Huskies Insider Blog

A 'big deal' for Huskies to wrap up sixth win soon

The notion was almost misplaced, yet appropriately staged.

Would getting bowl eligible this week be a big deal?

UW coach Steve Sarkisian barely let the reporter finish before he gave a yes-this-is-a-paramount-deal response.

"Big deal, big deal - that’s why this game is vitally important," Sarkisian said. "To get to the sixth win and to cherish the opportunity to get to a bowl game is something that is big to us. We’ll celebrate it and embrace it, like we did last year, when that time comes."

For whatever reason - the opponent this week in depleted Arizona, the site at Husky Stadium, the energy expected to come from the "Blackout" theme - this seemed like the right time to reminisce about the possibility of a sixth win.

The Huskies were on the doorstep of that last week as well heading into their road game at Stanford. But nobody seemed to be really thinking about that.

But the big opportunity exists now - and Sarkisian gladly spoke about it Thursday.

Moreover, there have not been that many Octobers the UW has closed recently with a chance to become bowl eligible:

* The last time was 2001 when the Huskies defeated Arizona State, 33-31, on the final weekend of October to notch their sixth victory. They ended up playing in the Holiday Bowl.

* The season before in 2000, the UW beat California, 36-24, on Oct. 21 to almost guarantee itself a postseason trip. It ended up being the Rose Bowl.

* And before that, the last time was 1997 - Jim Lambright's penultimate season as coach. The Huskies, in fact, swept the October slate of games, and clinced a bowl spot with a 45-17 win at Oregon State.

Last season, the Huskies went all the way to the wire to pluck a sixth victory, edging Washington State, 35-28, in the Apple Cup in Pullman.

Didn't want it to go to the final weekend this season, coach?

"I’d prefer not to, no," Sarkisian said. "We’ll see how it goes."

Other stuff ... quickly:

* Safety Justin Glenn (foot) returned to the practice field, was OK cutting laterally on team-period plays but really looked limited in his ability to plant and push forward into a tackle.

Will Shamburger likely will get the start at free safety - he took the majority of the snaps Thursday - but Glenn could play, possibly as a No. 3 safety behind Shamburger and Nate Fellner.

* Former UW defensive tackle Ron Holmes, a two-time All-American and first-round NFL Draft pick by Tampa Bay in 1985, died in his sleep Thursday morning. he was 48.

Sarkisian said, "it's unfortunate, for how young he was, 48 years old, and what Ron Holmes really meant to this program and being an All-American, eighth pick in the draft. And really the legacy he brought to the defensive line, and obviously carried forward by (Steve) Emtman. It's unfortunate. We feel for his family and friends, and we will pay a tribute to him."