Sarkisian Talks About Day Twelve

SEATTLE - With a big practice/scrimmage behind them at Memorial Stadium Saturday, what did UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian learn about his team, about some of the individual performers, and what do they need to do from here on out with only three more days to go, including Saturday's free-of-charge Spring Game at CenturyLink Field?

Will they even be able to play a Spring Game with so many offensive linemen down for the count? Here's what Sark said during his post-practice media session:

General health - "Good to get Scotty Laywer back out here today and we've obviously got some guys powering through some injury stuff which has been encouraging. Hopefully as the week goes and we build toward Saturday we get more and more guys back  and get as healthy as we can be since the beginning of spring.''

On what he saw from the film Saturday - "Little things. Funny in the game of football, you have 11 guys on offense and 11 guys on defense and it really only takes one guy for things to go wrong and you lose that snap. A lot of the snaps we had nine or 10 guys doing a good job and one guy making a mistake and that's how you get beat. So that's one of the things, rallying cries, coming out of Saturday. The second is the attention to the details of it all. It's one thing to be lined up right, to use the proper footwork, the proper technique and then the nuances, the details of calls whether it's on offense or defense, executing the details of it. And then the self-inflicted wounds both sides of the ball, the formational things, the neutral zone infractions --- regardless of who we are playing those have nothing to do with our opponent. So those are three big areas.

On the play of the offensive line Saturday - "Fine. There are moments, sacks occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's a guy getting beat one-on-one, sometimes it's a scheme issue, sometimes it's the quarterback holding onto the ball too long, sometimes it's a bust in a route and a guy is supposed to go hot and doesn't go hot. So it's fine. In the spring we do a lot of things in the practices and the scrimmages that we wouldn't necessarily do if we weren't playing against our defense, but we do for reps and learning purposes. We would probably protect those guys a little bit more up front if we were playing tomorrow, but we don't have to so we can teach them some things and get it on film so they can learn from it.''

On differences in the offense with Eric Kiesau now at OC - "I think the majority of it is 'this is our offense' and Eric has done a great job of learning it and teaching it. But there are also some nuances and wrinkles and slight adjustments and it's great to have a guy cone in and analyze and ask 'why is it like this? What about that? How about this concept to complement that concept? So I think it's been a really good give and take that way, but I don't think we are going to look drastically different.''

On what UW will be able to do for a spring game - "We'll see. I don't know if we'll be able to have a full-fledged spring game in a sense to where there are two teams and it's split up in that sense. But we'll try to figure out what we are going to do as we move toward the end of the week and see how healthy we can get. We lost Sifa Tufunga today to a broken hand and we'll see how quickly he can get back so it might have to be an offense-defense thing or something of the sort. We'll figure it out.''

On guys who have stood out this spring - "A few guys. I really like the veteran leadership in the back end with Sean Parker and Desmond Trufant. I think Tre Watson has had a tremendous spring practice so far and I think the move of (Nate) Fellner has been very effective. John Timu looks more comfortable at linebacker and then one guy who has gone a little bit under the radar, but Andrew Hudson and moving him inside and especially on obvious passing downs has caused us a lot of problems offensively because he has such quickness and power and explosiveness. He's kind of been an unsung hero that has really improved. And offensively I think Michael Hartvigson has been a guy that has really improved and taken his game to another level. Bishop Sankey has had a very good spring practice so far and we saw it again today, seems like once a day he just snaps off a long run. Those are the main ones that really jump out at me that have been consistent performers in spring ball. We've had guys that have had really good days and then maybe take a step back on another day, but those guys have been very consistent.''

On the defense being ahead of the offense this spring and if he's fine with that - "Yeah, I'm fine with that. Again we are not trying to beat our defense --- that's not the goal of spring and it never has been for us. I think our defensive coaches have done a nice job of, one, teaching concepts and schemes to our defense and two, providing a nice boost to morale and our guys are playing hard, they are playing excited and energetic football and playing physical. They are making plays on the ball and creating turnovers and that's a real tribute to the defensive side of the ball. Offensively it's about taking young players and developing them and getting them better and learning from mistakes so we don't continue to make the same mistakes over and over and over. I think we have some guys that are understanding that and are growing and other guys that have kind of leveled off in a sense and are continuing to make the same mistakes and that's not okay. But those are the issues I'm more concerned about from an offensive standpoint is who is making the strides and who's not and how do we fix that, how do we get guys collectively all taking the right steps.''

On if it's important to come out of the spring with a set offensive line - "No. It's not that big of a deal to us. It's about getting better, getting better individually and getting compared from a contingency standpoint. We could  lose Drew Schaefer the first snap of the year and then what? So Mike Criste is getting valuable, valuable reps at center right now. We could lose Mike Criste on the second snap of the first game of the year and now Erik Kohler has to be able to slide in and play center, so there are things we are working on to be prepared for come fall camp and th season and there are other things that we are trying to give guys a really extensive look at things to see if it looks right. And so that's a Micah Hatchie at left tackle, a Ben Riva at right tackle and what does that look  like? It's a James Atoe, we have mixed him a little at guard and looking at him at tackle right now. So there's a lot of movement going on right now and that's hard on the guys but it's all for the right reasons, about developing and getting prepared for the fall.''

On Ben Riva - "He's a physical guy, a guy that is willing, cares, plays hard. I think Ben when he gets in trouble, he loses the discipline of the fundamentals and the techniques provided and that's when he struggles, and when you are going against a Josh Shirley or an Andrew Hudson or a Talia Crichton, or even a Nate Fellner or a Princeton Fuimaono coming off the edge, when you don't use those proper fundamentals and techniques you get beat, so that's the challenge for Ben to consistently play with those proper fundamentals and techniques. It's not about want-to with Ben, he's an extremely willing kid, he plays hard and physical. It's about doing things right consecutively down after down after down.''

On the challenge of an OL stepping in as a true freshman - "There's so much from a maturity standpoint at that position. There's obviously a physical maturity, a fifth-year senior is potentially a 23 year old guy compared to an 18 year old guy --- there's a lot of changes that happen physically in that time. Secondly there's an experience standpoint, the guys that play the best of all time and play 18 years in the NFL, the Bruce Matthews of the world, there's so much experience and they can almost anticipate things and play with a cerebral approach more than a physical approach. They know the schemes and their offense so well. So there are two sides to it with linemen --- the physical maturity and the mental maturity and that's what I think makes it so hard for young guys to come in and play."

On Austin Seferian-Jenkins being affected by playing basketball - "I think there have been some moments of fatigue in a sense. And I don't know if it's all physical fatigue but some of it can be mental fatigue. Where our guys were doing conditioning and working hard, it wasn't so much of the scheme and the game plan and all the things that tax your mind and I think Austin got a lot of that in basketball and now he turns around and he's getting it in football and sometimes that preparation side of it and the studying of the film and preparing yourself mentally can be as exhausting as it is physically so we've seen a bit of it but to Austin's credit, he really brought it. He's had some moments and some days that have been better than others and we are really challenging Austin on the complete aspect of the game and understanding the footwork in the run game and the pass game, the route running, the details of it all. And to his credit he has been buying in and fighting throng it. Has he been perfect? No. But he has improved and that's the biggest thing and he will continue to improve.''

On if playing two sports is something he will continue to look at at a case-by-case basis - "We'll deal with it again after the season not something I'm even thinking about quite honestly.''

On Tre Watson - "He's a kid that played at Central early in his career and wanted to transfer, wanted to come in and compete and battle. Last season as a scout team player, he had the same type of playmaking ability, but you never know. Sometimes it's easier on the scout team and you can play, you're reading a card, or there's no consequences for getting beat deep - it's practice…you can get that mentality. But he's carried that over…he's had a great off-season. He's worked extremely hard and he's been like a sponge in understanding the defense. You're seeing his versatility; he does it in the slot, he does it outside when he's outside, he does it when he's pressuring - he just has a nice feel for the game. In turn, he's playing with a great deal of confidence right now, which is allowing him to make plays."

On not usually seeing walk-ons play with that kind of confidence - "No, but he's a little bit of a unique case that way. He's definitely showing himself pretty much on a consistent basis day-in and day-out."

On when Tufunga got hurt - "Today, early in practice…hand."

On the five kids that have made it through to be fifth-year players - "I think part of it is the luxury of redshirting for those guys, that they were able to utilize a redshirt at some point in their careers is basically what it says, one. And two, there's a sense of - we know where we've come from. They've been here since Day One and they've had to persevere through some tough times, whether it's individually in their own careers or collectively as a program. And then there's the willingness to continue to battle for us, to come out here…for a Drew Schaefer to fight to get back on the field today, for a Cody Bruns to be playing through an ankle injury right now, for a Justin Glenn who has had to persevere through some injury stuff…from being a starter to being a backup, injuries…for him to be playing the way he's playing right now…so there's those guys that have definitely had an impact on our program early on, but even still today."

On the work being done at Husky Stadium and what he's seen - "I'm pumped. I can't believe what's happening, what's going up. It looks like the south stands are kind of going up there already, so these guys have worked tremendously on the project. Obviously it's an exciting project to be part of - one. But two, for what the potential for us down the road, especially from a recruiting standpoint, from a game day experience standpoint for our fans and also from an efficiency standpoint of having a football operations center for us as a staff. Excited in understanding there's a long ways to go and a season in-between and we can't look too far ahead, but a fascinating project to watch as we come out here and practice - to hear the banging and the clanging and the dirt flying and all the welding going on…it's pretty amazing what they are doing in such a short amount of time."

On being able to see his office take shape yet - "It's not up yet, unfortunately. But you have some moments to daydream and things like that when you're thinking about it, but again - a lot of work from now to then for us and for that crew over there putting the stadium together."

On it being a boost for recruiting - "You can show 'em mock-ups of what's it's going to be, and I think when recruits come on campus and we can go to the Don James Center and show them that's being done on a daily basis…that's impressive to guys, and it's reality. It's a reality that the kid that signs with us for the 2013 recruiting class, his first game will be in a brand-new Husky Stadium, which is pretty cool."

On Keith Price and his leadership with the WR corps, especially Kasen Williams - "A real quarterback-receiver bond is critical; there's a lot of stuff on the field, but it's also off the field. And I think Keith understands the potential that Kasen has at the wide receiver position. And I think that Keith also understands that if Kasen can get closer to, and ultimately reach that potential - it's a lot better for Keith, right? And if Kasen is playing in a dominant fashion, that's really good for Keith on the outside and knowing he has some one-on-one matchups and a guy he can rely on and that they are on the same page. These moments are ones they'll build upon and remember for a long time. We're just scratching the surface with those two guys coming together and making plays together." Top Stories