University of Washington

OK, this trip's not exactly all work

The walk - downtown San Diego or on the beach?

The swim – hotel pool or in the Pacific Ocean?

The most-anticipated Holiday Bowl activity – Sea World or the San Diego Zoo?

It’s the University of Washington’s first trip to the postseason since 2002. None of the players have played in a bowl game, much less spent the week as a team basically acting like tourists.

Besides their five days of practices in preparation for a matchup against Nebraska on Dec. 30, the Huskies will have decision after decision to make as they take in some of the best attractions San Diego has to offer.

Welcome to your reward, guys.

“I think you enjoy it,” said UW coach Steve Sarkisian, who took part in a Cotton Bowl as a quarterback at Brigham Young, and seven other postseason games as a former Southern California assistant – but never a Holiday Bowl.

“I don’t know how many guys have been to one of the largest zoos in the world, or to one of the best Sea Worlds in America or to get on a naval ship like this. These are experiences hopefully they can take and last for a lifetime.”

But Sarkisian reiterated Thursday that there are times to go to work and there are times to have fun.

“I’ve been to San Diego once. I haven’t been to the zoo or Sea World or anything like that,” Huskies receiver Jermaine Kearse said. “I view it as a business trip. All the activities are a bonus, but my ultimate goal down there is to win the game.”

The Huskies’ schedule:

 • On Dec. 26, both teams will visit the San Diego Zoo, a longstanding tradition for Holiday Bowl teams.

 • The next day, it is on to Sea World.

 • On Dec. 28, the Huskies and Cornhuskers will board the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan for a two-hour luncheon and tour of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.

Only two members of the UW staff have been involved in a Holiday Bowl.

Receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty was a redshirt freshman quarterback when Missouri played Colorado State in the 1997 game – a 35-24 loss.

And former UW star Marques Tuiasosopo, now a part of the Huskies’ strength and conditioning staff, was the starting quarterback in a 24-20 loss to No. 7 Kansas State in 1999.

“It’s awesome. We’ve got the same schedule (of activities) and same stuff because they probably do it every year, but everything is done first class. You can tell (bowl organizers) care a lot about it,” Tuiasosopo said.

EXTRA POINTS

As expected, junior Everrette Thompson took most of the snaps at defensive tackle, but Lakes High’s product Sione Potoa’e and Chris Robinson saw work on the interior, too. Talia Crichton (knee), who’s been out the past two months, practiced at defensive end. . ... The UW has sold its allotment of 11,000 tickets for the Holiday Bowl, UW director of public relations Carter Henderson said. ... Safety Nate Williams has been invited to the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 22 in Orlando, Fla.

HOT TOPIC: Nebraska’s secondary

STARTERS

Cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Alfonzo Dennard; safeties DeJon Gomes and Austin Cassidy; and nickel back Eric Hagg.

TOP RESERVES

SS Courtney Osborne and FS P.J. Smith.

KEY STATS

Gomes has 93 tackles and three interceptions; Hagg has five INTs; Dennard has four INTs; Amukamara has 13 pass breakups.

SCOUTING REPORT

All the safeties are speedy ballhawks who read the action well. But everything really starts with Amukamara and Dennard’s on-ball pressure at cornerback against receivers – knocking them off routes, and closely playing the passing lanes.

QUOTEWORTHY

“They’re (the cornerbacks) ticked off if you catch a ball on them, and you can see that on the film.” – UW receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty.

Todd Milles, staff writer

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