Huskies Insider Blog

Video: Steve Sarkisian discusses Arizona, Nick Holt and says no black helmets

Transcript after the jump

Opening Comment

Finally got football weather around here, feels good."

On defensive guys like Timu and Shamburger getting into the mix

"We've been continually trying to mix those guys and play to our depth, I definitely think it's one of our strengths…whether it's Timu and Kearse, or all the four safeties and what they are doing, and Gilliland and Fuimaono…we're really trying to rotate those guys because I think we'll be better for it - not just now but even in the long run."

On moving Quinton Richardson back outside

"Well obviously they've got some big receivers when you look at the two big guys on the outside - Criner and Buckner - and the ability to throw fade routes to those guy is one of the key elements to their offense. I think the bigger bodies that are out there, the better we'll be…at least it should be that way. We'll see."

On if Semisi is OK since he hasn’t seen many reps

"Yeah, he's OK."

On if you can throw something at a senior QB like Nick Foles to surprise him

"I hope so! (laughs) He's a veteran, but he's not an 15-year NFL vet yet. We've got to try; we'd be foolish not to try to. We need to throw some things not just at him but at their offensive line, their backs and their receivers. We've got to continue to mix things up. One thing with veteran guys - when you sit in one thing then it gets too comfortable for him, too easy for him. So you need to continue to try and throw different things at him and mix it up and make him work at it."

On Will Shamburger's improvement

"You know, what I think Will's done the best - he's always been a nice athlete for us, has always run well, had good ball skills. What he's showing us now is a real physicality to his game. He's tackled extremely well the last few times we've played…he's put his face on people. He's playing the game with a real tenacity. He's going for it. You can see it; he almost appears faster than he is. He's playing really well."

On the mental state of the team

"I think we are great now. I think it took a little time. But that's okay. That just shows me that they really care. I thought yesterday was a very spirited practice for our group and they came back and did it again today. They are embracing the elements and enjoy it, they enjoy the coolness in the air. I've been proud of them. We've unfortunately been faced with some of these challenges before, in our past, and responded really well and I wouldn't expect anything less from us. I think we will respond well Saturday.''

Arizona's rejuvenated running game --- is it just draws?

"They are doing everything. They've got a bit of their pistol/cone type offense going. And they have committed themselves to it in the sense that I think they had over 40 attempts last week. So it's rejuvenated because they are running the ball. It's easy to say we've got to run the ball better and then you only have 15 attempts, it's hard to run the ball better. They committed themselves to it last week against UCLA and so we will  have to see what their plan is versus is as the game gets going.''

On their depleted secondary and changing the plan

"I don't think so. We've got a plan and we've got to be prepared for some different things. They did some different stuff versus UCLA. They went back a little to that old Desert Swarm defense there, that flex defense, so you've got to be prepared for the stuff they were doing earlier in the year and the stuff they were doing last game. So we've got a plan in place and we hopefully can go out and execute it really well.''

On how much of the gameplan he helped with when he was a senior at BYU

"None. I played for the doctor, Norman Chow. He told me what to run and we went and ran it.''

On the criticism of Nick Holt

"Well, he's a stud. Nick has been through this before and in this profession you've got to take the bad with the good and understand the jobs that we have and the positions that we are in and the criticism that comes from that. And if you don't understand that then this is the wrong profession for you. You've got to be able to be thick-skinned and you've got to find that even keel, that even space, to where you never get too high, you never get too low and you enjoy the experience of coming to work every day and I think Nick is doing that.''

On if the criticism is unfair

"I don't know, we didn't play very well. That's okay. That doesn't mean we can't get better. That's not the end of the world. The sun's going to come up tomorrow, I hope, and we'll get up tomorrow and we'll go back to work.''

On the cold weather expected

I don’t think for us. We’re so accustomed to it with our guys and quarterbacks playing in it. I think Keith has really grown accustomed to it. If you would have saw Keith on his night like this his true freshman year, he would have been bundled up and shivering and his teeth clanking together.  But you get used to it. I think our guys perform pretty well in these types of elements.

On Arizona cutting back on the bubble screen some

Well, they’re changing a little. They’ve evolved. I think that’s just in generally. Typically, offenses constantly evolve. Even the stuff you’ve done great for years, it just kind of starts to fade away. Mostly because people start to defend the stuff you do better. They’ve evolved into throwing the ball down the field more than I think they have in the past. They understand that they have two nice big wideouts they can throw the ball up to and they can make plays on.

On if they remind him of anyone.

OHHHHHH, no, not really. When they go to their 10 personnel, their four wide sets, they’ve got similarities to Hawaii, with their principles and passing game. Their cone stuff not as much, closest thing to that might be what Washington State did last year. To be this committed to it as they are – or they were least week -  no, we haven’t seen anything like it.

On the play of Alameda Ta’amu

We’re just trying to continue to push the buttons with him, push the right buttons. I think Alameda is a very good football player. I think he’s held to a little higher standard than everyone else. He’s a senior. We’ve seen what he’s capable of. He’s the one who set that standard. We’ve seen what the Holiday Bowl looiks like, so now what’s good a play for him, might not be for other people and vice versa. He’s just held to a little different standard. And he understands that.

On rumors of helmets being black for the black out ...

"No, they won't. But we might wear some Halloween masks under them