Campus was dead Thursday morning, except for the parking lot near the Dempsey Center was jam-packed for the UW football and basketball athletes who participated in a Thanksgiving morning practice.
Coach Steve Sarkisian closed his indoor tune-up practice Thursday to the public and media. But like he has stated the three previous weeks before losses, the practice Thursday was sharp and spirited.
"It is always kind of fun practicing Thanksgiving morning – there is something to do that, even going back to when you were a kid and playing in the park or at the high school and all that," the third-year UW coach said.
"I thought our guys were spirited again; they’re into it. But again, that is part of the preparation process. There is a lot that goes into this, and a lot between now and kickoff time of things we still have to work through as far being sound and understanding all of our assignments. This isn’t going to be about want-to – we are going to want to play really well and we’ll play hard Saturday – but it is about execution."
But on the heels of sweep most of November play last year, and not winning a game in three tries this month in 2011, is he a bit anxious to see his squad get back on winning track heading into the postseason?
"I don’t feel anxious – I don’t know if that is the best way to describe it," Sarkisian said. "I feel, as anything … we only get 13 opportunities to do what we do. We put in a lot of time, and a lot of effort and a lot of work to make this thing happen. So when we get our opportunities, we always try to put our best foot forward, and that is what I’d like to see us do Saturday."
Other notes:* With redshirt freshman Colin Tanigawa (knee) out after a season-ending injury last week, senior Nick Wood will get his first start in his final regular-season game at left guard.
Tanigawa is bigger. Wood is lighter on his feet and more athletic.
"They are both feisty. They are both tough," Sarkisian said. "Effort is one of their keys to their games, so very similar that way."
* An argument can certainly be made that this Apple Cup is just as much a home game for WSU as it is for the UW.
"Hopefully our fans are louder, first of all, and that we get a home field that way," Sarkisian said. "Outside of that, it is going to be our first time playing there. … And the end of it, I think as the more we go there into next season, our comfort level will increase. But until then, we’ve got to play the game and not worry about where the game is being played."
* Sark is thankful for a lot. He said so.
"I am thankful for my family – I have an awesome family. I am thankful for the University of Washington, the city of Seattle – this community has been awesome to us. And I am thankful for these kids. We’ve got a great group of kids that I get to work with every day, and have been extremely willing."
* Quick-hit stuff: It appears Justin Glenn will get the start at free safety. Sarkisian said playing Will Shamburger (shoulder) will be a game-time decision. …
First-year safety James Sample (shoulder) has season-ending surgery Wednesday, and is obviously out for Saturday. The Sacramento product played in three games earlier this season, but the school will seek a medical redshirt for him. ...
Unlike previous years, Sarkisian said Thanksgiving dinner Thursday would be "pretty intimate" with immediate family in Bellevue. …
All "The Zone" pre-function activities will be held in the Century Link Events Center. UW officials have stressed to Apple Cup spectators to visit this link for any questions about game-day transportation services and parking. …
Post-Apple Cup, the team will not resume any pre- bowl game workouts until Dec. 3, at the earliest.