Steve Sarkisian - Day Two

SEATTLE - spoke Tuesday with UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian, and he had plenty to say about the two-plus hour practice, what went right and what needs to be worked on. Suffice it to say, as good as some of the freshmen looked on Day One, there was a couple steps back in terms of fundamentals that will have to be cleared up.

Sarkisian on Timu: "John has come a long way, you think about a guy who's a high school quarterback, tears his knee up senior year, grey shirts, shows up and we move him to linebacker, starting true freshman, I think was invaluable experience for him last year, playing 12 games, it gave him a sense of what it takes to play the position and had a tremendous offseason. One of the top three or top four guys in our program from an offseason standpoint and I think it's really helped him from a leadership standpoint. He's a cool kid, Dean's List, he was honored along with Hau'oli Jamora and John Amosa, all 3 were honored from the undergraduate research symposium which only 65 kids on our campus get to do that every year. He's really matured on a lot of fronts, on the field, in his work ethic off the field, and then obviously in the classroom. We hope he is one of our leaders of our defense, he is a very mature kid, he has a realy high football IQ I think from his quarterback background. He's the center of the defense right now so we're hoping for a big year. I think technique will help him , to take the strength and then fit it with proper technique to take on blockers, to shed blockers, to make the tough tackles against the bigger backs and tight ends."

?Sarkisian on Jamora: "He gives a lot of versatility, were just getting going here, we didn't know exactly where he'd be or how healthy he's been. He's been awesome. Were going to start to see more of him and Josh (Shirley) playing together where right now we're not doing that stuff yet but I think that's going to come in the near future. Just the versatility with both of those guys coming of the edge is a great luxury for us to have."

Sarkisian on Bruns coming in as a fifth year senior: "It's great to have veteran leadership, obviously, and we've got a lot of young guys running around, but when you have Cody, James Johnson, 2 guys who have been around the program since the day we've gotten here. There is just a calming effect, the leadership factor and the beauty of Cody is that he can just play anywhere. The versatility he brings, obviously saw it today with the pass. He can return punts, he holds on field goals, he's the emergency punter, the guy just does it all, he's our utility player and that's what's cool about him. He's a great teammate and that's what makes him good to have and that's what we're hoping to have this year as we lose some guys like Jermaine (Kearse) and Devin (Aguilar), it's just good to have some veteran leadership out there."

Sarkisian on defensive team speed: "They (defense) have done a nice job especially in the run game. It's hard to get an edge on these guys because they track the ball so fast whether it's Fellner, we saw Shaq today setting the edge and turning the ball back inside, and then Timu and those guys running to the football, Shirley, Jamora, that's what fast defenses do, they turn the ball back and everybody else gets there to make the play."

Sarkisian on defensive coaches stressing the next play idea: "It's a team motto, really, it's not just about the defense. It's something we've been talking about as a team, we stressed it last night as a focus for today so that we understand from a mental aspect that the last play is over and we gotta focus on the task at hand which is the next play. I thought the guys did a nice job, sometimes it can work both ways, sometimes you get beat, you can have a woah is me mentality and sometimes you make a big play and you get the yay is me mentality and you're not nearly as focused as you need to be on the next play so it's been a big focus."

Sarkisian on the offense: "It was good for the offense today, they bounced back, they created some big plays down the field which was good. I thought we had some good learning lessons for our younger players about the value of the football. I think Jaydon and Kendyl and even the young quarterbacks forcing some balls. They're learning the value of the ball right now which is what we're hoping we can do for them but also that means our defense is really getting after it which is a good thing."

Sarkisian on Kohler's knee: "We know exactly what it is, we MRI'd him just to make sure there's nothing else, we don't have that back. Unfortunately I dealt with this (Mark) Sanchez's junior year, it was the exact same thing, he dislocated his knee the first day practice of training camp, so the timetable realistically is more to a couple weeks. We probably will work him back in and he should be ready to go for the first game. We know what it is, it's just a matter of how his body is going to respond but it's not something threatening into the season."

?Sarkisian on quarterbacks today: " I thought Keith was fantastic, I thought he had a great day, I thought the young guys, they do such cool stuff, Cyler had a great throw over the top to James Johnson, Derrick Brown had a couple throws, Jeff had a couple throws, and then we have some great learning experience plays too where we hopefully can learn from and not make the same mistakes twice, but they're doing some stuff that's obviously putting a smile on a lot of guy's faces about the future of that position."

Sarkisian on Josh Shirley: "He cut more today, he's so fast off the edge, he's stronger than people give him credit, he can drive guys back, he plays with such good pad level. It's going to be pretty cool when we get going and he's on one side and Jamora's on the other side and that's a pretty good pass rush with Danny (Shelton) in the middle. Good for us, not so much in training camp, but when the season starts."

?Sarkisian on Justin Wilcox and various offenses to prepare for: "As the season goes, Sundays come and you start getting ready for the next opponent, but I think we tried to assess this offseason, I think Justin did a good job of what types of offenses we're getting, and what's the percentage of those types of offenses, the spread teams, the power run teams, the pro style teams, and then how much are we practicing for those and also do we have enough packages ready to play against those teams. And so you notice us offensively, we really try to do a lot and we try to give as much as all of that as we can for our defense so that the get exposure to that in training camp, but then ultimately you need the versatility in your defense to match those things and I think that's a real tribute to Justin and those guys on the defensive staff. We've got our base defense, we'll have an even bigger base defense, we've got a nickel package, a dime package, we've got enough versatility, we've got different fronts so that when those games come along, the different styles, we'll have a defense already in place to implement to go play against those guys."

Sarkisian on successful defense in the Pac 12 conference: "I think that sometimes the numbers teams give up are a bit skewed with so much of the up tempo game and the no huddle, teams aren't concerned so much with yards, it's hard to compare. It's like trying to compare offensive numbers with no huddle, especially with our conference, our conference is very offensive oriented. There are good offenses, players, coaches, a little different from other conferences around the country that are defensive oriented, and it's hard to compare apples to apples. The good defenses are the ones on the teams that are winning, the teams that can get the critical stops in the fourth quarter and create turnovers, get after the quarterback and stop the run." Top Stories