Dawgman Insider Blog: August 2009, PART TWO

With the days ticking ever closer to Washington's September 5th clash with LSU, the more Steve Sarkisian is thinking about the game. More specifically, how the mechanics of the game are going to go. With that in mind, as well as the thought that he wants his team as fresh as possible going into their battle with the Bayou Bengals, it appears that full pads are done for fall camp.

Posted by Chris Fetters
11:55 pm

Conversation with Bob Rondeau:

It was great to catch up this week quickly with 'The Voice of The Huskies' - Bob Rondeau. I spoke with Bob about what he's seen in fall camp, and who has stood out in his eyes. To listen to the segment, click on the link below.

Talk about it: Here

Posted by Chris Fetters
11:45 am

Thursday morning camp report:

Camp is one practice away from being history - and the reality is, camp is over, especially when it comes to full pads and big hitting. Thursday morning the Washington Huskies started working on their game preparation - learning what the coaches want them to do in pre-game, how it's scheduled, and where each player should be at all times. Now it's all about playing the game.

"No more movies," UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian said with a smile Thursday as the team went through a mock pre-game and then did ones versus twos for most of the rest of the practice in various situations on the field. In all the Huskies will have gone through 23 practices in 20 days as they prepare for their home opener September 5th against LSU.

"We only had five 2-a-days, and when I was playing we had 15 of them," he said. "That was camp. That was a real grind. But these guys, I've been proud of them. They are excited to get into game prep mode now.

Thursday's afternoon practice is expected to be rather short, as Sarkisian is getting his coaches and players ready for how he wants game day to go. And that starts with going to the hotel.

He said Thursday morning that after the team goes through their mock game scenario - which is closed to everyone on Friday - the team will head to a hotel and go through a normal Friday night routine as they prepare for LSU game week.

"It's a dress rehearsal," Sarkisian said. "It's about all the times, so that they set up the way we want them to - from pre-game, to substitution patterns, to special situations that go into a game. We will simulate a full game as much as possible. We will get through all the facets of a game."

It's expected they will do much the same thing Saturday as the coaches are making sure everyone knows where they are supposed to be at all times.

So did camp go the way Sarkisian had hoped? "I felt it went well," he said. "I was very impressed with our coaches. It's a schedule that is one that's very demanding on the coaches because we put so much emphasis on them setting the tone for practice. They are the ones that bring the energy first, and the players will follow. They brought a great deal of energy and enthusiasm and intensity that our players matched. And I appreciate our players' willingness to come day-in and day-out regardless of what the outcome was the day before."

And clearly Sarkisian feels the team has made great strides in learning the offense and doing the things the way he wants them done, even if it's only been three weeks since the beginning of camp. "From a physical standpoint I think we're much better. But I think as important as anything, fundamentally and technically we're much better. Assignment-wise we're much better. I think our kids are really starting to understand that it's OK to play with enthusiasm and energy and have fun. That's allowing us to play worry-free football."

Not only will Washington fans be seeing a whole different football team when the Huskies take the field a week from Saturday, but the athletic department hopes the fans will also be sensing a whole different game day experience. With the inclusion of 'The Zone' in the East Field, Sarkisian is hopeful all the Husky faithful will get something out of coming to Husky Stadium besides wins.

"Today, with college football, it's an experience - an experience for the 8-year old kid to the 65-year old man," Sarkisian said. "I want them to enjoy their experience when they come to Husky Stadium. Everybody has different things that they are looking for to put a smile on their face, and while the ultimate goal is to always win the game, we're continually trying to things to keep people excited about what we're doing, to appreciate what we're doing, but also to have fun coming to Husky Stadium."

'The Zone' will be open well before game time and also after the game, with KUBE providing music. For the LSU game, 'The Zone' will be open at least three hours before the game, and for at least two hours afterward for those fans waiting for traffic to die down. There's also going to be a wide-screen TV the size of the one the bar at the RAM in U-Village has, so roughly 10' x 10', that will be showing football games.

When the team comes on the field for their pre-game warmup - approximately 48 minutes before gametime - the big screen TV in 'The Zone' will cut in and show the team warming up. It's a not-so-subtle hint to tailgaters that the game is close at hand. Then, with 20 minutes to go, a siren will blast, signaling to all that it's time to get in the stadium for the kickoff.

"Whether it's four hours, six hours, eight hours, 10 hours - that time they spend here I want them to have a great time," Sarkisian said.
Notes: Seeing Coach James: Sarkisian was asked about the time former UW Head Coach Don James spent during practice. 'The Dawgfather' was at Tuesday night's workout. "The biggest thing was about the work ethic and the belief and that hard work and the tightness of the football team," Sarkisian said of James. "It was a lot of philosophical things that were very hands on for me. I can carry those things over to our football team. He's obviously a great motivator and he's a tremendous teacher. He not only taught his players well, but he taught his coaches well so they could go out and spread what he wanted to get taught. And I think that was one of his best assets."

Injury update: Besides Skyler Fancher and Jason Wells, Sarkisian said that no one else has been ruled out of playing for the LSU game, including Chris Polk and Kavario Middleton, who have seen their work limited this week. With Fancher, Sarkisian said the staff will look at all options to make sure they have their bases covered at the offensive tackle position. "We'll be creative," he said. "(Ben) Ossai is getting reps out there at tackle as well. Between Cody (Habben), Drew (Schaefer), Ben and Nick Scott we have four tackles that can function, so we'll be OK there."

Limited Availability: There are only 1400 view obstructed seats left for the LSU game, but there are still blocks of tickets available, not just singles. Call the Husky ticket office at (206) 543-2200

Talk about it: Here

To view Part One of the blog, click on the link below.

Dawgman Insider Blog, August 2009

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