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BYU football notebook: Steve Sarkisian says Cougars look eerily familiar

Published: Saturday, July 4 2015 9:23 p.m. MDT

Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian, left, and defensive starter Mason Foster speak to reporters during the Pac-10 Football Media Day, July 29, 2010. (Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press) Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian, left, and defensive starter Mason Foster speak to reporters during the Pac-10 Football Media Day, July 29, 2010. (Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press)

PROVO — It's déja-vu — or déja-blue — for Washington coach Steve Sarkisian.

Sarkisian was asked this week if the BYU offense is any different now, compared to when he played for the Cougars in the mid-1990s.

"Not a whole lot. They throw it more now — no, I'm just kidding," he said. "I didn't have too many quarterback runs there when I was playing, either. It's very, very similar. The passing concepts are very similar. A little bit different now with the line splits and whatnot, but a very similar-looking team. The uniforms look the same. Kind of an eerie feeling."

Along with Sarkisian, seven other former BYU All-American quarterbacks will be honored at halftime at LaVell Edwards Stadium today.

Asked if he'll take part in the festivities, Sarkisian said, "I've made a pact with myself that if we are up by 21 (points), I'll go take the picture."

FAST STARTS: Under coach Bronco Mendenhall, BYU is 3-2 in season-opening games. The Cougars lost their first two season-openers, to Boston College (2005) and Arizona (2006).

BYU is now riding a three-game winning streak in openers, with victories over Arizona (2007), Northern Iowa (2008) and Oklahoma (2009).

"We want to start fast every year, every game, every quarter," said junior offensive lineman Matt Reynolds. "This year, with new guys, with new talent, new personality, I'm really excited to see how we come out and perform."

POLK HERO: Besides quarterback Jake Locker, one Washington player that concerns BYU's defense is sophomore running back Chris Polk.

Last season, Polk, who has breakaway speed, became the first freshman to rush for 1,000 yards in a season at Washington.

"Stopping the run is first and foremost the most important thing for us on Saturday," said BYU safety Andrew Rich.

Mendenhall said Washington's offense is more dynamic than it was two years ago.

"(In 2008), it was much more centered around Jake Locker and what he was capable of," the Cougars' coach said. "Now, the ball distribution and the plan seems more comprehensive and effective."

LAST HURRAH: Locker had a choice to make after last season: declare for the NFL or play his senior year. He opted to return to Washington. He called it "an easy decision."

Locker had a similar decision in 2009, when he was selected in the 10th round by the Angels in the Major League Baseball draft.

But Locker loves playing college football.

"I'll never have the opportunity to play college football again. It's a great sport," he said. "To have the opportunity to play on this football team with this coaching staff and get that much more prepared to make a step to the next level and have the opportunity to do something I haven't done since I've been here — and no one on this team has done — and go to a bowl game and get my degree. It was really easy for me."

e-mail: jeffc@desnews.com

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