University of Washington

Opener at Brigham Young bearing down on Huskies

Seattle - By this time next week, the Washington Huskies will be in game-week preparations for their Sept. 4 opener at Brigham Young.

And by this time the week after that, the season will have begun and a critical result will be in the books.

Coach Steve Sarkisian chose to begin this week of practices by reminding his team how much remains to be done and how little time remains to do it.

“When we met (Sunday) night, I had to show the guys on the calendar: ‘Two weeks from tonight we’re going to be back home, (the staff is) going to be in the office working, you guys are going to be back in your apartments and we’re either going to be 1-0 or 0-1. And that sucker is coming quick in two weeks,’ ” he said. “We just wanted to make sure it is on the horizon, but we still have some things we need to get done before we start focusing on that game.”

Sarkisian was asked to name a few of those things.

“I’m still stressing pad level,” he said. “I think we need to get lower, we need to play lower, we need to get more violent with our hands at the line of scrimmage. … We’re really trying to just hammer home all of the special situations in the kicking game, just all of the different scenarios that can come up so that we’re comfortable when those things come about. And then the third part of it is starting to peek at BYU, to make sure that the things (that aren’t) installed yet are installed for our guys so it’s not new to them when we get that game plan in.”

Quarterback Jake Locker also weighed in Monday during a Q and A on his rapidly approaching senior season:

How does this camp compare to 2009?

“I think we’re a little farther ahead this year, just as far as having knowledge of the offense. We’ve been able to take things to the next level and make the difficult looks still become successful plays. We have everybody on the same page and just play a little bit faster. As a whole, that’s what the camp’s been for us, and it continues to get better and better.”

What needs to be cleaned up before BYU?

“I think procedural stuff, just making sure we’re lining up, getting on the ball, keeping our tempo up, getting in and out of the huddle and getting as many snaps as we can.

Are you getting antsy?

“Yeah, it’s exciting. We’re less than two weeks away now. It is an opportunity. We’ve all been waiting since we got done last year. To have the opportunity to go out and play again on Saturdays for real is really exciting.”

How important is it to bring UW back to prominence?

“It was a goal of mine when I first came here and something I was hoping to be a part of.”

Is the excitement around the program similar to what it was when you were growing up watching UW?

“A little bit, yeah. I think there’s a lot of excitement around this program right now, maybe even more than there had been at that point. If we go out and control what we can, and play hard and enjoy the game, I think we’ll put ourselves in a good position to have success.”


Linebacker Cort Dennison sat out practice Monday with what Sarkisian called “a little sprained knee.” However, he said Dennison probably could have participated if needed, and that it was probably good to get him a rest and to get the other middle backers more chance to participate. Sarkisian said he wasn’t sure if Dennison will practice this morning, when the Huskies have their first of two sessions. Similarly, offensive tackle Senio Kelemete (ankle) was kept out of work, but could have played if needed. However, the coach seemed more concerned about receiver James Johnson (ankle), who continues to gingerly jog stadium steps while his teammates practice. … Sarkisian said that after reviewing Saturday’s scrimmage he might have been a bit hard on the offense. He said he was very pleased with the running game. However, he remained frustrated about penalties and other errors that resulted in first- and second-and-long situations.

Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808