Here's my story from today's paper which discusses the idea of the Huskies not getting caught up in the distractions of all that is going on with Saturday's game - the last game at the Old Husky Stadium.
It’s a whole lot of pomp and circumstance that has little to do with the game.
“One of the unique challenges for us is to focus on the task at hand – and that’s playing the Oregon Ducks,” Sarkisian said.
That shouldn’t be a problem since the Huskies haven’t beaten the Ducks since 2003. Sarkisian appreciates the desire to celebrate history, as long as it doesn’t mess with his preparation.
“… In order for us to practice well we need to prepare well mentally and physically, emotionally. To do that we can’t get caught up in the things that are going on around us,” Sarkisian said. “Whether Lincoln Kennedy is in town or Steve Emtman is in town or it’s Senior Night and how many tickets are being given out to this person or Coach James is there. Our focus has to be on that game and that has to start (Monday).” Columnist Dave Boling wrote about Chris Polk and his place in Washington football history.
At his Monday press conference, though, Sarkisian added to the list of Polk qualities – a crucial component to his success that we can’t see from the stands or press box.
“He’s really matured,” Sarkisian said. “Not only on the field, but off the field. He’s been a very good leader for our team. I said the other night that I was very proud of that … as much as what he’s doing on the field.”
Sarkisian said he sees that maturity in a team-first, selfless attitude, which is not always the case with high-profile running backs.
“Early in the season when Keith (Price) was throwing all those touchdown passes, a lot of them coming within the 15-yard line or so, a guy that might be a little immature could be getting a bit selfish and saying ‘Why am I not scoring more touchdowns?’ ”
Sarkisian said he’s never heard a whisper out of Polk, in fact, Polk has been the first guy on the field to congratulate other young backs who have scored touchdowns.
“There’s a real sense of maturity about the guy,” the coach said. “It’s bigger than him, how important the team is to him, and how important winning is to him.”