First, let me thank the guys at DM.c for the opportunity to open my yap for them again. And what a day to do it. Fun, Sun, and Footballs flying through the Lake Washington air. Echoes of tailgates past are starting to gather, just yearning for "the return". Folks, that's a crown jewel sitting on Montlake, just waiting to burst open from it's wrapping on August 31.
The PAC-12 Network team of Mike Yam and Rick Neuheisel paid a visit to practice today as part of the PAC-12 fall training camp tour. The show is scheduled to air on Sunday on the Network. So of course, Coach Sarkisian had to have something in store for them – namely, a Tennis Ball home-run challenge between the LBs and the RBs. The idea here was to see who could hit it into the new Student section from the 30 yard line. At first, nobody could. But as the competition wound down, it became a battle between Jesse Callier and Thomas Tutogi. Callier found his groove in the final, blasting two straight through the uprights and into the 12th row while Tutogi kept trying to be Mark McGwire and pulling everything to the left. It cost the entire defense 10 drop-downs.
Afterward, Sarkisian chimed, "It's sort of fun to watch the guys compete in these sorts of things, and they jump right into it. We always try to operate by ‘Learn from yesterday, focus on today, prepare for tomorrow'. Well, everyone knows tomorrow is the big scrimmage, where they want to get out there in full pads and bang and prove themselves, while today was light.
"So we like to add these little wrinkles to get them rallied around and to keep them focused on the bit pieces we needed to work on today."
Oh yeah, the practice. As you can tell, it was light-hearted, but I noticed a few things I haven't seen before at Husky practices. For one, the entire TEAM seems to be in tune with each other. This bunch wants to ball. But they're going to have fun doing it. And it's infectious.
Seven-on-Seven Skeletons: These were handled by the second and third teamers. Troy Williams didn't have his best day, tossing an interception to freshman Kevin King, who, to his credit, jumped Marvin Hall's route perfectly for the pick. The standout player during the sequence was Antavius Sims, who continues to impress this fall. Nobody in the secondary could cover him, and at one time he made five straight receptions.
Eleven-on-Eleven Skeletons: The turnover bug bit Cyler Miles here, as he fumbled away one snap and threw a pick to Marcus Peters, who just dropped in cover-two and waited for the ball. Distances were not being covered since this was a skeleton practice, but Keith Price broke a run displaying a turn of foot I haven't seen since – well, ever. He was through and 15 yards downfield before anyone got near him. And there also appears to be some wrinkles for Callier and Jaydon Mickens that they are working into the offense.
Best Offensive Play of the Day: It wasn't so much the execution of an the play, but that Kasen did his thing, going up between two defenders and hauling in a 40-yard reception. It had both sidelines jumping.
Best Defensive Play of the Day: Had to be King's pick of Troy Williams. An outstanding read and break by a true freshman.
Old Home Week: Had a small chat with Rick Neuheisel and asked for a quick assessment. "It will be the continued improvement of the defense that defines Washington's season," said the former coach. "They have eight guys up front that can protect Price, so he should be fine."
ASJ Update: Sefarian-Jenkins did participate in a few drills, though his hand was heavily wrapped and a brace adorned his finger. He was seen mentoring the likes of Josh Perkins during skeletons. His surgery was successful – Sarkisian calling it a "clean break of the pinkie at the knuckle, and a single pin was inserted. All went perfectly". He could still offer no timetable for ASJ's return.
Punting Update: Korey Durkee had a least four of what I like to call "Skip Boyd"ers. You old-time Huskies will remember Skip. He was a Husky first-team All-American punter who put the prettiest spiral on a punt you ever saw.
Fall Practice Spotlight: Day 12
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