As he does each Thursday, Washington coach Steve Sarkisian met with reporters today to recap the week and look ahead for the final time to Saturday's game against Colorado.
Most newsworthy is Sarkisian saying that offensive lineman Dexter Charles is back and practicing without limitations. Sarkisian said they'll keep an eye on him during the game to make sure his shoulder holds up, but that he should be good to go.
Here's a transcript of everything else Sarkisian said, from Keith Price's performance in practice this week to an analysis of tonight's Stanford-Oregon game:
(On Jonathan Martin situation in Miami) "I don’t know. I don’t like to talk about locker rooms and things that I don’t have real information on. All I can speak about is I recruited Jonathan coming out of high school. He seemed like a good kid. I know competing against him, he was a really good player."
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(Good having Dexter Charles back?) "Dexter’s back going, which is good. That’s obviously an important piece to what we do. I think the continuity is really good when it’s he and Micah and Mike Criste there and the whole thing. It’s good to have your original five back together. But like I said earlier in the week, Erik (Kohler) got some valuable experience, James Atoe got some valuable experience, and so with these four games down the stretch, we’re going to need those guys at some point, so I think the experience they got was good for them."
(Limited at all?) "He doesn’t appear to be limited at all to me. Obviously we’ll watch him throughout the ballgame and monitor him, but he looked really good this week."
(What'd you miss without him?) "He’s a good player. It’s like anything, when you lose a good football player, you lose some of the attributes they possess. Dexter is a physical player, he’s excellent in the run game, he’s stout against some of the bigger defensive tackles and quicker defensive tackles that we face. We miss his talents."
(Keith Price said he rallies the team?) "He’s a fiery guy. Dexter has got a lot of fire in his belly. I think he’s a natural leader. Even though he’s a redshirt sophomore, he’s got natural leadership skills that he not only has but utilizes when needed."
(Did freshmen stay motivated after more reps during bye?) "Without a doubt. I think the team in general, this was a really good Thursday for us, I thought they were flying around. They looked really fast today, which is what you hope to feel coming out of a bye, that your speed is right where you need to be. But also I feel like our freshmen were really motivated. We went back and looked at the film from yesterday and watched the service period and some of those young defensive players were really flying around. We’re going to reward them this week by bringing a few of them to the hotel and putting them on the travel roster even though they’re redshirting, but to keep them motivating. I think it’s really important for the team morale."
(Why practice in Dempsey today?) "The wind and the film and all that stuff again. It’s not supposed to be windy Saturday, but there was a high-wind alert coming in today, so we just felt like it was the right thing to do."
(How'd Keith Price look this week?) "Looks really good. I thought today he threw the ball exceptionally well. Sometimes coming off a bye, the quarterback, he’s the one, of everybody else feeling fresh and getting back, that quarterback, that rhythm of throwing when you take multiple days off in a row, sometimes it takes them a little bit longer to get back in the groove of things, and I think Keith this week has kind of just gotten better and better and better, and I think today was probably the best day of him throwing the ball, which is a great sign."
(Bye week refreshing as a playcaller?) "I like all the information we’re able to take in, when we did our self-analysis there after eight games. Now as a playcaller, I can start to lean back and sit on, what’s the stuff we’re really good at, and what can I lean on? Where are ways I can incorporate some guys into the offense that maybe that wasn’t happening early on? Just different things like that. I feel almost more confident of what I’m going to be going to call Saturday night, not necessarily based so much on what Colorado is, we still call the game based on what they’re doing, but who we are, and what we’re about and where we can be even more successful."
(Volume of play sheet change?) "Not at all. It’s been the same every week. In essence, the slots get wiped clean every week and we fill in the slots. What types of plays and what situations are what changes, but the volume definitely does not."
(Play sheet looks tiny?) "At times it does. It has the ability to fold up, too. I think the way the system has gone, it’s allowed me to throughout the week, especially on Friday before games and in the hotel, to really study the call sheet in essence of knowing I don’t have to look at it all the time, and I know what calls I want based on the formations we’re in or the situations. When you limit the volume some, it’s easier for me to memorize it too. When there’s so much volume, now you’re hunting and looking for plays, so it’s a little easier for me to have it memorized without even having to look at it."
(Play faster these last four games?) "I felt like the last little bit of stretch, we slowed down a little. We had talked about this. I felt like our actual speed, we had slowed down a little. Talked about being a little bit lethargic at Arizona State and maybe not appearing as fast, so I want to make sure this final month here that we’re playing really fast football and that starts with our pace. That starts with our tempo and how we’re running plays, and so it’s a little bit of a unique challenge when you start losing a couple guys at key positions but I think our guys are really excited about the opportunity. We’re going to go as fast as we can go but yet be efficient and execute really well and do things the right way."
(Conditioning kicking in?) "We talked about it again this morning, of how well conditioned we are and this is going to be a great stretch run for us, and just how we’ve played really good football in the second half of ballgames, I think we’re going to play great football in the second half of the season and ultimately the fourth quarter."
(What do you guard against as a defense going against slower-paced offense?) "I don’t know necessarily to guard against. I think one of the big keys is when a team doesn’t use as much tempo, is now you’re dealing with shifts and motions and formations changing from a 2 by 2 set to a 3 by 1, and the intricacies of the calls that way and the communication that’s needed in that setting. I think the other thing is our ability to sub now is a little bit different than before, when we were almost subbing in hockey lines as fast as we could. Now, we have to sub based on the personnel that teams put on the field. It poses some different challenges, but I think ones that we’ll handle fine."
(Preparing for Friday game next week?) "We’re organized and ready for it. We’ll have a good team meeting Sunday night, one that we would normally have on an early Monday morning, we’ll do that Sunday night. And then we’ll start our work week Monday as somewhat of an abbreviated Tuesday and treat it so on and so forth so the routine of the week remains the same for the players."
(Will you watch Stanford-Oregon tonight?) "Normally Thursday night’s our night to relax a little bit. I’ll be like everybody else. You guys have known me long enough that I’m a huge college football fan. I love this game. That’s why I coach it. I love being part of it. It’s a great game for college football. It’s a great game for our conference, and I’m intrigued. They’re two teams that we’ve played, and played hard and tough, and it’ll be fun to watch."
(Thoughts on that game?) "I think it’ll be obviously intriguing to watch Stanford’s front, if they can affect Marcus (Mariota) some back there, because when he’s comfortable, he’s really, really good. I’ve said this all along, I think Oregon’s defense is really underrated. I think they’re an excellent defense, and how much offense Stanford can generate against them running the football and play-action pass. Ultimately I think the hidden piece of the game is special teams. Ty Montgomery’s having a great year for Stanford right now returning the ball, and as we all know, Oregon’s got some really good returners too. I think there’s a lot of factors in the game that are going to be fun to watch for me, and I’ll spend the time to watch it."