But if the UW football players were hoping for a relaxing week, they might have another thing coming.
Its going to be a big work week, defensive tackle Cameron Elisara said Saturday night, after the Huskies got manhandled to the tune of 56-21 by eighth-ranked Nebraska. Its not going to be week off for us. Its a week where were going to have to get better. Coming off of a loss, this isnt a week for us to relax. ... Were going to be on the grind this whole week.
A little R and R? Not so much.
We need to have tackling drills, I know that, head coach Steve Sarkisian said, referring to the countless number of missed tackles that were on display in the Nebraska game. We need to tackle better than we did (in the loss).
The Huskies will return to the practice field this morning and hold 10 a.m. workouts each day through Thursday. Then the relaxation will begin, with a long, football-free weekend.
The first of two bye weeks will help heal some injuries, and players like starting middle linebacker Cort Dennison (concussion), wide receiver James Johnson (ankle), defensive tackle Cameron Elisara (quadriceps) and running back Johri Fogerson (hip) could use the rest.
The bigger question is what kind of a team the Huskies will prove to be coming out of the bye. UW (1-2) looked dominant at times (the final 50 minutes of the Syracuse game) and susceptible to dominance at others (the first 10 minutes of the Syracuse game and almost the entire Nebraska game).
Other than the pie-in-the-sky dreams of a national championship, and possibly the hopes of getting quarterback Jake Locker a Heisman Trophy, UW still has all of its goals in front of it. Pac-10 play has yet to begin, and so Sarkisian was still optimistic following the blowout loss to Nebraska.
I wish we would have been 3-0 coming out of these three ball games, but unfortunately were 1-2, Sarkisian said Saturday night. In two weeks, we start Pac-10 play. Our goal every year is to win the Pacific-10 Conference. So well battle, compete, fight and claw to make that a reality.
Now that the 2010 Huskies have three game films on record, its difficult to tab them as a Pac-10 favorite. Oregon (3-0) has dominated non-conference opponents, Arizona (3-0) has emerged as a national contender, and Stanford (3-0) has started the post-Toby Gerhart era as the most pleasant surprise in the conference. Rose Bowl contender Oregon State (1-1) should bounce back from its opening loss to top-10 team Texas Christian, while USC (3-0) is still perfect despite some shaky performances. And Arizona State (2-1) and UCLA (1-2) are coming off impressive Saturday performances.
Suffice to say, the Huskies will have their work cut out for them when conference play begins.
What UW needs to figure out over the next two weeks is whether they have enough bulk and strength to match up inside. The Huskies had better solve some of their run defense issues particularly when they head to Eugene for the Oregon game in early November and need to get Locker and the passing game back on track.
Despite the one-sided loss on Saturday, the Huskies are still in position to make noise, get to the postseason and maybe even challenge for a Rose Bowl berth.
Its just going to take a lot of hard work even during the bye week.
The greatest part about a game like this is that we get to play another one, Locker said Saturday night. We get to play again in two weekends. Its important for us to put this behind us. Well have two weeks of work and get ready to start our conference (schedule).
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