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September 7, 2012
After Thursday's practice and before they travel to Baton Rouge, Washington head football coach Steve Sarkisian met with media for a final discussion on the upcoming Saturday game against LSU.
With offensive lineman Ben Riva out with a broken arm and some adjustments happening at right guard and right tackle, it remains to be seen what the offensive line will look like on Saturday.
"I think they'll play. I think they'll play well. I think we have a plan in place to allow them to do the things they do well," Sarkisian said.
Because of the heat they will surely face down at LSU, Sarkisian wants to be able to rotate guys in so the line doesn't exhaust itself. One of those guys potentially in the rotation at right guard is true freshman Shane Brostek.
Sarkisian said he rather not use Brostek, but if they are put in a position due to unforeseen circumstances that they would need him, Brostek will play.
Another injury in last Saturday's game against San Diego State left another gap in the UW offense.
Jesse Callier suffered an ACL injury. This week, Washington prepared to fill one of the starting spots at tailback. It wasn't necessarily a hard decision, or a surprise, who would step in. Bishop Sankey has been competing with Callier for that spot since Chris Polk left.
On Monday, Sarkisian said he wanted to see Sankey block better and show more patience, but that he did respond well to becoming the starting tailback when Callier got hurt Saturday.
It's been a few days since then, and Sarkisian thinks Sankey has stepped up. But it's not like his confidence in Sankey ever really wavered too much.
"I think he's had a good week," Sarkisian said. "Bishop is such a serious kid that I think he's taken on this challenge head on. I feel good about Bishop. I felt good about Bishop after spring ball, after training camp, and so I don't have concerns with him being our lead back."
And now is the opportunity for some of the younger running backs to take advantage of potential playing time.
Then there's the second tight end spot. On Monday, Sarkisian said he thinks that position needs to improve. After a week of practice, he said he thinks the guys have risen to the challenge so far and have an understanding that they need to perform better at that position than they did last Saturday.
We're trying to understand some guys and "putting them in a little different position to be successful maybe doing some things that they do well, and moving some guys around," Sarkisian said. "Definitely I'd like to see that position perform better because (two tight end sets are) a big part of our offense and to do that we have to execute."
Again with the execution piece.
This whole week has been about execution and focus. Energy seems to just be a given.
But will the energy and hype surrounding a big game at LSU cause the focus to stray?
Sarkisian said: "I don't want us to come out with a lack of energy. I don't think that will ever be the case. I think we'll be fired up ready to go. What I am cognizant of is I don't want us to, at the end of the first quarter, be wiped out because we've been jumping around all pregame warm ups long. So we'll try our best to keep our composures throughout pregame, and when the ball gets kicked off, put our best foot forward."
CB Greg Ducre was nursing a sprained foot at practice on Thursday. Sarkisian said it's not serious and he should be able to play on Saturday.
OL Ben Riva saw a specialist Monday afternoon for his broken arm suffered in last Saturday's game. On Thursday, Sarkisian said that meeting revealed that the bone is only broken and there's nothing else wrong with Riva's arm. He expects a four to six week recovery.
Sarkisian said one of the keys going into a game like the one on Saturday is, simply put, the football. "When you can create some turnovers on defense and get short fields and put some points on the board that's always helpful And then minimize the big plays from the opponent," Sarkisian said.
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