Greetings, I will be filling in for Todd for a few days. If I seem cynical and jaded, blame the Mariners.
Here's Steve Sarkisian's opening statement of his usual Monday press conference, which was pretty interesting ...
"It's been 48 hours now and as you guys know we have the 24-hour rule so we are trying to move on. Obviously a disappointing loss on a lot of fronts. We touched on part of this after the ball game. I know we are better than the way we performed and I think our kids understand that. Some things that were disappointing, the missed tackles were disappointing. We are a better tackling football team than that.
I thought in the second half there were moments there that we lacked the competitive nature that this program prides itself on, and I was disappointed in that. That will never happen again. You will see us compete for 60 minutes I can promise everybody that.
And the overall efficiency on offense was disappointing. Everybody's going to say 'well what's the matter with Jake Locker.' It's beyond Jake Locker the way we performed Saturday. It starts with me and what we are calling and what we are doing. Comes to our ability to pass protect and our ability to run routes to get open and then ultimately our ability to throw the ball and catch the ball. I understand everybody wants to see Jake perform at such a high level, as we do too. But we've all got to do our part to supply him with the support needed to make that happen.''
The part bolded is pretty strong. No coach ever wants to admit that his team experiences a lapse of competitiveness. No coach every wants to admit that his team quit - even for one play. And Sarkisian saw moments of that in the loss to Nebraska.
"I've seen our guys compete more than they competed," he said. "It's one thing to make a mistake in alignment or assignment. It's one thing to potentially miss a tackle. But we grade effort first and our ability to battle and compete first and I thought there were at times guys not performing with the same competitive nature that I've seen before and that's not okay."
Sarkisian saw those moments even before the fourth quarter when things were completely out of hand.
"I thought there were some lapses here and there, but third and even into the fourth and ultimately that's on me," he said. "That's a mindset that we have to continue to embrace that we are going to compete, it doesn't matter what the score is or what we are playing, what uniforms we are wearing, who we are playing against. Our ability to compete is something we pride ourselves on and we didn't do that, in my opinion, especially in the second half Saturday.''
Obviously, there were times during the Willingham era where you could make the same accusation about UW players. But Sarkisian was adamant it hasn't happened since he's been here.
"I haven't," he said. "That's the first time I saw that.''
A few notes from practice ...
The Huskies practiced at 10:45 a.m., and it was a one-hour practice in shorts and shells.
Jake Locker did go through a whole practice. Normally on a bye week, the starting quarterback sits out of a Monday practice, but Locker went to Sarkisian and asked to practice.
But there were a few starters that dressed but did not practice.
LB Victor Aiyewa, S Nate Williams, RB Chris Polk and LB Cort Dennison. Williams has a sore hamstring as does fellow safety Sean Parker. Polk has a swollen ankle. Sarkisian didn't say exactly what was bothering Aiyewa, but did mention a few players had sore shoulders. WR Devin Aguilar has a sore foot. He did a few individual drills early, but was limping a little and didn't participate in team drills.
It's doubtful if Dennison will practice too much this week as he's getting over a concussion and there is no rush.
"He should be fine," Sarkisian said. "I think if we were playing today he'd really pass the test. We're going to treat those things very, very seriously, but I don't think it's serious as a lot of concussions have been but we are going to monitor it. We are in no rush to get him back out, but I don't think it's going to be a long, long-term thing."
Missing from today's practice was left tackle Senio Kelemete, who Sarkisian said was sick. True freshman Eric Kohler worked out at left tackle with senior Greg Christine back in at left guard, Drew Schaeffer at center, Ryan Tolar at right guard and Cody Habben at right tackle.
But when Kelemete comes back, expect Kohler to go back to the starting left guard.
"I think so, for this week, we'll see how it goes,"'Sarkisian said. "With Senio, we'll see how long this flu lasts, it moves Erik Kohler back out to tackle and moves some guys around inside. That part remains to be seen. We're always going to continue to look to get better, but I thought in the run game, for their first game together, we were much better in the run game consistently this game than we were in the previous two. I thought we were much better than we began running the football."