Sarkisian Talks About First Day in Pads

SEATTLE - The sun was out, the Washington Huskies were in seemingly good spirits, and it was their first day in pads for Spring Football. So what didn't click? Steve Sarkisian said he wasn't that thrilled with the offense, and whether or not they want to admit it, there is a change when the pads come on. Maybe guys were a little too amped up?

Change when pads come on? - "It shouldn't but I think it does in a sense. I think there's a little bit of guys getting excited, guys thinking it's going to change, but it really shouldn't change quite honestly. But I do think there is a little bit of a change. I think guys get a feeling of it's a chance to prove themselves in a sense when it really shouldn't be that way. Every day should be a chance to prove themselves.  I think today, guys got a little more physical. I've seen us more physical, and we'll get more physical. But I think a change does occur a little bit."

  On doing more tackling drills? - "It's just an emphasis. But as a team, I think we can improve in that area, whether its on defense, on special teams tackling and offensively breaking tackles. It's a little bit of an emphasis for us to create plays for  when that moment comes, whether is breaking tackles offensively or making tackles defensively on special teams."

  On the O-Line progression - "Guys are getting better. There is real no depth chart. Guys, we are playing football. In turn, we are seeing some guys make some strides and we are seeing some guys when they are put in situations they can struggle to. For our guys, it's about understanding the discipline of the position, the techniques and fundamentals needed to perform not only on first and second down but on third down like we had today. They will learn from some stuff like they did today. And when they are going against good guys on the defensive line, its Josh Shirley on third and 12, you gotta know who you are going against and who your are opponent is. I think for Micah (Hatchie) and Ben (Riva) and those guys when they are on the perimeter in those situations. ,t hey can learn from those opportunities they are getting now and should grow from. Is it perfect? Is it ideal? No. Would I love to have a healthy Colin Tanigawa? Sure. Would I love to have a healthy Erik Kohler? Sure. But for now, they are growing. I think we will get better for these opportunities we are getting."

On Colin Porter being absent - "He just had surgery and it's taking time.''

On Hatchie's body growing - "So much more mature and he carries the weight unbelievable. You look at Micah and you wouldn't think 'gosh that guy weighs 300 pounds.' That's a lot of weight. But he carries it really well, he looks great. His maturity level for the game has really increased, and ultimately he is playing well. Again, he is not perfect --- it's a work in progress. But from where he was two years ago where he is today, really, really impressed with him from a maturity standpoint on the field, off the field and it's carrying over into his play. He's playing well and he'll learn from this stuff. Today was a tough day, third-down day and you've got to block 22 (Josh Shirley) and that guy can rush, but he'll learn from that stuff.''

On the game snaps Hatchie got last year - "It helps from the standpoint of 'this is real and these guys go hard.' You can't take a snap off or you get beat.''

On the running back spot - "It's wide open. I thought the guys again did some good stuff today. I thought Jesse (Callier) and Bishop (Sankey) are doing some good things individually and collectively it's helped the position. I think Antavius has some things there that will help us but there is so much to the position that it is taking him some time. But I thought it's been good so far.''

On that being a competition going into the season and being by committee - "We'll see. Those guys own that part of it. The beauty of it for us is we are prepared for anything because the offense is in a manner that we can operate if it's 2-3 guys or if it's one guy. They will handle that part of it as we continue to move forward. But for four days in they have done a nice job.''

On the offense not playing as well today - "I attribute it one to the defense --- I thought they did a nice job being sound, being smart, doing what they are asked to do. And two I thought the offense lacked a little juice today. I thought in general, I have seen us more competitive than we were today, so that's on me --- I've got to fix that.''

On James Atoe - "Yeah, I thought James has been awesome so far. He's really brought it. James…it takes time to evolve as an offensive lineman. It takes time to grow into that body. James has been terrific, he really has. I would say he's one of…if I could name five guys for four days that have really caught my eye, he would be one of them. He's been a pleasant surprise so far."

And those other players that have impressed? - "Talia (Crichton) has been tremendous. He's been a guy that has been forgotten here for a couple years but has shone back up and has been a real bright spot to what we're doing. Micah (Hatchie) is another guy that has really stepped up and has done some nice things for us. Two more of those guys would be…jumping around here a little bit…Greg Ducre, really playing sound football, good football for us. Michael Hartvigson, I know he's not getting all the praise catches, but he's doing a lot of little things, which has been good. And the last guy is James Johnson; he's been tremendous. He's had a great four days, and I hope he can keep it going. He's been a tremendous leader on the field and off the field. He's been good."

On Atoe moving to guard - "He's athletic in there. He's powerful at three hundred and thirty-some odd pounds. He's great on the double-team stuff. When we're pulling him he looks good. He looks relaxed, he looks comfortable, he looks confident."

On Atoe needing time to adjust coming from a very small high school - "Sure, it just takes time. Some guys are different than others, but I think he's been great. He's been a real pleasant surprise so far."

On Jamaal Kearse being out of practice - "Yeah."

On being concerned about the kicking game right now, especially the kickers - "No. Not at all."

On if Kearse was out of practice because of an injury - "Yup."

On being surprised at the energy Austin Seferian-Jenkins has given to practice so far - "Austin is a unique guy. Because he's so talented, sometimes the expectations are a little unfair to a guy when he's so talented like that. But I think to Austin's credit, he has those same expectations for himself, and he holds himself to that. He'd be the first to tell you that he's been better than even he was today from a fundamentals and technique standpoint. I'm not surprised because I've been around the guy long enough now to know the standard he holds himself to, and that we hold him to - and it's a high level. He competes to be at that level day-in and day-out, so for him to show up after playing basketball this whole time and to compete at this level doesn't surprise me, because I know the level he holds himself to."

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