Practice Spotlight - Day Four

SEATTLE - There was plenty of news to share Thursday, and not all of it was coming from the football field. Too many pieces of information were coming from the training room for Steve Sarkisian's taste, and none of it from anything done in a crazy fashion on the football field.

The List:
Injury Update: The biggest news was, of course, the awful story of Deontae Cooper's third ACL tear - this time to his right knee. You can read reactions from all corners of the web HERE via a piece I put together for Storify. It's a heartbreaking story indeed, but Cooper is bound and determined to get his place back at UW. In fact, he was back at practice Thursday, smiling and throwing footballs around with RB Coach Joel Thomas. The kid's spirit is indefatigable.

Unfortunately Cooper wasn't the only one that didn't practice on Thursday. James Johnson and Nate Fellner both had foot sprains, according to Steve Sarkisian, and Taz Stevenson was also carted off for migraines. Sarkisian said that when it has anything to do with the head, they take all precautions necessary.

Also there was news that sophomore defensive end Hauoli Jamora would have his injured knee scoped to remove any loose scar tissue that may have formed after an MRI revealed there still may be some issues with his knee. The scope would be similar to Chris Polk's scope a week before last year's season opener against Eastern Washington, but Polk wasn't dealing with recovery from a torn ACL either - so we'll see what happens with that.

Play of the Day: Typically the Play of the Day highlights some wonderful move or catch or burst of speed or something positive…that wasn't the case Thursday. It started out as a simple enough play; one of the backup quarterbacks tossed the ball into the flat for walk-on RB Willis Wilson. Wilson tore upfield, made a couple of moves, and then senior cornerback Desmond Trufant took him and rudely spun him completely out of bounds, where Wilson hit the deck.

Then things got interesting. Wilson popped back up no worse for the wear when junior safety Sean Parker just leveled the walk-on from Lakes. The play took place five yards out of bounds, and Wilson rightly took severe umbrage with Parker's hit, especially since the big pads don't come on until Friday. Sophomore receiver Kasen Williams came to Wilson's aid, and the four took turns trying to either cool the situation down or add some verbal fuel to it.

Finally when things seem to have calmed down and the four went on their way for the next play, Sarkisian intervened. In what can only be described as 'colorful', Sarkisian told Parker in so many words that he was out of the drill. In fact, he went to the corner of the field and didn't participate for the rest of practice. A few minutes later Trufant and Price went down to Parker to get him to cool down a little bit.

And all that happened after Williams and Parker got tangled up earlier in the day near the exact same spot Parker took Wilson out. Williams failed to catch a pass, and as both him and Parker got up Parker got within about a foot of the 6-foot-2 receiver and gave him an emphatic 'safe' sign, meaning no good.

A few plays after Parker was sent packing, senior defensive end Talia Crichton made a nice cut inside, forcing quarterback Keith Price to try and cut upfield, where he tripped and fell. A few seconds later after the offense and defense were getting set for the next play, Sarkisian told Crichton he was done too.

At the time we thought it was because Talia had inadvertently taken Price down to the ground, a no-no during non-contact practices. "It had nothing to do with Keith, it was something else, it was after the whistle, it's not okay," Sarkisian said, matter-of-factly.

Sarkisian had even more pointed words when asked about the idea of discipline. "Well the thing is, I don't doubt our talent level, or our competitive nature and our schemes, I want to make sure that were at a point now where we should pride ourselves on playing smart football and not making the dumb penalties," he said. "It's the same as yesterday and what bothered me about Sean's deal today, that was a huge point of emphasis after practice yesterday and last night's meeting and for it to come out today, his emotions got the better of him and that's not okay, that's a selfish move. The hard part is and I addressed it with the team after practice and Sean right there, Sean's arguably one of my top-five favorite guys on our team and so, it's not about who you are, at the end of the day we're all held to the same standard. He'll be fine but again, it's a learning lesson, we have to learn from one another, we have to learn from that today."

Defensive Play of the Day: Parker had a pick off of Price, who seemed to have difficulties near the end of practice, but the defensive Play of the Day came courtesy of walk-on cornerback Tre Watson, who went high over frosh WR Kendyl Taylor to snag a jump ball thrown by Cyler Miles.

More plays by the defense - One play really got the D going, and that was when Price failed to connect on a pass to the sidelines intended for Williams. It was broken up by Marcus Peters, who got a big cheer from the rest of the D for his play.

And near the end of practice Justin Glenn found himself in a horse race with sophomore RB Bishop Sankey and Glenn, the senior safety from Mukilteo, tracked him down. Glenn is the same player that was able to nab Oregon speed merchant DeAnthony Thomas from behind last year, and he did it with another fast player in Sankey Thursday.

Lots of faces in the crowd today - Daeshon Hall and some of his family were there, as well as his uncle Greg Lewis; Jim Lambright; Tim Cowan; Anthony Allen; Aaron and Rhonda Williams; Andre Riley, and others. This was the first day where a bunch of people showed up and it was fun to see.

Special Teams news - Travis Coons kept his perfect mark the last two days going. I couldn't honestly tell if he only hit three or four field goals Thursday (the team was blocking the sidelines and both he and Korey Durkee wear 46), but he connected on all his kicks. Durkee missed only one.

In an interesting punt return drill - one I hadn't seen before - a simulated punt would occur, and not only would a mock defender try and take the returner off his game by messing with his focus, the returner already had a ball tucked away in one arm. So essentially they had to try and catch the ball with the free arm with someone hounding them the whole way. This was a drill that Kasen Williams, Antavius Sims, Jaydon Mickens and Marvin Hall were doing, and when Sims dropped a punt the others just ragged him mercilessly. He had to do 10 pushups as punishment, and they were talking to him the whole time.

Bruns continues to impress at WR - The senior from Prosser got free on a pass down the middle of the field and outran Parker to the end zone, prompting Greg Lewis to say on the sidelines - 'Cody Bruns - speedster!'. Bruns has been very solid the first week of camp, not only catching the ball but dealing with a new battery on special teams. He's dealing with new snappers and kickers, and that isn't easy to do. He's handling it very well and has proven to be a vital link in a very important position on special teams.

More PT for Shaq? - With players like Fellner and Stevenson out, as well as Princeton Fuimaono for a spell, Shaquille Thompson seemed to get more playing time, especially in their multiple defensive back packages - including nickel and dime schemes. The frosh from Sacramento, considered by to be the No. 1 safety in the country for the 2012 class, is playing fairly close to the line and making his presence felt already. Depending on how long it's going to take for the linebackers to get healthy, Thompson may see his role increase - not so much as a move closer to the line but more involvement in packages that require multiple defensive backs.

"Quit trying to cheat!" - Sark to Scott Lawyer during a drill in practice. It appeared to be in reference to not doing the drill 100 percent the way it was supposed to be done.

"His parents have raised a very outstanding young man, he sees the light on the darkest days, he's a super positive kid, you can't help but smile when you're around him, we'll see what happens from here. He'd bust his tail, every week, we'd check out the training reports, everything's positive on the feedback, that's what's so disheartening, we know how hard he's worked to get to this point. Hopefully it'll pay off in the long run if he decides to keep on playing." - RB Coach Joel Thomas on Deontae Cooper.

"This year we know each other, we started more of a family thing, we worked more in the summer because Coach Lupoi got us together. Lupoi is very good at what he does." - Sophomore DT Lawrence Lagafuaina
To view practice highlights, click on the link below. Top Stories