Sept. 25, 2010
By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE - Cameron Elisara is spending part of this Huskies' bye weekend at the Puyallup Fair. Football duties have always kept Washington's defensive lineman from going to his native state's largest single annual attraction -- until now.
Jake Locker doesn't need to go the fair. The Huskies' senior quarterback was just there.
A day or two after his admittedly poor game in last weekend's loss at home to Nebraska, Locker was in Puyallup for fun. Nobody recognized him as he won prizes at carnival games.
Of course, it being the selfless Locker, the quarterback gave a prize to a kid who happened to be passing by.
So, no, Locker won't be at the fair Saturday and Sunday, when he and his Huskies enjoy a well-timed weekend off before the Pac-10 season begins Oct. 2 at USC. Washington's players also had Friday off, while coaches fanned out to recruit all weekend.
"I might go home for a night. My mom might come down (to Seattle)," Locker said of his rare, free weekend in September.
"It's a good time to have the bye."
Coach Steve Sarkisian also loves the timing. It allows the Huskies (1-2) to enter conference play with a sense of renewal following a disappointing non-conference stretch.
"That's always nice to have. You kind of get your `preseason' out of the way and then you can focus on the Pac-10. I've always liked this bye after Week 3," the former top assistant at USC said after Thursday's final practice of the week. "I've been fortunate to have it a few times (at this point in the season), and I've always enjoyed it."
This is the second time in three seasons and fourth time since 1997 Washington has had a bye after three games and prior to the start of the Pac-10 season.
Asked what his expected his players to do on their weekend off, which ends when the team gets back together Sunday night, Sarkisian said, "I want them to watch football, one. But I also want them to relax and get off their feet ... get their minds off of football, football, football in this arena, because they've been going hard at it here for two months now.
"The opportunity (is) to be able to step away a little bit, watch some ball, then come back ready to go."
Football wasn't foremost in the minds of players when they were asked what they'd be doing this weekend.
Besides the fair, Elisara is looking forward to celebrating his father's birthday while out on a boat with his dad.
Junior tight end Chris Izbicki was looking forward to more basic joys.
"I'm going to be resting as much as I can, man. Just sleep and eat for a couple of days," he said. "And see my mom and dad."
The weekend is extra relaxing because classes at Washington don't begin until the middle of next week.
"It's a nice change of pace," Elisara said. "Yeah, it's a well-timed bye."