8-29 PM Practice

Today's afternoon practice for the Washington Huskies was noted not by who was playing, but by who was NOT playing. In a position that has become wafer-thin with attrition and injuries, the receiver position was down to five healthy scholarship players.

"Probably not a very crisp practice today. We're a bit weary right now," said Neuheisel after practice.

True freshman Charles Frederick, remained missing in action. Neuheisel had nothing new to report today on the situation but was clearly almost out of patience.

"Still no word as to what his final decision will be but that's the last that we're going to talk about it. The facts of the matter are that ET has not played a down here. It's not as though Randy Moss has walked out of camp. He is a freshman and sometimes they aren't ready for this step. If he is then we'll embrace him. If not then we'll move on," said Neuheisel after practice today.

Neuheisel had not spoken to Frederick today. "Hopefully I'll get a hold of him tonight. In recruiting you go out and try to tell guys what a wonderful program you have and you hopefully get them to buy into that premise. He's done all that, he's here. But I want him to know that life is about being accountable and he has to make that decision to do so we're going to move on."

"He has not been in this situation before in his life and I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt, but hopefully it's going to result in him making a great decision."

In what was considered the deepest position going into fall camp, the receiver spot has now become a veritable house of cards. Junior Chris Juergens retirement combined with Frederick's absence is tough when you consider that Todd Elstrom, Will Hooks, Patrick Reddick, Justin Robbins and today Reggie Williams have all spent some time on the bench nursing bruises.

"I'm never going to tell anyone that we've got a lot of receivers again," said Neuheisel. "You never know when that will come back to bite you."

Williams limped off the field after a collision during a one on one drill. It was the first time the freshman from Lakes has had to miss any repetitions all fall. "He dinged his knee but it doesn't look to be serious. But when you get down to the numbers that we are at, with only 10 days left until game day you don't want to risk anything," said Neuheisel.

Justin Robbins returned to the field without red today for the first time since camp was still in Olympia. "He was fine and could've kept going but we pulled him out so we wouldn't aggravate his hamstring. Hopefully by Sunday we're going to like where we are."

Paul Arnold is the only scholarship receiver that has not had to miss time due to injury, and he's looking like a big time receiver. He made a spectacular one-handed grab of a Taylor Barton swing pass with Sam Cunningham hot in pursuit. He's looking more comfortable running routes and he hasn't lost a lick of speed throughout the fall camp.

Safety Wondame Davis was very active and is making a push at the ones for the other safety position opposite Sophomore Greg Carothers, the "Helena Hitman." He's battling Rod Green, Jimmy Newell and Owen Biddle. Green was held out of practice today for precautionary reasons. Davis is very fast and probably the healthiest of the bunch right now.

Cornerback Chris Massey sat out this afternoon's drills, thus allowing Sam Cunningham and Roc Alexander more reps with the ones. Roc Alexander took off the redshirt and went full speed at the other cornerback spot.

The running backs looked especially good today. Tailback Willie Hurst looked very quick and on his toes weaving his way in and out of would-be tacklers. Hurst will be the starting tailback when the Dawgs take on the Wolverines, but Alexis will undoubtedly be there and ready when the call is made for the big guy off the bench. It's a potent one-two punch.

Braxton Cleman had a solid practice today. The 6-0 215-pounder from Oroville worked at tailback and made the most of his opportunities. He may be the third tailback when September 8th rolls around. He made a nice catch out of the backfield today and shaked-and-baked linebacker Ben Mahdavi, leaving the junior from Mercer Island on the turf.

Zach Tuiasosopo and Anthony Kelley teamed up this afternoon to stuff the lethargic offense today. Tuiasosopo has bounced back and forth between sides of the defense, making him a versatile player. The 6-2, 245-pound freshman from Woodinville brings a lot of lumber with him when he's charging toward the quarterback.

Kai Ellis sat out this afternoon, wearing red since yesterday after he became woozy after he and Chris Singleton collided during a drill. "He's scheduled to see the doctor tomorrow. He was cleared for action today and has no lingering headaches or anything," said Neuheisel. "I've been told by the doctors that there is no reason for concern."
Notes:

Out of gas: Not happy with practice, as well as concerned about the conditioning of the team, Coach Neuheisel had the team finish practice with "gassers", running from one sideline to the other and back in under 22 seconds. "We added a little bit more conditioning today just to make sure guys understand that those are the facts of life, that you have to find it inside of you every day. Hopefully we'll have learned a lesson and be a little more sharp tomorrow.

Increase of insurance for Williams: Mutual of Omaha has agreed to enhance the benefits available to student athletes covered by the NCAA Catastrophic Injury Insurance Plan. The new provision provides coverage for a level of skilled nursing care at home that would normally require hospitalization or an extended care facility. Curtis Williams is eligible for this new policy coverage. The new maximum amount payable for Private Duty Nursing and Custodial Care is now set at $250,000 per year, an increase from the former allocation of $100,000. "That is just wonderful news. Now it allows the family to build a home to be built for Curtis' needs and also provide some measure of autonomy for him," said Neuheisel. The Williams family has purchased a 10-acre parcel of land to build on.

CW might make opener: Coach Neuheisel said today that he is hopeful that Curtis can be flown to Seattle for the September 8th opener against Michigan. Transportation issues need to be overcome, mainly a plane that can accommodate a wheel chair. The cost of transporting Curtis to the game would be $10,000 on a plane that is appropriate for the trip. "My hope is that we can find an answer," said Neuheisel.

Derrick Johnson Update: Neuheisel received great news today from doctors that examined cornerback Derrick Johnson's injured ankle. "Everything is as it should be in respect to where the bone sits right now. They removed the plate out so he's now got four weeks of running and jogging on it. Then we'll reevaluate his availability for action.

Jafar Williams to redshirt: Linebacker Jafar Williams has yet to take part in any drill this fall, and he will reportedly seek a redshirt season this year in hopes of returning as a 5th year senior in 2002.

Out for tomorrow: Coach Neuheisel reported that Kai Ellis (headache), Todd Elstrom (hamstrings), Wilbur Hooks (shoulder), and Chris Massey (groin) will all be held out of the scrimmage. Pat Reddick (knee), Reggie Williams (knee), and Owen Biddle (Achilles) are probable.

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