The media corps, which can be spotted at various junctures throughout Husky Stadium for UW practices, certainly keeps a close eye on one thing.
All last week, after practices concluded after 1 hour, 45 minutes – or shorter – we wondered if coach Steve Sarkisian was getting soft in his practice habits. Turns out, he was sharpening not only his game-management approach, but perhaps most importantly – getting quality and quick snaps out of the offense.
The second half of the UW's 41-20 victory Saturday was a textbook clinic on offensive rhythm – something the Huskies struggled to find in the first six quarters of the season.
The team exploded for four second-half touchdowns – two on Jake Locker-to-Jermaine Kearse connections, and finally the long run by tailback Chris Polk (finalized after a superb seal block on the edge by fullback Austin Sylvester … check it out).
"Tempo was a point of emphasis for us all week," Sarkisian said in his post-game media address. "I hope it felt like a … no-huddle, but we're huddling."
The up-tempo action – big plays were coming from all angles – left a "downhill" traveling Syracuse defense dazed and a bit out of sorts, especially on the perimeter.
"We looked like we were one step behind," Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said.
About the short passes: "I wanted to get Jake feeling really good about us throwing the football. I thought we did some unique things in our run game … to soften them up."
It might have been the best game I've seen from the receiving group in one-plus seasons under Sarkisian (credit Jimmie Dougherty):
A couple throws Saturday were up for grabs under pressure, but the Orange did not come away with an interception. Locker has five TDs, and zero interceptions in 2010.
Colin Porter followed him, rotating in on the next series that started at the 6:50 mark.
"I'm not going to burn Nick Montana's redshirt on three minutes at the end of a ballgame," Sarkisian said.
Nassib – an impressive up-and-coming talent – broke tackles of linebackers Cort Dennison and Foster along the left sideline.
"Trust me, I was mad at myself," Dennison said. "I take full responsibility for it. But I made sure I wasn't going to miss another tackle the rest of the game. And I didn't."
Dennison had a team-high 12 tackles; Foster 10.