The Huskies practiced in full pads for the first time on Tuesday, and went 2 ½ hours. After 75 minutes, Sarkisian moved drills from Husky Stadium indoor to the Dempsey Center. High winds were the issue.
“The biggest thing, in spring ball, especially, we only get 15 practices, and you need to maximize every opportunity you get,” Sarkisian explained. “I’m not concerned about us being a mentally and physically tough football team – we’ve proven that and we’ll continue to grow in that area. This was about being efficient and getting quality reps.”
After practice, the Huskies collected their Holiday Bowl rings. They looked to be about the size of the typical, hefty Super Bowl ring, with a purple “W” in the center.
Although the passes looked sharper once they moved inside, the defense had a good day getting pressure on both Keith Price and Nick Montana.
“We’ve got to get used to playing football again,” Sarkisian said when asked of his impressions of the live session. “We’ll tackle better as we continue to go.” He thought the open-field tackling by the secondary was strong, and the running game shone at times.
He also cited good quarterback pressure by freshman linebacker Josh Shirley.
Sarkisian said he likes the physicality of the first four practices. “I think our guys have adopted that mentality,” Sarkisian said. “That is what they want to be; we still have a ways to go to get to that point.”
It is a goal that has to be balanced with maintaining a pace that allows for teaching, he said. “As much as we’re trying to be physical, we’re trying to raise our football IQ as well,” he said. “There’s a lot of teaching of the nuances of the game that is going on right now. I think our kids are responding very well.”
--Early entry freshman tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins sat out the later stages of practice with what Sarkisian said was “little quad pull.” “We don’t think it’s serious,” Sarkisian said of the promising newcomer from Gig Harbor High. “I’m trying to look at this as No. 4 of 15 practices. The last thing I want to do is have him really pull that thing and miss three or four in a row. We thought let’s sit him down now and maybe get him back Thursday or maybe Saturday at the latest.” Others sitting out were offensive lineman Ben Riva and Colin Porter, both of whom had flu symptoms.
--Spectators on the sidelines Tuesday included former Seahawk running back Shaun Alexander, former Husky quarterback Jake Locker, and incoming freshman receiver Kasen Williams, an All-American at Skyline High