Wednesday Practice Report

When Demetrice Martin gets a spare moment to sit down and think - which doesn't happen much during fall camp - he has to wonder if he's snakebit. Of all the assistant coaches at Washington, he's had to endure some pretty brutal injury and academic issues that have depleted his already low numbers.

"Juggling reps and watching guys, we feel like we do the most running on the football team, as far as special teams and all that stuff combined, and it gets taxing on us," Martin said after Wednesday's full pads practice, No. 12, was in the books. "But it's football. You're only as strong as your weakest link, so whoever is quote unquote, the weakest link, gotta step up."

He has one massive link he can rely on in junior Desmond Trufant, who continues to play strong while others seemingly come and go around him, including his usual partner in crime at the other cornerback spot - Quinton Richardson. Richardson suffered a high ankle sprain Saturday night in a play involving freshman receiver Kasen Williams.

"I do think Desmond has had a tremendous camp," UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian said. "He has performed at a high, high level. I don't think Quinton being there or not has affected the way he played. I think he is doing a nice job."

Richardson, for his part, is already walking at times without a boot - a tremendous improvement from just a few days ago. He's also doing his part in keeping the cornerbacks on their toes, signaling plays in and staying active through the ritual of mental repetitions. "He's doing great," Sarkisian said.

"He's doing a good job in terms of taking mental reps, keeping those guys in tune and locked in and trying to be a coach off the field," added Martin. "That always raises your game up when you look at it from a coach's perspective."

Adam Long has definitely been a missing man this spring and fall after tearing his knee up in an off-season drill. Martin is hopeful the junior from Los Angeles can make it back on the field sooner, rather than later.

"Can't wait until he gets back soon," Martin said of Long. "I'm not one to go about how fast the rehab of the knee is, but he's rehabbing his butt off in California, and he's on his way back. He called me super-excited…as a matter of fact today…'coach, I'm watching film and I'm seeing stuff the way I've never seen it before, I can't wait to get back'…so I'm excited for him to join the crew back again."

But with those two out - as well as junior college transfer Antavius Sims, who is apparently waiting for grades to post at Ventura College before he can officially enroll at Washington - the number start to look a bit crooked. And one of the real surprises - former Kennedy standout Tre Watson - isn't available this fall due to NCAA transfer rules. Watson played at Central Washington, but must sit out a year before he is eligible to play for the Huskies.

That's where players like Gregory Ducre, who sat out the spring due to off-season shoulder surgery, and Anthony Gobern, can start to impose themselves on the depth chart.

"They're battling, it's great," Sarkisian said of the competition for the other starting cornerback spot opposite Trufant.  "It's great.  I love it."

"It's open to competition, and it's kind of good, because competition gets everybody better," added Martin. "Greg Ducre, Tony Gobern - those guys are stepping up big-time and fighting for the position…one has a good day, and the next one has a better day, and the next one has a better day. Everybody keeps getting better."

And there's another name you can't forget; freshman Marcus Peters. "He's got his hands on three balls the last practice," Trufant said of Peters, who right now is firmly ensconced with the No. 2 cornerbacks, and is also seeing some spot time with the ones. "He's all over the field, in my opinion. He's getting more confident with the plays, pretty much. And that's making him play faster, and better."

With a little over two weeks to determine a starter against Eastern Washington, none of the prospectives want to think past even the next practice. "I'm just thinking of the task at hand, which is practice by practice…just really trying to help our team out, and that's about it," said Ducre.


Notes:
Glenn getting extended time: Sarkisian was as animated as I've seen him in a while, getting his point across to junior safety Nate Fellner that he wasn't supposed to be taking players to the ground during Wednesday's practice. For a time, Fellner stood at the far end of the field at Husky Stadium, while the rest of practice continued. In his place, Justin Glenn played substantial minutes at the one safety spot opposite Sean Parker, and was rewarded with an interception of a Keith Price throw deep, intended for Kevin Smith.

"He's making plays," Sarkisian said of Glenn.  "Again tonight with another interception.  Again, competition is what we thrive on here and we'd be wrong not to reward guys with stuff like that.  When they're making their plays if they just feel like ‘man there's nothing left, what else can I do, I'm just stuck in this spot,' so he's done a nice job."

As for Fellner, it appears whatever discipline he was going to receive via Sarkisian was already meted out. "Oh, yeah. I'm over it," Sarkisian said. "I love our guys. But we're learning, we're teaching. And we've got to learn. That's part of this deal, and we've got to get better at that.

"I love Nate Fellner. I love him. That's what makes Nate unique. He's a got a real streak in him that makes him special, and he's tough. But he's got to play within the guidelines and parameters that we set for each practice. It wasn't a scrimmage tonight, so we had to stay up. This was not a scrimmage. We weren't supposed to be on the ground, and he had a tendency here today to have them go in the ground when he was making his tackles, and that's not OK."

Quick QB stats: Unofficially during the team period, the media had Keith Price going 9-13 for 85 yards and the one pick to Glenn; Nick Montana was 5-11 for 118 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The touchdown was a 73-yard pass to DiAndre Campbell, where Campbell found himself past the secondary, outran them to the 5-yard line, and then cut back to the end zone. The interception was made by Garret Gilliland on a nice reaction play, catching the ball going full speed in the other direction.

Them Position Changes: Sarkisian noted to the press after practice that John Timu and Princeton Fuimaono have switched positions to give the coaches some film on what it might be like with Timu covering tight ends as the SAM, and Fuimaono closer to the line of scrimmage. "What we've actually done here today, actually the last two days, we actually moved [John] Timu to SAM and flipped [Princeton] Fuimaono to WIL to get Johnny covering the tight end a little bit more," he said.  "He's a little faster than Princeton, a little longer and then it allows Princeton to get in the box a little bit more where he's more comfortable next to Cort [Dennison].  So, we're looking at that the last couple of days to see what that feels and looks like."

Who has the leg up on the punter spot?: No one yet, according to Sarkisian. But from comments made Wednesday, he might be close to figuring out what he wants to do between Will Mahan and Kiel Rasp, both of whom have had excellent fall camps to date. "We're going to go through Saturday," Sarkisian said. "This was a total two-week deal for me, as a lot of these position battles were. We'll go through Saturday. Neither of them has given us a reason to say, 'Hey, you're out of it,' you know. They are doing a nice job. I hope as the season goes on there is a chance for both of them to be part of this thing, because they both deserve it. They both are great punters. We are fortunate to have both of them."

Sark and family paying their respects: Sarkisian is en route with his family to southern California as I type this, so they can attend a memorial for Fred Petersen, who coached Sarkisian at West Torrance High School. Petersen, who was 79, died last week Sark will return in time to coach Thursday's practice, but the practice time has been moved back to 4:30 to accommodate his schedule.

"My really good mentor of mine – Fred Petersen – passed away over this past weekend," Sarkisian said. "He is family to me. I want to make sure I am there for his service, and be part of it with my family, his family and our entire community. It is a very close-knit community and family, and I need to be there."


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