Tuesday Coach/Player Quotes & Video

SEATTLE - With Sheena the Bengal Tiger looming in the background at Washington's practice Tuesday, we spoke with Justin Wilcox, Tosh Lupoi, Erik Kohler, Drew Schaefer and Peter Sirmon as the Huskies gear up for the LSU Tigers.

Justin Wilcox:
On LSU - "Well, they are a big, physical team. They are very well coached - all their plays compliment each other very well. They've got a great scheme, great players - they are big and physical. I don't know how many…eight running backs that are very talented. They've got wideouts and have a quarterback that can throw the ball. It's going to be a challenge."

Mettenberger - "He's a very good passer. He's proven that. I remember when he came out of high school and played junior college ball - I actually saw him practice at a junior college one day and the guy can throw the ball, and it showed up in the first game - you could see that."

running backs - "Both really, really good. One guy is bigger and kind of inside the tackles, but you turn the tape on and he's running away from people, so it doesn't mean he's slow. The other guy has a little more shiftiness to him, but again - he put his shoulder pads down and ran over some guys. Both guys are very talented, their offensive line comes of the ball and are very physical, so it's a heck of a challenge for us."
Tosh Lupoi:
On how the DL did against SDSU - "I think we can do a lot better up front. We have to play with better pad level. At times we executed well but we have lot of improvement ahead of us - it's exciting because that's what football is all about - getting better every day. We've already started that this week."

On LSU's offensive front - "There's no question it's a well put-together offensive line…four to five are back, a returning starter at tight end. It's going to be a strong group we are facing. It's obvious on film they attack you and try to overwhelm you with their size - so we have our work cut out for us."

Combat size with size? - "I think leverage is going to be key. We have to play with lower pad level. If our pad level is high, we're going to get knocked back. We have to get our pad level lower, and this is our chance versus these big boys from Louisiana…to avoid how large they are is to get underneath their pads, so it's going to be a challenge."

On the mentality of being a road dawg - "It's always exciting because you want to do your best to eliminate the distractions, and that's going to be the challenge here and we'll see if we can do it. They've got a heck of a venue there and they've got an awesome fan base…they've got big Mike the Tiger there and there are a lot of things there where we have to stay focused and void all those things out."

On seeing Sheena the Bengal Tiger at practice - "We made eye contact, so we're friends. It's good to practice on eliminating those distractions, so when you have a live tiger out here and it helps you so when you get there the live tiger won't mean as much."
Erik Kohler:
On if he thought there was any doubt he would play Saturday, especially with the knee injury during camp - "When I first went down it was kind of, 'What is going on now? What is this?' But when they told me how long it was going to take - two weeks - OK, that's fine. It's a speed bump, that's all it was."

On the difference between guard and tackle - "The difference is a different mentality. When you're at tackle you're more out on an island than anything. You're by yourself. You have a guard sometimes but you don't have them all the time. It's a more physical game out there. When you're inside at guard it's a more mental game. There's a lot more coming at you - there's usually linebackers coming in your gaps, all that kind of stuff."

More comfortable at tackle? - "I've gotten used to guard and of course center that I've been working there. I like all the positions actually. Coming from tackle in high school and going to guard - it was definitely a weird different transition, but I got used to it and I like it. I feel like I can excel at all three positions and I like it a lot."

Have you circled this game on the calendar? - "Actually no. I kind of like to look one game at a time. I don't really like to look too far in advance. I came here not because of the schedule; I came here because of the history of the program and all that kind of stuff. But this is definitely a big game for us and I think we're ready for a good challenge to play a really good team."

On the mentality of being road dawgs - "We thrive on adversity. We do very well with adversity - being away in a very tough environment and very loud environment, for that matter - I feel like we're going to thrive in it and we're ready for a really good challenge."
Drew Schaefer:
On seeing the Tiger at practice - "Just the surprise factor right there. Trying to get in our heads as a little bit of a distraction to see how we handle adversity."

On dealing with the noise on Saturday - "It's just going to have to be echoed down the line - and if the tackles can't hear what I'm saying the guards have to echo it. The quarterbacks have to step up to listen what I'm saying and communicate with the running back. Between all of us that's where the majority of the protections come and the majority of the run calls come - so we all have to be on the same page."

So no excuses with communication? - "No excuses at all. That's why we have the crowd noise here - to start communicating with that. We've played on the road before and played in loud stadiums - but we do have some new guys getting some starts, especially James there at guard and Mike over at right tackle, so we have to get them used to playing on the road the best we can before we get there.

On LSU's DL - "Athletic, they are big and fast…those guys are some of the best recruits in the country coming out of high school, and as they continue to develop in college they get better every year. They have a lot of speed out there and we just have to communicate and hold onto our blocks and keep Keith healthy right now."

On OL health and going forward - "I don't think there's a sense of panic at all for us right now. The two guys - actually three guys - that came in and got their first playing time…Mike Criste came in for Riva when he went down…that's just good for us because we're going to need those guys for the season and we need depth. As the season goes on you never know what to predict or what injuries come up…but the fact that guys can step in and pick up where other guys left off is really good for us."

On having that position flexibility on the line - "There's a lot of unknown factors, and the fact that Riva's injury did strike in the first week is something we're going to have to deal with. Like I said, it's good for those younger guys or guys that necessarily didn't think they were going to play right off the bat that they need to get ready and they need to get prepared as if they are going to play on Saturday."

On playing LSU in 2009 - "A great university, a great program…they have a reputation as being a dominant program, so guys get caught up…they don't want to get overwhelmed with anything. You just have to treat it just like any other game and prepare the same way and line up on Saturday and play the game."

Was there any awe factor with their size and speed three years ago? - "I thought we started off really fast. I can't really say for sure because I didn't play that game on offense as much as I would have liked to, but from I do remember we had a couple of big plays in our run game and in our screen game. I thought the offense played very well for the first game of coach Sarkisian."
Peter Sirmon:
On the LB play against SDSU - "We did okay. I don't give them a letter grade per se, but we left a lot of plays out on the field, unfortunately missed some tackles - and that's something we need to continue to work on, some of our gap fits in some of the power, some of the more explosive plays we need to clean up. The good thing is, we were involved in some turnovers and Travis had a nice sack. I think we ran to the ball and played with pretty good effort all night."

On practicing tackling going forward - "Nothing's changing. Every day that we've been here as a defensive staff, every day as linebackers when the coach has given us an individual period we've tackled. We're not changing anything; we stressed it the first day of spring drills. The first drill we did was a tackling drill. We do it every day in practice. We just need to get better."

On LSU's offensive strengths - "They are extremely large. They are physical all across the offensive line. They have a big tight end. They have a pretty good sized fullback and the running backs just kind of come in…they keep 'em fresh. When they come in and get their carries they don't want to leave because it's a very competitive situation out there for those guys with divided reps."

On battling size with size - "We have to get our guys lined up with good leverage and good angles. We'll be rolling guys through there, keep them fresh and play the most physical guys we have."

On Shaq Thompson's play so far - "Shaq's a talented player. He's young, he's got a lot of development to do, but with a lot of those guys - the game wasn't too big for them. They were pretty calm, they made some adjustments and stayed into it and didn't make a bunch of mental mistakes."

Has he talked to the team about playing in an SEC environment? - "There's a lot of great environments all over the country. Saturday will be a great environment, but these guys have played in great environments in bowl games and traveling on the road. So you have to go there and play the game and not be too concerned with the environment."

First impressions on seeing Sheena the Bengal Tiger at practice? - "It's pretty cool. It's pretty cool to see up close and personal. It's an impressive animal."
Video Interviews:
Justin Wilcox - Watch Here
Tosh Lupoi - Watch Here
Erik Kohler - Watch Here
Drew Schaefer - Watch Here
Peter Sirmon - Watch Here
Sheena, Part 1 - Watch Here
Sheena, Part 2 - Watch Here
Sheena, Part 3 - Watch Here
Sheena, Part 4 - Watch Here

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