SEATTLE – Huskies football coach Steve Sarkisian had some good news to deliver early Monday afternoon. The stable of players injured in Saturday’s season opener, which included starting quarterback Keith Price and leading receiver Jermaine Kearse, are expected to be available for Saturday’s game against Hawaii.
But that’s about where his positive take stopped.
Even after snapping a two-year streak of losing openers, Sarkisian had plenty of harsh words for his Huskies on Monday.
Before addressing the team in what was likely to be a dressing-down later in the afternoon, Sarkisian told reporters that he wasn’t pleased with UW’s effort, energy or efficiency in Saturday’s 30-27 win over Eastern Washington.
He called the cautious nature with which his team played “one of the most disappointing things that I’ve seen around here” and added that he would rather see his team make occasional mistakes “at 100 miles an hour” than be “playing at, like, 75 miles an hour.”
The players expected a bit of a tongue-lashing.
“I think it’s going to be real intense,” cornerback Desmond Trufant said. “Our coaches know that we can easily play better. We didn’t play our best game. We left a lot out there.”
The players and coaches said all the right things after the game, giving EWU credit for staying with the Huskies on the field. But two days later, it sounded as if UW had rolled over and simply given the Eagles free reign.
“I thought we lacked energy,” Sarkisian said Monday. “I thought we lacked enthusiasm. I didn’t think we were physical at all, especially on the offensive side of the ball.”
Sarkisian put some of the blame on himself, saying he was too cautious at times in his play-calling. He cited the knee sprain that Price suffered in the second quarter as his reason for being more conservative calling plays.
Sarkisian also said that, in retrospect, he might not have had the players as fired-up as they needed to be Saturday.“We need to understand when things are acceptable and what things aren’t,” Sarkisian said. “There are standards that have been set here – by them, because they have shown us what they’re capable of doing and the way they’re capable of playing.”
Price (with a smaller brace on his right knee), Kearse (sprained ankle), cornerback Quinton Richardson (sprained ankle) and running back Chris Polk (knee surgery last month) all practiced.
Trufant practiced with a soft brace to protect the right wrist he sprained Saturday, and middle linebacker Cort Dennison was working through a sore left leg.