Predictably, coach Steve Sarkisian was still pretty wound up late Saturday night, after his Huskies dropped a close 31-23 decision to No. 11 Louisiana State, and into early Sunday morning.
And, like coaches tend to do, Sarkisian went over the game's critical plays. And he didn't have to just in his head – he went home and watched a replay of it.
"A lot of energy and emotion goes into a ballgame, and there is a tremendous natural high about competing at that level and the energy from the stadium and I didn't want to go to sleep," Sarkisian said.
What time did he finally settle into bed?
"4:30," he answered. "My wife woke me up the next morning because we had family in town and the kids were up. We'll catch up with sleep in the next week or so."
The first-year coach's game review Monday afternoon at the Founders Club was much like the one he gave just minutes after the conclusion Saturday night:
&bull He admired the players' effort and energy.
&bull He was impressed by the hard, inside running of tailback Chris Polk, and the playmaking ability of receiver James Johnson.
&bull And he still cringed at the UW offense's overall inefficiency in the red zone, even after touchdown receptions made by Johnson and tight end Kavario Middleton.
"You look at those five other trips in the red zone, and to only get nine points (on three Erik Folk field goals) out of a potential 35, I'm not great in math, but that is not a winning formula," Sarkisian said.
Yet, amid the handful of mistakes in the red zone, and the secondary giving up a couple big scoring plays, in particular to LSU's Terrance Toliver, a peculiar thing happened to Sarkisian afterward. Fans and boosters everywhere came up to pat him on the back for a close – and competitive – defeat.
"First of all, that is new to me. I've never been congratulated so much for losing," said Sarkisian, who spent all but one season since 2001 as a USC assistant.
"Hopefully, we don't want to get too used to that. The goal around here is to win the game. It's obviously great that we played with the effort that we wanted to, that the kids responded the way we wanted to and the crowd involved was where we wanted. But ultimately we're playing to win the game."
&bull A shake-up in the secondary might be coming. Sarkisian said Monday that cornerback Justin Glenn is moving to free safety, which likely will open up more defensive snaps for true freshman Desmond Trufant, the Wilson High product, or possibly David Batts, who is being moved to cornerback on a more permanent basis.
As far as the pecking order at safety – the official depth chart offered little. Nate Williams and Victor Aiyewa, who played every snap at the two safety spots in the fourth quarter, are listed as co-starters at strong safety.
At free safety, Greg Walker, who was replaced by Aiyewa after giving up the second scoring catch to Toliver, and Williams are listed as the co-starters.
"I thought (Williams and Aiyewa) played well together. They weren't perfect. The assumption is, Greg Walker missed a couple tackles, and Victor went in and saved the day – which is somewhat true," Sarkisian said. "Obviously, Greg missed a couple tackles. They were tough tackles in open space, with nobody else around him. We've got to continue to work our open-field tackling, not just Greg, but as a football team. And Victor did some really nice things for us. But we weren't perfect. We need to evaluate our execution, throughout the week, from the safety spot."
For the record, the coach said Walker was taken out of the game because of a cramp.
&bull The effusing praise for Johnson keeps coming (and on Tuesday, the world will get to hear from the true freshman from Valley Center, Calif (Sarkisian is lifting his newcomer-doesn't-talk-to-media rule).
Here is how Sarkisian described Johnson's approach since he arrived.
"From day one, he's prepared really well. He's prepared himself mentally and physically, from a schematic standpoint, from a physical standpoint. And I don't think he gets fazed by the fact, if it's a blitz drill in practice, or a third-down drill in practice and he's got to make a play on third-and-9, it doesn't faze him. And when those same situations show up in a game, it didn't faze him," he said.
"Third-and-9, we went for it, he made the play on their sideline, against one of the premier cornerbacks in the country, Patrick Peterson. He obviously made the play in the red zone on the first drive breaking a tackle against Chad Jones, one of the premier safeties in the country, to get into the end zone.
"I just think he goes out and plays. It doesn't matter, who, what, when, where or how – this is what I'm supposed to do, here comes the ball, let me catch it and go make my play."
&bull Those who worry it's a matter of time and circumstance that Locker will get hurt this season on a scramble, Sarkisian noted the junior from Ferndale is starting to change his way of thinking.
"There were a couple times when he got the first down, and he stepped out of bounds, and that was good enough. He didn't need a couple extra yards to take the hit," Sarkisian said "We talked extensively about, 'This thing is a marathon, not a sprint.' It's not just about that one play for Jake Locker, it's about 13 games. He's understanding that."
&bull Sarkisian learned a lesson Saturday: Put a different hat on, see a different view.
He admitted as a former offensive coordinator, situations such as fourth downs, he'd be a screaming cheerleader to go for it. But faced with those same decisions Saturday as a coach, the perspective became vastly different.
"Now I'm sort of alter-egoing myself," Sarkisian said. "I felt like we made all the right decisions. We punted the one time at the 40 on fourth-and-5. You know hindsight is 20-20 if you go for it you keep the drive alive. We settled there for a field goal in the fourth quarter, the 42-yarder that we missed, but it was the right thing to do. Then we went for it on fourth-and-2 at the 50 and converted the fourth down. I think we made the right decisions, but that was the one area where the playcaller-head coach thing went back and forth."
&bull After reviewing the film, another emphasis this week is trying to find more ways to get receiver Jermaine Kearse on the field (by my unofficial count, the Lakes High graduate played 26 snaps).
"He wasn't on the field enough," Sarkisian said. "We're going to look at some things and possibly put him in the slot some more so he and James Johnson can be out there together."
&bull How did Locker spend his hours after the game? He did very little, he admitted.
"I went home and went to sleep Saturday night after the game. I was pretty wiped out," Locker said. "Sunday morning, just kind of got up, hung out. Didn't really leave the house much. Stayed in my bed, or couch most of the day. Didn't do a whole lot. Just tried to get my rest and recover a little bit."
&bull Only one injury to report. Defensive end Darrion Jones, who left with just more than eight minutes remaining in the first quarter and did not return, has a bruised knee and a sprained ankle. Sarkisian said his status is day-to-day.
Walker (leg) and Williams (big collision in the second half) are both OK.
&bull For the record, this is "Rivalry Week" of sorts between the UW and Idaho, which beat New Mexico State in its season opener. Eight Huskies assistants played or coached for the Vandals, totaling 53 seasons with the school.
The current Idaho staff has 12 seasons combined with the university.