Veterans Setting the Tone

Washington quarterback Keith Price dropped back for a pass during a recent practice. Surveying his options, he spied Austin Seferian-Jenkins streaking 30 yards downfield with no defenders near him. Just as he did in high school, the highly touted freshman tight end had used his combination of size, speed, and coordination to beat the defense for what looked to be a sure touchdown.

Price tossed the ball. It arched perfectly into the path of Seferian-Jenkins. It was going to be a huge play for the offense.

Only it wasn't. Something happened.

Just as the big guy reached out to collect the ball there was a collision. Junior cornerback Desmond Trufant had noticed that Price put a little too much lob on the ball and sprinted across the field to acquaint Seferian-Jenkins with the turf.

"I think Keith [Price] thought he was wide open, and he was, but he floated the ball a little bit and I just had to go make a play," said Trufant. "I just didn't want there to be a big play against our defense and it just worked out that it was a big hit on a freshman. He's been hit like that before I'm sure so it isn't like it's new to him."

Chris Polk, who greeted Trufant with a smile and a high-five after the play, said he didn't do so because Trufant had put Seferian-Jenkins in his place, but instead helped him, and the rest of the team, understand what it means to play Husky Football.

"It wasn't anything like, ‘Hey, that's a freshman, show him what it's all about,'" Polk said. "But it did set a tone."

Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian said plays such as that one help acclimatize newcomers to the speed and physicality of the college game.

"Desmond covered about 40 yards at 4.3 (seconds) and it was a pretty good lick. It was good.  Welcome to college football, right," quipped the Husky head coach.

Fifth-year senior cornerback Quinton Richardson talked about a play later in practice in which freshman receiver Kasen Williams caught a deep ball but slowed up to a jog on his way to the end zone. Richardson chased him down from behind and swiped at the ball, causing a fumble.

"We have some talented guys, but just like when we were all freshman, they need to understand that this is Pac 12 football now so it's no joke," Richardson said. "Kasen [Williams] is a great player, but finish is always the word our coaches preach and something we take seriously here."

Richardson remembers veterans doing the same thing to him during his initial fall camp.

"Oh man, I got laid out a couple of times," he added. "Guys hit you early and they would just laugh and help you up. They were like ‘this is college football' and they wanted to help you get up to speed quickly."

Seferian-Jenkins and Williams aren't quite there yet, but like Keanu Reeves riding a bus with Sandra Bullock, they're getting up to speed.


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