Thursday Steve Sarkisian Notes
On Greg Ducre - "Yeah, Greg's fine. And (Brandon) Huppert's actually a lot better than we anticipated. So they're both going to be traveling."
On treating this game as the opener and not the end-all-be-all - "Well, we'll put the same importance into every game. This happens to be our first one, and so we're focused on this game. This game isn't going to make or break our season. If we go out and win this game, it doesn't mean we're going to go out and be the Pac-10 champs. And if we go out and don't win this game, it doesn't mean we're not going to be the Pac-10 champs. It's fun for us to go out and play football, to go out on the road in a hostile environment and to grow as a football team. So we're embracing the opportunity."
On Huppert being available to play - "Yes, he's available."
On what happened in the past couple of days to clear Huppert - "It's just the way he responded to it, the way his body responded to it. It's not going to be a situation where it's a priority to get him in the game. But if the situation arises where we need him, he's available."
On Kalani Aldrich and James Johnson - "They're both available."
On how this year is different from last year - "Yeah, I think there was so much unknown last year. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know how to run out of this tunnel; I didn't know anything. This year, fortunately, obviously we've got 12 games under our belt – as a staff and as a team. I've been to the stadium that we're going to before; I kind of know the layout. I know our Friday routines. I feel more comfortable with the buildup to the game, and then with the actual game. And I'm sure our coaches and players do too."
On how realistic it is to believe the momentum from the end of last year can carry over - "Well, I think it's very realistic. We've tried to allow it to help us carry over. We haven't tried to bury it. We've tried to keep it alive in our minds – in our own minds, for that matter. So I think it's real. That feeling of winning, that feeling of playing well, that feeling of enjoyment and excitement in the locker room has been inspiring throughout the summer, throughout training camp. Whether or not that means we're going to make the play on third-and-1 or not, I don't know if it's going to carry that far. But I think it carries over in the preparation and the build-up, and I think it will in the fourth quarter of this game when it's tight."
On Zach Fogerson as #2 fullback - "I think he and Dorson would be 'or's' at the number-two fullback. They each do specific things well. But I like what Zach has done, he's impressed me."
On the field having some tough footing - "It's grass. It looked like early in the year it was kind of torn up; I don't know if it was the turf, or however they laid the turf didn't settle in in time, but later in the year it looked fine. I'm anticipating knowing BYU that if there was something wrong with it last year they are going to get it fixed."
On running a little to get used to the elevation when they get there - "No, not that much. We'll just go do our normal Friday routine. We won't change that much."
On Deontae Cooper's surgery - "He has it on the eighth."
On Friday - "We'll start meetings here at 8:30 in the morning. We'll walk-through here at roughly 10:15. We'll leave here on the bus at noon…fly, get there, land at 4, go straight to LaVell Edwards Stadium and do a quick half-hour walk-through, go to eat dinner and then have meetings."
On Damon Huard doing play-by-play - "I like Damon a lot. I think he'll offer a very unique perspective to the game. Anytime a guy has played in the National Football League that many years, he's seen a lot of football. He'll add a real dynamic of being up-to-date on the game, knowing what's going on in the game right now. I think he'll do a nice job."
On being able to travel all the freshmen - "No. Won't be able to, unfortunately. But I wish I could."
Posted by Chris Fetters
Thursday Quick Practice Notes
Shorts and shells on Thursday.
Here's Friday's itinerary: they start meetings at UW at 8:30 in the morning. Then they will walk-through in Husky Stadium at roughly 10:15. They'll leave UW at noon to go to the airport. They get to Salt Lake City at 4 and will go straight to LaVell Edwards Stadium and do a quick half-hour walk-through. Then they will go eat dinner and then have meetings.
Brandon Huppert and Greg Ducre have been cleared and they will travel with the team to Provo. They are both available to play on Saturday, as is Kalani Aldrich, so that means every single player on the team is available for the BYU game, save Deontae Cooper, who Sark said Thursday will have surgery to repair his ACL on September 8th.
Posted by Chris Fetters
Wednesday Jesse Callier Quotes
On difference between playing first game in College as opposed to HS - "I'm excited. I'm going in with a positive attitude, I know the team's going to be ready and I'm going to be ready. It's very different from high school because there's going to be thousands of fans. In high school we probably averaged 500, 300 at the most. So I mean it's going to be different, but I'm not going to let it get to me, just play ball."
On expectations for BYU game - "I just want to come out with a W, I want to execute my job and do whatever I can for the team so whatever that is, then I'm happy with it."
On getting tips about what to expect from older guys - "Oh yeah, I ask them all the time for tips: what it's like and how exciting it is. Chris Polk definitely gives me a lot of tips so, it's fun."
On feeling of walking through the tunnel for first college game - "I mean, I'm going to be excited, I'm probably going to have goose-bumps, but I'm definitely going to be excited though."
On differences between high school and college - "College football is college football, it's very serious. Versus high school, we didn't have to be to the football facility until 2 o'clock versus here we gotta be here at 7am and we're here all day learning and getting better so I mean, that's the biggest transition."
Posted by Chris Fetters
Wednesday Senio Kelemete Quotes
On taking pride in Chris Polk's success - "It has to do with Chris Polk and also the O-line: us opening up the holes and him setting up the blocks for us. So, it goes back and forth for both of us, Chris Polk and the o-line."
On protecting Jake's blindside - "It's not only me, but it's actually the whole o-line because it's us 5 protecting him, not just only me but I mean, my part is a really important part because it's his blindside, but it also has to do with the whole o-line getting our job done and making sure everyone stays of off of him."
On hitting people against BYU - "It's going to feel great. We've bagging the same guys for 3 or 4 weeks now. We get to see a different color, different people, different looks, so I love to get a different look from BYU."
On questions about the O-line - "I try to get the guys together, try to let them know, try not to listen to all that because they're not here putting in the time and work that we are and we just gotta focus on ourselves, getting us ready, getting prepared for BYU. Yeah, it motivates us a lot. A lot of people say that we're not physical upfront, we're not going to get the job done up front, so that kinda gives us a little drive when we're out here on the field."
Posted by Chris Fetters
Wednesday Doug Nussmeier Quotes
On the depth of the receiving corps - "I thought as a group they really raised their level of play. Cody Bruns, D'Andre Goodwin…I thought those guys had two outstanding football camps, as good as anybody on offense. And I really felt that Kevin Smith came in and did some good things. There's some really good young talent there, and I think guys are contributing in their role right now. It's important that we try and continue to improve and don't get satisfied, but you're right. That's as deep a group as we have on our offense."
On the possibility of Polk getting less, but more productive touches - "Obviously every time we go into a game we look at every play and who is touching the ball, and we're conscious of how many touches each guy is getting. And Chris, like Steve said, is a contact back, he's a downhill, physical-type runner. So if you can get him less carries but make those carries more productive, then obviously you're doing your football team a benefit."
On when he's last seen a running back with with Polk's current confidence - "I would say Ryan Matthews at Fresno State before he got injured in '08 was running as good as anybody I've been around. They are different type runners, but the same type of demeanor and character. When they got the ball, look out."
On cleaning up the line of scrimmage - "I think our guys have done a real good job of paying attention to us. I expect that we're going to clean up all those procedural things as we go into the game. It was a big focal point for us this week, and we've had several walk-throughs before practice where we make sure that we're set in the right formation and guys are understanding their alignments, how to get set, making sure we're set with the quarterback before we put anyone in motion. So it's been a point of emphasis. We've made improvement there, but we have to continue…any time you go out the first game, it's an area of concern."
On the communication and chemistry on the OL - "We're doing so much better than we were at the end of spring, or last year - wherever you want to go to. There's still a need to continue to improve, but that group continues to grow and come together every day."
On BYU's defense - "I don't know if we see as many people that are as multiple as they are. They'll jump into that odd front, and then go into even…they'll bring pressure from the boundary, pressure from the field…they are bringing safety pressure, linebacker pressure…so they are very multiple. You see a lot of different stuff from them. The biggest thing for us is that we have to make sure we get communication, that we're ID'd on the right people in the running game up front, and that the quarterback and the line are ID'd well together on protections."
On Jake taking that next step up in his development - "That's just time and repetition. He continues to get more and more reps and he gets better and better every day, and come Saturday it's time to go out and play…cut loose and go play."
On his decision making and finding the right run-pass balance - "He's doing a really good job. Practice is sort of a bit different…he runs the ball, but it's a controlled tempo. He's not getting tackled, those sorts of things. It'll be interesting once we get into a true live game action and he's running and they are tackling him and those types of things - how it all comes together."
On ever having to deal with altitude much - "I've never felt like that's been a factor. You're around this game long enough, you're going to travel to many different places and play in many different environments. You just go play, and I think football players and everybody wants to make a big deal out of it. The reality of it is, you show up and play."
Posted by Chris Fetters
Wednesday Joel Thomas Quotes
On numbers for Polk - "My number is a word - Win. I've always been this way as a running backs coach. Obviously you'd love to have the big day, where he had thirty-some carries and 200 yards and all that stuff, but that doesn't happen every single day. What I'm looking for from Chris…I guess the number I'm looking for is 90. He needs to grade out at 90 percent or better, and if he's grading out at 90 percent or better in the plays that he's in, usually something good is getting accomplished. If we're getting down to 85, 80 and even lower into the 70's, and usually we're breaking it down - whether it's pass protection, run reads or whatnot…yards, those number will occur. And obviously there's more than just one guy that makes a yard happen, but that's our whole scheme of things as far as our thought process. Obviously I want him to run hard…the other number I do look for is 3.0…I want him to get 3.0 yards of YAC (yards after contact)…if we can average that with the carries that he has and within the group, that means we're probably moving the ball pretty good on the ground."
On how Polk graded out last year - "He was at 85 to 90, for the most part. Some games he was above 90. There was one game where he was down to the low 80's, high 70's. It kind of goes as we go, as the team goes, the grade goes. I basically look at three things; assignment, technique and effort. And really the last one, it should never be anything less than 100 percent. That's controllable, he controls that. Assignment-wise, that's doing your job and being locked in on it, and he's usually pretty good about that. Every once in a while the grade would come down because of technique, like not cutting when you're supposed to cut, on a screen reaching out and grabbing a guy instead of facing a guy up…little things like that. And that comes with maturity. The more ball you play, the more comfortable you feel in certain situations, and your technique gets better. That's why we practice it."
On expecting Polk to at least match his numbers from last year - "I'm sure that's a goal for him, but my goal is to win ball games. And obviously winning ball games means running the ball. If that goal - the one you threw out there - if that occurs, we're probably winning some ball games."
On Polk's body language and exuding confidence - "It's the signs of a guy that has played a year of football and is feeling confident. In any position, that kind of shows. Obviously when you play running back, there's a spotlight on you, maybe that's why it stands out a little more, I don't know. Like last year, I'm sure Jermaine Kearse probably looked better in two-a-days than he did his freshman year when he didn't know what was going on. I agree with you though; he's got a little strut to him, and I mean that in a positive way. It's good. It comes with experience. It's that swagger, so to speak, that you have when you're confident. You know your job, you know your abilities. There's no question marks on the field where you are guessing. You know what's happening on the field."
On having to throw a reality check on a playing who is 'feeling it' - "I don't change how I coach. He understands there's a reason why he had the stats from last year. There's a certain style he played with and there's a certain way we coach him. And he grabbed onto that. So I don't think there's a way where we need to reign him back in, or anything like that."
On less touches, but more productive touches for Polk - "It's a deal where it, if he's in moment and he's feeling it, we've got to feed the studs. But obviously we're not going to give him every carry on the season. We'd like to filter in some of those other guys as we go along this season."
On the backups - "I like them, much better than I did last season. They've responded to the fact that there's an opportunity there for them to get on the field and roll with it, and they are understanding the message that relaying as far as trying to get some carries for the other guys. They know they have to sharpen their game up and their technique if they want to see the field."
Posted by Chris Fetters
Wednesday Jermaine Kearse Quotes
On getting hyped up - "Everyone is excited about playing in the first game. We're pretty sick and tired of playing each other, but we still fight to compete in practice and go hard…just come out here and compete and just try to keep our attention level and our tempo high."
On the feeling going into this game compared to last year - "Our confidence is pretty high right now. We worked really hard in the off-season. We didn't know what we were capable of last year going into LSU, but we know the standard that we can play at and the expectations our coaches have for us. We're just eager to go out there and show what we can do."
On having a lot of weapons offensively and scoring points - "We're just going to go out there and execute. We want to go down there and score points…pretty much just execute on all our assignments…if you have 11 of those, you have a touchdown. Just worried about doing all the right things and making the least mistakes."
On what he has to do to help UW win - "Do whatever I can to help the team - make plays, win the one-on-one matchups, downfield blocking…just everything I can. Effort."
On carrying the momentum over from last year - "We definitely finished off pretty strong the last two games of last year. That definitely carried throughout the off-season. We worked really hard in the off-season, confidence level was high in the off-season, it made everyone want to work harder. Going through spring ball we worked really hard and got a lot done. A couple freshmen came in and worked hard as well during the whole summer off-season and going through camp. We just had that little wave effect…bring everyone with us…the freshmen, the new freshmen that came in, just try to get them quickly on board with what we were trying to do, and carry it on."
On the experience of the WR corps - "We have a lot of great guys, from Will Chandler to Devin Aguilar to D'Andre Goodwin and James Johnson, we have real good depth at our receiving corps. All of them can come out and play. We all work hard and we all hang out with each other, and there's good chemistry in our receiving group with the quarterbacks, there's good timing. We've worked hard with the timing with the quarterbacks. They are probably the best I've played with."
On being able to balance the egos - "We're just a really unselfish group. We want the guy next to us in the receiving corps to make a play too. We're all happy for each others' success. That's what makes us so tight. We're just unselfish; we want the other guys, our teammates - even though we're competing for jobs on the field - we still want that guy to do good."
On effort chart - "We have an effort chart in the meeting rooms, and whether it's an explosive play - catching the ball 15 yards - or going down and making an important block - we just pride ourselves on playing with effort. Coaches always say that the number one thing they grade first is effort. Whether it's running all the way across the field to make a block for a running back whose ball didn't come to your side, or making a block for a receiver whose caught the ball when you didn't catch it…so we pride ourselves on effort a lot."
On being hungry for this year - "We're definitely hungry. We've worked hard all off-season. Sometimes we came out by ourselves, working together on drills and stuff. So we're a very hungry receiving group."
On competing the corners - "Desmond and Quinton and all the corners, they do a great job preparing us on one-on-ones and team…they do a great job competing with us. They are real aggressive; they are right next to you, they are all over you. That helps us a lot. They're helping us get better and we're helping them get better."
Posted by Chris Fetters
Wednesday Quick Practice Notes
Not too much to talk about Wednesday during a full padded, two-hour practice, as everyone appeared to be healthy, except for the news of Greg Ducre banging up his shoulder in pre-practice. Sarkisian said the frosh CB should be fine, and they are going to follow up tonight to see how serious it is.
He also said that Kalani Aldrich is still doing enough to stay in the mix for BYU and that he could play some in the game, although he didn't think Aldrich would be a huge factor.
Quick unofficial stats for Wednesday's team period: Jake Locker 5-8 for 50 yards and two interceptions; Keith Price 3-7 for 31 yards and one interception. Nate Williams picked Locker off after Jake threw a pass to William Chandler that Chandler let slip through his hands. Williams was right there to nab the pass. The other interception was by cornerback Vonzell McDowell.
Price was picked off by Matt Houston, who made a great leaping stab at the ball and came down with it. It was a very nice play by Houston.
It was probably a bit apropos that the team worked on turnovers Wednesday, because the defense forced a bunch of them. There was a fumble during the 9-7 team period, and it was recovered by freshman safety Sean Parker. When he came up with the ball, the whole defense roared their approval. Will Shamburger and Desmond Trufant also came up with interceptions during a couple of the serivce periods.
Erik Folk was 3-4, with a long of 42 yards. He missed wide right from 48 yards.
Other than that, the two lines played to spec based on the depth chart UW released Monday, and all the players that were a little banged up going into the final week of fall camp - Senio Kelemete, James Johnson and Everrette Thompson - practiced just like normal.
Posted by Chris Fetters
Wednesday Steve Sarkisian Quotes
On getting ready to coach a game - "We're getting after it pretty good. Our guys have been intense in practice and they are chomping at the bit. We're kind of like those dogs on the leashes and we keep pulling and pulling it and that leash is about to pop. They are antsy, a little grumpy, and that's a good thing. That means they are excited and eager to go out and play."
On Greg Ducre - "He banged his shoulder in pre-practice. We think it's fine, but we're going to get it checked out tonight."
On Kalani Aldrich - "Kalani went again today in limited reps. I think our goal for him right now is to get him another good day of work tomorrow and get him to the game. I don't forsee him having a major role in the game but I do see him playing some."
On James Johnson - "He looks pretty good. There were some times where he came up a little gimpy, a little hobbly, but I thought all in all he did some good things."
On the overall health - "I think we're fine. Senio really has come back and looked good. Everrette (Thompson) has come back and performed at a high level. All in all, it looks good."
On the biggest challenge with BYU's defense - "I think their overall physicality. They are a physical group up front. They are a big, physical defensive line. The nose tackle, Funga, is a real physical guy. They do a nice job of setting the edge with their outside 'backers and funneling things down the middle. And then their safety is a heady player - Rich - he's a really nice player who plays the game physical and you can tell he's the quarterback of that defense and gets guys lined up."
On numbers for Polk - "I'd like to see his average per carry go up at minimum a yard. So I think last year he was at 4.8; I think at minimum I'd like to see him this year is 5.8 per carry. I think that's a realistic number for him."
On traveling 76 players - "That's the number. We're going with 76 and it feels like the right number. I think every guy that's going on this trip is serving a purpose, and that's what key. You wish you could bring everybody, but sometimes when you bring too many our focus can get lost, so we're bringing 76 guys that have a purpose.
On when they find out - "They are finding out right now. And I think they have a pretty good idea."
On Zach Fogerson - "We've been mixing him in I like Zach. He's an athletic kid for 230-235 pounds. For a true freshman he is not afraid. He is willing to put his face on people. And he shows the ability to catch the football, so for us that mixture at the fullback spot is big."
On Johri Fogerson - "I really think so. I don't mean this in a bad way but he just reminds me of a utility baseball player. Maybe like Steve Lyons or somebody like that. One day he's playing first bases and he makes a key double play with a step on the bag at first and a throw to second and the next day he's playing third base and he comes up with a saving double play ball in the h ole and the next day he might not stat but he come sin in the seventh with a pinch hit home run, a three run jack. That's kind of what he's been doing. He's been playing tailback fullback, lining up at wide receiver and he's been making plays. I've been really impressed with Johri this camp."
On BYU putting both QBs on the field at once - "That's just something that teams when you have somebody that is that athletic like Riley that could easily go play receiver, he's that good of an athlete, that could potentially pose some problems for a defense if you are not prepared for it. And they do so many quarterback runs with him that Jake (Heaps) could easily line up at wide receiver and he could run their quarterback run stuff. So we won't be surprised if it occurs."
On preparing for that - "I don't think so. They've got a system in place, first of all, so the system is one. They can only vary so far from the system when each quarterback is in. obviously when Riley is in the quarterback run factor is huge. It's all the zone read stuff all the quarterback leads, the quarterback powers, the speed options and the things of that nature.
On the stadium there and whether it's like any Pac-10 stadiums - "I don't know. It's a beautiful setting, first of all. And the layout is such that it's not a bowl, but it is, the fans are right on top of you, they are right behind you there. It's a unique place. It's a beautiful stadium. They've kept it up masterfully, it's clean. It's a great setting. It should be fun."
Posted by Chris Fetters
Quick Tuesday Practice Report
It was a two-hour session inside the Dempsey indoor, because it was raining today in Seattle, and just not very nice outside. The team wore full pads today, but they were going at thud tempo, which means they were trying to keep players up and off the turf at all times.
Brandon Huppert was the only player not in pads today. James Johnson looked as good as he has in a while, running full speed and participating in all the drills. Kalani Aldrich looked to work out some during the individual drills, but I didn't really see him do anything during the team periods. After practice DC Nick Holt said they fully expect to use Aldrich this season, but that he 'might still be a little ways away' from playing. Apparently his knee swells up after practice, and they want it to get to the point where he can play and it's not swelling up.
Erik Folk went 4-5 with a long of 48 yards. He had one from 55 on line, but it appeared to be a couple yards short.
During the team period, the UW No. 1 defense was able to pick off Jake Locker on his first throw. Nate Williams was able to take advantage of a tipped pass to run it back roughly 40 yards for a score.
Other than that, all the lines looked pretty much exactly how they were drawn up on the depth chart released Monday, as well as the skill players. No real surprises there at all, very much business as usual. Sark definitely was on his horse today, trying to make sure the team was aware of how he wants them to play with a low pad level and play with tempo. At times it almost felt like a hurry up, even though it wasn't.
Posted by Chris Fetters
Will Shamburger Tuesday Quotes
On being disappointed with the outcome of the fall camp competition with Nate Fellner? - "No, I wasn't disappointed. He was working harder than me. I was giving my effort and we're both good players, but he was making more plays than me during camp, so the coaches decided that Fellner did good in camp so he deserved to start at free safety."
On how Fellner's experience may have played a part - "I know coach says something about experience and all that, but no matter what you're still supposed to be ready. I'm mentally there. I'm really mentally there. But I still need to work on a few things here and there at free safety."
On how far he's come in a year - "Coming from where I had the injury, I'm still surprised that I'm walking and running full speed everywhere. So I'm really surprised. I'm just blessed that I'm out here playing with the team, so that's all that matters. I'm just happy playing with the team, but I'll always be mentally there."
On playing a bunch at BYU anyway - "I hope so, but I don't know if Nate gets most of the reps or if I get most of the reps. You just have to be out there and ready to play."
On the comeback - "It takes a lot of focus. "I just have to get back on my grind and work hard, get back up there."
On not having played a competitive game in two years - "It takes time. Everything happens for a reason, so I'm going to take my mental reps, watch the first team does, look to Nate Fellner as an example of how to get back on the field."
On getting a chance to travel - "I'm really excited to travel. This is my first time to get that experience and travel everywhere with the team - experience a couple new areas, different cultures and stuff…I'm excited."
Posted by Chris Fetters
Nick Holt Tuesday Quotes
On playing BYU - "Very talented, very talented, especially at their place and an opener when they have a bunch of maybe new things that they are going to do with all the new type of personnel. They lost a lot of good players last year, but obviously they've got a lot of good guys coming back, but they've got some new faces at the skill - especially quarterback. So you've got to make sure that you're covering a lot of bases here on what they could do - whether who is in the game or having both in the game at the same time. You've got to be ready for that stuff nowadays. So it's like any opener; you spend all season getting ready and you still don't know what you're going to get. Bottom line is you've got to show up, tackle real well, play hard and get some turnovers."
On two QB's - It probably doesn't matter, but we've had enough time to prepare for an opponent, regardless of who it is. It's time to play ball here in a couple days. See what we have and hopefully we come ready to play. There's some defenses we like better than others with certain quarterbacks or receivers in the game, or tight ends in the game. Who knows their tight end situation, there are all new guys. We have to wait and see what they give us and go from there.
On the players being more comfortable in year two of the defense: "The scheme, the players we know what the players can and cannot do they've all gotten better they all know the package a lot better so they are playing faster.. There's not a lot of doubt. So obviously we feel better. We know what to expect. We've been in the games with these guys before. There have been some heartaches and some great things that have happened so we know what to expect of our guys, and they know what to expect. They trust us and we trust them.''
On the second scrimmage --- "I think we have progressed. The second scrimmage was kind of sloppy and we didn't tackle real well. But I think we have gotten better in some of that stuff --- we better, it's time to play. Hopefully it shows on Saturday.''
Challenge of playing BYU --- "They give you a lot of different formations, a lot of motions. But it comes down to they have really good offensive linemen. They are big and physical. They get in the shot gun, big old splits, so it creates a lot of passing windows or running lanes because their splits are so huge. And they are really good at what they do. Look historically they are one of the best programs in the country year in and year out. And I'm sure playing at their place is difficult with their crowd and them being able to function with their noise and feeling good in their place. I think the biggest problem they pose is just them being who they are and being really good at what they do, whether its all the quick game stuff, the high percentage passing game. Spreading you out but then dinking it around. And then when they want to run the ball they do a good job at that because they are big and physical. They do a nice job with their offense.''
On playing three safeties together --- "When they are all out there together it's some of our nickel stuff. And hopefully we can do more of that this year, it remains to be seen. Last year we didn't have the bodies to do it, now we do. We've got some corners, we've got some safeties, we are healthy still. So we can maybe do some of that throughout the year. We are ready to do some of it, maybe not this week but when we get some more wide out things, open spread stuff that we see sometimes in our conference. But we'll have to wait and see. This might not be one of those weeks that you do all that stuff. But we keep working it and getting guys on the field in case someone gets hurt and moving guys around mixing and matching stuff. So it's been good for those guys.''
On the starters and being eager to see them play --- "I'm eager to play a ball game against whoever is out there. I think there are some backups that need to sharpen up the next couple days, but they've come a ways the lasts couple days and gotten a lot better. Some of the young linebackers really need to step up and they are starting too which is really cool to see.''
On people talking about the defense --- "I really don't pay attention to some of that stuff. We are going to do what we do, we are who we are. We are going to play hard, we are going to be hopefully tackles well and be physical and tenacious defense and play smart and hopefully we get the ball back for our offense and in the final outcome win a lot of games.''
On playing more man and pressuring more --- "We'll do what we do and we'll just have to wait and see if that's the type of offense with a running quarterback and all that kind of stuff that we could see this week, blitzing and all that kind of stuff may not be the smartest thing to do. Just depends on the offense we play week in and week out what we can and cannot do., I think athletically in the secondary there are opportunities to play more man coverage, but really if you look at it percentage wise it will probably end up being the same as last year.''
On Desmond Trufant - "He's really improved. He's a year older, he's a year stronger. He knows the defense really well. He's a special player and he's going to get even better."
On the benefits of having an NFL brother for Trufant - "He comes from a football family. I think there's no question that's helped, growing up with a bunch of brothers that probably beat him up and throwing you around playing catch in the hallway and all that stuff…he has bloodlines. He comes from a football family and it's rubbed off. He's a product of his environment. He's been around good football players and he's a good football player himself."
On Cort Dennison's move to MLB - "It's been smooth. He's a smart player. He's kind of the blood and guts of our defense. He's always there, smart, knows what to do, coachable and is a good player and is a better athlete than he's given credit for. He's a really good player."
On moving him in to be Donald Butler's replacement - "It was a no-brainer, because mentally he could handle it and be really good at it. He's had a fantastic fall. He had a little knee issue - no big deal. So he got rested. But he's just good to have in the huddle. Good player. He calls the defenses. He and Mason both do it, but he does it. He does a good job at it."
On cleaning things up at the line of scrimmage for the defense - "Being onside, for one - not jumping. Cotton in the ears, so to speak…watching the ball and not being sloppy in your alignments where your head or your hands are in the neutral zone. Just being sharp on the details - whether it's during a regular snap from scrimmage or on a field goal block or on a safe punt situation…just being on the details. That's having your i's dotted and t's crossed as far as defensively and the defensive line. I think it goes also in your coverage where you're not grabbing guys all the time. Sometimes you get sloppy in practice when you're grabbing guys and tugging on 'em…and I'm talking about the DB's in one-on-ones or linebackers in zone coverage. You can't be sloppy with your hands and be real sharp at the line of scrimmage with your defensive linemen. And it also talks about our pad level and playing lower, getting our pads down and our pads out and using our hands and being very, very sudden with being able to strike with our hands and being able to get off blocks. That's what we're talking about being really sharp at the line of scrimmage…no dumb penalties and playing with really, really good pad level. Sometimes you can move around too much and you create your own problems. We like to get set, get our cleats in the grass and then go. Sometimes we have an advantage being able to move in and move out of stuff, but in the long run sometimes that can tie you down too."
On Kalani Aldrich - "He's getting better. We're going to use him throughout the season. He might still be a little ways away. The problem is he'll go, and then it'll swell up and he'll have to stay off it a couple of days. We're just trying to get it to where it doesn't have swelling after practice."
Posted by Chris Fetters
Cort Dennison Monday Quotes
On health - "Knee is better. I just got done with treatment. It feels a lot better. I'll be definitely good to go for Saturday. We're going to try and be (100 percent). The training staff has done a great job. I'm doing different kinds of treatment, rehab…working on the strength of it. So I'll definitely be close to 100 percent."
On understanding the MIK spot - "I feel a lot more comfortable than I did in the spring, because I wasn't used to it. Coach (Mike) Cox does such a great job of helping me with all the little things and all the little nuances that I wouldn't have been able to see when I was playing that outside position. And he has so much experience, everything he tells me is such great advice. He's been around the game so long. The more I hang out with the coaches, the easier the game has come to me and I definitely feel more comfortable there."
On talking to Sark about going home to play this game - "Obviously I'm going to have a ton of friends and family there, but he just made me realize that it's just another game - whether we're playing BYU or another team, it's just another game. It's still football. You have to go out and play and not worry about distractions and let it get to you. I'm still going to amp myself up; that's where all the pride and my passion comes from. I'm not going to play down, because my emotions are always going to be high. I'm not going to amp myself down, but a couple of guys - like Mason and Nate and them - they'll probably come up to me and tell me that I'll be alright…don't do this, don't do that…but I'll be fine. I'll play with a lot of emotion - always have, always will. It's just the player I am."
On the number of friends and family he's expecting for the BYU game - "Quite a few, probably 30 to 40 people there, at least."
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Mason Foster Monday Quotes
On the defense - "I think our defense is going to stop a lot of teams this year. We have a great defense, a great coach, but of course there are great teams in this conference with great coaches and great athletes, and there's going to be a lot of points regardless."
On Donald Butler - "Donald's one of my best friends, so I take from him the leadership role and how to get guys going. Stay consistent throughout the season - that was one of the biggest things. He was consistent. And just keep working hard. That was the biggest thing Donald did was work hard each and every week - in the weight room during the week, out in the film room…if you prepared how he did, good things would come out of it. That's one of the things I took from Donald - just prepare and work really hard."
On knowing the three LB spots - "I understand them all. I understand the defense as a whole. And throughout camp there were people that had little nicks here and there, like Cort (Dennison), they just threw me into different spots. That's what happened since last year. They'll throw me into different spots and I'll get used to knowing what he's doing and what he's doing, so obviously this person's doing that, and that's what it came down to. I feel like I understand it pretty well."
On the makeup the team allowing for a big road win at BYU - "We've been through a lot. We've stayed strong and we have a real good chemistry going right now. So even though it's going to be us versus them and they are going to be at a home opener, big crowd, everything - we feel like we've worked hard enough together to trust each other. I know that Cort has my back, I know that Nate (Williams) has my back, and that's how the whole team feels - and we're going to go in there confident, even though it's just us."
On if it's an advantage going on the road right away - "I wouldn't say it's a benefit, but it's always good to go and get your first win on the road against a great team, but there's always an advantage to playing in Husky Stadium - no doubt with these fans. But we want to go out there and definitely show 'em what we got and show the nation that we can compete with whoever. Win or loss, we want to go in there and definitely win on the road against a good team and it'll set out season off right."
On the defense being overlooked nationally - "It's definitely all about the team; it doesn't matter who is getting the love or what side of the ball is getting the love. As long as we're winning games, I feel like, as a defense, we really don't care who is on TV and who is not on TV. It's more about winning, know what I mean? We know that Jake (Locker) is a great athlete and we know we have a great offense, and that's going to be the thing that helps us win games, so it's going to come down to us getting the ball back for them. That's how we feel. Let's get the ball back to Jake and get the ball back to them and let Chris (Polk) run and do their thing. So we have to stop teams and get the ball back for them and we'll be successful."
On the celebration penalty in the 2008 BYU game - "I really didn't even see the flag; I didn't really know what the flag was for until after the game and we were in the locker room. It's just one of those things; referees make calls like that all the time. It's unfortunate that the referee called that, to have that impact the game like that - a silly little celebration on a big play - but that's something that happens in college football. Everybody celebrates; it's an emotional game. It's in the past. We're looking forward to this season."
Posted by Chris Fetters
Nate Williams Monday Quotes
On altitude - "Coach has been talking about that as well, and I've never played at a high elevation or anything, so I don't know what it's like. I've heard it's going to be hot, but it's been hot here the last couple of weeks as well too. We're a tough team. That's just one of those things that comes with playing and I think we'll handle it fine."
On facing Jake at practice as preparation - "He can run, he can pass, he can juke you, he can run over you, he can run around you…everything. He's a smart player. When he has to run, he'll run. When he has to drop back and pass, he'll pass and I think if the pressure is coming to him, he can extend the play longer to let his receivers get open longer. He makes us pick up our game and we make him pick up his game as well too, so it works together well."
On the defense not getting as much national attention - "We know what we're capable of doing, and obviously with Jake being here that's going to bring a lot of attention to the school and everything. So if there's a lot of people are out there watching him play and we're having an amazing game, they can't help but not notice us. That's really how we plan on taking care of that."
On where he is this year, as opposed to last year - "I'm smarter, faster, stronger, everything. I'm just really excited to get this year underway because it's my last year and I just want to make the most of it and just have as much fun as I can out there on the field with all my friends that are going to be my friends for the rest of my life. Just enjoy this year as much as I can and have as much fun as I can while I'm here."
Posted by Chris Fetters
Cameron Elisara Monday Quotes
On playing inside and outside - "I like being what they call a 'utility guy', going from the inside to the outside, because it adds some variety to your game, a little versatility. That always looks good to the next level. But it's fun being able to do it, because there's different elements, different aspects of being inside and outside. It does have that element of surprise and it makes it a little more fun for me."
On his health - "I'm feeling really good, healthy all around. They done a good job resting me so I could heal up any dings that I've had here and there. The neck's feeling great, no problems with that. That was an issue in the past."
On the makeup of this team and going on the road - "Not having a road win thus far, it's going to be huge to start out with one. That's why I think it's really crucial that we come back from Provo with a win. So I do like how it's set up like that, and then we get to come back for a couple of good home games."
On input from his father, Matt - "My Dad provides a lot of advice for me about what I need to do, more of a mentality and attitude thing than anything. It's been huge, an inspiration for me to finish through the right way, because he's been there and he's seen it. He's trying to help me out."
On his take on the DL - "I was extremely pleased with how the whole d-line progressed during camp. I had a little bit of a concern going in, thinking that I need to make sure I have some guys next to me that I'm confident playing next to, and that hasn't been an issue at all. Come toward the end of fall camp, I feel really confident in the ability of a lot of the guys and I haven't had that worry in my mind. I've been really happy with how it went, I think everyone has done a great job of playing their role and stepping up the way they needed to."
On anyone in particular that has stepped up - "I'm really happy with Alameda (Ta'amu). He's always been that guy, I've always been on him…you have the ability to be unstoppable. He's starting to reach that potential. He's finally getting to that level."
Posted by Chris Fetters
Steve Sarkisian Pac-10 Teleconference Notes
On Kalani Aldrich - He did OK Monday. Biggest question is how he's going to do today. Full padded practice. Will have a better understanding of what he can do.
On protecting Locker because of what BYU did to Sam Bradford last year - Don't try and vary from game to game. Protecting the QB is a main principle regardless. BYU does a nice job with zone pressures, so we have to be smart.
On an improved defense - Sark sees a group playing together as a unit, whereas last year they probably relied on a few guys to make plays. They've caused problems for the offense, gotten after it, created turnovers. Defense has mirrored Nick Holt's personality, and he's happy about that. Said that Ta'amu is probably the most improved. Active, explosive. Elisara has continued to excel. Aiyewa is doing well, and Quinton Richardson had a nice camp. So you have the usual suspects, plus some new names that have popped up.
On going into an opener with unanswered questions - Trying to game plan for BYU, but also been running plays they all feel good about for the whole year. Sark said that most of all he wants a clean line of scrimmage - no penalties, no assignment errors. He wants the team to step up to the line of scrimmage, hike the ball and be able to play fast because they know what they are doing.
He was asked if anyone has brought up the 2008 BYU game to him - No one really mentions it. Seems like such a long time ago to everyone in the program.
Posted by Chris Fetters
Steve Sarkisian Show recap
Gas brought in the show, different time, place, etc...
Bob talked about this season having less smoke, less mirrors.
Sark came in from practice and he called the practice a very solid one.
Gas asked him about coaching continuity. First time same staff two years in a row in over two decades. Sark said it was huge. Efficiency is helps. He said he targeted guys that wanted to be at UW and respected the school. Ultimately he's going to have to fight to keep 'em, because they are all great coaches, and the more success they have there will be tougher decisions. You have to develop the GA's and those younger coaches so you can promote from within.
He wanted guys that knew what Husky football was when it was great and wanted to be here.
Bob asked about his evaluation of fall camp, and Sark said that it was efficient. More organized as a staff, and the players felt that. Practices were efficient. On and off the field in two hours every day. Guys knew where they were going, so it extended their rest time. Competition was great. Said Schaefer against Ta'amu, Kearse against Trufant, Polk against Foster were unbelievable competitions. It was a theme of camp.
Bob reminded Sark that he told Bob a while ago that they would be a better looking football team. Sark agreed. Tribute to Ivan Lewis and his staff, as well as the leaders on the team. They got up at 6 in the morning during the summers to make it happen. Lot more tank tops and no shirts lately. We'll look good coming off the bus.
Bob talked about the OL taking their shirts off during the Raise the Woof. Sark said Ivan had the six-pack going, while the other guys may have had some party kegs.
Gas asked about Jake and his leadership. Sark said there are two kinds of leaders - those who gloat and those who grind it out even more, and Jake is the latter. His leadership has grown every year and teams reap the benefit of having a QB with that kind of leadership.
Gas brings the show in. Said they will lead right into the Boise State-VTech game next Monday. Sark said that he talked to Pete Carroll after USC played at VTech, and it was the loudest field Carroll had ever coached at.
Bob asked about some general offensive wrinkles for this year, and Sark said the only major rules changes are with the 3-man wedge in special teams. He said that there's a bigger and bigger move toward running the ball and power football. Days of the pass-happy teams might be declining. Defense has become a priority and they are changing. They are defending all those pass wrinkles like bubble screens better, so the trend is going back to running.
Sark added the game is about speed and explosiveness and you better be able to play in space. You play for movement, you play for explosiveness, and also be able to handle the guy next to you during that 'moment of truth'.
Bob asked Sark about his defense, and he said he couldn't be happier. They are playing fast, they are playing together. The DB play is allowing them to play more man, which has changed everything. Ta'amu is almost unblockable, and Nate Wiliams is great at getting lined up.
The spine of the defense - Ta'amu and Elisara, Dennison and Foster, Williams and either Fellner or Shamburger - they are great there. The emphasis is the edges and making sure they can play out there.
Bob said if there's one guy that has to have a big year it's Ta'amu, and Sark agreed. If he gets after it, it makes offenses go side to side, and that's where the speed helps.
Call from Nelson - said he hasn't been more excited for a season in decades. Said Sark was a perfect hire, has changed the whole energy around the program. He asked about special teams and the advantage UW might have in that area. Sark agreed and he said they are fortunate to have Erik Folk. He's better than he was last year. Mahan is a great punter. In recruiting, they went out and got athletes who could help them in special teams and cover. It's been a big point of emphasis, and people should see some philosophy changes in how they do special teams.
Bob brought up Brendan Lopez, the long snapper and the holder, Cody Bruns. Sark said they are thankless jobs, because the only time you get noticed is when you screw up. But he's been so impressed with Lopez, he put him on scholarship, and Bruns is so athletic and versatile, he gives them a lot of options as a holder.
Sark added that he really sees Cody as a RS soph, and he's done everything the right way and hasn't given up, and that's why he's going to be playing WR for them on Saturday.
New segment where they look back to a great play from last year. It was James Johnson's TD catch against LSU.
Gas was talking about how they were selling hope against LSU. Sark said they had the ingredients, but they hadn't 'baked the cake' yet. Allowed the players to dream a little bigger. But they weren't there to just make it look good, but to win.
Bob said that this BYU game could be a statement game. He talked with Bronco Mendenhall, and he said the UW game isn't a statement game for them, but it's a significant game to show where they are. Sark said being an alum, he's very proud of what Bronco has accomplished. He said that it's hard to call it a statement game. It's a long season and they have a lot of things to accomplish, and winning this game is one of them. Don't want to put all the eggs in one basket.
Bob talked about winning games in the 4th Q. Sark said that especially in this conference, you have to be able to play in a hostile environment, in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line. They just have to keep executing, doing the same things that got them there. BYU will be a great litmus test for that. If they had done that at ND, UCLA, ASU, they would have won eight games last year.
Bob listed off some of BYU's quick facts. Elevation is listed No. 3, and they want you to be aware of it. Sark said the teams that struggled were the ones that tried to get used to it. The ones that did well showed up the night before or day of, and it doesn't affect them. It's a 5 pm game, so the sun should be setting. 76 guys will travel, and nearly all will play. At the end of the day, no matter where you play, you somewhat play your way into shape and you roll a lot of guys in and out.
Bob asked Mendenhall if they tried to use the elevation factor to their advantage, and he said Mendenhall just said they'll try and use tempo to compound the opposition's issues. Sark said if you've been to fall camp, you'd see him always stressing tempo and playing fast.
Gas brought up the TAMU game for BYU when BYU had a BBQ for them early, and by the end their tongues were wagging. They won't do the same thing.
Mike in Bellevue - asked about Locker running and how the opens things up. Sark said he showed Gas how he circled QB draw on his sheet, and the QB runs are going to be extremely important for them, and a point of emphasis.
Gas reads a text. It said that Gas said UW would go 7-5, what did Sark think? Sark said you never know, that's why they didn't make the football round - you never know how it's going to bounce.
Gas talked about the first four games, and Sark said one of the reasons they are putting so much emphasis on BYU is because they have to develop a road warrior mentality quickly. They play at a lot of tough places this year.
Bob said at halftime of the BYU game, there's going to be a ton of QB's there. Sarkisian is supposed to be out there, but depending on how the game is going, that's what will determine it. Super Bowl champions and Hall of Famers will be there. But this is a business trip for him. It's not like Disneyland. Getting the win is the most important thing. He's also reminded his team that he's the only QB in that group to lead BYU to a New Year's Day bowl win.
Bob listed all of his college accolades. That 1996 team, their only loss was to UW. Sark said that when you are the QB at BYU, it's just assumed you were pretty good.
Bob talked more about BYU, and Sark said they would be foolish to think they could just waltz in there and get a win. They are too good and too well-coached. But he likes where his team is at.
Bob talked about the 2008 BYU game and how the BYU folks don't make any mention of the celebration penalty. They played a clip of Locker talking about the game. Bob said it was one of the worst calls imaginable. Sark said he was watching the game, and when it happened he was thinking that wasn't with the spirit of the rule, even though he was watching his alma mater. He was disappointed because it set a precedent for what might come down later. And when the refs met the next week, they understood it and that's why you really haven't seen another call like it since.
Sark said it was a different era, a different time, so onward and upward.
Gas asked about Deontae Cooper, and he said that Cooper is going to have the surgery in a little over a week. He's going to go home, spend some time with his father, and then come back. And Sark said that if there's any kid that could bounce back better for it, it's Cooper. He'll be running for UW in 2011.
Gas asked which would be tougher - coaching in the Pac-10 or Texas high school? Sark said probably HS, they take it seriously.
Text - will UW exploit BYU's front 7? Sark said they are replacing a lot of players, but they have more depth than what might be perceived.
Bob asked about UW's depth and the younger players. Kevin Smith, Erik Kohler, Colin Porter. Sark said all three are great players. Smith will also be on KOR. With Kelemete hurt, Kohler came in and they didn't skip a beat. Porter is that big, physical mauler that will get after you.
Bob asked about the new named on defense - Jamora, Fuimaono, Ducre and Parker. Sark said that if Nate Williams wasn't so experienced and talented, Parker would be starting - he's that good.
Gas read a text - any surprises from fall camp? Sark said the depth of the WR corps. Said they are legitimately 7-deep.
End of the show.
Posted by Chris Fetters
Monday Jake Locker Quotes
On coming back: "That, for me, was one of the biggest factors in my decision, just the potential of that happening with this football team. Being able to come back and have another year to play college football on this football team with this coaching staff made my decision a lot easier. It's one of the things I'm looking forward to this season."
On year two in Sark's system: "We have a talented offense. We have a talented group of guys and we're really comfortable in a system that we've been running for two, two and a half years. I think it's allowed guys to play a little faster, do some things that are a little more advanced than what we did in the past. And at the same time we got to make sure we're preparing really well for every opponent we're playing. We're not playing anybody that's going to be a pushover. So we've got to get ready every week to play a really good opponent and do everything we can on Saturdays to execute and go through our game plan to the best of our abilities."
On the Heisman talk: "It's all determined by how you go out and play, so it's no different than any other season. You want to go out and have success. I want to have success so that we can enjoy it as a football team. And whatever else comes with that, I guess you can embrace it and have fun with it, but I'm here to play football with this football team, and that's what I'm excited about doing."
On the 2008 BYU game: "I'm pretty sure everybody can guess what the first thing that comes to mind is, but it was a tough game, a tough loss for us - a game that, in my opinion, if it would have gone a little differently might have given us a different outcome that year. It's a tough one to look back to and obviously remember the way we lost that one. It's one of those ones that sticks with you for a while."
On 2008 to today and the progression: "The attitude and approach to the game has changed around here and guys are excited and have bought into the same program across the board. And when you can do that as a football team that makes you powerful. It's fun to be a part of and it's created a lot of excitement about this program."
On coming back - When I had a chance to visit with my parents and some of my family members, I sat down and talked to them about it. I really got a chance to talk to my Dad and he said Jake, make the decision that, when you're my age you'll look back and you won't have any regrets. When he put it like that, it was easy to make the decision to come back. I'll never have another opportunity to play college football again. It's a great sport at the best level. To have the opportunity to play on this football team with this coaching staff, to get that much more prepared to make the step to the next level, to have the opportunity to do something that I haven't done since I've been here and anybody on this team hasn't done since they've been here and go to a bowl game…to get my degree…it was really easy for me."
On the offense: "I like the creativity within the offense. There's a concept base, but within each concept you have the freedom to put yourself in the best situation to have success, and that's what I like about it. There's a lot of plays where if we don't like a look, we see if we can get into something that gives us an advantage on every snap. And when you can do that and execute really well, you're going to be successful."
On the road: "The positions we were in last year give us a little bit of experience. It didn't turn out the way we wanted it to, and I think we were able to go back each week and look at certain drives, certain points in the game where it was a vital point in the process of this game and us winning, and we didn't get it done here. So I think there's been a focus on when we're ahead, finishing drives and keeping ourselves ahead. Defensively the same thing - just doing what you've done the whole game to put yourself in that position and not trying to do too much because it's the fourth quarter and it's coming down to the end and you really want to win. But obviously you've done something right to that point to be ahead at that point in the game, so I think just continuing to play like we had the previous three quarters and just the experience and comfort level with that."
On Greg Christine and his recover: "Greg's a guy that's worked really hard ever since he got here. You look at him and you probably wouldn't peg him as a starting lineman in the Pac-10, but he's really intelligent and he's worked really hard to physically allow himself to play at this level. He plays really, really hard. I think all those things combined…to see a guy like that get himself to the position he was last year and then go down, it's tough. It's frustrating. You don't understand why it would happen to a guy who has done so much right to get himself in that position. But for him to be able to come back - I don't think anybody on the team, if you asked them to a man, they would have doubted that he'd be back and having a chance to play this year. I'm really happy for him, I'm proud of him, and I love having him protecting me."
On where's he's improved from two years ago: "From two years ago, just the command and the confidence I have in the offense. That could probably apply to both years, but especially two years ago…not only as a quarterback but as a leader on the field, understanding alignments, guys' assignments…who's on the ball, who's off the ball…just trying to do all those things that when you really, really understand the offense you have the ability to do those things to minimize the mistakes as a unit on offense. That's one thing, definitely. And the attention to details. One of the things that has resonated with me since the new staff has gotten here is their focus on throwing the perfect ball rather than just completing the pass. It's not enough just to get the ball to 'em so he can catch it - put it in a spot that allows us to advance the ball after he makes the catch and gets some yards after the catch and give them an opportunity to make a big play. I think it allows you to be more accurate and allows us as an offense to move the chains a lot more frequently. Those I think are a few little things in the big scheme of things make a big difference."
On the heat and altitude: "I don't think you can ignore it. It's something that is obviously going to be present and so we understand that. I think it's making sure we stay uptempo at practice this week as we have through camp to get us in that game shape and maybe even a little bit more. And then when we get there making sure we run around a little bit and get used to it and familiar with it so when we go out for warmups it's not a complete shock to our body. And understanding that it might be a little bit difficult and we might get short of breath but there are going to be times in the game when you are going to have to push through it and you can't tap out and just have to mentally overcome it.''
On going to the VMAC: "Yeah, I thought it was pretty cool, we had the opportunity to get on some natural grass which we will be on this weekend. We were in an unfamiliar hotel, an unfamiliar facility for a lot of us, a locker room setting similar to what we will have on the road. All those things combined it was a really good process for us to go through as a football team for new guys and veterans as well to lock into that hey a week from now we are going to be somewhere that's not familiar to us and maybe not completely within our comfort zone but that doesn't what we do and who we are.''
Ever think about the Heisman as a kid" Every kid dreams about being in that position. The reality of it coming true, at least I personally didn't expect to be in this position. I just wanted to make the best of it and be the best I could be and didn't know what that would be. I've tired to do that every year I've been here and I hope that I'm able to do that this year. Like I said earlier, I don't like to focus on winning any individual awards because I think if you look at the Heisman winners there aren't any that have won less than nine games if I'm not mistaken. The guys that win those awards are on really good football teams and surrounded by really good football players and they are won on behalf of their football team rather than themselves.''
On the 2008 BYU play: "People bring it up every once in a while but its over and I cant do anything about it now. Obviously you wish it would have ended up differently but just excited to go down there and play Saturday.''
Did you feel guilty about it? "I felt bad because I put our team in a situation was more difficult than it should have been. I think looking back on it I told them after the game I'm sorry that we were put in that situation and we lost the game because of it but I'm not sorry for what I did because I was enjoying the game, I was having fun. I wasn't trying to embarrass BYU at that point. I had scored a touchdown that had the potential to tie the game with no time left on the clock and to me that's pretty exciting and I celebrated with my teammates. So like I said I felt bad that I put our team in a bad situation but I didn't feel bad for what I've done.''
On what he does with the ball now: "I'll take the ball to the referee this Saturday for sure.''
Were guys ever mad at you about it? "I think that all the guys were really cool and understand where I was coming from. It's the same way I would have dealt with anybody else. They were all very supportive and it's a situation that's outside of your control and I think we as a football team understand each other enough that they knew that's not my personality that's not who I am that I wouldn't do that to try to put our team in jeopardy. So no, they were all pretty cool about it.''
Ever see any of the parody videos : "No.''
Are you aware of any effect Heisman talk has had on other members of the team: "Not for me. It's not something that I seek out. It's a part of the game that I think has just become a bigger part of the game now with the media that is following it. I think like I said everybody on this team understands that it's something that comes along with playing this position at this level. It's not something that I talk about in the locker room or that I talk about on the field. It's not a focal point for me and I think the guys see that.''
On not wanting the school to promo the Heisman much: "More of that for me, I've always been a believer that the way you perform on the field determines who wins those awards and if you go out and if you go out and have success and take care of what you need to individually as a football player you put yourself in position to have success. I'm not worried about winning the Heisman trophy but winning football games with this football team and whatever else comes after that is a bonus.''
On what impact it was on coming back all the experience the team had at receiver: "Not just that position but the offense as a unit I believed that each position we had some very key returners and guys that are going to be very good leaders and help put this team in the right direction and it's exactly what I thought it was through off-season conditioning and summer camp and now a game week. So not just that position but our team as a whole I felt we had a nucleus that would give us and put us in a position to have success.''
On finishing and how close they were to winning games on the road last year: "I think that was one of the things that didn't allow us to win some of those road games last year, so this year it's been even more of a point of emphasis for us, both offensively and defensively. Understanding the role that we need to embrace, especially on the road going in in the fourth quarter and you have the lead. It's something that is stressed at every practice and that I think guys are starting to understand.''
On taking finishing to the next level on the road: "I think one of the biggest things for us throughout fall camp, guys were conscious every day, we'd get into our last couple of periods it's 'all right guys, let's finish, let's close out practice the way we should be.' Saying it in the huddle, echoing it to the guys that are possibly going to be subbing in the next play or whatever. Just the understanding of that and every day striving to finish practice, let's finish that way, is something that will help us.''
Posted by Chris Fetters
Monday Steve Sarkisian Quotes
Opening: "Well, game week. I'm excited. I think our football team's excited. It's been a long time coming. We're anxious to get into it and start practicing. It's going to be a fun event. BYU's a very physical, smart football team, extremely well-coached. It's going to be a great challenge for us to go on the road against a very talented, top-25 program. It's going to be a great challenge for us."
On going back to BYU: "It's a business trip, for sure. I'll take a few moments Friday at the walk-through to kind of reminisce. I had some great moments there, some great wins there. But ultimately, my concern is about these 105 kids that we have in this program and the 76 of them traveling with us to Provo. This is their weekend, this is their day, and so that'll be my focus."
On keeping contact with old BYU friends/teammates: "Not as much. I still have a little contact with Chad Lewis here and there. He's a great Cougar, a good friend. Dwayne Busbee's still there, Lance Reynolds still on staff, Robbie Bosco, Tom Holmoe, a lot of guys who were there when I was there. All in all, we've all moved on in our own directions. I'm fortunate enough to be the head coach at the University of Washington. There's a lot of other people that are involved in that program who are still there; some have moved on, for obvious reasons. So I think that's just part of life."
On what kind of reception he's expecting: "Well, I hope better than the first half in 1995 versus Utah, when they were booing me. I think, all in all, it was great experience for me the Y. The fans were tremendous to me, the community was very good to me, my family. So I think it would be cordial."
On expectations for Jake Locker this year? "Well, the sky's always the limit, right? Nothing should ever hold anyone back. But that's just a philosophical little note for you. But I think having Jake, it means a lot to our program – not only from a skill-set standpoint but also from a leadership point of view. Anybody that knows Jake Locker personally knows that he's a better human being than he is a football player. And as talented as he is physically – as big, as strong, as fast – he's a great person, he's humble, he's loyal. And I think that, in and of itself, means a lot to our program."
How has Jake helped the offense?: "Well, I think he's in it with all of us. He's in Year 2 of this system, he's obviously got a great understanding of it, he prepares mentally and physically. His demand for excellence and perfection on the field resonates to the rest of our football team. And I think that's the best way that it helps."
On Jake being an NFL player next year: "Well, in the NFL you start with size. He's got prototypical size; he's 6-3, 230. He's got tremendous arm strength. He's got athleticism. He's in a system that allows him to showcase those things. And he's a great competitor. All those things, combined with his wit, his smarts, give him an opportunity to be successful at the next level. Now, there's a lot of road between now and then. We're just starting on it."
On the players who will travel: "It's pretty clear. You'd like to take as many as you can take. But you don't want this to be a trip to Disneyland, either. You'd like it to be a business trip. All 76 guys that we're bringing on this trip are going for a reason. They're serving a purpose, they have a role. So it's been pretty clear for us; it's been pretty easy."
On having to go on the road for the first game: "We're just trying to get better at everything we're doing. Obviously last year, we didn't perform as well as we would've liked on the road. So we tried to mock a road game. We went and stayed at another hotel here in town that was not our traditional home hotel. We went through our Friday walk-through as if we were going on the road, we went to the hotel, we had our meetings, we woke up there and had our meetings again, we got on the bus, we went down to VMAC, we put on our road uniforms and simulated a game on the road, with substitutions and everything it entailed: in and out of the locker room, how we warmed up. I think we're just trying to expand our comfort zone and get guys comfortable with being on the road so that we can play to the best of our abilities."
On depth chart surprises: "Greg Christine would be the first, just because he's coming off the injury. I'm pleased and happy with Austin Sylvester, that he's gotten to where he is. D'Andre Goodwin, surprise, he's worked his way back; I'm really, really happy for that young man. Everette Thompson, to be able to come back and start from that injury is a big deal for me. I think that's the extent of it."
On the battle at free safety: "Well, just the experience. Nate Fellner's got a lot of experience. He'll get the start, but Will Shamburger's going to play quite a bit. It may come down to them alternating series; they're going to play that much. They're both going to play in nickel. So they're going to get extensive playing time."
On Everette Thompson getting the nod over De'Shon Matthews: "Um, I think overall game, style of game. BYU's a very physical team, and we've got to be able to hold up at the point of attack. Now, De'Shon Matthews is going to play a bunch. This two deep, it's important to recognize that. You're going into Provo, Utah, it's going to be warm Saturday, we're obviously going to be dealing with some altitude. So you're going to see a bunch of guys. Although guys are listed as starters, our two-deep, the entire two-deep, is going to play."
On the receiving corps depth and James Johnson: "Well, James is listed as the third guy there, and part of that is because he just hasn't practiced. And the other side of that is, D'Andre Goodwin's had a great camp, Cody Bruns has had a great camp, Jordan Polk's had a very good camp. So it's a deep position for us at wide receiver. And again, like the defensive line, we're going to need all these guys on Saturday night."
On Cody Bruns: "Well, he's doing things right, first of all. He's lining up right, and he's running the right routes. That's half the battle at wide receiver; you've got to be able to run the proper route. Secondly, Cody has got real speed, and he's playing with that speed. He's not hesitating, he's not feeling his way, he's playing with real speed. And then the third thing is, when the ball's in the air, he's making his plays. He's catching balls, he's making tough catches, he's doing all the things that you need a guy to do from the wide receiver spot."
On whether he thought Greg Christine was finished after he broke his leg: "Yeah, I really did. When a guy's a walk-on, an overachiever in a sense, and you have that type of injury, you think: man, I feel for the kid, but I'm glad he got to play for us when he did. The recovery he's made has been tremendous. He's a really neat personality on our team; he provides a great deal of energy, leadership. I'm proud of him. He's worked his way back, he's earned it."
On the carries split between Jesse Callier and Johri Fogerson: "I'm throwing it out there, I could see them each getting, depending on how the game's going, 10 to 20 snaps, roughly. I don't know. It will all depend on what the guy who calls plays wants to call the next snap. I don't know."
On easing Chris Polk back into action: "No, he's going, Chris Polk? He's going. He's ready to go. We've had a physical camp. He's great. He's ready to go. He's in tremendous shape. He looks really good, and he's playing really good. I'm kind of excited to watch him play."
On the role Mike Hartvigson could play this year. "Oh, I think he could have a very big role. Mike has had a good camp, a very good camp. Obviously, for a freshman, he's showed the pass-catching ability down the field but he's proven himself to be an adequate blocker, not only in the run game but in pass protection. And he's got the right mindset. He's a blue-collar guy, tough-minded. He's going to have a significant role."
On hesitations of throwing 12 true freshmen right into the mix: "We're going to be strategic with it. We're not just going to throw them out there for a snap. If a guy plays, there's going to be some significance there, whether it's on special team or on offense or defense."
On Desmond Trufant: "Extreme confidence. Technically sound. The guy, maybe after Jake Locker nobody prepares better. I mean this guy is a workout warrior, not only in the weight room and on the field but in the film room. He provides a great amount of leadership for a guy who is just a sophomore. He's a pro, in every aspect of it. I think part of that is because he's had the chance to look at his brother and watch his brother grow in the sport as a college player and then as a Pro Bowler in the NFL. Desmond takes on a professional approach to this game, and I think that's why he's so successful."
On Trufant having the benefit of his brother playing here in the NFL: "I think obviously now that Pete is there in the NFL, schematically we're very similar, and technique-wise we're very similar. So they can actually talk true corner technique and the same terminology we use they're using."
On how he did with the honor code at BYU: "I didn't get kicked out" (chuckles)
On what was the hardest part of the honor code to uphold: "It is tell-the-truth Monday. ... You know, the one thing that is hard for me: I'm not a big shaver. I'll go a couple days here without shaving. At BYU, you are not supposed to have facial hair. That one was tough for me. You'd go in to take a test and you'd go into the testing center and you are not cleanly shaven and then they kick you back out and tell you 'You've got to go home and shave before you can come back again.' I had a little bit a tough time with that one."
On the honor code affecting the team: "I don't think it had an effect on the team. It's just as if you go to any university and you are in a dorm and you have to abide by that and adhere to the rules. That didn't have an effect on how we were in the locker room, how we were in the huddle or things of that nature."
On special teams: "I feel great about our returners. Devin Aguilar has had a tremendous camp. He is a tremendous catcher. BYU is a difficult team from a punt and kickoff-return standpoint because of the altitude and the ball carrying. They are very good. If there was a top five of concerns, that is one of them, just catching a ball that is traveling more than it usually is. And Chris Polk at kickoff return along with Kevin Smith, Jessie Collier, Desmond Trufant _ you could see a few of those guys (returning kicks) in this week's game. So I feel good about it. But until those live ones happen it remains to be seen."
On some of his other concerns: "I don't want to give them all away. Bronco might be getting these quotes. But we have some concerns, no doubt. They are a football team that is very physical. They have an offense that is very interchangeable. They have three receivers who are great. They throw to their backs quite a bit. They have two quarterbacks who are two totally different players. So there's some concerns for them offensively. Defensively, they get after the quarterback. They are a big zone-pressure team. They do a nice job in the back end. They don't give up big plays. So we have plenty of concerns."
On having an edge because he knows so much about Jake Heaps: "No. No. They have a system there that has withstood the test of time. They are running their plays. Jake Heaps, if they deem him ready to play, means he can execute that offense."
On the BYU offense being different now compared to when he was there: "Not a whole lot. Not a whole lot. They throw it more now -- no, I'm just kidding. I didn't have too many quarterback runs there when I was playing, either. It's very, very similar. The passing concepts are very similar. A little bit different now with the line splits and whatnot. But a very similar-looking team. The uniforms look the same. Kind of an eerie feeling."
Will he know what's coming at them because of his experience in that offense? "No, not to that extent. We only have a sprinkle of that offense in our scheme now. I'm hoping that Nick Holt and Mike Cox and Demetrius Martin and Jeff Mills and Johnny Nansen can yell it out, though, and call it out, though. That's the goal. They ... It's going to be interesting to watch and see. We are preparing for two different offenses, in a sense, with the two different quarterbacks. I would not be surprised if both quarterbacks are on the field at the same time for them. So we have some real challenges."
On having confidence on road: "Our senior leadership. We've got tremendous leadership on this team, from a team that we inherited almost two years ago that was, I think, lacking leadership, all of a sudden, now we've got tremendous leadership.
"It's the Jake Lockers, the Ryan Tolars, the Senio Kelemetes, the Jermaine Kearses, the nate Williams, the Mason Fosters, the Cort Dennisons of the world provide tremendous leadership for our guys. There is a real confidence and belief about it. That makes me feel good."
On having to reel in Cort Dennison going back to Utah: "I've talked to him a little bit about it. One of the natural things guys go home and play, they try too hard. Cort doesn't need to try too hard, he's a great player. He's very smart. He understands our defense probably better than anybody. So he just needs to relax and play. We've addressed it."
On if there are true freshmen not on two-deep could play: "Potentially … the plan right now is not, but you always take them. You never know when you're going to need somebody on the road first game, injuries happen. Potentially, yes."
On Kalani Aldrich's knee status: "That knee is just not coming back the way we want. We'll give him a real, good, hearty evaluation here early in the week. We hope he's ready. We need ready, from a depth point of view. But it just hasn't responded very good. He has not been ruled out. We're going to evaluate him the here the first few days of the week."
On James Johnson: "James is a little further along that Kalani. James had a nice practice on Saturday, first day back. He was a little sore afterward. Got the day off yesterday. I think he'll practice and look fine today, but we've got to see what it looks like. I think that's why he is where he is on the depth chart. We need to see him practice for a day, and see how he bounces back the next day."
On Brandon Huppert: "Bradon Huppert's knee had a little bit of a setback. He's out this week for sure. He's the one who is out, along with obviously Deontae Cooper."
On the benefit of Jake being a senior quarterback: "It's that quiet confidnece in the huddle. It's knowing of going into a game, or in the huddle or for a big drive or big play, that guy is seeing it, he's been there, he's done it. It eliminates some of the unknowns about who this guy is, and the way he might play. I think there is a lot of knowing of what a senior quarterback can be, and for us, what Jake Locker is and can be – not always from a coaching perspective, but a team's perspective. We've got a lot of freshmen and sophomores that are going to play in this game, and to have the stability of having a senior quarterback there, I think gives them confidence knowing what they have there at that position."
On giving more trust to a senior quarterback: "A little more flexibility at the line of scrimmage. We'll allow him to do some things, change some plays, change some routes, work with the cadence a little more. We were a team last year, our cadence, we remained the same. We wanted to make sure we could get up and snap the ball, and he didn't have to worry about that aspect of the game. We are doing much more with our cadence – mix it up, have some variety, and that's all on the quarterback to manage that, in the huddle and the line of scrimmage."
On adjustments you have with a staff a year older into it: "Continuity has been huge for me. I think it's allowed us to be extremely efficient in our meetings, in our preparation, in our practice plan. On game day, we know what to expect from each other, we know what types of questions we're going to want, and get them answered. It's great for me, because it allows me to step back and let those guys coach,and not have to micro-manage them. All in all, it's a good thing, as long as they're good coaches. We're fortunate that way."
On being different about your thought process in year two: "No, I know the personalities of our staff, and so I know the types of questions to ask each guy separately – whether it's about the mentality of the team, whether it's about a specific something in a scheme, whether it's regarding discipline. All those things, I have a better feeling of our staff, of who can offer me the type of feedback that I'm looking for or not looking that will help me get through things. Whether it's decision off the field, or that quick decision on the field of "Go for it or not." You don't always make those decisions by yourself. You might bounce an idea of a guy here and there, or go for it on fourth down, or try a long field goal. I have a better feeling for our staff to ask those questions of them now."
On the Jake 'hype': "I think it's hype. It is what it is. Ultimately, he's got to play well. That's what the season is for. We can hype it all we want, but then we got to go play well. That is part of our job as a coach to get him prepared. Ultimately it's part of his job to prepare himself mentally and physically so he can go play well. And it's part of the responsibility of his teammates to go out and do their jobs so he can go out and perform well."
Was it too much hype?: "I felt it was fine. I thought it was good – for Jake Locker, for the University of Washington, I thought the exposure was good, for not only now, but for the future of his career being in the National Football League, getting used to being in those environments. And for our program, to get that exposure and people to recognize the University of Washington football program."
On Jermaine Kearse's breakout: "I'd say the last drive of the game versus USC, those were two humongous plays. Third down catch down the middle, and the big catch that set up the field goal, those are monster plays. And from that point on, we kind of had to step back and reevaluate Jermaine as a player, and a playmaker. In turn, that gave him the boost of confidence that he can get back into the role of being that guy, and I don't think he's looked back since."
Posted by Chris Fetters
BYU Game Notes/Depth Chart released
Click on the link below to view BYU's official game notes and Depth Chart, released Monday.
BYU Game Notes/Depth Chart - UW
Posted by Chris Fetters
UW Depth Chart released
Click on the link below to view Washington's Depth Chart, released Monday morning.
Washington's Depth Chart - BYU