Practice Spotlight - Day Seven

SEATTLE - Plenty of happenings at Washington's first night practice of their Fall Camp Monday - with players held out due to injury, others coming back in, and even more playing new positions - including ones on the other side of the ball.

The List:
Plays of the Day: Because the team did a lot of work with red zone and four-minute emphasis there wasn't a lot of 'wow' plays Monday night, but a couple of very nice passes stood out among the rest. The first was a perfectly threaded ball from Cyler Miles to Josh Perkins through the heart of the UW defense from about 20 yards out for a touchdown. The second was also about 20 yards out and was a strike from Keith Price to freshman receiver Jaydon Mickens.

Player of the Day - Travis Feeney and Pio Vatuvei share this award Monday as the two players thrust into new situations and performing well. With so many linebackers out or gone from the beginning of camp, a new face was added to the mix. Feeney, the 6-foot- 4, 216-pound redshirt freshman safety from Pinole Valley, Calif. moved down to join the other safeties that were converted to linebackers during the spring - Nate Fellner, Taz Stevenson and Evan Zeger.

And Vatuvei, the 6-foot-2, 280-pound true freshman defensive end from Patterson, Calif. was given some looks in the offensive backfield Monday night. It's not a permanent move - he'll still be chiefly a defensive lineman - but Sarkisian loved what he did as a jumbo running back in high school and wants to see what he can do blocking as a big fullback in certain down-and-distance or field position situations.

The Injuries Mount: Besides Nate Fellner, Erik Kohler, and Thomas Tutogi - whose knee sprain doesn't appear as serious as initially thought, according to Steve Sarkisian after practice - there were others left out of practice on Monday night. Taz Stevenson and James Johnson were still out, but they were joined by Shaq Thompson and Justin Glenn, who Sark said were suffering from mild concussions. Marcus Peters is fighting a sore back right now so he was limited, and Jamaal Kearse was also slowed by a thigh contusion.

Because of the number of players out, safety Travis Feeney was tried at outside linebacker, the same position that Fellner and Stevenson would normally occupy. Redshirt freshman Scott Lawyer also got a lot of work alongside John Timu.

For those actually looking for a count of all the players that have had injury issues since the beginning of fall camp, here goes:
Shane Brostek (hand)*
Deontae Cooper (knee - out for the year)
Nate Fellner (broken toe)
Cory Fuavai (achilles)
Princeton Fuimaono (hamstring)
Justin Glenn (slight concussion)
James Johnson (foot)
Jamaal Kearse (thigh)
Erik Kohler (knee)
Ryan McDaniel (knee)
Cooper Pelluer (shoulder - out for season)
Marcus Peters (sore back)*
Blake Rodgers (knee)"
Kevin Smith (knee)
Taz Stevenson (slight concussion)
Colin Tanigawa (knee)*
Shaquille Thompson (slight concussion)
Thomas Tutogi (knee)

* - practiced Monday night

There was also a lot of moving around along the defensive line, a place that now - in comparison - is teeming with available, healthy talent. During some of the 11-11 work, the defense would be running Josh Shirley, Semisi Tokolahi, Danny Shelton, Andrew Hudson and Talia Crichton all in there at the same time.

Pio plays some offense - Freshman defensive lineman Pio Vatuvei was a coveted player landed by Washington this past February from USC, and part of the reason he was so coveted was because of his rare athleticism and speed for his size. Well, we got to see him play some offense Monday night as a blocking fullback - and Sarkisian noted that Pio played some running back in high school and they love the options he brings to the offensive side of the ball.

Tanigawa back to action: For all the players falling by the wayside, it's nice to be able to report on a player that has returned to practice. Sophomore Colin Tanigawa, back from an ACL tear during the Oregon State game, practiced all Monday night, giving the offensive line a much-needed shot in the arm.

As it stands right now, the starting offensive line from left to right tackle is Micah Hatchie, Tanigawa, Drew Schaefer, James Atoe and Ben Riva. The second team OL has been Jake Eldrenkamp, Dexter Charles, Michael Criste, Shane Brostek and Ross Dolbec.

Quick Special Teams recap: Junior placekicker Travis Coons has been remarkably consistent since last Monday's initial fall camp practice, and Sarkisian put that to the test. After going 5-5 on his kicks tonight, Sarkisian backed Coons all the way up to 60 yards out. His first attempt was a low duck-hook left that barely made it into the end zone. Urged on by his teammates Coons tried his best to get a second kick there but it also missed low and to the left. Coons has hit 50-plus yarders that looked like they could have been good from 60, so we'll see if Sarkisian gives him some more chances from that kind of distance before the end of camp.

Faces in the Crowd: Former UW safety great Tommie Smith was at practice, as well as former quarterbacks Tim Cowan and Damon Huard. Also there was Volleyball Head Coach Jim McLaughlin, as well as scouts from the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets.


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