Before the 2009 finale, 15 seniors will be introduced with their families to what should be a well-receiving crowd at Husky Stadium.
Guys such as defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, linebacker Donald Butler and fullback Paul Homer are ones first-year UW coach Steve Sarkisian has repeatedly said have been critical in laying the foundation for future success. No doubt, their final game Saturday will be a touching moment for players and coaches alike.
But what if it is junior Jake Locker’s last game as well?
“I thought the same thing myself there (Sunday) night,” Sarkisian said.
It’s getting to that point, contemplating the future starting in 2010.
Much of Sarkisian’s weekly press conference Monday centered on that subject – Locker’s future. Will it end Saturday?
“I don’t know,” said Sarkisian, shrugging his shoulder. “I really don’t.”
Added the quarterback himself: “I’m not worried about that.”
Currently, Locker is listed as the No. 8 draftee on Mel Kiper Jr’s “Big Board” for the 2010 Draft – and third quarterback taken behind Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford and Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen.
Of course, Sarkisian sees both sides of the equation – the money of a top-10 NFL draft pick versus another year of Locker’s development in a pro-style system the coach views as as good as any.
“Not to toot our own horn, but I believe in our coaching style and our techniques and our mechanics, and I believe in our schemes and I believe in the way we coach and the way we teach is as good or better than anybody out there,” Sarkisian said. “That in and of itself I feel like we’re the best thing for him.”
Yet, Sarkisian knows he has to tread lightly on the topic. He won’t push the issue with Locker after the season. He’ll act as a consultant.
“I won’t pressure him. I won’t pressure him,” Sarkisian said. “I want him to make a decision that is based on facts and information and not based on emotion and so however long it takes for him to do that is fine.”
Other Monday news:
• Linebacker E.J. Savannah’s season is over. His broken left wrist has not healed enough where he would be cleared by doctors before the Cal game Saturday.
“He’s a warrior. He wants to fight through it,” Sarkisian aid. “But it’s just not the right thing to do to put him out there with that thing.”
Savannah is applying for a redshirt year so he can return for a sixth season.
• Offensive guard Ben Ossai, a senior, was taken out for a couple series in the first half of the UW’s 30-0 victory over WSU.
Sarkisian said it was more about getting Nick Wood some snaps, and less about Ossai’s performance.
“I don’t want to give up on Nick Wood,” Sarkisian said. “He’s a guy that has earned the right to play.”
• Obvious is the fact true freshman James Johnson is in a slump. He dropped a pass early against WSU, and wasn’t in a lot of the Huskies’ two-receiver sets in the second half.
“I think a little bit of it is possible mental and physical fatigue. You’re a true freshman, you ask so much of a guy early on like we did through training camp, he’s had a lot of reps for us and I think a little fatigue has set in,” Sarkisian said. “I’d like to think we can get james going Saturday that he can end his freshman year on a high like he started it, making plays for us. Part of that we’ve got to get his confidence right this week in practice.”
• Sarkisian was asked about Johri Fogerson’s sudden diminishing role in the offense. He didn’t take one snap Saturday while Demitrius Bronson and Curtis Shaw took carries.
“Paul (Homer) has performed well for us and we wanted to get him more snaps,” Sarkisian said.
• After Locker’s third-quarter interception, the quarterback was leveled by WSU’s Casey Hamlett. Some labeled it a cheap sot. Not Locker.
“I was laid out,” he said.
• The delay at the start of second quarter was caused by a collision between a UW player and chain-gang member Brad Feagan, of West Seattle, who was transported off in an ambulance to Harborview Medical Center.
“It’s actually relatively common type play – just starts coming to the sideline, and all of a sudden, you get hit,” Sarkisian said. “Unfortunate thing, it wasn’t on the initial hit. It was him hitting his head on the ground after the hit.”
Feagan had neck surgery Sunday, but the 20-year UW staff member is expected to make a full recovery.
• In light of the recent tragedy where four Lakewood police officers were killed Sunday at a coffee shop in Parkland, the university is offering four complimentary tickets to active police, fire-department and military personnel for the game Saturday.
Fans can pick up the free passes at the northeast plaza of Husky Stadium on game day.
• Quick-hit stuff – Safety Victor Aiweya (head) practiced in full Monday. … Center Ryan Tolar (headaches) watched practice in a poncho and sweatpants. Mykenna Ikehara ran exclusively with the No. 1 offense. … The team practiced in the dank outdoors for almost an hour Monday, its usual light day.