Thursday Practice Report

It didn't appear to be anything major, and Steve Sarkisian noted that Thursday night. Chris Polk wasn't suited up for practice, instead walking around in sweats, throwing footballs around and watching. It didn't look as if anything was wrong with him physically, at least until Sarkisian told the assembled press afterward he had his knee scoped earlier in the day.

"Chris Polk tweaked his knee last night in practice and we went in this morning and scoped him just to clean up a little bit of a meniscus thing in there," Sarkisian said. "It's not serious but I just didn't want it to linger and I thought the doctors handled it really well and let's just do it now so we are not dealing with this thing come October, November. It potentially could be a couple of weeks but I think he already feels good about it.

"It could have been something that was there from before and when he tweaked it that flipped up on him. I think he will be back in no time."

Sarkisian wasn't sure when it happened, other than it was at some point at the end of Wednesday's workout. Either way, it's put a bit of a crimp in Washington's running back plans for their season-opener against Eastern Washington. "They put a sleeve on it…and he could have kept playing. It wasn't an issue of, I'm out…he could have kept playing. But when we got done we took a look at that thing, and it was the right thing to do."

Sarkisian said it could be a couple of weeks before Polk sees action, but depending on how his body responds, he could be back even sooner than that.

With Polk missing in action, it gives more carries to Jesse Callier, Johri Fogerson, Bishop Sankey, Dezden Petty, and Willis Wilson. Callier, in particular, will be counted on for tough yards between the tackles, and Sarkisian believes the sophomore from Downey, Calif. is more than suited for the challenge.

"He was an in-between the tackles guy for his entire career of high school, really, and we do it quite a bit with him," Sarkisian said of Callier. "I do think Jesse has the capability of doing that and I thought he showed it today, he had a couple of nice runs inside. He's a pretty physical kid you know. Sometimes he comes across as a smiling happy-go-lucky kid but he is definitely a physical kid."

The news on Polk overshadowed solid play from a number of players. According to UW Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt, James Sample and Danny Shelton have impressed him enough where he could see them playing as true freshmen. "We might not have the luxury of redshirting those guys, he said. "They are pretty good players."

Another player that is having a whale of a fall camp is junior safety Justin Glenn. After being thrown into the fire as a true freshman - getting a start in his second game ever against Idaho - Glenn appeared to be a player the new coaching staff was going to rely heavily on to keep things in check. But a broken leg suffered at Notre Dame crushed a dream start to his career.

"That's football…dealing with adversity," Glenn said. "I came back, and still wasn't fully there physically or mentally last year - but now I'm a redshirt junior and I have a great understanding of the game. The coaching staff, I can trust them. They are going to put players in a position to make plays. I'm just excited about this year."

The safety position appeared to be in very good hands at the end of 2010, especially when Nate Fellner and Nate Williams were fully healthy and playing the way they were capable of playing. But Williams is gone, and sophomore Sean Parker looked poised to take his spot after his career started out in fine fashion. But like Glenn, Parker suffered a season-ending injury heading into the final four-game stretch.

Parker is back, but Glenn is hot on his heels. There's also Will Shamburger, Greg Walker, James Sample, Evan Zeger, and Travis Feeney - and all of them are working as hard as they can to make sure the starting safety spots for the Eastern Washington opener have been earned through intense competition.

"I think the group has great chemistry," said UW Safeties Coach Jeff Mills. "Everybody is helping each other out. Yes they are competing, but they also understand the team goals. I've been real pleased with the unity of the group. I haven't seen selfishness. I've seen guys that are trying to help each other out. They are trying to help the young guys out. I think everybody wants to try to keep getting better and win - and that's good."

Glenn has shown up healthy for the first time in a while, and he's announced to the coaches that he's not going away without a fight. His versatility in understanding all the positions - he's also been tried at cornerback - has given Justin the confidence it takes to elevate his game to the next level. And it's happening at just the right time.

"I think the main thing for me is the confidence issue - knowing I can cover the slot, I can play the middle third, I can come up and make a tackle in the open field…whatever it may be," he said. "I've done this before, so I know I can do it again, and that's what the coaches say - if you've done it once, we know you can do it again."

Unofficial Statistics:
These were taken during the final period, which included some red zone work.

Rushing: Callier 2-53-1; Fogerson 1-3; Sankey 2-1; Wilson 2-(-1); Petty 3-3; Montana 1-3; Price 1-(-7)
Passing: Price 3-6 for 21; Montana 5-10-1 for 45; Brown 2-4 for 20
Receiving: K. Williams 2-22-1; Perkins 2-20; Campbell 2-17; Seferian-Jenkins 1-13; Fogerson 1-6; Kearse 1-5; Hartvigson 1-3
Touch sacks: Jamora 1; Dennison 1
Fumble recoveries: Galbraith 1


Notes:
Injury Report: Sarkisian noted that linebacker Jordan Wallace has a knee issue, and they are performing an MRI Thursday night to get more information as to what exactly the issue is. True frosh DL Taniela Tupou left practice during the team period, and Sarkisian said he was suffering from flu-like symptoms. Players that have been sitting out, like Taz Stevenson and Semisi Tokolahi, were seen participating during Wednesday's practice.

Sark talks about his mentor: Sarkisian moved practice back to 4:30 pm so that he could make it back from a memorial service in California for a mentor - Fred Petersen - who passed away last week. "It was a great service," he said. "It was good to see a lot of familiar faces and the support of the community, a lot of the local coaches in the community, and an opportunity to see his family. So it was good all the way around."

Starting to talk about redshirts: Saturday will be the last major scrimmage the team will have before Eastern Washington game week, and Sarkisian wants the scrimmage to be an opportunity for the players to go all out - even on special teams - so that the staff can start to put together their lists of players that will and won't redshirt, depending on how well they've done at fall camp up to this point.

"This will be realistically the last really good chance for a lot of our young guys to just play football as we know it, live getting after it, there will be a really good emphasis on special teams," he said. "As we touched on last night, I want to see us let it go and play fast, free special teams football, which I think we can, but we have to take that step to do that.

"We will get through Saturday, and then take a day off Sunday to assess all those things, and then come back Monday with a decent idea of what we are doing. But things change, stuff happens you have to adjust, so we will keep coaching and pushing those kids, but hopefully we will have a pretty good idea come Monday. We have to start to get a feeling of it to be fair to the kids and their parents and their families to give them an idea of what is happening and why they are happening the way they are."


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