle somebody and I couldn't grab them. It would be a missed tackle. I would try to get on my other gap but my hand wouldn't allow me to. I felt like a one-handed person. I was still able to use it to push people off."
Were you in the zone during the Holiday Bowl? "When I was going into the game I felt like they thought they were going to kill me in the middle like they did in that first game. But I felt good. I wanted them to not expect what I had planned for them, or how ready I was."
Were you different physically that day? "Like Coach Holt always says, it wasn't until the last couple weeks of the year that we wanted to finish. The way you practice is how you are going to play. And I just practiced my butt off. I was always trying to penetrate down the middle, trying to get off blocks and just dominate whoever was in front of me, my opponent. I did that every practice and followed through in the game."
How much confidence do you have knowing you beat Nebraska in the bowl game? Or is it a different team? "A lot of confidence going into this game, especially with the D-linemen. Because a year later, a couple months later we are a couple games better. And we feel we can play better this week."
How much has Nebraska's offense change? "No, actually, the quarterback is still fast. Fast as hell. Crazy fast still. And the O-linemen are still big, still huge. Not much has changed. We just have to get after it."
Is the defense mature and disciplined enough to be able to bounce back after giving up a big play? "Yeah, we are still able to do that. Going back to the first game against Eastern, even though they had big plays, we were still able to regain our composure and realize as long as we make a big play then anything can happen."
Do you feel like you can cut loose because it's a run team? "I can't wait to play the run. I hope they run it up the middle and I will try to stop it."
Are you happy to see the secondary not have to decide this game: "I can't wait to play the run. I hope they run it up the middle and I will try to stop it.''
On practicing for this game: "Just like I have done since the beginning of the year. This is just another game like the old cliché but it's a special game, especially with these guys coming in. It's the tiebreaker. Now we get to see who wins the series.''
On how big it would be to get a win?: "It would be a big statement. They came into our house and whupped us all over the field so it would be nice to do that to them. Hopefully, we'll see.''
On if the game last September still motivates them: "Yeah, always. They embarrassed us in front of our fans and I want to do the same to them. Hopefully, we'll see.''
Is this game more his cup of tea?: "Yeah, I get to play the run. I love playing the run. It gets me mad if I look up on that board right there and see that the rushing yards are like over 100. The last two games I've been kind of happy about that so I hope we can continue it.''
How often do you check the hustle board: "Every quarter. That's about it.''
On rising to the challenge: "Coaches you are seeing they are crazy today and our challenge is to meet them at the same level they are at now or even more and I don't think that's going to be that hard because everybody is pretty fired up to go against this team.''
On being a marked man: "I hope not, but I think so. They are probably planning to get after me a lot more. Probably. Not sure."
Staying on responsibilities - "We're doing good. Just like I said, same d-line as last year, and everybody - especially with the young guys learning…you can see learning. With all that, everyone is doing their job, and I'm pretty confident with the d-line that we've got."
On the carryover from the Holiday Bowl until now, and knowing them better - "It feels like they are in our conference now, because we've played them three times within a year now. We're probably going to see the same faces we've seen like we've seen the Wazzu faces. It probably feels the same way."
On Danny Shelton - "Learning. He's learning from his mistakes."
On Desmond Trufant - "Desmond is a clutch player. I always have confidence when I see a ball go in the air and it's high and long, and you see Desmond on the receiver…I have no second thoughts. Desmond is going to stop it. Having to do that, being able to do that…it's pretty cool."
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Sean Parker Tuesday Quotes
On what Coach Sarkisian has brought to Washington: "He definitely brought it up. The tempo, the playing style, and the intensity and he just got all of us to match that intensity and just play hard."
On why he chose Washington: "Just the young coaching staff and the way they were going and the vision they had for me as well as the team."
On the challenges facing Nebraska: "The biggest challenge is being able to play in a hostile environment and just playing them for the third time in two years."
On Nebraska schematically: "Schematically they changed a little bit, but we're going to continue to watch film and review and just match their intensity."
On the threat of a mobile quarterback like Martinez: "It's tough on the secondary because we have to stay in coverage longer and it's tough on the D-line because they have to chase him and everything, but as long as we keep him contained we should be in good shape."
On Martinez in open space: "Just got to get him down."
On playing better in the Holiday Bowl against Nebraska: "We tackled way better and schematically we just bolted down and did everything right."
On how fast Martinez is in person: "In the game everything moves faster, we play at different speeds so we can play at any speed so we'll adapt to it."
On if it helps realizing how fast Martinez is: "The Holiday Bowl will help us with our film and how we got to play him and contain him and everything."
On his individual play thus far: "I feel pretty good, I can do a lot better. There is always room for improvement – playing faster."
On what needs to happen to clean up the tackling: "It's everything, all the fundamentals, angles, technique, wrapping up, drive him back 5 yards, and then everybody getting in on the tackles, it's not a one man effort. It takes eleven."
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Nick Holt Tuesday Quotes
Trufant: "He's playing like a seasoned vet, and he's doing a good job. It's kind of what we expected. He could do some things better, but he's playing really solid football."
Tru big plays: "It's just being experienced and having confidence now."
Ta'amu: "Alameda did a nice job pushing _ both he and Everette did a nice job pushing the pocket up, especially in the fourth quarter. It was really good."
DT's: "It's going to be really important because now we're playing some huge offensive linemen and they run the ball. A totally different football game. Plus, they have a quarterback who's averaging 150 yards a game and a running back that's a heck of a football player in Burkhead. So it's a totally different football game, and we've got to get ready to go here."
Alameda in Holiday Bowl: "He was just playing with a lot better pad level, more physical. But it was really the other guys."
Which guys? "Just the other guys that played in the game."
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Mike Cox Tuesday Quotes
On if they can take away anything from the Holiday Bowl: "I think there is. They've changed a little offensively; they have some new coaches on their staff this year so they've changed some things. There are some things and some carryover that we did so hopefully we can build on that and tweak what we did in the past and see what we're doing now and move forward with it."
On if they do more looks out of the Spread: "Yeah they do some of that and they do more of the belly-g option stuff that they used to do a few years ago at Nebraska so they've combined a lot of the spread stuff with that so it presents some issues."
On teaching Timu and Fuimaono to stick to assignments: "Yeah that's something that we talk about constantly is don't try too hard. Make your plays as your plays come to you and do your job. Hopefully these guys will execute what we're trying to get done and make their plays as they come to you and that's part of playing good defense."
On what he has seen with Taylor Martinez in comparison to last year: "He looks faster, he is really fast. He is a great athlete."
On containing him in the Holiday Bowl: "The long run that he had a year ago we had a busted assignment and he did a nice job of just out-running everybody. He still had his runs in the Holiday Bowl. He got out on us a few times and we were able to make our tackles, that's one thing we got to do is do a good job tackling this weekend."
On tackling angles: "Part of that is just not letting him out that far, but when you do you got to take proper angles and like I said before we got to do a good job tackling. One missed tackle on him and it creates long plays."
On the tackling thus far: "Last week I don't think we tackled very well. We had too many missed tackles last week, something that we've been working on today, working on tomorrow and we got to do a better job tackling."
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Steve Sarkisian Monday Coaches Show Notes
Gas opens the show talking about starting the season 2-0. Has the sense people feel better about the HI win than the EWU win. Sark agreed, but said there are still a ton of areas they need to improve on.
Gas asked about any doubt going up to the game, and Sark said he know they would come out energized. He was more concerned about the physical errors. For the most part, they did execute, but they did also have some problems in all three phases of the game.
Gas talked about the fast start, and Sark talked about how well Price started out, how he distributed the ball. Good tempo offensively, creating turnovers on defense.
Bob asked Sark about his game as a play-caller. Sark said it was fun to coach. Not an easy game plan. Lots of shifts and motions, some wildcat stuff in there - and no cheap penalties. Just one holding penalty on ASJ he'll learn from. Gave something for the crowd to get into.
Bob mentioned Oregon when they started to go good offensively, and he thought that UW gave HI a lot of think about right from the start. Sark said he was hoping that happened. Said their biggest concern was slowing down HI's front seven, so they wanted to use a lot of shifts and motions and mis-directions to slow them down. Couple of their DL are 'primo' guys, very bull-rush oriented guys. Didn't want Price to have to sit there in the pocket.
Bob asked about the OL, and Sark said he thought they really responded. Better than EWU, but still room for improvement as the week goes on.
Bob asked about Bryant Moniz, and Sark said that he was really good. Interested to see him in person, and he's really sudden in the pocket. Couldn't contain him. Was able to buy a lot of time. Point of emphasis this week because Taylor Martinez is another guy that can do that.
Bob talked about how many passes have been thrown at UW - last in the country in pass defense. Sark said HI was a lot better than EWU, and HI is good. With Mouse Davis, HI is good at what they do, and he thought the defense held up. HI gets 14 points off a pick-six and a short field after a botched punt. Getting better, but not good enough yet.
Gas asked about letting the lead get away, and Sark said we knew they weren't going to go away. 21-0 and they score, and UW is going down the field...pick-six. Now 21-14. The next drive to score a TD was a big moment for the team, but maybe even a bigger moment for Price. Bounced right back, so it was a really strong moment possibly in his career.
Gas brought the show back talking about the drive at the end of the half. Sark said by far and away the biggest drive of the game. If go 3-and-out, could be 21 all based on what HI could do. Of the five first half drive, no three and outs, so felt good about what they were doing.
Bob talked about the guy who scored the TD on that drive - Devin Aguilar. Big day on Saturday, 5 catches for 136 yards. Sark said the best play of the day was the fourth down play where he got 'smoked' by the HI DB. It's a real calming effect to have the senior WR's around for Price. It was evident with both Aguilar and Kearse.
Bob talked about the distribution by Price. 10 receivers the first week, nine the next. Sark said who do you cover? Everyone is capable of having a break-out game. But you also need to know who your 'go-to guys' are.
Bob talked about the first play of the game, where HI keyed on Kearse, and Price found ASJ underneath wide open for a big game. And went to him on the next play for even more. Sark said that play almost broke down because he couldn't get immediately off the ball. Starting to learn more about Price and what he's good at, and that play was an example of what he does well.
Bob talked about Price's efficiency, and Sark said it's a byproduct of Price growing up in the system and not really knowing anything else, so he knows not only where guys were going to be, but where they might be when things break down.
Bob talked about the one mistake - the 99-yard pick-six by Richard Torres, and Sark said that he was thinking about running out there and tackling him, but wouldn't be able to catch him. Laughs.
Bob asked about Price's knee. Sark said that he's not 100 percent just yet, but he's getting better daily. That's a part of the offense - running him - they haven't been able to use. And when they can do that, that's going to help Polk and Callier even more.
Bob joked about Polk and how they might use him a little bit on Saturday, and Sark said he's definitely going to run.
Gas brought the show back in talking about ASJ. Could he have scored on the one play down the sidelines? Sark said he hopes he's athletic enough that he'll find a way to score down the road. Said he took some ribbing from his teammates for that one. Gas said all of them except for No. 1, and Sark agreed.
Gas talked about the legacy of UW being Tight End U, and how he's the next in line, and Sark said he's got that chance. Part of the challenge is getting ASJ to play consistently. And he'll continue to get better as he develops.
Bob talked about his skill set, and Sark said 'it's scary'. He's got a lot of athleticism. And they also have Michael Hartvigson, which can make it taxing on a defense. Two tight ends give them a myriad of options. And they have a few years with them.
Mark in Everett - Said he's second next to Don James. Amazed on how the improvement was from week one to week two. Asked how he got Thompson in the right spot to get two blocked PAT's? Sark said they pride themselves on the field goal aspect of the game. Haven't had one blocked in three years. Coach Holt and his staff look for the weak links, and usually Thompson gets put over that weak link. He was in place a couple times against EWU, but just didn't get his hands on the ball. But he was able to do it against HI.
Gas brought up the amount of experience HI had on their coaching staff, with Mouse Davis and Dick Tomey, and Sark talked about how much they respect those guys, and how nice it was to be able to beat them.
Gas brought the show in talking about Kearse, and Sark said that he needs to get the ball in his hands more.
Bob talked to Kearse, and Kearse said they have a lot of WR's that can make a lot of plays. That means it helps out. He plays for them, and wants to see them succeed as much as for him. Then Bob talked about Kasen Williams. Sark said it'll happened, probably should have played more. Got a third-down conversion, and a punt return. Once the light comes on and he's able to play as fast as possible, sky is the limit.
Bob asked about spreading the ball out to all the different receivers, and he said it's all based on the personnel groupings. That way, they try to call plays so that all the groupings get plays, which means the ball gets spread out and each WR is able to get on the field.
Bob joked that it was like pee-wee football, where everyone gets at least five plays.
Gas asked about the 99-yard pick-six. Sark said he yelled to Kevin to slip inside the safety, but Price was a little late with the ball because of a hitch. Because he was staring him down, Torres jumped the route. Price miscommunicated, because he didnt' realize that Sark asked Smith to adjust the route, so Sark is taking the blame on that - even though when Price came to the sideline, he said that he shouldn't have hitched.
Gas asked how much of that is just good play-making, and how much of that is just dumb luck - and talked about Trufant getting his picks - and Sark said he's just been making plays. On special teams he's been on the spot, at the right places to make those plays at the right time.
Gas talked about the family, and how with Marcus playing for the 'Hawks, the Trufant name will be out there for a while. Sark said Desmond takes a true professional attitude toward games.
Bob brought up that Isaiah Trufant was playing in the Sunday night NFL game, which Gas interjected and said that maybe with the Trufants, it's more about them than coaching. Got some laughs.
Gas brought the show back in talking about the season being so far, so good. But with NEB, the degree of difficulty goes way up. Three games in a year - not too many secrets, a little animosity. Sark said he loves it. NEB is truly one of the best-coached teams in America. Hard to get one over on them. Great challenge for them. To go play in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln is a great challenge, and he expects his team to respond.
Gas said Sark has put together ways to be able to go into tough environments. Sark said that he's hoping part of it is him. Something about being a competitor being the big underdog - there's something cool about it. Don't go in shy, come in with a chip on your shoulder. 86,000 fans there, and the visiting team has to be one team, one heartbeat.
Bob said considering the Holiday Bowl, surprised they are big underdogs, and Sark said he'll take it.
Bob mentioned the thought that NEB just didn't show up for the Holiday Bowl, and Sark said they didn't show up for the first one, so maybe there's something to it.
Gas said if that's the case, now it's a matter of the football gods throwing the teams together to settle it all. He asked how much Sark saw of the Fresno State game, and he said that FSU has done that many times under Pat Hill. They'll get their best shot, but the key is to give NEB their best shot, and see what happens.
Bob talked about how good NEB is, especially on defense, and Sark said he knows they are going to get NEB's best shot. Likes his offense. One of the keys last year was that NEB was really able to identify Kearse and Aguilar, but shouldn't be able to do that this year with so many other options out there.
Bob talked about NEB seeing Polk, but not being able to stop him. Sark said they aren't just quite right in the run game. Holes are collapsing quicker than they need to. Wants to get to the goal of 200 yards rushing a game, instead of 150.
Bob talked about closing the first two games out by not being able to run the ball to kill the clock, and Sark said that part of it is growing as a team. Need to have the mentality that when you have the ball in those situations, you finish the game. They do have some run-pass options in those situations. Have to coach the QB better to stay in-bounds, keep the clock going. They are learning as a team and as a staff as to how to finish ball games. They are going to find themselves in those positions more and more, so it's important they know how to finish games properly.
Bob talked about the rugby punt and the rules. Sark said it was very close to going across the line. Asked how many times they've seen a punt go like that...then brought up the onside kick that was just inches from being live. All these situations are coming fast and furious.
Gas brought up the ND-Michigan game and the finish, and Sark said he loves the 12:30 starts, because after the game he gets to be a fan. He saw the end of the USC game, and the end of the Michigan game. What a scene.
Gas said it'll be a great scene at NEB Saturday.
Gas asked about points of emphasis. Sark said they don't want to lose their edge. They need to have a hard week of practice. Will be a real physical game. They need to contain the QB. Rushing hard, but giving up too many lanes to buy time. If do that this week, Martinez will kill them. And they have to establish themselves on the ground. And they have to do a lot better on third down on both sides of the ball.
Bob said 21-30 in third down conversions. Sark said it's crazy, never seen numbers like that. They will get better.
Bob will said that they will be playing in the third biggest city in NEB Saturday - laughs. Sark said it'll be a tremendous experience before, and the fans are great. But he's also been there when the crowd has been quiet before, and he likes that too.
Bob talked about possible expansion of the league with news of Oklahoma possibly asking for permission to join the Pac-12, and Sark said he's not sure what to make of it, other than it might open things up to where they could go back to one of the divisions being the old Pac-8. But for right now, he's more concerned about getting win No. 7 in a row.
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Steve Sarkisian Monday Press Conference Quotes
Opening Statement - "We're in the thick of it now where it's one week after another, the routine of it - but it's the routine that we love. To look back at last week's ball game, to kind of move on from that - I thought our kids really responded to a challenge. A challenge to them physically, but emotionally, mentally - I thought they responded really well. And in turn, we got off to a pretty fast start in that ball game with the offense clicking pretty good, the defense creating a turnover, and away we go.
"I thought that Keith Price had a fantastic ball game. Really, even when you look at the film after, very efficient, was on point with where he needed to be with the ball - made a couple of plays with his legs to buy time. Just had great command of the game, and hopefully we can continue to go down that road with him. I thought that Desmond Trufant stepped up again, creating another interception there and the the return, the two point play. I thought the presence of Devin Aguilar and Jermaine Kearse - again it's evident on film, from a calming perspective for the quarterback and just the overall tempo of the offense. I think they had a very good feel for getting lined up. And this was a challenging game for our skill guys because of the amount of shifts and motions that we used in the game. And for us to come out of the game without a false start or an illegal formation - really proud of our guys from that end. It was great to see Jesse Callier get another big kickoff return. It's been an area of emphasis for us. Hopefully we can get the punt return game going.
"Things to work on: Obviously our ability to finish, the fourth quarter - which is something that we've really tried to pride ourselves on, especially last season. We just didn't perform the way I know we're capable of performing in that fourth quarter, on a lot of fronts. To close out that ball game offensively, we had two opportunities to do that, and we're unable to do that. That's the second-straight week that's happened, so that will be addressed. Obviously, the special teams blunder on the rugby punt - inexcusable. And so issues there that need to get cleaned up for us, because as we move forward, as we march on, as these better opponents are starting to show themselves to us, you can't afford to make those types of mistakes.
"Third down - if you look at the number of third downs for our defense, gosh - we just have to contain the dang quarterback. That's killing us on third down right now. It's not like we're not there in coverage; but when a guy has the ball and he rolls right, and he rolls back left - it's hard to cover a guy that long - whether you're in man or zone coverages. So we've got to find a way of - as we're trying to put pressure on the quarterback, to contain the quarterback, and keep him in the pocket. And that's obviously going to be doubly important this week as much as any, with Martinez Saturday. So it'll be something we work on is third down and it's something we emphasize. We need to get better; it's too big a factor. We need to get off the field on defense. They are on the field too long, for too many plays in a row. We've got to be able to get off the field.
"Really proud of the fact that we're plus-5 in the turnover margin right now after two weeks. It's an emphasis of ours, about being able to take care of the football and creating turnovers. So to have created six turnovers already in two weeks of ball is fantastic. We would love to average three turnovers a game, and so far, so good. We're on pace for that.
"I think our emphasis on special teams now is showing up, when you think this is two weeks now we've had special teams player of the week – it was Erik Folk last week and Everette Thompson this week after blocking two kicks. And that's a real tribute to Cort Dennison and how hard he played. That's a tough ball game to get Pac-10 player of the week, defensively, with 12 tackles and a forced fumble there in the first quarter. In review of the game, I'm really proud of the way our kids responded. They were willing, they did everything we wanted them to do. But at the end of the day, we know that that's still not good enough. We'll continue to improve, we'll continue to work, we'll continue to strive for excellence, and we need to get there.
"As far as the upcoming game against Nebraska, it's a great environment. I've had an opportunity to coach there one other time. It's a tremendous environment. Great fans. It's what college football should be. I said this last year: there's probably no coach in America that I have more respect for than Bo Pelini, from an X's and O's standpoint for sure. He's a tremendous coach, his defenses played hard, fast, smart. So it's a tremendous challenge for us on that end. Obviously, on the offensive side of the ball, Taylor Martinez is the key to what they're doing, and that hasn't changed. Obviously with his legs running the ball, but also throwing the ball and utilizing the tight end with the Reid kid and some of the bigger receivers and the Burkhead kid at running back, with the versatility he provides. Last year he was doing a lot of the Wildcat stuff. He can throw the ball, he can run the ball. So really, those are there main three guys offensively. Defensively, they're led up front by Jared Crick, who's a big, physical defensive tackle. You need to know how you're going to handle him and you need to plan for him. Then right behind him is the linebacker, David, who's a tackling machine. I think he had 15 tackles again last week, he set a school record a year ago for tackles for Nebraska. He can really run, he's instinctive, and so we obviously need to have a plan for him. And then our expectation is that Dennard is going to be out there at corner for him. He's a tremendous player who we had the luxury of seeing last year, and I don't think we completed a pass on him last year in two games. Great challenge posed by him on all three phases of the game, and rightfully so. We understand we have our work cut out for us, as obviously other people do. I don't think we're obviously predicted to win the game, so it's going to be a great challenge for us."
On the blocked kicks - "Well, Everrette Thompson is a pretty good PAT and field goal blocker. Two weeks ago against Eastern Washington, I think he was in the backfield three or four times, and he was just missing the ball. So we found a little something in the scheme there with Hawaii that we thought we could Everrette through there. The first couple of times he couldn't get through, then he got going and was able to get skinny and pop through there. And he's a pretty tall, rangy kid at 6-6. So it was more about us than it really was about Hawaii."
On the difference in UW from the first game to the Holiday Bowl - "Well, I think we got better, one. Just overall, scheme-wise, we were a better football team. We found our identity a bit, running the ball, playing defense. I just thought we played better. And we're continually getting better. I don't think it's a fluke that we're on a six-game winning streak right now. I think that we're getting better, and that doesn't necessarily mean that we're going to be better Saturday. We have to continue to improve this week in practice and find the areas of concern that we need to improve upon, some of which I've already noted, and then to go in and play a Nebraska, a well-coached football team in that environment, it's a great challenge for us. So I just think the whole mentality's gotten better. It's a style of football that we believe in – there have been some blips on the radar when we haven't seen that, most notably two weeks ago, but for the most part we're playing a physical brand of football, we're believing in the running game – we're not trying to come out and throw 45 times a game – we're going to run the football, play sound defense, try to minimize possessions in the ball game and give ourselves a chance to win in the fourth quarter, which is something we did late in the year and is something we'll continue to try to do this year and believe in the notion of finishing ball games."
Do feel like your kids played with an edge in the Holiday Bowl? "I think there is a little bit to that. I think as much as anything the first time around we didn't play very well. I don't' think it was a matter of our guys wanting to do well, we didn't play well. We had a bunch of missed assignments. Defensively, guys have responsibilities with the zone read stuff and we weren't there and we got hurt badly with Martinez running and Helu running. I think offensively we pressed a little bit, and obviously the turnovers hurt. The second time around I don't think about us having more of an edge, it was about us not killing ourselves, and putting our best foot forward and giving ourselves a chance to be part of the ball game where we didn't really do that the first time.
On playing Nebraska three times in a year, and if you can gain an advantage from knowing a team well the first two games - "I think there's a little bit of that. There's somewhat of an NFL feel from coach's standpoint and the players' standpoint. But the reality is we are a different team, they are a different team this year and the game is going to take on its own complexion. It's a different game this year."
On what Nebraska could have learned from the Holiday Bowl - "I would say that the biggest factor in that game at the Holiday Bowl was No. 1. Chris Polk carried the ball 30 some odd times, but that's not a real secret anymore. I don't think we are going to come out and not hand the ball to No. 1. They understand that. We know that. It's just a matter of how we are getting him the ball, what situation, what types of runs. But that was the biggest factor offensively. Defensively, I think we played sound defense. We didn't do anything magical. We just played sound defense.
On a healthy Taylor Martinez, and does it change your strategy - "He's fast and we need to contain him because if we don't, he's going to outrun us. It's pretty simple."
Has he ever played three games against the same team in such a short period? - "No. Never."
Are there any plusses and minuses to playing this many times? - The plusses are that you have a little familiarity with their personnel. The minuses are that they have familiarity with your personnel. I don't think either team is going to make drastic changes schematically. We are who we are, they are who they are. Ultimately I think both staffs are well coached and they'll have wrinkles here and there to take advantage of those things.
Does the game have the feeling of a rubber match, or tie-breaker? - "No, we're a different team. I know we are excited about the opportunity to go to Lincoln and play in Memorial Stadium. It's a tremendous place to play. It's a great atmosphere. I know they will be all fired up. Their fans will be fired. I expect our guys to be as well. The key for us in this game, forget the rubber match and the revenge and all that stuff. It's how we respond as a team. How we can go on the road for the first time in 2011, hanging together and be together in a hostile environment, live through some of the mistakes or some of the plays that don't go our way, stay mentally touch, which we pride ourselves on being, and fight through and find a way in the fourth quarter to be in a tight ball game and ultimately close and finish. That's the key to me.
"It's nothing against Nebraska and their fans, but this trip is really more about us than them. It's our ability to go on the road, regardless of the opponent, and do this thing. We got better at it last year as a football team, whether it was going to the coliseum and playing SC, whether it was going to Cal, the opportunities we had I thought we grew together on the road last year and this has got to be the next step this year as we go on the road.
On responding to challenges: "No I think that's a trait you can learn. We're prided ourselves on that we have recruited great competitors around here and I think competitors responds. Sometimes they don't know how to, especially when we've dealt with so much success along the way and you haven't had much failure. But I think as competitors you respond, we just have to get it out of them a little bit and I think it can be taught, without a doubt.''
On helping the young players playing on the road: "I think you try to paint a picture. I'm not going to send them in there without them knowing anything about it. We try to paint a picture and give them a history lesson of Nebraska football and that stadium and some of the games of the Huskies going to that stadium so that they get an idea. But the reality of it is part of it is I'm not here to coddle these guys, either. They are here for a reason and we will make sure they are mentally tough enough to handle the environment.''
On their kickoff returns and UW's coverage: "It's been good. Last week again, the one that gets out we have two guys right there and we don't make the play. So have to emphasize our leverage tackles and things of that nature but I think from a scheme standpoint and an effort standpoint we are right on point. It's better than not when Erik really strikes the ball, the ball is down near the goal line instead of them catching it around the 12. And then ultimately we have to tackle. The one that gets out down their sidelines, we have two players there. It's football, you have to tackle.''
On third downs and if it's scheme or the opponent: "Well, I think those two systems are pretty efficient third-down teams because they are so accustomed to kind of dinking and dunking the ball around. But I also attribute some of that to when we are rushing the passer we have to understand our contain rules and our rush lanes and we haven't done a great job of that the first two weeks, so we have to get better and I think we will get better. It will be a real point of emphasis this week.''
On what is unique about playing at Nebraska: "They've got great fans. It's one of the great things about playing in Lincoln is you go out an hour before kickoff for pre-game warm-ups and it's packed. The stadium is full, they are all there. They love pre-game warm-ups as much as the game, so it's a unique setting that way. You can really feel the energy in the stadium. And just about everybody in the stadium is wearing red.''
On Price taking blame for the interception he threw: "Sure, sure. That's what you like to have and it was my fault. I didn't coach it well enough and it was a little miscommunication with Kevin Smith and Keith and part of that was me giving Kevin a little bit more advice on the route that we wanted and I think the next time we get that look it will be a touchdown pass, I really do. The play was there, we've just got to coach it better.''
On how good Nebraska's secondary was last year: "They were really good. We had a hard time completing balls, I don't know how many balls we completed in two games but it wasn't many, so they were challenging. But they will be challenging this year. They've got a JC transfer at safety that has gotten better from week one to week two and they will get Dennard back out there and he's a big factor for them. It's as much about the scheme as it is the players.''
On if they will be aggressive: "Got to ask Bo that, I don't know.''
On the health of the squad: "Good, very good. I think we will get Greg Walker back, it was a mild concussion so I think he will be back. Keith's knee came out great, his knee is good. Chris' knee is good. Cort has a little bit of a thigh bruise there near the end of the gamebut he should be fine.''
On Nate Fellner: "That's the one really biggest question mark is with the hamstring, we'll see. I don't know the severity and how he responds. He has had hamstrings in the past and has recovered pretty quickly and gotten back out there so we'll see.
On Glenn coming in for Fellner: "He fit right in and the guy who is making a push now for us too is Taz Stevenson, he has gotten more and more healthy so it will be good to get Taz hopefully back out on the field as well.
On James Sample: "He's back going again it looks like and he's got a little different pad on that arm to protect it.''
On the challenges to the young OLB's - "Well, we've got to be sound, and we've got to make sure we aren't doing too much where they can play fast and not think. The first time around (last year) we were playing with a freshman middle backer that found out he was playing on Thursday. That was not the easiest task for him to have. To have two young backers, with Princeton and Johnny, the key is they know their assignments really well so they can play fast. If they have hesitation that's when mistakes can occur, or you get beat. I think we've got a game plan that's going to be conducive to those guys playing to the best of their ability, so that we don't have those missed assignments or hesitation where big plays are created."
On Ta'amu, and the changes from the first Nebraska game to the Holiday Bowl - "I think he just got better the second half of the season. If you look at the last four games he was a factor, and I thought he got better this Saturday from the Saturday before. Just his get off. His hands at the line of scrimmage. There's the comfort level playing with the cast stuff now. So just like everything, like with a lot of guys on the team, they just improved as the season went on. And Alameda was a prime example of that."
On when his cast might get removed on his hand - "I haven't even thought about it. He's just a big ol' guy who happens to have a little cast on. It looks kind of funny to me. Doesn't really fit his body."
On the difference in holding Nebraska's rush game in the Holiday Bowl, compared to the first game - "I think it was our ability to stay tuned in and keyed to what our jobs were, what our responsibilities were, and guys not trying to do too much and missing assignments -- veteran players. Guys did their jobs, held their ground, stayed in their gap, stayed keyed on their assignment and made the plays when they came to them, and made their tackles. We didn't have guys assigned to the quarterback go tackle the running back when the quarterback pulled the ball and was running down the sidelines. That didn't happen the second time around. So we've just got to stayed keyed in and true to our assignments, and stay physical and still have the ability to tackle."
Can you simulate how fast Taylor Martinez is in practice? "No (chuckles). He's probably faster than anyone on our team. No, we can't. You just try to give them the idea of the types of plays they are running, and then make sure we talk about taking good angles. He's fast. It's not a secret. The dude is fast."
Does he look more comfortable or confident throwing the ball this year, compared to last year? "Very similar to me. Pretty similar. They are throwing for a little more than 100 yards a game, 100-some-odd yards a game. To me it's more of a change up. They want to run the ball, it's no secret. Similar to us, they want to run the ball. It's a change up when they do want to throw the ball, or when it's an obvious passing down. They are going to run the ball. They are going to run it."
Can Polk run the ball 30-plus times now, like he did in the Holiday Bowl? "Sure. Sure, without a doubt."
On if UW will include Austin Seferian-Jenkins more because of the game he had against Hawaii - "Right. Hopefully he can continue to grow. The key for a player like an Austin, a Kasen, he needs to understand how important practice is during the week so he can perform on Saturday."
On if Price has the confidence of the locker room because of his personality? "I think so. I think the players really enjoy playing with Keith. He has a lot of energy. He is a lot of fun. Loves what we do. And the guys respond to him, without a doubt."
On the blocking aspect of the tight ends - "We're OK blocking right now. We're OK. And that's going to come in time. We're a little inconsistent. We'll do some nice things blocking, and that at other times we look like we're not trying. And it's not because they are not trying. It's because we are unsure, and when -- again, just like on defense -- on offense when uncertainty kicks in that's when you get beat. And so it's not for lack of effort. These guys are trying -- Austin's trying, Mike's trying. But when we get beat in the run game offensively, that's because of the uncertainty. That's going to get better as we keep doing these things over and over and over again. Then they will be really able to utilize their mass and athleticism when they are blocking one on one against defensive ends."
Does the fact Nebraska runs the ball mostly play into your strength of being able to defend against the run? "When we're right, yeah, I would say. Right now we're really built to stop the run, the way we're structured. But if we're not right it's not playing into our strengths and we learned that a year ago this time. When we weren't right they gashed us and gashed us bad. So hopefully we can stay right and defend the run the way we're capable of defending it."
How is Keith's knee? "Looks great, looks great. I'm not going to go and say he's 100 percent yet but he looks great. He's getting better, which hopefully will allow us to be able to do a few more things with him. We haven't been able to utilize his legs much from a schematic standpoint. The stuff we've done when he's running around has been his ability to run around and improvise on pass plays and different things. We'll access how he goes this week but hopefully he's a little bit better to where we can utilize his legs a little bit more."
At the end of the game Keith threw the ball away instead of going down to the ground and running the clock. Did he realize his mistake as soon as he did it? "Once we talked about it he totally understands he gets it and he'll learn from it. The next time that situation comes up he'll fall down, he'll slide and the clock will keep ticking. He's a very quick learner that way. Keith, he rarely makes the same mistake twice and can really process things. When you talk about scenarios he can really process them and that's a poor job of coaching on my part. We didn't get him through that exact scenario but that's part of playing with a young player and we'll learn from it."
Does revenge actually play a role in a game like this? "No, it matters maybe for the fans in the build up, but at the end of the day the whistled is going to blow, we're going to kickoff or they're going to kickoff and we're going to play football. I don't think revenge plays a factor, it didn't play a factor in the holiday bowl and I don't think it's going to play a factor in this game."
Are Nebraska's freshmen running backs giving you a different look than how they ran last year? - "They had obviously, they had Helu last year who was a big play guy and I think these young guys might have a big play ability like Helu but Burkhead is playing at a really high level right now. It's hard for them to take him off the football field right now. It would be hard, he's a good football player. But the Abduallah kid, you're seeing it in the kickoff return game, he's an explosive guy."
How's Simisi? Will he be able to play? "Realisticallly, probably not. He's just not quite there yet."
Will the team be intimidated by going on the road to such a prestigious place: "We weren't intimidated the first time. Intimidation doesn't have any factor on our football ever. If we play the Cowboys we won't be intimidated."
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Jermaine Kearse Monday Quotes
On playing Nebraska twice already in last year -- is it different? "No, I don't think so; we're just going to treat it like a normal game. This is our third time playing them in like less than 12 months. So we have a lot of film, so just break down the film and see what we can learn from it."
How glad are you that some of those cornerbacks are gone? "They had some good cornerbacks, but we're just focusing on our receiving corps doing what we can do to help each other. The offseason helped in the weight room, getting faster and stronger."
On expecting to play bump and run: "Yeah, we'll probably most likely see that again. It works for them, so why would they change, but we've been working real hard on releases and just being more physical and working hard in the weight room."
Is it technique, strength, quickness? "It's just a little bit of all those three things, and we've been working, it's been working well for us so far."
Those corners last year most physical that you've gone against? "I would say yeah. They were bigger guys, bigger than normal corners and they just like to get up in there and be real physical."
Is this a proverbial, put you on map games? "I think this would be a game that would help us out in that area. Nebraska's a good team, they got a good defense, a good offense, so this is definitely a game that could definitely do that for us."
On coping with playing in a hostile environment: "Just staying with one another, I mean, there's just us out there. Got their crowd against us, their team against us, and we just gotta become one and look out for one another."
On revenge being a factor in beating them in the Holiday Bowl: "They got us pretty good, so trying to get them that second game was definitely something we wanted to do, but we just looked at the film, seen the mistakes – there were a lot of mistakes out there that could've been fixed – and we just fixed them."
On the shoe being on the other foot for Nebraska: "Yeah, definitely, I mean I'm pretty sure they're going to come out there, they're going to play hard and that's what we expect from them."
On whether last week's performance was as good as the offense can be: "I feel there's always more room for improvement. There were little things that we could have done better so, I would say we could perform a lot better."
On Keith Price spreading the ball around and wanting to get the ball more: "No, I enjoy it when everyone's making plays – I'm a team guy. Devin Aguilar had a great game, I was happy for him, he definitely deserved it. He worked hard this offseason and it showed."
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Nebraska's Two-Deeps Announced
WR X 84 Brandon Kinnie, 6-3, 225, Sr.
83 Stanley Jean-Baptiste, 6-3, 220, So.
LT 50 Jermarcus "Yoshi" Hardrick, 6-7, 320, Sr.
71 Jeremiah Sirles, 6-6, 320, So.
79 Brandon Thompson, 6-6, 300, Jr.
LG 63 Andrew Rodriguez, 6-6, 325, So.
77 Seung Hoon Choi, 6-2, 290, Jr.
C 58 Mike Caputo, 6-1, 275, Sr.
62 Cole Pensick, 6-2, 275, So.
RG 61 Spencer Long, 6-4, 305, So.
68 Jake Cotton, 6-6, 295, RFr.
RT 73 Tyler Moore, 6-6, 290, Fr.
78 Marcel Jones, 6-7, 320, Sr.
76Brent Qvale, 6-7, 320, So.
TE 81Ben Cotton, 6-6, 255, Jr. -OR-
25 Kyler Reed, 6-3, 230, Jr.
41 Jake Long, 6-4, 240, So.
37 Kevin Thomsen, 6-2, 245, Sr.
WR Z 18 Quincy Enunwa, 6-2, 210, So.
80 Kenny Bell, 6-1, 180, RFr.
1 Khiry Cooper, 6-2, 195, Jr.
WR A 6Tim Marlowe, 5-10, 175, Jr.
10 Jamal Turner, 6-1, 180, Fr.
80 Kenny Bell, 6-1, 180, RFr.
QB 3 Taylor Martinez, 6-1, 200, So.
15 Brion Carnes, 6-1, 200, RFr.
12 Ron Kellogg III, 6-1, 215, So.
IB 22 Rex Burkhead, 5-11, 210, Jr.
8 Ameer Abdullah, 5-9, 180, Fr. -OR-
5 Braylon Heard, 5-11, 180, Fr. -OR-
2 Aaron Green, 5-11, 190, Fr. -OR-
28 Austin Jones, 5-10, 210, Sr.
FB 48 Tyler Legate, 5-10, 235, Sr.
31 C.J. Zimmerer, 6-0, 235, So.
DE 9 Jason Ankrah, 6-4, 265, So. -OR-
46 Eric Martin, 6-2, 260, Jr.
7 Joseph Carter, 6-5, 250, Jr.
DT 94 Jared Crick, 6-6, 285, Sr.
90 Terrence Moore, 6-3, 290, Sr.
97Chase Rome, 6-3, 295, RFr.
DT 55 Baker Steinkuhler, 6-6, 290, Jr.
53 Thaddeus Randle, 6-1, 300, So.
DE 34 Cameron Meredith, 6-4, 260, Jr.
98 Josh Williams, 6-4, 260, Jr.
BUCK 42 Sean Fisher, 6-6, 235, Jr.
45 Alonzo Whaley, 6-1, 235, Jr.
38 Graham Stoddard, 6-2, 235, Jr.
MIKE 51 Will Compton, 6-2, 230, Jr.
43 Trevor Roach, 6-2, 235, RFr.
41David Santos, 6-0, 205, Fr.
WILL 4 Lavonte David, 6-1, 225, Sr.
36 Mathew May, 6-1, 215, Sr.
32 Jim Ebke, 6-0, 205, Sr.
DIME 39 Justin Blatchford, 6-1, 200, Jr.
23 Lance Thorell, 6-1, 200, Sr.
LCB 17 Ciante Evans, 5-11, 185, So.
5 Josh Mitchell, 5-11, 165, RFr.
10 Dijon Washington, 6-0, 190, So.
S 8 Austin Cassidy, 6-1, 210, Sr.
13 P.J. Smith, 6-2, 210, Jr.
6 Corey Cooper, 6-1, 210, RFr.
S 3 Daimion Stafford, 6-1, 210, Jr. -OR-
12 Courtney Osborne, 6-3, 200, Jr.
1 Harvey Jackson, 6-2, 205, RFr.
RCB 15 Alfonzo Dennard, 5-10, 205, Sr.
11 Andrew Green, 6-0, 190, So.
2 Antonio Bell, 6-2, 200, Jr.
PK 96 Brett Maher, 6-0, 185, Jr.
37 Mauro Bondi, 6-0, 190, Fr.
P 96 Brett Maher, 6-0, 185, Jr.
37 Mauro Bondi, 6-0, 190, Fr.
LS 92 P.J. Mangieri, 6-4, 240, Jr.
67 Sam Meginnis, 6-2, 230, Jr.
KO 96/37 Brett Maher or Mauro Bondi
HOLD 8 Austin Cassidy, 6-1, 210, Sr.
KOR 8 Ameer Adbullah/6 Tim Marlowe
PR 8 Ameer Adbullah, 5-8, 180, Fr.
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Devin Aguilar Monday Quotes
On playing in Memorial Stadium against a traditional college power in Nebraska:
"It's going to be a great atmosphere, a lot of fans, you know, but one thing we gotta do is stick together as a team going in there because that's all we have is us, you know – and the fans that are there – but that's what you gotta do when you go on the road, you gotta try to fight hard for it."
On Nebraska having the most aggressive secondary he's played since he's been here:
"They were pretty much the best secondary that we played last year. You know, I've faced a lot of secondaries starting since freshman year, but they're real physical – they're taught to be physical – but we have to be the same way back and, just like I said, coming in there with a good game-plan and being aggressive, have a chip on our shoulder, you know, so we could equal the strength and the surprises that are going to pop up."
On how they do that, hit them first?
"Oh no, it's just game-planning – watch film, see tendencies and everything that comes with playing football. You just gotta know the ins and outs so you can be prepared going into the game."
From a physical standpoint:
"Oh yeah, we worked hard over the offseason, summer getting bigger, stronger. It's not just for this game, but it's for the season, but going into this game we know we have to be a more physical corps."
On them paying less attention to the middle of the field last year:
"I believe this year, you know, it'll be different just because we have a lot more weapons to go to, a lot of big playmakers, so you can't key in on a couple of receivers, but, again, we still have to go in there and execute a game-plan and, you know, follow what our coaches are doing because, like I said, it's going to be another physical game."
On being one-on-one because Jermaine Kearse was doubled teamed against Hawaii:
"I would say so. I think that's going to happen a lot, that's why I said I'm glad we have a lot of playmakers on the team because they can't key in on one of us all the time. That's why I said every week it's going to be someone different making big plays and going forward, I think that's how it's going to be throughout the season."
On what he can to personally to prepare for playing in a different environment:
"Man, I love playing in different environments, but basically, just having intensity, energy, and enthusiasm coming in practice this week and bringing that and transferring it to the game, that's all I really look forward to. You know, you practice how you play and the atmosphere shouldn't have that big of an effect on you if you're mentally ready."
On having an ‘us against the world' mentality going on a trip to a place like Nebraska:
"No. Personally I feel like I've been to Nebraska a lot, so I know that environment, being from Denver. It's a great environment. I actually like going to another field, you know, and seeing what they have, just being able to play in a different situation and facing adversity and being able to have another hard-fought battle game."
On attending a lot of games there:
"Yes I have."
On whether he's gone to Nebraska as a recruit or a fan, or something else:
"Just as a fan. I have a lot of friends from Nebraska, family from there, and it's real close to where I'm from and I just know the history that goes on around there."
Did he wear red?
"No, I didn't wear red; I just wore whatever my mom gave me at the time."
On how different of an environment it is compared to other road trips he's been on:
"I mean, that's like their national team. 200,000 – a lot of people there, all red, you know, but as long as our team comes in there , you know, with the unity we have and everything, I think we'll be fine."
On how the first game against Nebraska last year affected the team going into the Holiday Bowl:
"You learn from your mistakes and we didn't play good that first game, and so forth, so we just have to build up and progress throughout the season, going into the Holiday Bowl, in which we did good. But we can't underestimate nobody going into this third game because this is like the final decision, I would say, going in and playing them for the third time, so we just have to game-plan, execute and just get ready for a good game."
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Keith Price Monday Quotes
On his knee: "It's still a work in progress, hopefully I'll be 100% this week."
On the environment at Nebraska: "It'll be fun, I can't wait."
On playing them for the third time in less than a year: "It's going to be a very physical game and we just got to be ready to play."
On if this is a statement game: "We get to measure where we are as a team, but it's just another game. We're going to treat it like it's another game. They're human just like us so it'll be fun."
On the number of weapons at his disposal: "It makes my job a lot easier, I don't have to do too much but throw to the open guy so I just try to do my job."
On if playing at a hostile environment in Eugene last year will help him Saturday: "Definitely, going against a really good team at their place for my first start, it doesn't get any harder than that, but hey this is an opportunity for the team and I think we'll take full advantage of that."
On maintaining intensity: "The team's hungry, the team's hungry. We don't want to feel how we felt the first week. It almost felt like we lost the game and we don't want that feeling anymore. That was the main emphasis last week, we're not going to feel like this next Saturday. We're going to keep the same mindset and go into practice and work hard."
On speeding up the tempo against Hawaii: "We were rolling, we were in and out the huddle, lining up the assignments and just playing football – playing fast and playing a brand of football that we know how to play."
On if that keeps the defense on their toes: "Definitely, we were moving fast. We know what we're doing, they don't know what we're doing so it's definitely an advantage."
On how they will attack Nebraska after they shut down the Husky passing game both games last year: "They're a good defensive team so I'll leave that up to Coach Sark. I'm just going to do my job."
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Cort Dennison Monday Quotes
On Nebraska: "It's fun, we're very familiar with them, we realize that they're a great football team and have a great football tradition and it's a little rubber match. They got us last year and we got them in the Holiday Bowl so it'll be a really fun game. We know they're going to come out and play hard, but we're all very excited to go there. It's going to be on of those experiences you're going to remember for the rest of your life, traveling to a place like Lincoln, so we're all very excited."
On an us against the world mentality: "Yeah, I mean it's going to be tough being in a hostile environment. Over 90,000 people or whatever it is, it's a huge stadium, it's all red and we've had those first two games at home and we're a young football team so I think it's going to be a big step for a lot of the young guys on our team, especially these young guys who play a lot. It should be fun I think we're going to be just fine.
On what he tells his teammates about Taylor Martinez: "He can do it all, he can run and throw, we realize he's a great football player and it's really hard to stop players like him because he's so talented. All we can do with him is eliminate big plays and try and force turnovers."
On the team's improvement from the bowl game to now: "I think we've improved, we try to improve every week, we try and get better at every phase of the game, especially on defense from things like pass-coverage, the run-game and tackling so I think we've improved and we can only continue to get better so I'm happy with the progress we've made."
On if there is a confidence level having just beat them in the bowl game: "I sure think it helps, it definitely doesn't hurt. We know what we're capable of playing the way that we can play if we put everything together we're a very good football team. I definitely think it helps knowing that we beat them before."
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UW Weekly Depth Chart Released
Washington's Depth Chart vs. Nebraska
WR - Jermaine Kearse 6-2 208, Sr., Lakewood, Wash./Lakes
Kasen Williams 6-2 212, Fr., Sammamish, Wash./Skyline
LT - Senio Kelemete 6-4 301, Sr., Seattle, Wash./Evergreen
Micah Hatchie 6-5 285, RFr., Haleiwa, Hawai'i/Waialua
LG - Colin Tanigawa 6-3 297, RFr., Pasadena, Calif./Loyola
Nick Wood 6-3 303, Sr., Poway, Calif./Poway
Center - Drew Schaefer 6-4 301, Jr., Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake
Mike Criste 6-5 280, RFr., Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo
RG - Colin Porter 6-4 322, So., Bothell, Wash./Bothell
Skyler Fancher 6-6 301, Sr., Costa Mesa, Calif./Huntington Beach OR
James Atoe 6-6 337, RFr, The Dalles, Ore./The Dalles-Wahtonka
RT - Erik Kohler 6-5 298, So., Camarillo, Calif./Oaks Christian
Ben Riva 6-6 300, RFr., Seattle, Wash./O'Dea
TE - Austin Seferian-Jenkins 6-6 258, Fr., Fox Island, Wash./Gig Harbor OR
Michael Hartvigson 6-6 254, RFr., Bothell, Wash./Bothell
Evan Hudson 6-6 260, RFr., Bothell, Wash./Bothell
Marlion Barnett 6-2 224, So., Corona, Calif./Santiago
QB - Keith Price 6-1 195, So., Compton, Calif./St. John Bosco
Nick Montana 6-3 203, RFr., Thousand Oaks, Calif./Oaks Christian
Derrick Brown 6-3 236, Fr., Winchester, Calif./Vista Murrieta
FB - Jonathan Amosa 5-11 230, Jr., Seattle, Wash./Rainier Beach
Tim Tucker 6-1 240, So., Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne
Nick Holt 5-11 220, Fr., Seattle, Wash./Seattle Prep OR
Dezden Petty 5-11 214, Fr., Carson, Calif./Gardena
TB - Chris Polk 5-11 222, Jr., Redlands, Calif./East Valley
Jesse Callier 5-10 200, So., Downey, Calif./Warren
Johri Fogerson 6-1 205, Sr., Kent, Wash./O'Dea
Bishop Sankey 5-10 193, Fr., Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep
WR - Devin Aguilar 6-0 195, Sr., Denver, Colo./Mullen OR
Kevin Smith 6-0 209, So., Compton, Calif./Centennial
WR - James Johnson 6-1 198, Jr., Valley Center, Calif./Valley Center
DiAndre Campbell 6-1 195, RFr., Oakland, Calif./Oakland Tech
DE - Talia Crichton 6-3 255, Jr.,Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood
Andrew Hudson 6-3 231, RFr., Redlands, Cailf./Redlands East Valley
DT - Alameda Ta'amu 6-3 337, Sr., Kent, Wash./Rainier Beach
Danny Shelton 6-1 334, Fr., Auburn, Wash./Auburn
Lawrence Lagafuaina 6-0 329, RFr., Aiea, Hawai'i/Aiea, Hawai'i
DT - Everrette Thompson 6-6 272, Sr., Renton, Wash./Kennedy
Sione Potoae 6-2 276, So., Fort Lewis, Wash./Lakes
Semisi Tokolahi 6-2 334, Jr., Hilo, Hawai'i/Hilo
DE - Hauoli Jamora 6-3 247, So., Laie, Hawai'i/Kahuku
Josh Shirley 6-3 229, RFr., Fontana, Calif./Kaiser
OLB - John Timu 6-1 220, Fr., Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Jordan
Jamaal Kearse 6-2 224, RFr., Lakewood, Wash./Lakes
Cooper Pelluer 6-3 225, So., Sammamish, Wash./Skyline
MIK - Cort Dennison 6-1 234 Sr., Salt Lake City, Utah/Judge Memorial
Thomas Tutogi 6-1 244, So., Chula Vista, Calif./Southwestern JC
Tim Tucker 6-1 240, So., Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne
OLB - Princeton Fuimaono 6-1 215, So., Long Beach, Calif./LB Jordan
Garret Gilliland 6-0 226, So., Anaheim, Calif./Orange Lutheran
Jordan Wallace 6-0 237, Jr. Sacramento Calif//Grant
FS - Nathan Fellner 6-1 201, Jr., Fresno, Calif./Clovis West
Justin Glenn 5-11 206, Jr., Mukilteo, Wash./Kamiak
Taz Stevenson 6-1 203, So., Mililani, Hawai'i/Mililani
SS - Sean Parker 5-10 202, So., Los Angeles, Calif./Narbonne
Will Shamburger 6-0 192, So., Compton, Calif./St. John Bosco
James Sample 6-2 191, Fr., Sacramento, Calif./Grant
Greg Walker 5-10 203, Jr., Bellflower, Calif./St. Bernard
CB - Quinton Richardson 6-0 203, Sr., Renton, Wash./O'Dea
Gregory Ducre 5-10 173, So., Los Angeles, Calif./Crenshaw
CB - Desmond Trufant 6-0 184, Jr., Tacoma, Wash./Wilson
Anthony Gobern 5-11 187, Jr., Fair Oaks, Calif./Del Campo
Marcus Peters 5-11 185, Fr., Oakland, Calif./McClymonds
Punter - Kiel Rasp 6-3 225, Sr., Seattle, Wash./Nathan Hale OR
Will Mahan 5-11 196, Sr., Bakersfield, Calif./Bakersfield College
PK - Erik Folk 5-11 185, Sr., Woodland Hills, Calif./Notre Dame
Long Snap - Brendan Lopez 6-0 231, Sr., Bellevue, Wash./Michigan
Holder - William Chandler 6-0 191, So., Sammamish, Wash./Skyline
KOR - Kevin Smith 6-0 209, So., Compton, Calif./Centennial
Jesse Callier 5-10 200, So., Downey, Calif./Warren
PR - Devin Aguilar 6-0 195, Sr., Denver, Colo./Mullen OR
Kasen Williams 6-2 212, Fr., Sammamish, Wash./Skyline