Huskies Insider Blog

Afternoon kickoff: Wrapping up Saturday's Husky spring game

Late start today on the blog as I allowed myself to do a few other things with the final day of spring football. Over the next few weeks, we'll try and kind of do some analysis of the spring with some position breakdowns and thoughts about the fall.

But let's get to yesterday's spring game ... The defense prevailed 36-10 in Sark's scoring system. But regardless of the score, it was easy to see that the defense was better yesterday.

From Todd Milles story ...

“I really wished we could have played a game. People can connect to it and relate to it better,” Sarkisian said. “We just couldn’t do it, so we tried to come up with a formula that could be competitive.

“The defense won on the field, and ultimately they won on the scoreboard.”

Make no mistake, that 67-56 Alamo Bowl loss in late December wounded the defense’s pride. Days later, defensive coordinator Nick Holt was fired. Shortly after, Wilcox was hired from Tennessee to change the culture of the UW defense.

Tackling and mental breakdowns were immediately identified by Wilcox as chief issues. But above all, he said, was getting this defense to establish a rock-solid identity.

“First thing, we wanted to develop … who we are, not only schematically installing a new defense, but what we are about,” Wilcox said. “When people turn on the TV, what do they say about that (defense) on the field?”It leads you to ask ... Is the defense that much improved or was the offense that bad. The answer:  It's a little of both. Yes it's wishy-washy but it's true. The offense - particularly the offensive line - struggled at times yesterday. Keith Price tried to blame himself for the sluggish offense. But it was more than that as Sarkisian was quick to point out.

From my story ...

Many of the problems started up front. An inexperienced offensive line struggled to protect Price and backup Derrick Brown, giving up seven sacks. The offense generated just 20 yards rushing.

“My concern isn’t big,” Sarkisian said. “We held (center Drew) Schaefer out after the first drive, we will get (offensive lineman Colin) Tanigawa back and then we will be game planning and doing things to attack opponents and protect (Keith) a little more. I’m not nearly as concerned offensively because of the knowledge I have of the guys and where we can take this thing.”

Offensive linemen were not made available to the media after the game, but Sarkisian defended their play.

“It’s film, it’s experience,” he said. “Those are valuable reps and steps for a young player to take at that position and trusting in fundamentals. I think there were some good things in there for our offensive line. But the key is – you make that one mistake and it’s a sack or a tackle for loss, and that just can’t occur.”

Also ..