Word has reached the Midwest.
Thats just what they do in the Pac-12, Illinois coach Tim Beckman said.
The that Beckman was referencing was up-tempo offense. Washington has joined the ranks of the manic this season, leaving plodding Stanford as an efficient but aging relic in the Pacific-12 Conference.
The Huskies will speed over two time zones this week when they go to Chicago to play Illinois (2-0) in Soldier Field. Washington will leave Thursday for the 3 p.m. (PDT) Saturday game.
Upon checking out Illinois, Washington will see surprises. The Illini were brutal in 2012, closing the season with nine losses in a row. Lopsided scores of 45-0, 52-22 and 50-14 dotted that streak.
A miniature resurrection has occurred for the Illini two weeks into this season. After a cringe-worthy opener, in which Illinois beat FCS opponent Southern Illinois, 42-34, the Illini smacked competent Cincinnati, 45-17, on Saturday.
Suddenly, words like believe and bought in were being used in Mondays press conference by Beckman.
In ways, Beckman sounds like Steve Sarkisian circa 2010.
Sarkisians rebuild appears to be nearing completion while Illinois embarks on its. The 19th-ranked Huskies (1-0) spent last week cleaning up details from their opening 38-6 win over Boise State.
Tackling, going faster on offense and doing roster shuffling on special teams was on the agenda. Sarkisian said there was no lull.
We had a great bye week, Sarkisian said. I havent felt its been difficult (to motivate); I was prepared for that. I was prepared for it to be difficult to keep our guys ready, fired up and going.
They watched the (Illinois) game Saturday morning. They know Illinois is good, as well. They know it is going to take a really good week of preparation mentally, physically and emotionally to go on the road and play the way were capable.
UW didnt get a week off until after Week 4 last year. That gave the Huskies two weeks to prepare for Oregon. It didnt matter. The Ducks won, 52-21.
Sarkisian likes this setup because he now has evidence from a game of what works. Training camp was filled with weeks of projections. The Huskies have a full game film of tangibles now. As a result, they want to go faster on offense. Tackle better on defense. Figure out the proper starters on special teams.
Much of last week was dedicated to those things prior to an extended weekend off for players.
During that time of from Friday-Sunday, many of the players watched football, including Illinois upset of Cincinnati. Sarkisian said he wasnt surprised since he thinks this roster is filled with football junkies.
Im glad were finally at this point, Sarkisian said. I dont know if we were that way five years ago.
Another point of pleasure for Sarkisian is the teams health. Also, preseason All-American tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be ready Saturday following his suspension. Offensive lineman Erik Kohler (foot) is creeping his way back.
I feel good about where were at, Sarkisian said.