Chris Strausser talks about the OL carousel

Dawgman.com spoke Wednesday with Washington Offensive Line Coach Chris Strausser, who gave us some insight into why true freshman Nick Harris started at Utah, as well as how the line has coped with new players at the guard spots the last few weeks. 

On Nick Harris “Competed and was super athletic and I think the stuff that he’s improved on is a little bit of the details fundamentally. He’s a good fundamental player but always adapting to a new coaching style is different. he has done that very well and I think fundamentally he’s playing well.”

Did Nick Harris have a lot of time to prepare to start? “It wasn’t last minute. He knew he was going to get in there and play. Regardless of whether he’s started or not he’s played every game with the exception of Arizona so he knew he was going to play. I don’t remember exactly when it was that we told him he was going to be the starter, but I don’t think he flinched when he found out.”

On the rotation at right guard with Shane Brostek and Andrew Kirkland “I think they both have played some good football. I think they both have some stuff they have to do better. It’s a good competition there and I still see both those guys in the mix one way or another.”

Did you run the ball the way you wanted to against Utah? “I think if you look at the numbers, yeah. And I think there’s a lot of things we did really well in the run game. Our style is always to come back and figure out what we can do better so there are a couple of things we definitely could have done better. Would have like to run it in the red zone in the fourth quarter late at a key time. We had a couple of those runs that were not positive runs but I think if you look at the big picture, yeah that’s a really solid front seven defense and we had some success running the ball.”

Was there any hesitation to give Nick Harris his first start in that environment? “No. It felt that way at Arizona. He didn’t play against Arizona. It felt like that’s our first game that was going to have some crowd noise and some different stuff. I wanted him to kind of get a feel of what that looked like and he did that game. He played in Oregon, played a lot, played well. I figured he was ready to go.”

Was picking Harris to start over Sosebee a no-brainer “I don’t think anything is a no-brainer but he was definitely the next man up and he’s been preparing to and even if he didn’t start he was going to play somewhere in the game. He hasn’t really been rotating with Jake (Eldrenkamp). He would have got some right guard reps. He’s definitely the next guy up.”

On Cal’s front seven “I think size wise they’re not the same type of bodies but I think in terms of some of the movement stuff they do. I think they play really hard. These guys keep battling all the way to the whistle. I just think a little bit different body types than we saw last week.”

How difficult is it to slow guys down in practice who want to be tough and physical? “We don’t ever treat them that way. That’s our job as coaches during the week: to make sure we keep them fresh. But we would never talk to those guys about that. We want if anything to pull them back. I want them to have exactly what you said, that mentality of toughness and competing and go hard. They’ll go as hard as we tell them to go and when it’s time to pull back little bit and get some twos in there more reps then we’ll do that. And I think they trust that we’ll do that.”

How have the players been in terms blocking out noise? “I think they’ve done a really good job of not paying attention to outside noise. I don’t think that they could even really tell you what our record is right now. They are very, very focused on our next opponent. We have a lot to prove still on a week in, week out basis. This is a team that we didn’t handle last year, so we have to find a way to play better against them this year than we did last year.”

On the college football playoff poll “Yeah, these guys are really not tied into that. And it does us no good to be right now."


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