Sarkisian and Players Embracing the Challenge

With the season's first kickoff just days away, the Washington Huskies face some formidable goals. For Head Coach Steve Sarkisian and many of his players, a goal they will strive for all year is regaining respect for Washington football. But first things first; a more pressing goal is putting together a solid performance when the LSU Tigers bare their teeth Saturday night in Seattle.

Though they are ranked number 11 in the AP Poll and number 9 in the Coaches Poll, LSU has to fly 2,550 miles across the country to face Washington in what is forecasted to be a rainy, chilly night game on Montlake. The Huskies hope to capitalize on a team far from home and out of its element.

"I think that it definitely plays to our advantage," said offensive tackle Cody Habben when asked about the advantages of playing at home.  "It's not fun traveling that far. You have to acclimate to the time change and all that, so it could be to our advantage."

Still, the Tigers are an aggressive opponent, whether at home in balmy Baton Rouge or away in the Seattle rain. Sarkisian considers LSU a big, fast and physical football team, with big play potential.

Obviously we know this is a huge challenge," Sarkisian said at his Monday press conference. "LSU is a very talented football team, not only at the skilled positions but on both fronts, offensive and defensive lines. With that comes a tremendous coaching staff…They're very well coached.

"We're excited about the opportunity to play in a nationally televised game, prime time. It's great for us, it's fun to be a part of and we're going to hopefully put forth a great effort."

UW quarterback Jake Locker reiterated Sarkisian's enthusiasm, explaining that one of the reasons he chose to come to Washington was for the opportunity to go out and play against some of the best teams in the nation.

"Against any team you just want to get out there and play," Locker said.

The Huskies are fully aware that the game is going to be seen by hundreds of thousands of people. Donning new uniforms, symbolic of a new era of Husky football, they say they are ready to face the challenge.

"We get a chance to start it off on national television; it's going to be proving grounds," said outside linebacker Mason Foster. "Especially against LSU at night on ESPN. It doesn't get better than that. A big upset that night will set the season off right."


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