PRACTICE REPORT 9/5

The Huskies had a padless walk-through practice today, the kind that coach Rick Neuheisel usually conducts prior to their walk-through on Thursdays during the season. The Husky coach wants to insure that his players have their "game-legs" back for Saturday.

Again today, Neuheisel seemed very pleased with how far his team has come during the last three weeks of fall practice. "I'm very confident that our desire is where it needs to be," he said. "I'm very confident that our intensity is where it needs to be. We'll just have to see how proficient we are."

One standout play today came on a long pass from starting quarterback Cody Pickett to Reggie Williams, who made a great running catch with his arms outstretched to catch up to the ball. It's hard not to feel sorry for the scout team defenders when they have to go up against someone with Williams' size and speed.

But the biggest play from Wednesday came on special teams, when kicker John Anderson lined up for a 57 yard field goal. Just attempting such a feat was exciting enough. But Anderson had more than merely "attempting" on his mind. The junior from Florida put a charge into the ball, sending it well over the crossbar and through the uprights as the team and onlookers on the sidelines gave a loud cheer of approval. It could have easily made it from five yards further.

REB Kai Ellis has recovered from his bouts with migraine headaches and will be looked upon to provide a huge pass-rushing presence. Zach Tuiasosopo also will see time at outside linebacker and has a motor that could terrorize opposing quarterbacks.

Anthony Kelley has settled into the role of SAM linebacker, which faces the opposing teams tight end, and is looking forward to thriving in that role this season.

"I'm pretty much comfortable with both outside linebacker spots. I know them both pretty well," Kelley said after practice today. "But I find my strength is when I can drop in coverage a lot, coming off the edge, and keep containment. The coaches are comfortable with me at that position. I know my plays, and I'm staying a lot more consistent on the field."

That position is known as the "SAM" linebacker.

With the late start this season, the team is itching to get out there on the field and knock some heads with someone not wearing purple. "It always seems long when you get started late and you watch a bunch of college football games and you start anticipating," Neuheisel said. "It's time for us to play somebody, and it's a huge game when you are playing someone as revered as Michigan."

"Eventually, you just have to just get out there and go. We've got to do that, and we're ready to do that. It will be a free-for-all for a while because everybody is so excited to play. Hopefully we can withstand that flurry, and kind of settle down and play a good football game."
Husky Notebook:

Pep talk from C-Dub - Coach Neuheisel hopes to have former Husky Curtis Williams on the phone with his teammates sometime tomorrow. "Obviously it's not an easy exercise for him to talk for long periods of time, but the fact that the kids will know that he's at least listening will be great. Whatever (Curtis) may add will be welcome."

E.T. impresses: - Charles Frederick is trying to make up for lost time, and he's looking good in the process. Neuheisel says that he'll play Saturday, but the extent of playing time is still unknown. On one particular play, he sprinted past cornerback Sam Cunningham and safety Wondame Davis and made a terrific catch on a perfectly placed ball from Taylor Barton. It was the prettiest play of the evening.

"He's getting better every day," Neuheisel said. "I'm just excited that he's here, that he's happy, and that he's looking forward to his first college football game."

Whose your punter? - Coach Neuheisel knows but isn't tipping his hand just yet. "I've got an inclination," he said. "I'm not ready to announce it yet. And it wouldn't surprise me if both of them punt." Both Derek McLaughlin and Jim Skurski were booming the punts today. The competition is close.

Emtman in the House - Former Husky star Steve Emtman was again in attendance today, the second day in a row he's been back to see his former team play.

A reunion, sort of: - While at Muir High School in Pasadena, California, Anthony Kelley verbally committed to the University of Michigan after taking his last recruiting trip there with his mom. When he returned home to California, he started having some doubts, and when letter of intent day arrived one February day in 1998, Kelley decided to sign on the dotted line with the Huskies over Michigan and Nebraska, his other finalist. Come Saturday, AK-47 very easily could have found himself on the opposing sidelines in the maize and blue.

"I did as a kid want to go (to Michigan)," Kelley said, "but my gut feeling was to come to Washington, and I'm glad I did. We've got a Rose Bowl under our belt, a good winning tradition, and I'm happy with my decision to come here."

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