Steve Sarkisian started Monday’s press conference with more injury news for the Huskies. Defensive tackle Lawrence Lagafuaina is out for the year. His departure opened the way for defensive tackle Josh Banks to debut against Stanford. More news, notes and quotes from Sarkisian:
> Sarkisian said being ranked in the top 25 is of little relevance to the team, at the moment. He said it’s a “perception” of your program. This is the same terminology Sarkisian has used in the past when discussing being ranked. Strong safety Sean Parker said it’s nice, but not something the team is overly concerned with.
> Sarkisian also said he thinks this team is much tougher mentally than just three weeks ago. He said they felt “young” coming out of the LSU game. But, as he has repeated for a few weeks now, feels like this is a more serious group than then and even years past.
> One interesting point Sarkisian made was that this team is almost all his recruits, meaning that those who went through 0-12, a coaching change and all of the drama around that are mostly gone. That leaves the roster with a different mentality, one that expects to “win championships during their time here” as opposed to the group who was working to rebuild things.
> When asked about the hype that comes with playing Oregon, Sarkisian veered. He said, “I’m kind of over external motivators. Maybe you learn a lesson as a coach with different things. I think this team, I don’t think external motivators pushes their buttons.” An interesting take from a coach who had a live tiger at practice a few weeks back.
> Sarkisian said Kendyl Taylor, listed as the No. 2 running back on this week’s depth chart, is both a running back and receiver. He didn’t elaborate and kind of passed off the question.
> Sarkisian said Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is faster than the last few Oregon quarterbacks.
> One of the challenges with Oregon is hanging with it in the second half. The Huskies have done well in the first since Sarkisian took over, but can’t make it to the finish line. Sarkisian said the depth is better now and that should help.
> There was a lot of talk about tackling. Washington did more of it in spring and fall practices this season, a change from the past. Sarkisian said it may cost them some increase in bumps and bruises during practice, but has shown up as a positive in games.