Steve Sarkisian - Day 13

SEATTLE - Thirteen must be Steve Sarkisian's lucky number, because he told the media afterward that Day 13 of Washington's fall camp was the best practice the team has had to date this August. And on top of that, no additional injury news afterward - just news on players coming back from the disabled list. And there were quite a few back.

Steve Sarkisian:
On players returning from injuries and team play in practice today: "Yeah, it was good to see, it was good to see Erik, good to have Justin Glenn back out there, good to get Tre Watson out of the yellow jersey, it was good to watch Kevin Smith continue to progress back into more and more playing time. I feel like we're on the mend, we're kind of on the backswing now of this thing, obviously we hit a funk there getting some injuries, but I think we're on the mend, and that hasn't changed the way we practiced. I thought this was arguably our best practice of training camp up to this point, spirited, enthusiastic, energetic, competitive, guys were battling, competing, big plays on both sides of the ball. All in all, I was pleased with that, because one thing coming out of the scrimmage, talked a lot about it, but I thought it lacked a bit of energy for whatever reason, so it was a point of emphasis for us and our guys really responded to the challenge, it was great."

On how Keith looked today: "I thought he was tremendous today, really throwing the ball down the field, some balls down the field, I thought Kasen was back looking fresh again, made some plays down the field, 88 looked fresh, a bounce back in his step, we backed off of Jaydon, about halfway through practice, he was having a good one, now is the time we got to start getting our bodies back to right so when we hit game week next week, we're feeling really good about ourselves."

On Travis Feeney: "He's still coming off of the head injury, and the way that thing plays out, he has to have a true non contact day, and today he had to serve that even though we didn't practice yesterday, it has to be on a practice day so today was his day. Tomorrow he'll be in a yellow jersey."

On Kevin Smith: "Yeah, I was very pleased with Kevin today again, he got in some team drills, made a couple plays, looks explosive, looks fast, he's such a great spirit, he's a good leader about himself, the kids really respond to him, he's on the mend, we'll see where he's at, and with those kind of guys, it's day to day, getting a little more extensive work today, but it was good to have him back."

On Derrick Brown today in practice: "Derrick did some good stuff, Derrick I think has progressively gotten better and better and better, he's throwing the ball with more conviction, the belief in what he's seeing and what he's reading is there and he's trusting it, and in turn, he's playing more confidently."

On making a decision on who will be the second string quarterback: "I don't know if I'm going to make one for you guys, I kind of don't have to, not to be a jerk about it, part of that is for our team and game planning, and strategy wise, but I thought Derrick is improving like the other 2 kids as well."

On Derrick Brown getting some reps at punter at the start of practice: "He punted in high school, as we go through everything, I try to plan for every scenario possible, and as you start working into Pac-12 play, and your numbers start to dwindle in how many you can take when you're on the road, you just want to have all your emergency situations in order. I just wanted to see him hit a couple today just in case we ever got to that point, it was fine, he jumped right back."

On Talia Crichton's progression: "I think this is the best he's looked playing since he's been here. He's been battling that knee injury for what felt like a couple years. But he's playing explosive, playing confidently; off the field he's a little more confident, he's more mature in who he is. In a perfect world, he probably should have red shirted, but in the situation we were in when we got going, he had to play, that's just the natural progression for a guy, as he continues to grow, and gets stronger, and understands the system, and I think Tosh has done a really nice job working with him. They relate really well with one another, and he's pushing the right buttons. He had a great rush here today in team pass period, he about knocked our left guard over backwards, he does possess quite a bit of power, I think the time in the weight room with Ivan has helped, especially when he was injured, to really work with his upper body, it's really paying off for him now."

On team depth in practice and how it is at a point now where he is comfortable with it even when natural injuries occur: "I really do (feel comfortable), I said that in practice 3 or 4 that I thought that that could happen, and then injuries started to mount on us, not significant injuries, but the little ones that just add up, our depth got tested, and we got through it, a couple guys had to move around a little bit, but we got through it, and we didn't see a significant drop off between the ones and the twos, some of the twos actually stepped in and made us think maybe some of our twos are better than some of our ones, and that's how it is supposed to be. You have the depth and there is not such a disparity between our ones and our twos, that they are very comparable to one another. Our depth is great at a lot of positions. We're not ideal as a football team yet, but a lot of positions, our depth is very good."

On the way different players have adjusted to the injuries through fall camp: "Sure, Evan has stepped in, did some good things, I think we've seen it at the wide receiver spot, with Kevin not being able to go, with James getting injured, guys have done a nice job of stepping in at the safety spot, we've moved some guys out of that safety spot, Justin gets injured, Shamburger's playing really really well for us right now, younger guys are getting in the mix at linebacker, we've been forced with all of the injuries there, Shaq making the move, Feeney making the move. It's comforting to know that we have versatile enough players that can move around and play different spots and feel comfortable. It's comforting to know we have schemes on both sides of the ball that guys can step in and they can learn that scheme in a few days to at least feel comfortable. And it's comforting to know our kids are willing to do that. They understand the value of the team and making moves for the betterment of the team, and we're seeing that."

On how they've had to deal adjusting with the injury bug: "Well I don't know if I'd ever script training camp this way to have to deal with the injuries we've had to, but we've learned a lot about our team, I don't think we ever got the woah is me mentality, oh we're beat up what are we going to do? We've continued to practiced hard, our kids have responded, they've done it, they did it today, and we're on the mend, and they understand the fact that some injuries are going to happen, I don't care if we're in helmets or full pads going live, sometimes they just happen, and you can't hope not to get hurt, you have to play the game the way it's meant to be played, and if you do that, things will turn out okay."

On how Price can get better this coming year : "Well what I've enjoyed with Keith and we saw it a couple times today, he's really taking to the nuances, the final details of plays and coverages that can create big plays, we saw a couple balls thrown down the sideline today before a safety could get over the top, I don't think he would have made that throw a year ago, and maybe not late into the season, I think maybe once in the Alamo Bowl to Devin, those types of throws to see through the coverages, to anticipate those throws down the field, in between defenders, are where he has really stepped his game up. There, and his true understanding of our protections, and of he and Drew being on the same page, of what the offensive line's doing, what they are responsible for, and what those issues might be, and allow him to play fast when he knows protections or an issue because of the rush that's coming, or when he feels good or knows he has great protection, maybe holding on that ball another half second and make that throw down the field. He's definitely continuing to mature, and I know we say so many times, "Well how can you get better from 33 touchdowns and whatever his percentage was and efficiency," we're seeing it, and the guys around him are making big plays, and that's what we want our offense to be, so we're on the right track."
To watch a snippet of Steve Sarkisian's post-practice press session, click on the link below.

Steve Sarkisian on Day 13 of UW Fall Camp Top Stories