Huskies Look to Avoid Letdown

After an upset of perennial Pac-10 powerhouse USC and returning to the AP rankings at No. 24 for the first time in six years, the Washington Huskies face the challenge of putting their brilliant moment behind them and refocusing for their first road game against Stanford this Saturday in Palo Alto, Calif.

UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian discussed the importance of preparation, both mentally and physically at his weekly press conference Monday, saying that Stanford is a tough, fast and well-coached team.

The Huskies will have to get used to playing in big games like this one, he said, which will decide who has sole ownership of the top of the Pac-10 standings.

With all of the national publicity surrounding the upset Saturday, some notable recognition of specific players came today. Donald Butler was named as the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week, and Erik Folk as Special Teams Player of the Week. Butler had 12 tackles including two for loss, and Folk kicked the game-winning 22-yard field goal with three seconds left on the clock.

As for Sarkisian himself, he says he received "a lot of text messages" congratulating him on the win, and that his biggest goal now is to remain humble and encourage the team to do the same.

He also praised the efforts by several other players, including freshmen Desmond Trufant and James Johnson. "It was never too big for them," he said of the first-year players. "From the first time they walked on campus they felt like they belonged." He also commended Chris Polk for his efforts, but plans to spread out the playing time so he doesn't get worn out as the season progresses. Along with the other tailbacks, Demitrius Bronson will likely be a part of the action when his shoulder is fully healed.

The team as a whole remained unscathed after their battle against the Trojans, with the exception of E.J. Savannah, who re-broke his hand early in the game. "I'm doing good," Savannah said. "It's just another break. I broke it like the first quarter, played with it, so it's okay."

In terms of this upcoming Saturday, Sarkisian noted that Stanford jumps on opponents very early in games, starting quickly on both sides of the ball. The Huskies will have to continue playing with physicality and urgency to keep up with their tempo. The UW head coach claimed that except for getting on a plane, the fact that the team will be on the road for the first time this year won't affect their pregame or gameday routine at all.

Sarkisian seemed pretty unfazed by the fact that UW is nationally ranked for the first time since 2003, saying that the coaches and the team need to worry about what they can control and continue believing in themselves and the value of practice and preparation.

Among the many awards and accolades for the Huskies the last two days, Jake Locker was selected as the Johnny O'Brien Quarterback of the Week, and the Huskies were named the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week as well.


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