Monday Practice Report

For those that went out to see Washington's Saturday night practice, there was more of the same Monday evening, as Steve Sarkisian wanted to go back and put the team through another extended period of scrimmage play, complete with tackling, drives, officials, yard-markers, and roughly 150-200 fans in the stands at Husky Stadium.

"It was good," Sarkisian said of Monday, the first day of fall two-a-days. The morning sessions are off-limits to the public and media. "I thought we had a really good practice this morning, with an emphasis on two-minute drill, red zone and different things. Then for them to come back tonight, I thought they brought a lot of energy tonight. They are excited – any time they to tackle and play live football, they get even more excited about it. Definitely plenty of things to clean up."

Former players, like Anthony Allen, Omare Lowe, Matt Houston, De'Shon Matthews, were seen around the track, as well as recruits - like Bellevue's Jake Eldrenkamp - who spoke with Steve Sarkisian and UW Safeties Coach Jeff Mills after practice.

Desmond Trufant, soldiering on after his cornerback partner in crime Quinton Richardson was taken off the field Saturday night with a left leg injury, continued to have a very strong fall camp with two interceptions. And when a receiver did look like they had a step on him - like senior Luther Leonard did during 1-1 drills - Trufant makes up ground and also makes them pay if they don't come up with the rock. Right now the junior from Tacoma is as physical as I've ever seen, and UW fans have to hope he can continue his fearless play.

Richardson, who showed up about an hour after camp started, arrived with his left foot in a walking boot, supported by crutches. UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian confirmed that Richardson had an MRI of his foot/ankle taken Monday night, and they were awaiting results. Even though he couldn't do anything on the field, Richardson was on the sidelines, giving encouragement to the other corners. When freshman CB Marcus Peters failed to come up with a sure pick, Richardson threw his crutches down, exasperated. It's clear he's itching to get back on the field as soon as possible.

Gregory Ducre, fresh off rehabbing his shoulder surgery in the fall, was thrust into the fray, playing in Richardson's spot. Peters and Anthony Gobern were the No. 2 cornerbacks. "I thought he had a nice practice today --- he really showed up," Sarkisian said of Ducre. "Sometimes a guy thinks of himself as a backup and can almost play like a backup, and then all the sudden they get pushed to the forefront and go with the ones and that talent that we know is there comes out and they start playing like a starter, and I thought Greg did that tonight.  I thought he got a little better this morning and I thought tonight was far and away his best practice."

Offensively, this practice was the first one where the QB pecking order clearly showed itself out. Keith Price had a very solid day throwing the ball, whereas Nick Montana was spotty at times. One of the reasons Price looked sharp was because he was getting some needed help from his receivers - namely Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

The 6-foot-6, 258-pound freshman tight end made a couple of incredible catches Monday night, including a one-handed grab downfield that left those watching oohing and ahhing.

"I appreciate Austin, and Kasen (Williams) for that matter…these guys, it's hard when you're a true freshman and you're fighting the fight mentally, physically, emotionally, the playbook…it's a grind," Sarkisian said. "Those two guys are two competitive suckers, the more I'm around them. They don't like not making plays. They don't like when the ball is thrown to them and it's a bang-bang play and they don't catch it. You almost see a sense of frustration in both of them, and that's a good thing. I don't mind it. They are highly-competitive guys, and they want the ball and they want to make plays."

Seferian-Jenkins, for his part - acknowledged he's ahead of the game now because of the time he put in during spring football. He graduated early from Gig Harbor specifically so he could shine in moments like this.

"It was very important to come in early," he said. "At first it was a real struggle for me to get the plays down. It's still a struggle - we still have installs and everything like that - it's a lot more second-nature to me know. I've already been through it. I know how installs go. I just have to study up and do certain things.

"I'm happy I came in early. It's made it a lot easier. It's not easy going out there and playing, but it's made it a lot easier knowing what I have to do."

Another receiver that has made all the quarterbacks' jobs easier is DiAndre Campbell, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound redshirt frosh from Oakland. "Love him," Sarkisian said of Campbell. "He's really been one of the real surprises of training camp. He's dedicated himself in the off-season to mentally and physically get ready, and he's making plays and earning himself a spot right now."

Injury Update: Sarkisian updated us on the status of Alameda Ta'amu, who was suited up for practice, but because of a cast on his right hand he was held out. "There's no point to rush him right now…let that thing settle down a little bit, maybe get the swelling down a little bit," Sarkisian said. "It's not going to be something that's going to inhibit him from playing. Today was not the day to bring him right back the next night. He suited up, but let's get the swelling down."

In his place, freshman Danny Shelton picked up the slack with the ones, playing alongside Everrette Thompson. "The D-line is hard for me to see exactly what is going on, but I'm assuming he was playing pretty well," Sarkisian said of Shelton. "I didn't see any gaping holes in the middle where he was out of position, and he's a big, strong guy. But I'll be able to see more off the film."

Devin Aguilar didn't fully participate because of a glute injury, and it looked like Marquis Persley was also taking it easy. Taz Stevenson continues to sit out (knee), but Evan Zeger participated fully for the first time Monday, even taking part in the team period at the end of practice.

The WIL Battle is joined: John Timu played a lot with the ones Monday night, meaning the fight for the No. 1 spot at weakside outside linebacker with Garret Gilliland has been joined. This competition could go on all the way to game day September 3rd, when the Huskies open up with Eastern Washington. "It's a great battle, and we are going to need both of those guys," Sarkisian said. "You are hard-pressed to go through a season with three linebackers being healthy all the way through. We learned that last year where Garret  started a game at (middle linebacker) and Princeton (Fuimaono) started a game at (strongside linebacker). So I like the fact that we've got nice depth at the linebacker spot. It's a healthy competition. I think they are bringing the best out of both of each other."

Continuity Rules: Per UW's SID, this is the first time Washington has had a staff in place three years in a row since 1952-54 - the only three years coached by John Cherberg.

Scrimmages planned: Sarkisian noted that the team will be scrimmaging Tuesday and Saturday. Both practices will be held at 3:15 p.m. Top Stories