Tuesday Scrimmage Report

The sun was out at Husky Stadium Tuesday afternoon, and the pads were popping, as the Washington Huskies went through a 93-play scrimmage as part of their two-hour practice. UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian said the scrimmage was laid out similar to that of an NFL pre-season game, one where the starters would get some work, then eventually the bulk of the plays would be run by the backups.

That meant players like Chris Polk, Jermaine Kearse, Drew Schaefer, Senio Kelemete, Cort Dennison and Alameda Ta'amu would see limited action, while others - like James Johnson, Kevin Smith, DiAndre Campbell, Kasen Williams, Thomas Tutogi, Danny Shelton, James Sample, and Travis Feeney, got a ton of work.

"I don't like watching the offense out there while I'm on the sidelines," Polk said, matter-of-factly. "I don't call the plays; I'm going to do whatever they ask of me. They know what they are doing. I can't complain, but mentality-wise, I always want to be out there playing."

Sarkisian's script took over 90 minutes to complete, but they had basically a running clock in play. Whenever the last play was whistled dead, the 40-second play clock would start. This created a lot of up-tempo work for both the offense and defense, as well as put pressure on the quarterbacks to execute the offense with minimal mistakes and maximum effectiveness.

There were five penalties called during the scrimmage, two on the defense. Two false start penalties were called on the first team during one series, something Sarkisian knows they have to clean up in the three weeks before their season opener against Eastern Washington.

"Those are the things…that has nothing to do with who you're playing; those are self-inflicted wounds," he said. "That's the stuff that we have to clean up in these settings, when the coaches aren't on the field with you, when they are on the sidelines…the ability to not have delay of game penalties, false start penalties, illegal formation penalties…we're getting there, but we can still clean it up. A lot of that comes with Keith (Price) and his command of being on the field and getting things fixed and lined up, and that's part of the role of playing quarterback."

For his part, Price unofficially accounted for 80 yards on 7-9 passing. The first team scored 16 points during the scrimmage: six points on a Chris Polk 1-yard run on fourth down (Erik Folk's PAT hit the right upright); six points on Jesse Callier two-yard run, capping off a 65-yard drive (PAT was good); and three points via a 51-yard Erik Folk field goal.

Both the first and second team shared 10 drives during the scrimmage, and the second team also accounted for 16 points scored - although their scoring was somewhat unorthodox: Linebacker Jamaal Kearse put the second team defense up on the board first with a sweet scoop-and-score from 25 yards out after a botched snap from Colin Porter (no PAT was attempted); walk-on fullback Travon Brooks scored on a two-yard pass from Nick Montana (PAT good); and Eric Guttorp connected on a 36-yard field goal after a Montana pass to freshman receiver Kasen Williams in the back of the end zone was deemed no play after Montana was ruled down by a touch-sack.

Overall, Montana was unofficially 14-20 for 113 yards throwing the ball.

"That was a pretty good catch in the back of the end zone," Sarkisian said of Williams' play. "That's what he is. We're finding more and more about what he does really well and what he's comfortable doing, and we're trying to put him in those settings. That was great seeing Kasen do that, and Austin made a few plays there, and I thought Bishop Sankey ran the ball well today as a young guy doing his thing. All in all, I thought the young guys showed up today. They weren't perfect by any means; they have a lot of work to do. But it was great to watch them play football."

The third team offense, led by frosh QB Derrick Brown, had one scoring drive that was dominated by the hard running of another true freshman, Dezden Petty. Petty had six carries for 34 yards during a 55-yard drive that finished with him finding the end zone from 13 yards out. As he was crossing the goal line, he bulldozed Evan Zeger for good measure.

The only other turnover of the day looked to be a clean interception of Price by safety Justin Glenn on a pass intended for Kevin Smith, but the play was nullified by a defensive penalty. There was another mishandled snap with the second team, but Montana was able to jump on it and retain possession.

With the majority of the snaps taken by backups, Sarkisian mentioned a few that caught his eye. "I thought guys like (Travis) Feeney and (James) Sample and what they did tackling in the open field…I thought (Nate) Fellner had a heck of a tackle in the open field on (Chris) Polk, so things show up, and again we go look at the film," he said. "I have to imagine somewhere in there Drew Schaefer played pretty well at center for us to do some of the things we were doing, or (Erik) Kohler at right tackle. So guys are starting to raise their level of play. As we are getting better as a team we are getting better individually as well."

Washington Offensive Line Coach Dan Cozzetto confirmed what has been true most of fall camp; their starting five is pretty solid. From Kohler and Senio Kelemete at the tackles, to Porter and Colin Tanigawa at the guards - and Schaefer keeping the whole thing together - the Huskies look to have found their first group.

"Pretty much," Cozzetto said. "As we're looking at it, we're trying to develop a true backup center. We used Colin today; we used Mike Criste today. I wanted to get to Colin Tanigawa, but we didn't get to it. That's kind of where we're at. We got a chance to look at Ben Riva, and especially looking at the backup for Senio in Micah Hatchie. He's having a very good camp. He's a very talented kid."

"It's the most explosive offensive line we've had," added Sarkisian. "I like to watch guys come off the ball, that's really telling to me, and I think the really good O-lines really snap off the football together in unison, whether it's a gap scheme or a zone scheme. This offensive line is by far and away our most explosive offensive line.  When they are on double teams they come off and they are moving guys and that's how you become a good running football team."

Josh Shirley again saw considerable time with the ones and twos at his defensive 'rush' end spot, and came away with two touch sacks. He showed an ability to be an every-down player; only time will tell if he gets the chance to prove himself that way in games. With Ta'amu out after the first two series with the ones, Danny Shelton, Sione Potoae, and Lawrence Lagafuaina took turns getting their reps. Potoae and Lagafuaina also took the bulk of their reps with the second team.

At linebacker, with Dennison seeing brief action, Thomas Tutogi played a ton, followed by Tim Tucker at the MIK spot. Princeton Fuimaono and John Timu had the number one outside 'backer spots on lockdown, while Kearse, Cooper Pelluer and Garret Gilliland worked with the twos.

The injury to senior cornerback Quinton Richardson meant sophomore Greg Ducre got all the reps he wanted playing opposite Desmond Trufant. Richardson, who had an MRI Monday night for a foot/ankle injury suffered over the weekend, has a high ankle sprain, one that puts a start against Eastern Washington on September 3rd in real doubt.

"The reality of it is, a high ankle sprain and we've got two-and-a-half weeks now till that ball game, so I would say it's in question," Sarkisian confirmed. "The key with a high ankle sprain is not letting that thing linger either. We'll assess him come game week and where that's at, and we'll be very aggressive in his rehab, trying to get him healthy. But as that week comes, and as the week goes on, if he's not good enough and healthy enough in our opinion to play, we're not going to force him out there. We're going to need him out there for the long haul, and we need him healthy for our defensive system and scheme, and what we're trying to get done this year."

True freshman Marcus Peters and junior Anthony Gobern backed up Trufant and Ducre. Peters looked to get a little banged up at the end of practice, but overall it appeared the team came out of their longest scrimmage to date no worse for the wear.

"All in all I thought it was good for a physical scrimmage. We ran the football and that was an emphasis for us in running the football today. And I'm sure we have some bumps and bruises and guys up in the training room with some shoulders and thighs, but all in all nothing jumped out.''

Unofficial Statistics:
Rushing: Chris Polk 9-36, Jesse Callier 7-22, Johri Fogerson 8-50, Bishop Sankey 7-53, Dezden Petty 7-37, Willis Wilson 4-23, Cole Sager 1-3, Keith Price 3- (-7), Nick Montana 2- (-1), Derrick Brown 1-(-6)

Passing: Keith Price 7-9-80, Nick Montana 14-20-113, Derrick Brown 5-8-34

Receiving: Kasen Williams 4-53, Devin Aguilar 2-40, Kevin Smith 1-20, James Johnson 4-69, DiAndre Campbell 3-17, Evan Hudson 1-16, Marlion Barnett 3-25, Travon Brooks 2-13, Michael Hartvigson 1-12, Austin Seferian-Jenkins 1-7, Jamaal Jones 1-12, Jesse Callier 2-8, Josh Perkins 2-12

Chris Polk 1 run (Erik Folk PAT no good)
Jamaal Kearse 25 fumble return
Trayvon Brooks 2 pass from Nick Montana (Folk PAT)
Erik Folk 51 field goal
Dezden Petty 13 run (Folk PAT)
Jesse Callier 2 run (Folk PAT)
Eric Guttorp 36 field goal

No news on academics: Every day Sarkisian is asked about the status of his three players held out for either clearinghouse or eligibility issues, and Tuesday was no exception. So was there news on Antavius Sims, Marvin Hall, or Kyle Lewis? "Nothing," Sarkisian said. "Believe me I've asked myself that question and other people that question today. I think we are getting closer but it's a frustrating process but it is what it is."

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