Any idea of lax preparation, or notion the Washington Huskies aren't taking Idaho seriously should be discarded immediately.
On a day the UW normally goes light, puts a polish on the game plan, it was nothing of the sort. The Huskies went two hours, in their usual up-tempo, high-energy style as the week of practice closed Thursday.
"It was upbeat. Good tempo, good energy," said first-year UW coach Steve Sarkisian, who appeared a little upbeat himself. "I felt like guys came to work, and that’s what you want to see on a Thursday.”
And one area that has been emphasized all week – in drills, in the team scrimmage – is for the players to pay strict attention to even the finest details, in all three phases, which were all pretty solid Saturday against No. 11 Louisiana State.
“I think it’s important to show them their successes and their failures. You can show them things they did do well, where they did take to coaching, where they executed what we wanted, where there was great effort," Sarkisian said. "But you also show and point out the areas where we can improve, not just maybe from a fundamental assignment or technique mistake, but also in the effort category.
"I think we did both of those this week, in all three phases – offense, defense, special teams – and I thought it paid off. We got some reshuffling around on special teams, some reshuffling around on defense, some reshuffling around on offense. Guys are getting rewarded for their play."
• Defensive end Darrion Jones (bruised knee, sprained ankle) is out for Saturday. He'll be replaced by sophomore Kalani Aldrich, who makes his first career start. True freshman Talia Crichton will be worked in as well as Aldrich's true backup.
"He's (Jones) just sore. Unfortunately, he can’t get running full speed," Sarkisian said. "We’ve got some nice depth on the (defensive line), so we’re going to try to make it through this game and hopefully get him back next week.”
• Losing, plain and simple, sucks. A reporter reminded Sarkisian of that when he was a player in the Canadian Football League, and when he was the quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders in the NFL.
And the UW is currently on a 15-game skid, dating back to late in the 2007 season.
"Losing streaks are hard on everybody involved. They’re grinding, and they’re tough. It’s not fun for anybody," Sarkisian said. "But if you talk to any of our players, they don’t know how that was before. They just know that they lost last week, and we’re going to do everything in our power to get one this week.”
• Free safety. Ah, what a rush. What a rotation.
A hunch is Greg Walker will start again, even though Sarkisian wouldn't reveal that Thursday, and even though ex-cornerback Justin Glenn again took the majority of the snaps there with the top defense.
Sarkisian did say no player will play the position exclusively. Glenn will play. And so will one of the first-week stars, Victor Aiyewa, who would come in at strong safety, meaning Nate Williams would shift farther back.