Huskies Insider Blog

Huskies' trip to U.S.S. Ronald Reagan big eye-opener

Before the trip ever took off, many Washington players conceded the Holiday Bowl-related activity they were most looking forward to was the luncheon Tuesday on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, a Navy aircraft carrier.

But after it was over, the experience opened some of the eyes of the UW coaches, notably headmaster Steve Sarkisian.

"That was a very cool event," Sarkisian said. "It humbles you in a sense that you are sitting there, and there is the sailor sitting at your table and you look in their eyes and you realize they are 18-, 19-, 20-year old kids - the same kids we work with every day. And they are out there in the Middle East defending our country."

Some of the highlights of the visit:

* Sarkisian said he got to sit in the captain's chair.

* He said he stood on the deck, looked both ways and realized it was "four football fields long."

"Somebody can tell you that, but until you actually stand there and look in both directions just to see the (massivity) of that ship, that was kind of mind-boggling to me," the second-year UW coach added.

* Asked if he could hold a team practice on the ship, Sarkisain responded, "Easily. I mean, to think that they will travel at times and there are 5,000 people on that ship - it's a city. It's really amazing."

Some other stuff from the Huskies' final practice Tuesday:

* In for the Holiday Bowl is receiver Cody Bruns (clavicle), who will hold on field goals and PAT kicks; left guard Ryan Tolar (knee), who may or may not start; and defensive tackle Chris Robinson (knee).

* Ruled out is defensive end Talia Crichton (knee) and safety Sean Parker (shoulder).

* Receiver Devin Aguilar will start as the primary punt returner over tailback Jesse Callier.

* In a tradition started by Sarkisian and the coaching staff last year, after their last practices, the seniors ran through a tunnel of "hands" formed by underclassmen Tuesday night.

Linebacker Mason Foster led the charge, and fullback Austin Sylvester brought up the rear.

* About 75 to 100 spectators attended the Huskies' final pre-bowl game practice at the University of San Diego. Among the onlookers were former Seahawks quarterback Rick Mirer, who lives in the area, and former Oregon quarterback Akili Smith, now an assistant at California.

* The UW will hold afternoon meetings Wednesday at around 2:30 p.m., then go to Qualcomm Stadium for a walkthrough. Sarkisian said he thought the field would be in good working condition for the game after the recent flooding in Southern California.

* To nobody's surprise, at Nebraska practice earlier Tuesday, Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini confirmed freshman Taylor Martinez (toe) will start at quarterback.