Steve Sarkisian - Day 15

SEATTLE - Steve Sarkisian met with the press Wednesday for quite a while, talking about how fall camp is starting to wind down and what's next on the agenda for the Washington Huskies as they continue to prepare for their September 1st showdown with San Diego State at CenturyLink Field.

Steve Sarkisian:
On Kasen Williams: "Kasen started training camp really on fire, really is playing well, hit a little bit of a lull for a couple practices, if you remember we gave him a couple practices off to try to get him back going, and I think since the last scrimmage through today, he's been fantastic, he's been dynamite again, his seriousness, his focus, his attention to detail, and his willingness to relax and have fun playing is what I think is showing up the most."

On his comfort level switching from Erik Folk to Travis Coons: "I worry about every kick, I've been worrying about kicks for the last 14 years, with those things, there's no gimmes. That's what we practice it so much, so much is everyone wants to talk about the kicker but it's the holder, the snap, the protection, it's the belief from the kicker and the hold the snap, the protection, and instilling the confidence in those guys. So what ive seen out of training camp so far, if I wasn't the head coach, I would feel pretty good about our kicking game, but since I'm the head coach, I worry about it just like I have for the last four years."

On kicking a 55+ yard field goal this year?: "Easy, easy, yeah I wouldn't mind doing it. Again, depending the game, flow of the game, the way we're playing, all of that."

On how much they've gameplanned for San Diego State: "Oh it's going, I would say offensively the base game plan is probably 80 percent done, first and ten, there's some things we're still going to look at, defensively, I know we're close to that percentage as well, and then we get in the special situations of that game, you know, the four down territory stuff, the two point plays stuff will come. But from a base game plan standpoint, we're pretty close."

On whether or not he is starting to see game faces on his players now: "Yeah, you know, they're chomping at the bit, they probably wish we're playing on Saturday but we got another week and we need it, there's little things that need to continually get cleaned up, and when you are playing some young guys, that's part of it, for the young guys, and it's also part of it for the veteran players that they don't have to worry about the young guys, that they can worry about their job and do their job. Again, there's little things we need to clean up and we'll continue to clean up, but for us, as you go into the first game this season just as we would for a bowl game or coming off of a bye, we really try to get the game plan implemented by the end of this week, and then we go back and do it all over again next week, and so as we finish up Saturday here, we'll have our gameplan locked and loaded, ready to go and then we'll come back Monday all over again, so that our kids feel really good about the plays we're running or what we're doing, and why we're doing it, and feel confident about it."

Can he believe the season is just a week and a half away?: "(laughs) No I can't, I'm a bit old school from a training camp standpoint, we're still in the dorms, our guys are still in the dorms, we stay in the dorms for 3 weeks, until we move out of the dorms, it probably wont feel like game week for me which will be after Saturday so again, there's some things we really want to get accomplished here in the next few days, so that we all can enjoy our Sunday and come back Monday ready to go."

On getting familiar with Century Link by practicing there on certain days: "We'll have a mock game on Friday afternoon at Century Link field, where we'll put on our uniforms and do all that and create a bunch of scenarios and have last second field goals and 2 minute drills and pregame warmups and all of that that goes into us going over there. Hopefully we can create a comfort level for some of our newer players, our vets obviously having played the Apple Cup there last year and the Spring game there this year, should have a pretty good sense of what it's all about, but for our younger players, hopefully they can get some good exposure."

On kickoffs and touchbacks at the 25 and how it changes how the team will play: "Five yards is five yards as we know, if we ran the ball on first and 10 and got five, I would be happy, so that aspect is unique because of the fact that although the ball is moved up 5 yards to the 35 now to kick from, the coverage team is only getting a 5 yard running start, and so common sense tells you they can't get downfield as far by the time the ball lands, and so if I caught that ball where I would have normally caught it on the 2 yard line and be returning it, now I'm catching it three yards deep and if I took a knee I get it on the 25, well if the coverage unit is now 10 yards behind where they normally are, math tells me I should bring that out. So that's what we're working through, we're working on everything on film every night, and trying to look at where the coverage unit is based on where the ball is in comparison to where we were last year, but probably a bit too scientific we're on this thing, but we're in training camp, we got a lot of time, so we're looking at every angle of it."

Will the kickoff involve less high speed collisions?: "Well I'm not sure, it will if people take a knee, then it works. It won't if people think the advantage is to bring the ball out of the endzone because the coverage unit isn't as far downfield, then no I don't think it will work because if a guy brings it out, then here we come, full speed collisions. I think we got to kind of play it out and see at the end of the yaer based on the stats of the conference and around the country, the numbers of returns per non return as compared to the last 5 years."

Are you expecting any injured players back Monday that haven't been practicing?: "I don't believe so, I don't believe so no."

On the defense as a whole in fall camp and his comfort level: " I've been impressed, I think they carried over the competitive spirit that they had in Spring ball and now in training camp, are executing better, and obviously with the few additions, of guys, some true freshmen stepping in, and then the knowledge that our defensive coaches have of our defensive players now, and moving some guys around, changing some calls around to fit what players do well, and maybe not make some calls to put guys in position to do the things maybe they don't do so well. I think the comfort level for me with what we are doing defensively is even higher than I was at the end of Spring. I know that they are getting challenged daily by our offense which we have a lot of offense in and we have a pretty good quarterback and some pretty good weapons, and so, when they have really successful days against us like they've had, that makes me feel good because I think we're a pretty good offensive football team as well."
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