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October 19, 2010

Washington back to work

The Washington Huskies didn't get much time to bask in the glow of a double-overtime victory over Oregon State.

"Well, it's time to get back on the horse," Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian said as he opened his Monday press conference. "It was a nice win for us, I think a much needed win, but it's time to move on."

The Huskies follow their harrowing 35-34 victory over a Top 25 team with a date against another ranked opponent. Washington (3-3) travels to Tucson to tackle No. 15 Arizona (5-1) in a game that will be shown on ESPN at 7:15 p.m. Saturday.

The game marks the fourth time in five games that the Huskies will have faced a ranked opponent.

And it doesn't stop in Tucson.

After Arizona, the Huskies play two more teams that are currently ranked in the Associated Press' Top 25: No. 12 Stanford and No. 1 Oregon.

Ouch.

"We play really good teams," Sarkisian said. "Every opponent is good. No point in trying to build one up and not the other. These guys (Arizona Wildcats) are good. Oregon State was good. Arizona State was good, USC was good, Nebraska was good. Everybody is good nowadays, I guess. It doesn't matter the helmet they got on, we've just got to get ready to play well and play hard."

The Huskies have found that task to be consistently challenging. Every victory this season has been followed by a loss.

"I think what we did really well Saturday was focus on ourselves, focus on what we can control, the way we played and approached the game," Huskies quarterback Jake Locker said. "I think that's what we need to do this week, have confidence in the game and what we're doing, believe in each other and go out and play fast and have fun doing it. If we're able to do that, consistency will come."

Locker, who had been slowed by a bruised quad muscle last week, said his leg felt fine against Oregon State with no problems.

"It feels good today," he said. "I feel really good."

Most of the Huskies felt pretty good Monday, showing smiles and playfulness in practice.

Locker said the Huskies had a "really, really good" week of practice leading up to the Oregon State game and figures the Huskies will find more consistency in winning on Saturdays if they can consistently practice well.

That and, according to UW linebacker Mason Foster, maybe loosen up a little bit on game day.

"You've just got to have fun," said Foster, who leads the Pacific-10 Conference in tackles with an average of 12 per game. "I feel that's what we did against Oregon State. Just go have fun and play in the absence of fear."

Foster was asked if Oregon and Boise State's No. 1 and No. 2 rankings gave the Huskies a motivational boost.

"Looking at stuff like that and looking at other teams doesn't boost anything for us," Foster said. "We boost each other.

"Looking to my left and right, seeing guys like Nate Williams and Cort Dennison (who were sitting near him being interviewed). Nate was my roommate in the dorms my freshman year. Guys like that make you want to be ranked. You want to play for them.

"I feel that's what we have going right now on our team. We play for each other. We know how much everything means to us. We're brothers. We just want to play for ourselves. We don't look at anything outside like that to boost our own desire to play."



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