Saturday Scrimmage Report

Saturday's practice was arguably the longest since Steve Sarkisian has been at UW, lasting at least 150 minutes.  He said he wanted to get 100 scrimmage plays in, and it sounds like he did just that. Sarkisian said that there were over 250 coaches that came out for their coaches clinic, a great turnout.  Many of them stayed to watch practice, but not very many people were left by the end of it.

"I thought all in all it was a good, physical practice for us," Sarkisisan said. "It was one of the longer ones we have had in a while but we've got a couple days off now. To go back to the goal line situation, the 7-on-7 stuff in the red zone, the blitz period in the red zone and then the actual scrimmage, I thought both sides flashed at times. The defense I was really impressed with its intensity at the beginning of the actual scrimmage part of it. But to the offense's credit after we took a little halftime break they regrouped and three of the four final drives were touchdown drives for them."

Joshua Garnett, Jeff Lindquist, Scott Rose, Peyton Pelluer and Nathan Dean were some of the recruits seen at Husky Stadium Saturday, soaking in all the action.  Dexter Charles and Connor Cree were there, as were former players De'Shon Matthews and Danny Morovick.

Our very unofficial statistics for the 67-play team period at the end of the practice, which included a 57-play 'scrimmage':
Rushing: Chris Polk - 8/66/2 TD's; Nick Montana 7/10; Johri Fogerson 3/50; Willis Wilson 3/4; Kevin Smith 2/24; Cole Sager 2/3; Keith Price 5/(-37)
Passing: Price - 10/17 for 104 yards and one touchdown; Montana 10/18 for 90 yards and one touchdown
Receiving: Devin Aguilar - 4/35 yards and one touchdown; Michael Hartvigson 3/33; Jermaine Kearse 3/15; Kevin Smith 2/45; Austin Seferian-Jenkins 2/28 yards and one touchdown; Cody Bruns 2/12; DiAndre Campbell 2/6; C. Polk 1/6; James Johnson 1/3
Sacks: Josh Shirley 4 (-29); Hauoli Jamora 1 (-8); Everrette Thompson 1 (-6); Tim Tucker 1 (-2); Cort Dennison 1 (-1)
Tackles for Loss: Garret Gilliland 2 (-6); Quinton Richardson 1 (-2); E. Thompson .5 (-1); H. Jamora .5 (-1)

"I liked the tight ends in the passing game…I've got to look at the running game and the protection," Sarkisian said when asked about players he thought stood out on the day. "But you look at a couple of plays by (Austin) Seferian-Jenkins and you look at the play by (Michael Hartvigson) down the far side there on the go route, those are big-time plays for us, and I thought that definitely showed up. I have a feeling inside whether it be Alameda (Ta'amu), Everrette (Thompson), those guys internally must have played well for us to defend the run the way we did, especially early on that way. So those guys really kind of jump out at me at first."

Price was able to get on the scoreboard early, connecting with Aguilar three times on this first drive, the final throw coming from 19 yards out for a touchdown. But once the red zone period was over and the live scrimmaging began, it was all defense. They held the offense to seven three-and-outs over the final 13 possessions. After Montana's 28-yard completion to Kevin Smith, the defense basically shut the offense out - holding them to a minus-21 yards on the next 19 plays between the two quarterbacks.

But Smith helped to catalyze the charge once again, running for one first down and letting Johri Fogerson handle the rest of the load. Led by Montana, Fogerson gained 48 yards on two carries, including a 40-yard scamper down the sidelines that left the offense at the one-yard line. From there, Chris Polk punched it in for the first of his two touchdowns on the day.

Montana also connected late with freshman tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins on a 10-yard touchdown pass. And as was the case Thursday night, Seferian-Jenkins was one of the last players to leave the field Saturday, working with coaches on catching passes.

"I think we are generally improving," Sarkisian said when asked about the quarterback battle between Price and Montana. "I think that the things come new to them, and that's why we try to put them in so many situations to try to minimize the thinking process, they are trying to think so much and trying to be so right that at times we are not playing with the rhythm that I know they are capable of playing with, whether it be getting the calls in at the line of scrimmage, or getting the ball out of their hands. So we'll have to continue to put them in those situations to find ways to throw the ball away, to not take some of those sacks, to get the ball out and anticipate those throws.

"But that's just part of the process. And it's taxing because not only they are running our stuff but they are going against a pretty good defense right now, and a defense that is not just playing vanilla, but a defense that is giving them quite a few looks and challenging them, not only physically, but mentally. But it's good for them, and through it all it's been very good for them."

Polk, who finished with eight carries for 66 yards, scored his second touchdown on the last play of the scrimmage, a blast upfield where he juked clear of safety Nate Fellner and stiff-armed Desmond Trufant en route to a 55-yard score. It was a very impressive run by Polk.

"Nate Fellner, as we all know, is a very good tackler," Sarkisian said. "And to be in that situation and he quite honestly wasn't very close. I think Chris is getting more and more comfortable in the open field, making full-speed cuts, believing in his moves and then outrunning people. So through it all, I like that that is still part of his game and hasn't diminished in any way."

The final drive of the day - punctuated by Polk's run, was the only time the number-one offense saw the defensive side of the field.

Sarkisian was also very impressed with Washington's pass rush. During the scrimmage, they came up with seven sacks (eight if you also include the red zone period), four of them from redshirt frosh Josh Shirley. The offensive line was missing their left tackle, Senio Kelemete, who is still recovering from Plantar Faciitis. True sophomore Erik Kohler took his place.

"He's getting more and more comfortable, but he's got so much more room to grow," Sarkisian said of Shirley. "That's what's so cool about it for us - we're watching it and man, wait until he does that even better, and that even better, and that even better…through it all he's much improved, but there's so much more room for him out there."

Shirley and Hauoli Jamora were causing havoc at their defensive end spots, and they were helped inside by a combination of players inside, including Alameda Ta'amu, Sione Potoae, Chris Robinson and Andrew Hudson.

"I loved the fact we were able to rush the passer," Sarkisian said. "That put a smile on my face today to see (Josh) Shirley and (Hau'oli) Jamora and those guys coming off the edge and I think we might have had seven sacks in that period, so it was an impressive day that way.

"We've got experienced corners that are used to playing man coverage and are getting more and more comfortable doing that, so it's allowing us to call more man things and be able to get into some real rush situations with five-man rush and working our games, and it's allowed our guys we are hoping to be that much of an impact rusher to show up. And that came today."

Arguably the best thing to come out of Saturday's scrimmage was the health of the team. Other than Robinson, who apparently banged his knee early in the team period and went hobbling off, Sarkisian said the rest of the group came through pretty well.

"I'm sure we'll have some bumps and bruises after guys get in the locker room and realize they are a little sore here and there, but nothing serious that way," Sarkisian said. "The key is that we get some other guys back on the mend - get Zach Fogerson back out there, get Jesse Callier back out there, so that Chris and Johri don't have to take every carry when we're running the ball." Top Stories