Steve Sarkisian - Day 14

Steve Sarkisian and the rest of the Husky coaches have some decisions to make later this week as they get closer to deciding who belongs where on the depth chart. Luckily for the Dawgs, they have started to get healthier and he talked about two players who have been cleared to practice with the rest of the team as well as the running back competition...

On having Erik Kohler and Travis Feeney back: "It's great, you know, it's just it feels like another day, we're getting another guy back, and what I was impressed with Erik, he went both practices today, he went this morning and this evening, as did Travis Feeney although he was non contact, so we're kind of working our way back, as bad as it was early on in camp, we're doing pretty good right now."

On Tutogi and Kohler: "We didn't know, everybody's body is different, and you just see how they respond and they've responded well to it. Again, Thomas is somebody I left out as well to have him back, he did both practices today as well. It's good to start to get healthy again and have the depth back a little bit and not get new injuries, so we're on the mend."

On Kohler coming back, where he fits in: "We've been finding ways to get him back in, the reality of it is, I don't know if we're going to be in total shape with those guys, with Tanigawa, with Atoe, with Dexter, with Kohler, to play just 5 guys. I think we're going to have to prepare ourselves early in the season to play more than 5, maybe 7 to potentially 8 guys, and that's what weve been working on here, since Colin really came back and then Erik today. We're preparing ourselves for that, you saw a bunch of the team period today, we took Drew out and played Erik at center, we're just preparing ourselves for the things that come up. I think our offensive line has had a nice training camp up to this point, now more healthy bodies, the expectations should become greater, I think we'll perform better with the lack of fatigue."

On what Kohler provides in terms of versatility: "Just about, and that's what's great to have a guy who's played tackle, and slid inside and playing some guard and we're working him at center for those very reasons, that we can really slide him in anywhere."

On how nice it is to have that flexibility on the line: "Well it's great, you know, we were talking about it last night as a staff getting ready for today with Erik coming back. It's taken us 4 years to get to this point, through recruiting, battling some injuries, and playing some walk-ons and different guys early on, to be at this point early on, when we go on the road, we're going to bring 10 linemen, they are all healthy and they are all good players and we're still redshirting a good group of guys, this is where you're supposed to be and it just took us a little while to get here."

On whether red shirts have been decided yet: "No, we won't do that until the end of the week."

On if he has game planned at all for the San Diego State game with the team: "We've just started sprinkling in here, the last day and a half of starting to look at them, they don't know it but they are already running stuff that is in the gameplan, they'll get that this Saturday, but basically everything we are going to run is in."

Will Erik Kohler play in the first game?: "Yes."

Where he will play or too early to tell?: "Nope, not yet."

On Rocky Long saying they aren't punting inside the 50 yard line: "I don't know if we've ever punted inside the 50, so (laughs), I don't know. It sounded like it may have been taken out of context a little bit, to where it got played up to that he was never going to punt, and the reality of it is, you cross the 50, the kicking game is very intriguing, especially when you start getting into the 40 and the high 30s and trusting punters and kickers, and what do you really get from punting from the 32 or the 35 yard line. Is 12 yards really that much if it goes into the end zone? So, it's always a unique challenge, and we've gone for it quite a bit in those scenarios, and you have to play for that, that's what the opponent's going to do anyway, so I don't know how much that's really going to change in our defensive calls, the one thing it can lend itself to, is a team has a 3rd and 9, 3rd and 10 from 42 yard line, 43 yard line, you can really be willing to run the football in that scenario to get yourself into a 4th and 3, 4th and 4 situation, much more manageable 4th down scenario, so that's what you have to be prepared for. But at the end of the day, you have to get a 3rd down stop if you want to try to get a 4th down stop, so we got to win on 3rd down."

On how the new kickoff rules have changed their approach: "Well the rule of the guys having to stay within a 5 yard radius from where the ball is really changes a lot, and obviously the onside kick now with the ball being able to hit the ground and come up and still having the ability to fair catch changes some scenarios in the onside kick area. So we've had to work those 2 areas quite extensively, and then the reality of where the ball is going to land on kickoffs and your willingness to maybe bring a ball out, maybe 3, 4, 5 yards into the endzone knowing that the cover team didn't get as much of a running start, we're coaching some specific areas a little bit different, but scheme wise, we're still doing what we're doing, and we've been very good the last couple of years."

On knowing the number of players that will play going into the first game: "No, we'll do that here in the next day or two as we get ready for our mock game, really our final preseason game over at century link, we'll have a good rotation of plays, like we do, probably a better one than we've had in the past, and have our emergency guys ready that can basically play any spot, when a guy taps his helmt, they know to go in, so we've been preparing for those scenarios and we'll finalize them in the next couple of days."

On his comfort level with the young guys if they had to go into a game right now: "Yeah, and I think I'll be even more comfortable with them, and they'll be even more comfortable when we really pare down all the stuff we have in and show them, hey, these are the plays we are running this game and we won't call anything else, I think they'll feel more comfortable in studying and knowing that they know what to do."

On Kearse and Jamora's surgery progress: "Kearse has had a surgery. He had a surgery the same day that James Johnson had his, I'm sorry I don't remember what day that was, this is kind of Ground Hog day for me. What day of the week is it by the way? And Jamora and Cooper, not yet, should be coming up soon."

On the competition between Bishop Sankey and Jesse Callier: "It's been great, those guys, they've played a complete style at the running back position, they aren't just limited to ‘oh they're scat backs, or oh, they're third-down backs,' they've ran the ball physically with power, we did a lot of the power run game tonight, they ran the ball well there, they've pass protected extremely well, I think they've taken on a very professional approach to this training camp and are working at it, and I couldn't be happier with their production. Their mental mistakes have been minimal at best, they've really just been locked in, and they are in great physical shape and are working well with one another and so we'll continue down that road.

On how Sankey and Callier have been professional throughout the position battle: "I think that just in their physical preparation, they are fit ready to go, mentally, they aren't making mental mistakes, and we put a lot on our backs, whether it's in their alignments, their assignments and route running, the types of runs, and then you get in the pass protection and the technique they are using there, and they're having fun with camp but there is a sense of seriousness to both of them right now which is good."

On Shaq Thompson getting some work with the linebacker group today: "Well I think it's important, especially in our run fits, as teams try to use different shifts, and motions, and formations, that force him to slide in the box, it's to understand our fits, it's not about his ability to tackle or to close, it's truly understanding his gap and the gap integrity within the defenses to make his plays." Top Stories