Coach Steve Sarkisian still has sour taste over Huskies' performance
Coach Steve Sarkisian says his team needs to become more disciplined and play up to its capabilities after a sluggish performance against Louisiana State.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Portland State @ UW, 1 p.m., FX
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian talked for roughly 30 minutes at his regular weekly news conference Monday, reviewing the lost weekend that was the trip to Louisiana State.
He needed only about five seconds, though, to pretty much sum up what the trip ultimately made him — and probably every Husky fan who watched — feel like.
"It makes me want to puke, quite honestly," he said. "You know, that's just how I've felt for 48 hours because we are better than that. And that's the part that is so frustrating because we are a good football team and I know we probably haven't played to our capabilities here the first two weeks of the season.
"... I don't like the feeling I've had here for the last couple of weeks and I won't like it this entire week until we go out and put a product on the field that we all can be proud of. And we haven't been able to do that for two weeks."
Sarkisian vowed the Huskies will soon begin doing that, though — and he hopes it begins at 1 p.m. Saturday when UW hosts Portland State at CenturyLink Field.
"We have our work cut out for us," he said. "We have some adversity that we're going to have to deal with, whether it be getting up off the mat after a tough loss like this or dealing with some injuries that we've been faced with. But I believe we'll do that. I believe we've got the character in our locker room and on our coaching staff to do that."
The necessary work covers just about every facet of the game; the Huskies were defeated 41-3 and outgained 437-183.
Sarkisian cited areas of particular concern — getting the offense going, playing more consistently on defense and stopping self-inflicted wounds such as penalties (UW was flagged for 13 with LSU accepting 11).
"We have to become a disciplined football team, a smart football team and one that plays the cards, plays the hand or plays the call from the sideline that they're dealt and can go out and execute those things at a high level and still play with the tremendous effort and want-to that our kids possess," he said.
As for other areas, he said: "We have to rectify some things schematically on the offensive side of the ball so that we can become the type of offense that I think we're capable of being. We have to continually find the moments when we lack the effort on the defensive side of the ball. There were very few of them, but when there were some there it was glaring. We have to continually play together on the defensive side of the ball."
The offense will again be challenged with another injury to the line, this one to Erik Kohler, who started the LSU game at right tackle but suffered another dislocated kneecap early in the game. Sarkisian said Kohler was having an MRI later Monday to determine the full extent of the injury but he's not expected to play Saturday.
That will force another reshuffling of the line — Sarkisian said center Drew Schaefer and left tackle Micah Hatchie are set, but the Huskies will search for the right combination of players elsewhere.
At right tackle, UW listed Mike Criste, who replaced Kohler on Saturday, and Dexter Charles as co-starters on its depth chart for the PSU game. And at right guard it listed James Atoe (who got the start Saturday) and true freshman Shane Brostek. Brostek has yet to play, but Sarkisian said he probably will Saturday.
The line's issues left quarterback Keith Price under duress all night. He was sacked four times and hurried on many occasions.
Price, who set a UW record with a passing efficiency rating of 161.9 last season but is at 105.83 this year, has admitted he's pressing in the face of a heavy rush.
"We've got to get him to shift his attention to Keith Price, No. 17 and 'What do I need to do all week to get ready to play at a high level on Saturday,' and allow the other guys to fix the things that are going on around him," Sarkisian said. "I think he understands that."
• Sarkisian said safety Will Shamburger needed 14 stitches to fix a cut near his eye. He said it is uncertain if he will play this week.
• Linebacker Travis Feeney was also having an MRI to determine the nature of a shoulder injury suffered Saturday. He missed spring practice after having shoulder surgery, but Sarkisian said this injury was to the other shoulder.
• Sarkisian said receiver Jaydon Mickens was limited in practice Monday due to turf toe but could return Saturday. Receiver Kevin Smith, who attended the luncheon, said he is fine after sitting out late in the LSU game after banging his knee.
• Sarkisian, asked about the possibility of using prized freshman safety Shaq Thompson at tailback, said it's not something the Huskies are considering now but could in the future.