Injuries, redshirts and motivation were the topics of the day.
- CB Adoree' Jackson returned to practice, so he is on track to play Saturday. Head coach Steve Sarkisian also feels confident that DE Leonard Williams will be good to go.
- PK Andre Heidari is still testing out his injured groin. Alex Wood could potentially handle kickoffs leaving Heidari to stay focused and healthy for field goals and extra points.
- Sarkisian on RB Tre Madden and LB Lamar Dawson: "In a perfect world, they're both going to redshirt for us." Assuming the NCAA grants both the year back, Madden would still have two remaining years of eligibility and Dawson would have one to go.
- Freshman John Plattenburg continues to push for a starting spot at safety alongside Gerald Bowman. "Plattenburg is a really bright guy and has a high football IQ, and it
shows with his ability to adapt to the system here as a true freshman," said Sarkisian.
- Plattenburg: "I know I'm young, so I'm still learning things, but I've got to learn fast. We don't really have much depth. I hold myself accountable for all the mistakes I'm making."
- Justin Wilcox was asked repeatedly about the fourth quarter defense in the previous two games, and he related it more to scheme and execution than effort or energy. "I don't sense that the guys are relaxing," he said. "It's the situational awareness. What type of routes are we getting on third down. It's the technique. It's the emotion of the game, and being able to play with a calm mind."
- Some of the third down issues land on a young secondary that puts itself in good positions, but often fails to make a confident play on the football. "We're just trying to make them mentally tough," said DB coach Keith Heyward. "Make them understand that we have to finish, we have to play technically sound and play with great eyes. Colorado throws the ball a lot to Nelson Spruce. After that, Utah is slinging the thing around and then Wazzu who throws it about a million times a game if they can and it keeps going after that. We have to do our job, we've got to play disciplined with our eyes and we ultimately have to finish."
- As for a potential letdown game, Sarkisian is having none of it. "This is a championship game. They all are from here on out."
- Here is Sarkisian's morning press conference...