Tuesday Practice Spotlight

SEATTLE - I have to admit - after covering practices at Washington for a dozen years, there's little I haven't seen. Until today. Walking into the east field at Husky Stadium was a bit of a shock to the system, as Tuesday focused on a special guest - a 300-pound special guest with four legs, plenty of fur and a bit of menace to her. It was entertaining, if nothing else.

Meet Sheena, a 16-month old, 300-pound female Bengal Tiger brought up from Canby, Ore. to get the Washington Huskies acclimated to what they expect to see Saturday when the head to Baton Rouge, LA to try and tackle the LSU Tigers. Sheena is half her expected size when full grown, which will be when she is four years old. The Huskies rented her from Tuesday and Wedneday from Walk on the Wild Side in Canby, Ore. and it sounds like a rental of this nature could cost up to about $2,000 for the special visit.

This is all being done because of a tradition the LSU program has for its visitors. The Tigers' mascot - a 600-pound male Bengal Tiger named Mike (Mike VI, to be specific) - hangs pretty close to the visitor's entrance, so Steve Sarkisian wanted the team to get used to what they'd be seeing on game day. It worked, as all the media paid pretty much all their attention on Sheena (not named after Sheena Easton, I'm pretty sure) and nothing else. I caught some video of Sheena prowling her cage and trying to chew up her water bucket. You can watch the videos HERE at the bottom of the page.

It would be a bit ironic and a little wild if Mike VI decided he didn't want to visit Tiger Stadium on game day. Trust me, if he wakes up on Saturday morning and decides he doesn't want to be in the cage - he won't go. And they obviously won't make Mike do what he doesn't want to do. And that's exactly what happened last week as LSU hosted North Texas.

Former UW Head Coach Jim Lambright was at practice and I asked him if he ever used a prop quite like that as part of his game day preparations. He just laughed, thought about it, and then said, 'No.' When the crowd noise filtered in - and it was pretty loud - Sheena would get up to check it out. But after a while she just tuned it all out and laid down for most the second half of practice. Hopefully she will be back out at practice tomorrow - she was a crowd favorite.

Injury Report - Jesse Callier and Ben Riva were both at practice. Callier was wearing his jersey but using crutches, while Riva was not dressed and had a big sling on his right arm. Since Sark didn't make the Pac-12 Coaches Teleconference today. there's no up-to-date news on Riva's condition. But I would expect him out for a while as injuries like his have typically been in the category of being out a couple of months - so while we certainly hope Ben makes it back very soon there's no evidence to suggest that he will be quickly back in the fold. In better news I didn't see braces or sleeves or boots on either Nate Fellner (foot) or Jamaal Kearse (leg), so I would expect them to be back sooner rather than later.

A Re-Vamped Offensive Line - In looking at a re-vamped OL, Mike Criste and James Atoe seemed to be the first ones out on the right side of the line. When Atoe was out and Erik Kohler was playing right tackle (he played with the ones and twos today), it was Shane Brostek taking the snaps at No. 2 RG - and for the first time in a while that I've seen Shane was not wearing a giant club on his right hand. That has to be good news for the true freshman from the Big Island of Hawaii.

Special Teams Back on Track - Travis Coons and Korey Durkee didn't have stellar debuts Saturday against San Diego State, but things seemed to be back on track - especially for Coons, who went 5-6 on his field goal tries with a long of 54 yards. Don't know if he's fully over the slight groin issue or dead leg thing he was going through last week, but his kicking today suggests he's back to his old self.

No news on the running back front - With Callier out, it's still unclear how the carries will get divvied up in his absence after Bishop Sankey. Sankey, the redshirt frosh from Spokane, had 22 carries against SDSU - and I'd expect around 20 more carries for Sankey this Saturday. After that, Sarkisian has Erich Wilson, Willis Wilson and Dezden Petty as the listed RB's. Antavius Sims has experience running the ball and both Jaydon Mickens and Kendyl Taylor are players that have experience with the the ball in their hands in plays designed to run the ball. Sark has options - let's see how it plays out the rest of the week.

Play of the Day - Damion Turpin, who was LSU's Bennie Logan in service team Tuesday, absolutely steamrolled another true frosh, guard/center Cory Fuavai. Credit to Fuavai, he stonewalled Turpin the next play - but the first one was physical dominance at its finest as Turpin got under Fuavai's pads and just pushed him back so quickly that Cory had nowhere to go but on his backside in a hurry.

SDSU Video Highlights - For those people with DirecTV or Dish or couldn't see the game otherwise, here's 17 minutes worth of highlights via YouTube.

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