Dawg Blog - Syracuse

Wednesday was not a good one for the Washington Huskies, as Will Mahan was diagnosed with a season-ending injury, and running back Johri Fogerson is doubtful to play this Saturday against Syracuse. We spoke with UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian to get his thoughts on the injuries, as well as his take on the team bouncing back from their loss to BYU.

Posted by Chris Fetters
9/8/2010
7:04 PM

Wednesday Cody Bruns Quotes

On filling James Johnson's shoes: "We've been working hard all of the offseason. We feel like we have a lot of depth so when one guy goes down we just gotta fill in."

On Johnson's injury allowing him to get a shot: "Obviously James is a good friend of mine. You never want somebody to get hurt, go down that's why you just gotta be ready to fill in. Try to get him back, back in the rotation and that's just going to make us a better wide receiving corps and a better team overall."

On nervousness with snapper Brandon Lopez: "Not at all, I mean we've been working all spring, all summer. He's been doing a great job for us so the sky's the limit. We're just going to get better this week so no worries there."

On what he says to Lopez: "You just gotta be positive about everything, things happen in a football game, you just gotta bounce back next snap."

On Lopez's mental state: "I'm not sure. I'm sure it's great. He's a great competitor so I'm sure he'll be able to bounce back."

On role this week: "I'm just doing everything I can to contribute, whatever that may be and I'm just doing my best."




Posted by Chris Fetters
9/8/2010
7:00 PM

Wednesday Steve Sarkisian Quotes

On Mahan's status: "Will's got a torn ACL and a torn MCL. He'll be having surgery in a week or two, depending on the swelling and how that goes down. It's unfortunate. It was a routine drill – a drill we do every day, and it was actually the last punt of the day for him. Kind of a freak accident. It's unfortunate. We'll be OK. We have a nice backup plan in Kiel Rasp, and we've got a couple other options, contingency planning."

On if the injury occurred on his plant leg: "On his left leg, yeah."

On contingency plan for punting: "Well, we'll kind of keep that in our back pocket. It's not a kicker. We might have a little something."

On Locker doing a Billy Joe Hobert?: "Well, I don't know."

On Rasp's play: "He's got a great leg, and he's been terrific all training camp. The key is to go into a game, catch a ball and punt it, which he's never had to do. Sooner or later, we all have to go out there and experience, and go do it. He's given us all the confidence that he can do that. If we didn't think so, we'd have somebody else doing it. I have all the confidence he can get it done."

On Johri's injury: "Johri's got a hip flexor strain – a hip flexor in his quad that he did Monday that has not allowed him to run, no explosiveness at all. We're trying to get it treated as quickly as we can, but I would put him really doubtful for Saturday."

On possibility of Mahan redshirt: "We're going to do all the work we can to get that accomplished. The kid deserves it. So we're working on that already."

On Boyles, Taz in new positions: "We have some guys moving around. Just trying some guys at some different spots, just to make sure we're versatile enough, especially when we get into conference play when our travel numbers get limited … to 70 players. We're just trying to make sure guys, in case of some injuries … can fill in at different spots."

On the O-line and more push: "I've been analyzing that myself here. I recognize the fact that I'm talking about it. Ultimately, you can be physical when you really know what you're doing and you're on the same page with the guy next to you. And I think that's something that's key. As much as I want guys to just fire off the football and be physical and knock guys around and butting heads and all that, we need to work together. And that's been a big point of emphasis of mine now since looking at the film Sunday and going back and coming to work Monday. I just want us on the same page, and if we're on the same page, then it's time to really fire off. And if that doesn't work, then we'll get it fixed. But if you're unsure, and you're not firing off, then you can't be physical. I think we're taking a little bit of a different approach that way. We're taking a little bit more of a cerebraler approach, but one that I think they're responding to. And I've really seen it out of the guys here the last two days, padded practice. I thought, really, are one and our two o-lines have really fired off the football. And part of that is, they're listening to the calls, and they're just doing it together. We might not be right all the time, but when we're right, man, we should be more explosive than we've been."

On changes to the starting unit: "I don't know if there will be changes to the starting unit, but the goal is to play some other guys throughout the ball game."

On special teams: "I feel good. I feel good about the situation in the kickoff return game. I like the fact that, in the punt game today, we executed well, we punted well. I thought Kiel punted the ball well. The field goal operation was good. I don't know if Erik struck the ball as well as we've all seen him strike the ball on his field goals, but that's the least of my concerns on special teams right now."

On Kohler and Porter on o-line: "It looks good. Those guys have stepped in. How much playing time they get, I don't know. But I would like to get them in the ball game."

On Kevin Smith as Devin's backup punt return guy: "Yeah, there will be Kevin there and potentially Cody (Bruns) in that spot."

On Syracuse: "Well, they're more traditional than BYU is. They're going to get under center. They do a nice job, not that they don't do a nice job, they're very well-coached, but they're much more traditional offensively. They're a base, four-down defense, where BYU is a base, 3-4 defense. But as soon as they can, they get into their nickel-odd package, which is essentially the 3-4 defense. They're similar to BYU in that they love their pressure game out of the 3-4 package. They're a little more just straight pressure-oriented than BYU. You cross the 50, they're going to come after you pretty good with man pressure, zone pressure, there's a variety of them."

On what kinds of challenges that gives the o-line: "Again, the communication things. But when you're communicating, then you've got to be stout. They play hard, they're fast. They play similar to BYU in that they play hard. You can see it on film how hard they play. That's a tribute to Coach Marrone. He's done a really nice job."

On added weight to this game - "The record is a non-issue. It's about going out and playing well and playing to our potential and maximizing our opportunities on Saturday at Husky Stadium…which I think we will do. We've had two really good practices. Our guys have been competitive, they've been upbeat, they've been energetic. If you watched practice today, you wouldn't know that we lost Saturday. They've really responded well and I'm proud of them for that. It shows a lot of the makeup of our football team and the mental toughness that these guys possess. We just want to go out and play well Saturday. It's not about the record."

On Boyles playing receiver - "He was down there on scout team."

On Rasp not being here in the spring - "No. He had been with us before, and he was contemplating playing or not playing. He wasn't with us at the beginning of training camp either, but we really needed a second punter. A guy we thought we had fell through, so we had to reshuffle our roster and bring him in."

On Rasp being fast enough getting the ball off - "Yeah, I think his timing is fine. His timing is the same as Will's. The thing he provides at times is a bigger leg than Will. It's the consistency factor of being in a ball game punting which is key."

On seeing more of Jesse Callier Saturday - "I just expect him to be part of the game plan."

On winning every game at home - "This is the first opportunity to prove myself right. This is our house and these are our fans and we want to play our best in front of them. We understand the opportunity we have to play here and the pride we have coming out of that tunnel to play here, and we'll play hard. It's going to take a great effort from our opponent to beat us here."

On Mahan doing well up to his injury - "Yeah. That's why it's important for us to fight to get this year back for him so he can do it all over again next year."


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/8/2010
6:54 PM

Wednesday quick practice notes

Sark confirmed that Will Mahan is done for the year with an ACL and MCL sprain to his left knee, which took place during the last punt of a special teams period Tuesday.  Mahan was seen at practice Wednesday on crutches, with his leg in a walking cast.  

Sark said they are looking into getting a redshirt for Mahan.  He'll have surgery in the next week or two, depending on swelling in his knee.

When asked if they had any contingency plans after Kiel Rasp, Sark said they did, but wouldn't elaborate.  He did say, however, that those plans wouldn't involve Erik Folk or Eric Guttorp.

According to Sark, RB Johri Fogerson is 'doubtful' with a hip flexor strain that has worked its way into his quad.  They haven't been able to get him running, and he doesn't have any explosiveness right now.   In Johri's absence, Kevin Smith will be backing Devin Aguilar on punt return duties, and Cody Bruns may also see time in that area.

Anthony Boyles and Taz Stevenson were working on offense the last couple days, and Sark said they are making sure they are versatile and have guys that can fill in at different spots when Pac-10 play comes, but he wouldn't go so far as to say they are on a permanent move.

Erik Kohler and Colin Porter continue to get some work with the ones on the OL.  Kohler is at left guard and Porter is at right guard.   

The defense was really focused on getting turnovers, and they were able to force a pick off a tip during the final team period.  Will Shamburger came up with it, and the whole defense celebrated that one.  It also looks like they are using Brandon Huppert, Garret Gilliland and Jordan Wallace to back up Victor Aiyewa, Cort Dennison and Mason Foster, respectively.  

Former Seahawks coach Jim Mora was at practice Wednesday.


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/7/2010
7:12 PM

Nate Fellner Quotes

On defense's mantra of "you get pressure, we make picks" not playing out against BYU: "I feel like I should have had my interception, I dropped it, but besides that, I don't think you can blame the pressure being the issue in not getting a turnover sometimes you gotta just find a way to make a play and we couldn't do that. They were really quick in getting the ball out so it's hard to get a pressure on the QB because he catches it and throws it real quick and you can't really pressure a QB if he's going to get rid of it so quick and a lot of time turnovers are created when a QB is under pressure and he has to force a throw or you can strip the QB, so that was tough."

On adjustments to get turnovers versus Syracuse: "I watched a little bit of film on Syracuse; I'm sure Coach Holt knows what to do and I'm sure we'll make some adjustments on how to get to the QB more and cause some more havoc. I'm sure we'll get a few turnovers this week."


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/7/2010
7:11 PM

Mason Foster Quotes

On making sure that they are not 0-2 going into the Nebraska game: "Each game you play each week is the biggest game on the schedule so we don't think anything of it so we just go out and play and do what we need to do to win the game. 0-2, 2-0, whatever, we just gotta focus on this opponent coming up and do our best to come up with a W that game."

On no sacks/turnovers: "That's just a tribute to BYU, they're a great team, well coached team, took care of the ball, didn't make any mistakes. That's one of the things that teams are going to do…two great quarterbacks, good running backs that protected the ball well and just played a field position game with us and that's what they're coached to do."

On realistic turnover goal per game: "Three. We try to get three. I feel like between the d-line, linebackers, safeties, and the corners, we can definitely make that happen. We shoot for 3, but like I said before, they were just really good with the ball they were great team, well disciplined, they kept the ball tight and that's just something they were coached to do."

On improving turnovers: "You just gotta keep stripping, keep going for the ball, tackle the ball more and more and it's going to come out like you've seen last year, it's going to come out so we're just going to keep working at it, keep stripping, keep getting after the ball and good things are going to happen."

On not letting the BYU game define them: "We gon' bounce back. Guys are already in the locker room getting ready for this week. Everybody's ready to go. What happened on Saturday, we know what's going to happen we've seen where we messed up and we're just going to bounce back. We're just going to come in this week and work harder than ever to get ready for this home opener."

On avoiding ‘hangover' after disappointing loss: "No, guys are ready for this game. We already started preparing for this, we watched film. What's in the past is in the past, you can't go back in time and change it. We made those mistakes and we just gotta correct them this week and keep working hard and I think we'll be successful."


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/7/2010
7:08 PM

Talia Crichton Tuesday Quotes

On his BYU performance - "I felt I did pretty good, but all I wanted to do was win, so I'm not satisfied. But I thought I did all right."

On goals as sophomore - "Mostly I was just trying to put on weight and get stronger and study my plays more, just get more experience, work on my hands, and I did that."

On how much weight gained - "Like 15 pounds. 15-20."

On having more pressure this year - "Obviously we're going to try to rush the passer and get sacks. That's the bottom line, so that's what we're working on right now. Other than the blitzes it's just our responsibility to do that."

On how to improve from their BYU game - "I guess just work harder in practice on our rushes. That's what we're doing."

On it being easier with just one QB - "It's pretty much straightforward. They run the ball a lot at first, so we can recognize pass more. We can tell the difference with this quarterback. He's less moble. … He can run, like, a little bit, but it's mostly off the play-action. We'll take care of him."

On how much to you take that on yourself - "It's our job. We take it personally. That's what we work to every day. That's our lives. That's what we do."


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/7/2010
7:05 PM

Cort Dennison Tuesday Quotes

On the mood of the team right now - "The mindset, we've got a positive mindset. We've forgot about the BYU game, there's nothing we can do about it now. We've turned all of our attention to Syracuse. We realize they are an up-and-coming program. They've got a lot of talent on their team. They are a very good team. We've got a lot of things we've got to straighten out. It's only Tuesday but we'll get there. We've watched a lot of film and we've got a positive mindset right now."

On moving past BYU - "Sark, that's what his post-game speech was about. We played hard and the outcome wasn't what we wanted, but we can't do anything about it now. Everybody's head was up in the locker room after the game. We realize you can't base the season on one game. You can't win the whole war just off one battle. We have twelve games left and we realize we can still get to a bowl game. It's only one game, so we've turned all our attention toward Syracuse."

On his knee - "My knee is kind of banged up, but I'll be fine. It's a nagging thing, but I'll be alright. It'll probably be a whole year thing, but I'll be alright."

On turnovers - "Turnovers are probably the most important part of a ballgame. If you look at a turnover stat, and most of the time if you win the turnover battle, you win the game. Our coaches preach that, and as a defense we have a strip king every day. Whoever has the most strip attempts…and as a defense we didn't do a good enough job at BYU and our coaches really got on us about it. They showed us some film of opportunities when BYU offensive players had the ball loose and times we could have punched the ball out. We're really emphasizing that this week and it's crucial to win the turnover battle."

On BYU taking care of the ball - "They did a good job, but there were definitely some opportunities where the ball wasn't tucked in or they were carrying the ball loose, and we didn't do a good enough job of getting the ball out, and that's on us."

On being opportunistic last year and it carrying over - "Its only one game, and have still 12 more games to cause plenty of turnovers and that's what we need to emphasize. If we win the turnover battle, that gives us a great advantage for our offense."

On the 2007 Syracuse game - "I got hurt the week before, so I didn't travel. I was with Yak (Brandon Yakaboski) at Mount Si."

On Syracuse being a different team from 2007 - "Coach Sark was just saying they are a lot like we were - a team that's up and coming like we were last year, and they are hungry and have a lot of great players. We definitely have a very good challenge ahead of us because they are a really good football team."

On not trying to do too much and trust - "That's what got us caught up at BYU - people were trying to do too much, trying to do their own thing. It only takes one person to mess up a whole play. If everyone just trusts their coaching and trusts doing their own job and doesn't overreact and just plays, we have a better chance of winning. The coaches got on us about that, because kids were trying too hard at BYU."

On what is at the core of that - "It's a trust thing; you have to trust your coaching, trust what you've been taught to do. We've been doing it all camp; there's no reason to turn away from it for one play or one game. We've been doing a good job at camp with it, so rely on your techniques and trust your coaching, and good things will happen."

On communication on defense - "It was good. It was a little hard, because they had the no-huddle, and we had to get personnel calls and stuff…the coaches were getting the calls from the sidelines. It was a little hard getting people lined up, but I think we adjusted to it in the second half. We did a good job, but give credit to BYU. They take advantage of their altitude; they take advantage of the conditions they are used to; they take advantage of the no huddle. So give a lot of credit to them."


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/7/2010
7:02 PM

Johnny Nansen Tuesday Quotes

On backup punter Kiel Rasp: "Kiel's a good punter, a good backup. Obviously, he's worked his way. He's getting better every day, and he's ready to step up when we need him. I don't know what Will's situation is. I think it's just a little sprain, but I don't know. Until I get in the training room, I don't know what's happening."

Confidence in Kiel? "Oh, yeah. No doubt."

Rasp's situation over summer: "Last semester, he was having problems with his schoolwork, and he wanted to focus on school. Obviously, this summer, we needed somebody to come in and help out (so we're) not putting so much work on Will. I gave him a call, and he said, ‘Yeah, Coach, I'll come back.' That was his situation."

On how thankful you are to have Kiel right now: "No doubt, no doubt. We knew going in: you never know. I've been in this profession too long to prepare for situations like this. Like I said, I don't know what's happening with Will. But going in, we knew we needed two kickers, and we knew we needed two punters. Because you never know."

On punting in front of 70,000 people for the first time: "To be honest with you, Kiel's a different kid. He won't even know he's kicking in front of 75,000. That's the type of kid he is. So I'm pretty sure he'll be fine."

On how Will got hurt: "He was just punting, and one of the service guys just kind of rolled up on the back of his knee. I didn't see it. I was running to go to the bags until Coach Sark said, ‘Hey, can you go check on Will?' I just found out from the trainer that he sprained his knee or something."

On Will this year: "He was improving, he added leg strength. We were looking for a good year out of Will. Hey, he might still punt. Knowing Will, he's a strong-minded kid. He'll probably be there. I'll still talk to the trainers and find out more. But if it's minor, I'm pretty sure we can put him out there. It's not his kicking leg."

On not fielding any punts last game: "A lot of them were short, shanked. One was good placement by their punter. Obviously, it's hard to field punts when they're running the shield, where there's three people just coming down on the kid. So rather than turn the ball over, especially on the road. We just told him, ‘Hey, if you don't feel comfortable, just, "Peter, Peter," and let it go.'"

On getting duped by BYU's punt returners on fake fair-catch calls: "That's just common. What you see in that situation was a kid who's well-coached. Anything that's 10 yards in, what he's trying to do is get our gunners to chase them away from the ball, and that's what happened."

On the D-end's pass rush: "BYU, it was a very frustrating offense in terms of a pass rush because there were a lot of quick gains. By the time we were trying to shoot our moves, the ball was already out. And they had the two-quarterback system, so the ball was already out. Most of our guys were stunned to try to take away the ball fake. There were times I wasn't pleased with it, and that's something we'll try to focus on this week and improve."

On life without Daniel T'eo-Nesheim: "It's hard to replace a kid like that. He's a hard worker, a good leader. He's got a lot of game experience under his belt. You look at the two kids we have and, obviously, Everette is slowly coming, but Talia, that was really his first game. Even though people say, ‘Hey, he played against USC,' he didn't play really that many snaps. I think Talia's going to be all right, it's just as we get through the season."

On what you expect this week: "I think you're going to see great improvement. We stressed it so much in meetings the last couple of days, and the kids are starting to see it: ‘Hey, look, man, we need to rush the passer in order to have a chance' _ especially against some of these offenses we're facing, and especially in the Pac-10. So we're trying to rotate guys in to keep guys fresh through the third and fourth quarter, and we're going to continue to do that."

On Syracuse using one QB: "Yeah, but at the same time, you look at their offense, and it kind of reminds me of our stuff, a lot of pro-style offense. So you're going to get a lot of play action, more hard snaps. So the kids, it's not going to be quite as much teeing off and race to the quarterback, you're really going to have to feel the hard snaps and try to go to your moves. So they do a great job of slowing down the pass rush with their personnel. But we're going to have to do a good job of making sure they understand situations and things like that."

Being easier going against one QB: "Oh, there's no doubt. No doubt. When you've got one quarterback that's got a different package, and one quarterback that's got another package, it plays a mind game with the kids. ‘OK, what am I doing now?' Heaps was a quick thrower. Balls were coming out, and the kid showed a lot of poise for a freshman; he did a nice job, and I've got to give him credit for that. But the other kid, you didn't know if he would throw or run the option. So our kids were trying to adjust as the game went on."

So this week should be easier that way? "Oh, most definitely. It's going to be more traditional, more what we're doing. It'll be more accustomed to what they're seeing every day on the practice field."

Expecting similar sack numbers to last year without DTN: "I think it's too soon to tell, to be honest with you. The middle of the season, you might ask that question and I might have a better answer. But Daniel was just a special player. There's a reason why he got drafted in the third round. And we've got a kid who was just a true freshman last year, and Everette's just coming around from injury. We're going to try to match it. Obviously, the goal is to try to be better than that. So we're going to just continue to work and get better."

Stressing turnovers this week: "That's the No. 1 thing we stress to our kids, to make sure that we've got to get after the ball. They really define the outcome of a game. And, obviously, in the game last week we didn't have one turnover. We're stressing that every day and every meeting, we're trying to tell our kids, ‘Hey, make sure, we've got to get the ball back for our offense, to help them out.' So, yeah, we're really stressing that this week."

How many turnovers could you have had in Sat. game? "Two or three. There were plays that were left out there that we could've got on. But, again, BYU did a nice job. We've got to make plays when we have to."


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/7/2010
6:58 PM

Nick Holt Tuesday Quotes

On looking back at the BYU film - "The only thing that changed was the first two series of the third quarter trying to hard. The kids weren't, but as coaches and myself as the play caller, trying to hard to get good field position. I should have just been a little simpler and we wouldn't have given up that big touchdown. It's third and 10, it's three and out if we get out of that drive, we were a little too aggressive and we didn't execute it correctly. But it was something that we didn't need to do, or I didn't need to call. I thought the kids played hard, we tackled really well, we had two bad series in the third quarter, and that wasn't their fault, that was my fault."

On losing Daniel Te'o-Nesheim being a bigger hit than initially imagined - "What we're trying to do is get the ball back for the offense and to create turnovers. You do that in a lot of different ways, you're going to get after the quarterback in a lot of different ways, and it just so happens it didn't work out in that play. We're going to get after the quarterback in a lot of ways regardless of who we have in the game. It was tough when they're dropping three-step and quick-game all over the place and going no huddle, it's hard to get pass rush consistently for 74 snaps. We didn't rush the passer great, but that wasn't why we lost. It was giving up a couple of big plays, and that was my fault, it wasn't the kid's fault."

On if the UW defense look like it trained - "There wasn't really any surprises on who played well and that kind of stuff. The good guys played really well and the young guys did some nice things and made some mistakes. There wasn't anything glaring and shocking out there, quite honestly. I just wish we had gotten some more turnovers and made it easier for the offense."

On how you do that - "You have to be disruptive in some things and you have to get after the quarterbacks. Those are the guys that either they throw you picks or you get sacks, cause fumbles and stuff like that."

On cornerbacks - "They did OK. They did fine. I think some of the skill guys got a little winded because they were also on special teams. And the hurry-up offense…but I think the corners did a nice job other than a couple of those plays where they got penalties. And we'll clean that up."

On giving BYU some of their own medicine by dropping eight with their quick game - "We do that anyway. We do drop eight. We could have done that more, but their quarterback was scrambling and running around. They featured a little different offense, they were doing some option too, so we had to make sure we were good on all that stuff. That's part of our game too, and I know BYU does that, did a nice job of it. Our third downs were better than their third downs by a play or so…really what got us was the pass on 3rd and 10. We shouldn't have done that, but other than that it was actually pretty good for the most part on the defense. It really was."

On expecting just one philosophy with Syracuse - "They are very similar to us offensively. They are really good. People may think I'm full of it, but they are much improved. You can see it through the game film of last year…their last part of the season they are moving the ball on everybody. This last game they did a nice job…they have all the right plays. They have two good running backs. Their quarterback is more of a drop-back passer. He doesn't run much of the option, although they have it in their scheme. They do a nice job. They are different than BYU. Their o-line is a little different than BYU's offensive line. I'm not saying they are better or worse; they are just different. They do different stuff. They are more of a traditional offense in terms of running the ball. They don't get into the shotgun and do all the little draws and all the little quarterback stuff and the screen game…that's really hard on d-linemen, because they never get a chance to pass rush. These guys are a little different than that, but they are good. They are very well coached."

On it being easier to deal with one style, as opposed to multiple styles - "We prepared for all the stuff they did, nothing came as a surprise. They protected the passers very well with their offensive line, and they've always done a good job of that. What got us was being out on the field and the hurry-up stuff. But I thought our guys…there was a couple of times where you get lined up and they were throwing the quick screens out there, but that didn't hurt us. We had a chance to win the game. We shut them out in the fourth quarter. They didn't go up and down the field in the third quarter; we screwed some things up in the third quarter. We settled down and then stopped them."

On what will show progress - "We win. Regardless of how that happens on defense…to see improvement defensively is to get a win against a good, solid team, a good team. So that's number one. Number two is not to give up so many yards. These guys are good, so just get the win. And the younger guys will play better because now they have more reps. And the older guys will do what they do…the guys that have played - they will do a nice job. And the younger guys that made mistakes, they'll clean that up. And hopefully they will."


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/7/2010
6:09 PM

Quick Tuesday Practice Notes

Will Mahan went down early in practice, and we were told it's a knee sprain, but he hasn't been examined fully yet - so we don't know the extent of the injury.

Johri Fogerson sat out of practice with a hamstring issue, don't know how serious it is either.  We'll find out more when we talk to Sark tomorrow.

Everyone else took part in the 90-minute full pads practice.

Sark said Monday he was going to try and get Erik Kohler and Colin Porter some work with the ones.  He did that Monday during their shorts and shells practice, and he continued to work the two true freshmen in during Tuesday's full pads workout.  But instead of Kohler working at left tackle, like he has for basically all of fall camp, he was worked inside at left guard - a spot currently occupied by Ryan Tolar.  And Porter continued to work at right guard, switching off with Greg Christine.  

Taz Stevenson was on offense Tuesday - don't know if that was a permanent move or if it was a service team move.  Again, we'll ask Sark to see what Taz's status is.  The interesting thing is that Taz was running the ball instead of playing WR, which is what Scout.com originally evaluated him at.

Former FB Paul Homer was there with Jake Locker's dog Ten.


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/7/2010
11:40 AM

Steve Sarkisian Show Notes

On play calling and field position - Naturally when you're backed up on your own end, tend to get conservative. But they need to strive for consistency.

On young guys and mental mistakes - Want them to know that I believe in them. Have to continue to coach them

On Jesse Callier - Impressed with debut. Able to get him out there early on third down draw. He had spring and fall to prepare for it, and he did a nice job. Identified him early in the recruiting process, well aware of what he was doing.

On optimistic tone - Still feel very optimistic. When you step back and look, BYU has accomplished a lot in the last 4-5 years. You take into account we were on the road, heat, altitude and all the rest, and with two minutes to go we had a chance to win. But we have to fix the mistakes.

On what he'd like to see against Syracuse for his defense - Like to see a more stout defense. Be dialed in more.

On Jake Locker - Thought there were some big plays that we made, but his play was indicative of the whole game. Inconsistent. Have to get him more completions so he's feeling good about what they are doing.

On USC and Reggie Bush - Disappointed about the whole situation. Whatever he did, he did. Are you going to punish him or the team? You have to make up your mind.

On Mason Foster and tackles - Now at WIL, closer to the football, so he can get to the ball. Also had to do with his effort. He got to the ball.

On Syracuse - Extremely well-coached team. Marrone done a great job. Very similar offensively. Mix of two-back and one-back. Defensively they are fast and active, get after the QB. Really impressed looking at the film of the Akron game.

On surprises for game day - Doing a salute to the Policemen and Firemen as a tribute to 9/11
Posted by Chris Fetters
9/6/2010
5:30 PM

Steve Sarkisian Show Notes

Gas introduces the show and asks those at the DJC to whoop it up.  Gas said on his show, the BYU game won't define the season.  Said fans are so excited about the season and knew it was going to be tough.  

Sark said it won't.  Said the biggest thing for them is that with greater expectations come bigger disappointments sometimes.  When you go on the road against a team that won 11 games last year and it was 93 degrees out and etc....and until they get over that hump, it's going to be hard.

Sark said they are still a better team than last year.

Gas said it reminded him of Notre Dame.  Lot of opportunities to take control, and Sark agreed.  Said they are analyzing all of it.  They'll learn and they'll keep coaching the kids up.  

Gas said that the passing game is considered a strength, and dropped passes and misfires were disappointing.  Sark mentioned the 'big play/little play' mantra again, but ultimately it comes down to their short yardage offense that killed drives.  They had a big factor in the game.

Bob mentioned the idea of a hangover, and UW just came off the practice field - it's maybe 60 and raining.  What did he see?  Sark said they had a great team meeting and they were disappointed, but they want to get better and eager to get back on the field.  They want to know why things went wrong.

Bob said they were prepared for something different, but it felt like the same old same old.  Sark said when he looks at his team...despite the botched snap they were at about 470 yards offense on the road.  They have to get out of their own way, especially in the fourth quarter.  And until they do, the coaches will be talking this way every week until it kicks in.

Bob talked about that defining Heisman moment for Jake on Saturday night and Sark said he was waiting for it too.  The offense worked their way down to about the 25 yard line.  Miscommunication on third down and a batted ball on fourth down and that was that.  He felt they had gotten the momentum back, but early in the year it's hard to sustain 10 and 12-play drives.  They got a lot of yards, but couldn't sustain things.  17 points on that much yardage is not good enough to win.

Bob talked about field position, and Sark said that it was huge.  Their punter did a great job.  They didn't help themselves with the return game.  A lot of factors played into it, and when they had a chance to reverse field position, they weren't able to.  They won the field position battle, and that became the real difference in the game.  Short fields mean shorter drives for TD's, and they weren't able to take advantage that way.

At the end of all that, all the bad stuff - UW still had a chance to win the game.  That speaks volumes as to what kind of team UW has, and they are a good team.  Sark said BYU played almost a perfect game, and UW was still in it.

Gas brought up that over half their drives started inside their own 16, and Sark said it felt like more than that.  

Gas brought the show back in and brought in the call of the week.  It was Erik Folk's 54-yard FG against BYU.

Gas said it came at the end of an interesting drive, showed maturity in getting the ball all the way down to FG position from the shadow of their end zone.  Sark said it wasn't an ideal start to the drive, but did a great job converting the third down.  Hit a couple plays, and Folk had a great fall camp - hit a 58-yarder.  They thought if they could get to the 35-yard line they had a chance, and it worked.

Gas asked about the idea to go for it in the fourth quarter.  Sark said the decision was based on what he saw in the third quarter - their inability to move the ball and their ability to chew clock.  If they kick a FG and BYU came back and chewed more clock and get up 10, game over.  He believed in the call, but BYU did a good job defending the 4th down play.  It was a calculated decision, but in hindsight had he known the defense would get three stops, he would have kicked the ball.  But he didn't feel that was the way the game was going.

Bob brought up the idea of communication on the OL, and there were a few times where it was obvious there was some breakdowns, and probably others where it was less than obvious.  Sark said it hurt a bit.  There was some moments where they shined, but again, it was big/little.  He wants to get more consistency.  When they are doing things right, they are really good.  At the end, it only takes one mistake to kill a play, and they need to be more consistent.

Bob talked about the 25-yard pass from Locker to Jordan Polk and how good it was.  Sark agreed that it was a major league play.  They had 5 WR's to their 4 DB's, and to Jordan's credit he hung onto the ball.  Sark said the best part is that Jake anticipated it and there wasn't any hesitation.

Someone texted in about the double pass.  Sark said that Devin threw a great ball.  The problem using Bruns on all trick plays is that it gets consistent.  The key to doing trick plays is using different people so they don't know it's coming.

Bob talked about Bruns, and Sark said that he earned everything he did with his three catches and everything else he did on the day.  

Gas took a look back to a great play from the Idaho game.  It was a Jake Locker throw to James Johnson for a TD.

Gas asked how many coaches have Vandal ties, and Sark said 7 or 8.  Said it was strategic, because he wanted guys with NW ties that appreciate where UW has been.

Gas asked about the roughing call, and Sark said Ducre was right there, and his hands got separated, and the ball went clean through.  They'll keep working on it and they'll continue to be aggressive.  Ducre is a heck of a specialist and he'll get his share.  Sark said when you are an internal rusher, you don't ever want to cross the kicker - and that's what Ducre did.  Wasn't supposed to do that, and they need to teach that better.  It didn't hurt them on the scoreboard, but it did take the wind out of their sails a little bit.

Bob talked a little more about the special teams woes.  Kickoff return game...Sark said it was a debacle.  Gotta catch the ball for starters, and then they have to block.  They were poor in their assignments.  The times they were assignment sound, they kicked it out of the end zone.  They've addressed it.  They will have two kickers there to help the situation.

Bob asked how much that will change things, and Sark said it won't change much because they were a two-back team last year.  With two guys back, that assures a lead blocker.  

Bob asked using the freshmen on special teams, and Sark said the coaches just need to coach better.  He said that they are great athletes and they are going to be great special teamers - they just need to continue to coach them up.  

Question from the fans - what about the OL play and what are they going to do this week?  Sark said it was inconsistent.  It wasn't good enough.  Possibly play the younger guys more, getting guys like Kohler and Porter in the game.  As they go this week they'll work on the rotations to see how they can include those guys in the game plan.

Bob talked about the change in climates, and how it was 93 at game time.  Bob talked to Nate Fellner about it.  Nate said it was hard to breathe and his mouth was really dry.  Bob also talked about Bronco Mendenhall's comments about using the no huddle and how he thought it got to UW.  Sark said there might have been something to do with it in the third quarter, but really - the big TD for them was a breakdown on their end - had nothing to do with altitude.  There were times where they got winded, but they showed enough toughness to step up when they were supposed to be tired.

They didn't have the phones working, so they weren't able to take any callers.

Gas talked about the defense, and Sark said they definitely gave the offense a chance to win the game.  He said it could have been a disaster if they really were winded.  But they took the hit, and then recovered and did well.

Gas asked about running Jake, and Sark said they had issues with it because of BYU's 3-4 defense and how BYU was able to set the edge.  They tried to use some draws and powers to get yardage between the tackles, but it just never really took off.

Bob said he talked to Jake about how teams like to use a spy. Sark said if they are doing that, that means they are only rushing three, so they have to take advantage of that and make them pay in the passing game.  They have to be more effective than they did.

Bob asked about the run game and how it's still somewhat of a problem with short yardage.  Sark said they are just as frustrated, because they were better on 3rd and 7 than 3rd and 1.  And they are going to continue to work at it to improve in that area.

Gas asked Bob if they were feeling lucky on the phones.  

Dave on the phone - got the phones working - he asked about running Kevin Smith instead on KOR.  He also asked about short crossing routes.  Sark said he agrees with the caller on KOR.  Said that Smith, Callier and Trufant will get chances.  On the crossing routes, Sark said he remembers one to Cody Bruns right off the top, and they have more they can do on that.

Gas said that Syracuse got points off a blocked field goal, and Sark agreed that they are taking notice of that.  Marrone comes from a Pro background, and they have an athletic QB and a big RB.  On defense they are tough and they like to confuse you with exotic looks.

Bob brought back special teams and the botched snap by Brendan Lopez.  Sark said it was just first-time jitters.  He was amped up.  He was impressed, because the next punt they are way backed up and Lopez snapped it perfectly.

Bob said he was in the security line behind Lopez, and he said did that one get away from you, and Lopez said - you think?  Big laughs.

Gas underscored how they could have had even more special teams issues if they hadn't done well in situations like the second punt, for instance, and Sark agreed.  He mentioned the long field goal and how the battery has to be perfect.

Bob brought up Mason Foster and the absence of turnovers.  Foster said that's BYU.  They are a good team and they protected the ball well.  He also mentioned the two-QB monster, and both played well.  Sark said they threw UW two balls, and they didn't catch 'em.  Until they can get those balls to swing momentum, it's still going to be an issue.  He said the goal is to get three takeaways a game.

Sark said the team came to practice today focused.  They are disappointed, but they can't dwell on it, or else we'll be back here a week from now dwelling on the Syracuse game.  So they have to bounce back from it quickly.

Gas brought the show back in.  He mentioned that they are going to bring the BSU game in and BSU is already ahead 10-0. 

He talked about how Syracuse has a great history, but has had a really bad patch of late. Bob reminded fans that this Orange team isn't going to be the same Orange team UW played in 2007.  Bob talked about how statistically they were vastly improved last year and they beat Rutgers.  

Sark said it's a similar situation to UW, in terms of they are also in their second year and they are also trying to change their culture.  SU has 7 players inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Larry Csonka, Monk, Ernie Davis, Jim Brown.   Sark said that one of his former bosses, Al Davis, is an SU grad.

He said how great it is to be home and they hope it's Husky weather - little drizzle and all the rest.  And just like UW having to adjust to BYU, SU is going to have to adjust to playing in the elements, outside.  They normally play indoors.

SU is feeling good about themselves, beating Akron, and Sark said they'll be feeling good too, and they are going to play a better, more consistent game.

Gas finished the show by wondering what would be worse - dealing with Al Davis as a boss or as a pushy alumnus.  

End of show.


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/6/2010
3:00 PM

Official Syracuse Monday football notes

Click on the link below to get all the latest on Syracuse football, including head coach Doug Marrone's Monday press conference notes, depth chart for the game at Washington, and game notes

Syracuse official Monday football notes, including depth chart and game notes


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/6/2010
2:42 PM

Jake Locker Syracuse press conference quotes

About the last Syracuse game freshman year - "It's kind of funny, it does seem like a long time ago. But I can also remember a lot of those plays very vividly. It was a good experience, a good first game, a good place to start your career off."

On being nervous that game - "Yeah, I mean, obviously there are pre-game jitters being your first college game. I think I had butterflies a little bit."

On what has happened since then - "I just think overall, it's the decision-making process, the knowledge of our offense and the defenses that you're seeing and trying to give yourself the best chance to have success on offense. As a player, that's probably where I've grown the most in the four years and been able to improve my game a little bit."

On BYU changing things in the second half Saturday - "No, I don't think so. They did a lot of things that we expected them to do coming into the game. They played hard and fast for four quarters."

On the Syracuse defense - "They're a fast defense. They play hard. They get to the ball and make plays. From what I've seen, they just kind of line up and play. They don't do a lot of tricky stuff; they don't try and hide anything from you. Pretty talented football team, and we're going to have to be sound on offense to move the ball against them."

On seeing more 3-4 alignments with OLBs staying home to protect QB runs - "It's hard to tell. It's different with each football team and the scheme that they run. I think I was here when you asked Coach, and being that they were in the 3-4, they always kind of have those overhang linebackers, and a lot of times they were rushing three guys. So that allows them to have QB spies and kind of hang players that are responsible for the quarterback and are able to keep the quarterback contained a little bit. When you run into similar schemes, yeah, that will definitely be the case. But I think that opens up other opportunities for our offense. Being able to run the ball, with the running backs, in the middle of their defense. And it allows us to run some different things route-wise, maybe longer-developing plays that give our receivers an opportunity to work in the secondary and get open."

On how often he's seen that - "There's teams in the Pac-10 that have gone to it in previous years, so it's something that we've seen. It wasn't new to us, it wasn't unfamiliar. So, yeah, we've seen it before."

On the third-and-5 in fourth quarter - "We just didn't get the right call, and we were on different pages, and it cost us."

On what happened on that play - "They (the linemen) were going a different way than I was going. Yeah. It was on me. It was my fault."

On communication breakdowns - "I thought we moved the ball on that last drive really well and then just kind of stalled out there. That obviously was a big play for us. I didn't do a good job of … I called the wrong way, and that's going to cost you at that point in the game. I don't know what other communication errors you're referring to, but I thought for the most part we did pretty well as far as ID-ing up front and getting on the guys we needed to."

On Sarkisian saying there was miscommunication - "Yeah, that's something, with blocking schemes and stuff, maybe, the linemen felt like they were on different pages. I'm not sure. As far as we were in the huddle and getting out to the line of scrimmage, I thought we did a good job for the most part."

On being the same old Huskies on the road - "I don't think it's the same-old, same-old. We lost by six points on Saturday. If you look at a lot of the games in the past, working up to this point, we've had our opportunities, last year, definitely. But we have a chance to win that game. We were close in that football game. We did a lot of good things, but we made a lot of crucial mistakes on the road that'll hurt you. And I think more important than when you're at home, when you're on the road you can't make those errors because you're in an environment that brings their fans back into the game, creates momentum for their football team, and they're able to build off that. So I think one of our biggest focuses when we're on the road is to cut out the crucial mistakes that we made."

On how well he threw the ball on Saturday - "I felt pretty good. I missed some throws I should have made definitely. I felt we were able to get the ball down the fIeld, create some explosIve plays and missed a couple of opportunities after watching the film to get some more. I'm going to have to make sure to get locked in a little better and capitalize on those opportunities."

On not dwelling on this loss - "Obviously right after the game it's tough to lose a game like that when you feel like you had a chance to win it. I think everybody to a man feels we were in the game, it was ours to win, we had a lot of opportunities to walk away with a victory and for one reason or another we didn't get it done. I think everybody is confident in the ability of this football team what we're able to accomplish if we play sound and execute down in and down out."

On Drew Schaefer - "I thought drew played a great game. he did a good job. it's difficult when you get in that 3-4 and you have to deal with the nose a lot. a lot of times that's a single block by yourself and i think he did a good job against a tremendous football player. he was controlling the line of scrimmage and controlling him."

On not having any field position - "It obviously changes things offensively a little bit because you are so close to your end zone. you are going to be a little more cautious with the types of plays your running because even if you aren't able to get a first down you're giving them really good field position on their next drive. you're trying to get the ball out from there but you're also trying to take care of it. it's tough to work out of that situation that much through a course of a game, but again i think one of the reasons that happened we weren't able to get the ball out of there. the drives we were able to move it out and we were able to change field position and set ourselves up on our following drives to have a little better field position to work with."

On the last fourth down play - "It was a tough one. they had a pretty good call on. i didn't see that guy looping around, he made a good play got his hand up on the ball. i thought they had it covered pretty well it was just one of those plays where we're able to get more familiar with that look and recognize and understand they're only rushing two or three guys maybe work around in the pocket a little bit, let those receivers work down field and see if they can't find a window to get open."

On altitude playing factor - "No, I didn't really notice it as far as getting short of breath or throwing the football."

On Jermaine Kearse - "Jermaine is a really talented football player, really talented receiver and he makes a lot of plays. There is no loss of confidence. those aren't easy catches but if you ask him they are catches he knows he can make. I have all the confidence in the world that he will make those plays."


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/6/2010
2:30 PM

Steve Sarkisian Syracuse press conference quotes

Opening Statement - "Well, it's been obviously a day now since the BYU game and it's a disappointing loss. It's disappointing on a lot of fronts. I think the thing that is most prevalent now is that we have created an environment where losing is unacceptable --- that's the bottom line. We are here to win. I'm proud of the effort that we played with in this ball game. When I look at the game that we went on the road against a perennial top 25 opponent in a tough environment --- we had an opportunity to win. We had the ball in the fourth quarter, 25-yard-line, third down with two minutes and change left in thee game against a very good opponent. I think when you look back, we could have been at home against a lesser opponent and gotten kind of an easy W of some sort, but I think we found out a lot about our team and the character that we have and the way we play. And I think the reason is there is so much disappointment is higher expectations, and that's okay. We have very high expectations within our locker room and in our team room and I think that's why there is such disappointment. But I can tell you we are not going to dwell on this football game. We are going to learn from it, learn from out mistakes and move forward and go on to the next one.

"As I said after the ball game, and I feel good about saying it again today almost 48 hours after the game, this one football game is not going to define this team for the 2010 football season --- it's one game. It' a game I think we all would have loved to have won and we all feel like we should have won. But we will move on, learn and get better for it. I think a critical juncture of the game was the third quarter where we were shut out and they put 10 points up on the board. I think it really swung the momentum of the game. It swung the momentum, in my own mind, also I think what played a big part in this ball game was our inability in short yardage offense to convert three third downs of two or less and one fourth down of two that we go 0-4 on. I thought that had a big impact on the ball game. 1-7 on third down, another big impact on the game, especially on the first drive of the third quarter where we convert on the third-and-long on the screen pass and there is kind of the phantom tripping penalty, I'm going to call it, that kills the drive and in turn creates a field position and momentum in their favor. They dominated us on the field position battle. They were playing with short fields we were playing with long fields. And in turn, as we talked about some of the keys going into the ball game, it's difficult, especially early in the season in a week one game, to put together really consistent 8-10 play drives and score touchdowns --- it's a hard thing to do. In doing so, that's what was so critical for us creating turnovers and short fields and we didn't get that done. Not that we didn't play pretty decent offensive football when you have, excluding the snap over the punter's head, when you have almost 407 yards of offense against a good defense, but only 17 points to show for it, I think is pretty telling that it's hard to go the length of the field to score points, especially early in the year to be efficient and continually doing things right.

"I think all in all, I thought our conditioning was good. To think in the fourth quarter of that game in 93-degree weather in that altitude, that our defense was able to go out on the field in the fourth quarter and get stops, and give our offense an opportunity to win the football game, I was impressed with. I was impressed with the fact that we didn't turn the ball over offensively. I liked our effort, and as I touched on I liked our fourth quarter defense. Now with all that being said, we are here to win and we are disappointed. We'll move on. We've got a tough opponent in Syracuse coming in. Coach Marrone has done a fantastic job in rebuilding that program. They are in a similar situation that we are in. Very similar schemes. They've got an athletic quarterback that they rely on, not only in the passing game but the running game. They've got a physical back in Carter who will pound the football and they are sound on defense. They are 1-0, we are 0-1 and it's going to be a good matchup. We are anxious to get back to Husky Stadium to play in front of our fans. It will be a great atmosphere, I'm sure, I know they are going to be excited and make it electric and pulling for our guys to make sure we go out and perform well to get our first W of the year."

On Jake Locker - "Well I think he has made great strides. We've changed the style of offense they were in at that time to what we are in now. He's made great strides not only as a passer but his overall knowledge of the game of football. I think as we continue to grow and looking back at our last week's ball game I think we need to continually strive in consistency in not only Jake's game but in our offensive football team's game. I felt like right now we are a big, little offense. There are some really big plays that look good and then there are plays that are for zero or minus and I think that is something we will strive for in Jake's game as well as our overall offense."

On the expectations for him - "Well, I think expectations are high, not only for Jake but for our entire program. I think he has handled it extremely. If you get to know Jake on a personal level he is an extremely humble young man, he is loyal and no body prepares better or works harder on and off the field. So all of the expectations are worthy for him and anything that he gets and earns throughout the year it's well deserved for him.

On the running game - "Well I think we need to identify the types of runs that are successful for us and continually try to identify whether it's which back or Jake the types of runs they are successful at and put them in a situation to do those runs, and ultimately we need to continue to communicate better. Generally the breakdowns that we had in the run game were for a lack of communication where we were leaving somebody free in the hole and that's hard for any back to be successful. I thought our mentality was good and physically going up against a physical defense we held our own. I don't think we exactly knocked them off the football but ultimately you've got to block people and block the right people to give a back a chance so we will try to identify the runs that are successful for us and expand on those and the ones that aren't successful we will move on or coach them better.''

On the tripping call on Jermaine Kearse - "He didn't trip him. He cut him, like there are cut blocks on every play. I don't understand what the penalty was."

On challenging plays, like the fumble near their side of the field - "We really can't. They did a nice job explaining to me, especially that one when they said, 'Coach, we're delaying this so they can get a view of it up top.' But I had a good view of it. The ground caused the fumble, I mean, it was right in front of me. It wasn't like I didn't see it. It wasn't like, if there is a camera shot of it. They would have had to make a mistake to give us that. So I didn't think it was worth challenging that one especially."

On how big the tripping call was - "Well, I think it was big, you know. We had the ball coming out at halftime. We had the lead. Obviously a lot of momentum going into halftime with the field goal. It's a conversion on third and long which is somewhat deflating to a defense. We were crossing the 50 yard line, with a lot of momentum. That hurt. That hurt. It kind of really swung the emotion of the game. It deflated our sails, in a sense -- which it shouldn't, we should be mentally tough enough to handle that. But it did. In turn, we were forced to punt, and then they went down and scored and the game changed, the complexion of the game changed."

On the BYU forward fumble - "The explanation was, it was not a fumble but a lateral because when he lateraled the ball the running back never gained possession of the ball. So you can advance that, because it was a lateral and not a fumble -- if that makes sense."

On the special teams issues - "Number one, the bad snap, I thought Brenden Lopez settled down after that. I thought it showed a lot of mental toughness to have, because the very next punt we have is out of our own end zone and he's perfect, and was perfect from then on. So I think that one has kind of fixed itself. The roughing-the-punter, I mean, Greg Ducre, the ball goes through his hands. We had a block called, he's right there, and the poor kid he has it blocked and it goes through his hands and he ends up roughing the punter. So we've got to continually teach our block technique. In the kickoff return, we're changing our return. We are going with two guys who are going to be back together, so we don't have the opportunities when guys shank kickoffs or mis-kick kickoffs where the one guy back there has to be the one fielding the ball. We'll have two guys back there to hopefully combat that kind of stuff."

Will Chris Polk be one of those guys? "He will be one of those guys, yeah."

On who the other returner will be - "It will probably be Jesse Callier. Kevin Smith will get his opportunities back there as well."

On any second-guessing using 13 true frosh on special teams? "No, they are going to play more. Those guys are athletes. What showed up was, when we didn't have those blunders, we can run with people now. We can sustain blocks. We're going to be a better punt-return team. We'll be a better punt-block team. We're going to be a better kickoff-return team, as well. I don't second guess or I don't regret playing those kids at all. They are good football players. They are going to play more for us."

On trying to practice special teams full-speed during a typical practice - "I think, the bad snap -- all competitors, all of us who ever played -- man, you got pregame jitters. You are going to have those jitters when you are snapping the ball. So that one, you can only try to create a game-like atmosphere the best you can. But after that, like I said, he was fine. The punt block, we go full go when we are blocking punts, and Greg's blocked a bunch of them in training camp, and he had a chance to on this one. I'm not hesitant. We will continue to teach our technique, but he is a guy who can get there to the block point. So we are going to continue to do that. And kickoff return, to simulate the speed I think is challenging. When they've got their best guys running down there covering kickoffs I think is something that is challenging to get that speed for our blockers. We need to do that. We need to give our guys full-speed looks on our kickoff return. Plus we are changing our scheme which I think should help us as well."

On being more optimistic about special teams now - "I think there were some obvious blunders that jump out at you. But when you get down and you look at the effort and you look at the way that some of these young kids played, there is real optimism there. As we grow and as these young kids grow and as we fine-tune our schemes and our techniques with them, we'll end up being better. Is it this week? Hopefully, but in time we'll definitely be better."

On dumb luck in special teams - "That's why the football is shaped the way it is. You never know which way it's going to bounce. Their punter did a nice job. He pinned us on the one, and I think he pinned us on the 10 another time. Two kickoffs were on the two and the six (yard line)…whether or not it was them, exactly, or if it was partially us, it created an atmosphere. They got a lot of confidence by pinning us deep and we lost a little kind of staring down at the long field…that's a long way to go."

On the first fourth down in the fourth quarter - "It was a run-pass option. It was a play we had ready for that specific situation to get Chris Polk out of the backfield in the flat, to get Jermaine Kearse as the second option on the corner route, with Jake having the third option to run…I think competitively, when you've got those three players, probably three of our best playmakers and guys, especially in crucial situations, with an opportunity to get their hands on the ball and make a play, we felt like it was a great call. They had a good call on defense…it came down to a 50/50 ball in the end zone and their guy knocked it free."

On blocking that play the way they wanted to - "Yeah we did. It was a full zone slide…we were trying to get them to sink in and to get Jake on the edge. It was designed that way."

On any position groups under close examination - "There's going to be some things up front…I was hoping to get a couple of those young kids in on the offensive line. I wanted to see (Erik) Kohler and (Colin) Porter get in the game, but the game didn't lend itself to happen…I'm going to find a way to get them on the field this week. That's going to happen a little more in practice as we go. And hopefully Kalani (Aldrich) can get going to where he can get back in the mix and find himself onto the field. Beyond that, nothing really jumps out that's something that will be noticeable right from the start."

On James Johnson - "I just didn't think he was ready to go. I didn't think he had enough practice time. And to his credit, Cody Bruns has been practicing great and he went out and played really well. I don't know if he could have done more; every opportunity he had, he made his plays."

On the message to the team this week - "Obviously the hangover is a big concern; you let this game dwell and dwindle and you're thinking back instead of thinking forward. I promise you, Syracuse is going to practice today and they're excited about being 1-0 and they are going to have a really good practice - so we better go out and have a really good practice as well, because we're competing against Syracuse today, not just on Saturday."

On running the ball three times in a row at the end of the game - "It was somewhat of the plan. Part of it was, I liked all the calls. Unfortunately on the third down call, third-and-five, the run to Jake was somewhat of a miscommunication and we didn't run the play the way that we wanted. It set us back, in a sense. Ideally no, we didn't want to be 4th-and-7. I was hoping to be at minimum, 4th and 5 or less, if not a first down. I felt good about the calls. Time was not an issue, so I wanted to make sure we were running the best plays available to us at that time. They were in a coverage-mode mentality on the defensive side of the ball, so we thought we could exploit some things in the run game. Unfortunately it didn't pan out for us."

On the volume and scope of game plan - "I felt good about what we were doing. You never know which way games are going, so you want to make sure to have enough run and enough pass depending on the situation of the game. I felt like we had enough two-back stuff to do some things to utilize some play-action pass, but yet enough spread stuff, depending on what they were doing. I felt good about it. The first game traditionally, typically you have a little more volume, because you have the stuff coming out of training camp that you have at your disposal. Generally, as the weeks go on, that things starts to taper down until maybe you get another bye week where you can build back up. I felt good about our guys, assignment-wise doing the right things, especially our skill guys. We didn't have a lot of busts. There were some things up front that we've been doing for weeks that we made mistakes on, which, to me, is a lack of communication, which was a big focus going into this game. You get on the road, you get a little hot, you get a little tired with the altitude, and it gets a little loud – their crowd did a nice job – and we made some mistakes where we weren't on the same page."

On the mistakes happening late with game tight - "No, I think they just happened periodically for whatever reason, and I can't put my finger exactly on why that is, except maybe just lack of focus at some point. Part if it, too, is we've got to be together, do this thing together. All five guys up there – and if you want to throw in the tight end, make it six, and if you want to throw in the fullback, make it seven – those guys need to be cohesive, and do this thing together and take pride in doing it together, and not, 'Oh, so-and-so made the wrong call, so we were all wrong.' Well, if you think he's making the wrong call, somebody else has got to fix it. That's what is going to be our point of emphasis this week."

On what he saw in Jesse Callier - "That the game wasn't too big for him, it was easy for him. He went into the game and performed. You'll see more of Jesse – you'll see more of him in the run game as well as in the pass game."

On Chris Polk getting more than 16 carries - "I would have liked to, in all reality. Now I'm talking about trying to get Jesse Callier more carries as well. We went into the game plan trying to get Jake some carries. We felt like we could exploit some things there, and I think Jake took away a little bit of Chris' carries that way. But, yeah, I'd like to see Chris get 20 carries a game, that's obviously the goal going into it every time. He's got some big-play potential, which he showed in the fourth quarter popping the run down their sideline. Ideally, 20 carries is what we're looking for."

On BYU containing Jake's outside run - "Their scheme allowed it to keep him contained. They're a 3-4 defense, so they've got edge (LBs) standing out there and they had some of the times, didn't even rush. They sat there and waited for Jake. There were some big third downs where they rushed two guys. The rest of their (LBs) and defensive linemen stood at the line of scrimmage, and they were waiting for Jake Locker. That's what is going to happen to a quarterback when you're a good athlete. That is why it is so imperative our pass game is precise, and he's on point with everything we're doing on that end of it so that you can't defend him that way. If you that is what you're plan is, we've got enough pass protection to handle that so we can throw the ball down the field and hurt you if you're not going to rush him."

On the last play and the BYU guy batting pass down - "He wasn't rushing, he was waiting. That's why he was able to jump and time his jump. He wasn't in pass-rushing mode. He was looking and waiting."

On that being more dumb luck - "In a sense. It's a good job by them. I think we need to recognize that a little quicker up front, and if we feel guys are jumping, we've got to do a great job with our punch on the OL to keep their hands down."

On defensive standouts - "Mason Foster was fantastic. Official stats had him at 14 tackles; we had him at 17 tackles. He was the football player we hoped he'd be. Nate Williams had a really nice football game as well. There were some things to clean up, but I thought in the run game, he was physical. I thought Talia Crichton did a nice job. This was a difficult game because of their splits, and sure, I would have loved for him to come out there with two sacks or so, but from where he was last year to where he was this year and the way he played in this game against the run and in some of our zone-drop stuff, I thought he did a nice job."

On BYU's long TD pass to J.J. Diluigi - "They got us. They did a good job of understanding the coverage we were in, and isolated a back up the seam. It's kind of a difficult matchup for us to get adjusted to, and they got us. Good job on their coach's part."

On getting more pressure on the QB - "One, we'll get more pressure. We pride ourselves in getting after the quarterback, and we'll continue to do that. This game, in particular against BYU, they're notoriously a tough team to rush the passer on. They take really big splits, they get rid of the ball quickly and with the added dimension of the quarterback runs, it was hard to call just pressure to go get the quarterback if you're not sound on the triple-option stuff and the zone reads. we'll get more pressure. It's a huge point of emphasis of ours as a defense from day one. This is one game. This one game is not going to define the way we get after the quarterback, either. We'll get there."

On UW's OL splits being narrow - "I think they looked even closer after watching their splits. We'd come out on the field, and we were kind of in our normal splits. It wasn't anything different for us."

On BYU make you alter the OL splits - "No, they're a zone pressure team, but we see a lot of those same zone pressures from our guys every day."

On Locker seeing that kind of wait-and-see defense - "I think it was unique, in a sense, they had not shown that on film. We've got to be prepared for that; he's got to be prepared for that. We're going to see that kind of stuff, and the variety of those things. That's a sign of respect to him that they're so concerned with him running the football that they would not rush the passer. We've got to be prepared for it. The key thing for him to understand, if they're not rushing him, he can take his time on certain plays and really buy time, and even slide out of the pocket to buy more time if they're not going to rush him. It's a sign of respect, but he's got to be prepared for it."

Overall assessment of Jake - "I thought he was good. I've seen Jake Locker play better, and he'll play better. I thought his play was a microcosm of how our overall offense played – big-little. Man, there were some great plays – he made some fantastic throws, some big plays to Kearse down the middle of the field, the touchdown run, the touchdown pass to jermaine with a guy in his face – there are some great plays in there, but the overall consistency of our game as a team, an this game, we have to raise that level, and that's what we're striving for."

On communication on third-and-short plays - "I think it was communication. It's easy to see, we're not the Nebraska Cornhuskers with Tommie Frazier and those guys, and Lawrence Phillips where they were just lining up and pounding you off the ball. But we're physical enough to block people. But if you don't block the right guys, it can make it difficult. We've got to make sure we're blocking the right guys."

On injuries from game - "We came out great. You've got your traditional bumps and bruises after a first ballgame. Nothing serious. On to the next one."

On hangover from loss - "I think they're good. I think they're disappointed, which they should be. If you're a competitor and you don't win, man, you should be disappointed. But then also it should leave that taste of your mouth of hunger to go on to the next one, and can't wait, chomping at the bit to go play the next opponent, which I think is the natural feeling. We'll assess that with the team here at 1:15."

On true freshman who didn't play, they'll redshirt - "I would say the majority of those, yes. A couple of those young offensive linemen are going to play more – those two (Porter and Kohler)."


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/6/2010
1:07 PM

Quick Steve Sarkisian Monday press conference notes

First he said they were obviously disappointed with the way the game turned out, but they are here to win, and they had the ball on the BYU 25-yard line with 2 minutes to go and a chance to win, so he feels he found out a lot about the team and the way they can play.

The key now is not to dwell on things and get ready for Syracuse, because they are 1-0 and they are practicing today with smiles on their faces and getting after it, and it's not just about beating Syracuse on Saturday; they have to beat them starting today.

He also reiterated his point after the game Saturday that the BYU game will not determine the outcome of their whole season.  They would have loved to have won, but they'll learn from it and move on to this weekend's game.

Said that the third quarter really swung the momentum of the game, including the 'phantom' tripping call, as Sark called it.  "He (Jermaine Kearse) didn't trip him," Sark said.  "He cut him."

He mentioned how field position was also a killer, as well as the special teams that put them in a lot of those holes.  He felt the conditioning of the team was good, especially considering the defense was able to come out in the fourth quarter and shut BYU out and get stops.  

He said that on kickoff returns especially, they are going to change their scheme.  They are going back to having two returners back there - Chris Polk and Jesse Callier.  He said on Greg Ducre's roughing penalty that he had the block, but the ball inexplicably went through his hands, so they are going to continue to work on punt block to make sure they can execute it correctly. 

He said that a lot of what happened up front offensively had to do more with a lack of communication than just getting blown off the ball, especially on the third and short plays.  Said they were too inconsistent offensively, calling it 'big play/little play'.  They did really well in generating the big gains, but had too many where they got stuffed.  Said it was also the way Locker played - it was a microcosm for how the offense played in general.  He also said that the game really didn't lend itself to putting in the two frosh OL - Erik Kohler and Colin Porter - and he's going to make sure they get more reps this week with the thought that they are going to get in the game this Saturday.

Said that ideally he'd like to get Chris Polk 20 carries a game, but they gave some of his to Jake because they felt they could exploit some of the things BYU was doing.  As it turned out, BYU's 3-4 schemes proved difficult to break down, especially on the edges - and when they had the fourth-and-two during the first fourth quarter drive into BYU territory, they had a rollout play designed to either get the ball to Chris Polk or Jermaine Kearse or Locker would run - and BYU had people out there to defense it.  

And on the last fourth down, they only rushed three and put eight out to coverage, something Sark said they hadn't seen on film.  Said it was a show of respect to Jake and when he sees that from now on he'll know that he has time to make a good decision and burn defenses for doing that.  

No injuries to report.  Said that he felt James Johnson just wasn't ready to go, and it didn't help his cause that Cody Bruns had a great week of practice and executed on everything he was supposed to do on Saturday.  

Dealing with the disappointment hangover is his primary concern, and he thinks they'll bounce back, especially getting a chance to play at home.  

Defensively, Sark mentioned Mason Foster as having an outstanding game.  He was officially credited with 14 tackles, but they had him down for 17.  He also mentioned Nate Williams and Talia Crichton as having good games.  

On the J.J. Diluigi TD, Sark said simply, "They got us."

He said that he firmly believes the UW front four defensively will get more pressure this Saturday, and that historically BYU is a very difficult team to pressure.


Posted by Chris Fetters
9/6/2010
10:25 AM

Washington's weekly release (including depth chart)

No changes to the depth this week as the Huskies get ready to take on the Syracuse Orange in their home opener - UW weekly release - Syracuse


Dawgman.com Top Stories