For the pool of reporters who cover the Huskies' football program daily – hours and hours of practice to go along with trips – one of the irritating sounds of the 2009 season came last October.
Coach Steve Sarkisian piped in the Notre Dame fight song over and over (probably 100 times) to get his players acclimated to what they'd hear during game day in South Bend, Ind.
So the question came up Saturday morning, on a day quickly approaching 90 degrees, about the fight song at Brigham Young University where Sarkisian played two years of college ball.
How well can you recall the university's battle-cry tune?
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"I don't remember the BYU fight song, to be honest with you," Sarkisian said. "That was a long time ago."
When reminded some of the reporters who were older remember their school's fight son (OK, it was myself and Bob Condotta about the WSU tune), Sarkisian paused, nervously laughed and seemed to get a little bit annoyed about the topic – in his own way, of course.
"I don't know," the coach said.
"I'll probably play some 'Star Wars' and different things that they like to play in the stadium," he continued. "I've got a few of the songs I know they like to play."
We get this impression about Sarkisian's two prolific seasons with the Cougars in 1995 and 1996: He was more or less looking for a place to play and win games, not make friends for life.
In fact, Sarkisian was asked if he was still an member of the university's alumni association.
"I guess technically, yeah," Sarkisian said. "I don't know how much of an active member I am."
Sarkisian's last game at Cougar Stadium (now LaValle Edwards Stadium) was Nov. 23, 1996 – a 37-17 victory over Utah. That season, he passed for 4,027 yards and 33 touchdowns en route to WAC offensive player of the year honors.
The next year, Sarksian – now in the Canadian Football League – traveled to Las Vegas to watch BYU in the conference championship game. Since then, he's never seen his alma mater play, or been back on campus.
"Haven't had a chance to, and/or reason to," Sarkisian said.
He will come Sept. 4 when the UW plays at BYU. In fact, Sarkisian will be honored at halftime with some of the other great quarterbacks in that program's history.
"I'm only going out there," he joked, "if we're up."
More stuff from Saturday morning:
• Checked in with "The Preacher" – colorful backup center Gregory Christine – walking off the field.
He claims he's completely healed, and moving around with no limitations after his gruesome broken-leg injury suffered Oct. 10 against Arizona.
"It was not going to be 100 percent at the end of spring," said Christine, sporting a wide, stylish, grey-colored headband. "It's good now."
Of course, from spring camp, UW offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto has reshaped the first-string offensive line: Senio Kelemete is at left tackle, Ryan Tolar is at left guard, Drew Schaefer is at center, Mykenna Ikehara is at right guard and Cody Habben is at right tackle.
"I think we just understand exactly what is asked of us, what we're supposed to do on exactly what play and what if this defense is running, what we need to do," Christine said. "It's full of everybody just understanding exactly what you need to do at each position."
Sarkisian pointed out true freshman Colin Porter as one of the standout performers of the newcomers. Porter is playing guard and center, just like Christine has done.
"He's doing really well taking to coaching," Christine said.
• Running back Chris Polk (rest), defensive end Kalani Aldrich (coming back from knee injury) and offensive tackle Ben Riva (illness) did not practice in the morning session. This could be a trend with some of the key players from time to time.
"I want to keep these guys fresh, especially the veteran guys when they've got a strain that could linger," Sarkisian said. "I don't want it to linger, I want to nip it in the bud right now and get it out of the way to they are healthy going into the season. We'll monitor them."
• Leg strength? It appears Erik Folk's has improved – something the coaches mandated for kickoffs after last season. On Saturday morning, he made a 53-yard field goal (that hit the right upright) and a 49-yarder to end practice.
Folk's longest field goal in 2009 was 48 yards (made one, missed one).
"There's no doubt about it (attempting longer field goals)," Sarkisian said. "He's just healthy. … (And hes' had) now a whole year of really strengthening his body. It's showing and it's evident in all the things he was doing."
• Speaking of special teams, part of the reason Folk looks so comfortable is that his battery – holder Cody Bruns, in particular – is coming together. Sarkisian has not settled on Brendan Lopez being his short snapper on field goals (he will be on punts), and has been experimenting with Peter Becker and Evan Hudson.
• As far as the status of Andru Pulu, suspended in the offseason over an assault case, Sarkisan updated his future: "He's been technically dismissed now."
• Some miscellaneous practice stuff – ReceiverJermaine Kearse
had two drops, much to the ire of Sarkisian. … In two-minute drill type stuff, quarterbackJake Locker
went 3-for-4 for 42 yards in setting up Folk's 53-yard field goal. On his other chance, Locker went four-and-out. …Adam Long
spent more time running with the No. 1 defense at cornerback thanQuinton Richardson
, who is coming back from early-week back spasms. … During early 11-on-11s, backup quarterbackKeith Price
completed all four of his passes. … NewcomerJosh Shirley
made a couple nice plays, batting down a Locker pass and stoppingJohri Forgerson
at the line of scrimmage after a completion. … When asked about who was the No. 2 quarterback, offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier had the day's best response: "Nick Price," he said, intending to include one of the names each of Nick Montana and Keith Price. "The golfer." … About 200 spectators attended the morning scrimmage.