Practice news and notes - 8/13

There were more walking wounded Wednesday afternoon at TESC for the Washington Huskies, as Reggie Williams and Marquis Cooper both sat out with minor injuries. The tempo of both the AM and PM workouts wasn't quite as crisp or as sharp as it had been in previous practices, but head coach Keith Gilbertson wasn't concerned about that.

"We were a little off today, but with 10 practices going at a good pace that's bound to happen," Gilbertson said. "We weren't as sharp or as crisp as we would like to be but the thing is to work through that, find a way to be sharp."

Some more of Gilby's singular coaching style was evident Wednesday night, as after the mid-practice 11-11 drills, he decided to do what he called 'sudden change'. "That's what happens in football games," he said.

The team was supposed to go into a kickoff drill, but instead the team went 'live' at the goal line, with the number 2 defense lined up against the number one offense. The defense responded with a safety by Donny Mateaki off a missed assignement. But the offensive run attack, led by Kenny James and Rich Alexis, made steady gains from their own goal-line, and Casey Paus threw a first-down strike to fullback Adam Seery, to give the second-team offense win over the defense.

Alexis, a 6-0, 220-pound senior from Coral Gables, Florida, is coming on like gangbusters. In a RB blocking drill, he's the only running back that can consistently keep his man at bay. And he's equally adept at either cutting or blocking straight on.

With Cooper out with what Gilby called a 'gimpy' injury, Scott White took over as the number one WIL, with true frosh Tahj Bomar backing him up. And as he has done nearly every practice, Scott came up with the pigskin on a turnover - this time on a play that ended up being a lateral behind the line of scrimmage.

The offensive and defensive lines have been pretty consistent of late. Offensively, it's been Khalif Barnes and Todd Bachert at the tackles, Nick Newton and Rob Meadow at the guards and Dan Dicks at center. Backing them up are Ryan Brooks and Francisco Tipoti at tackle, Tusi Sa'au and Clayton Walker at guard and Brad Vanneman at center. OL coach Dan Cozzetto is really pleading with his guys to not just take the opposition out of the play, but finish them off. There was a slight smile on his face when one of his leaders, Barnes, rag-dolled Manase Hopoi on a one-on-one drill.

Defensively, the lineup goes like this: Manase Hopoi, Terry Johnson, Jerome Stevens and Dan Milsten. For the second team it's been Graham Lasee, Stanley Daniels, Tui Alailefaleula and Mike Mapu, with Brandon Ala, Donny Mateaki and Jordan Reffett rotating in.

During the 11-11 drills, the number one defense had their way over the offense. The O was a little hamstrung without Williams, who sat out today as a precautionary measure with a tight hamstring and sore lower back. Terry Johnson and Jerome Stevens led the charge defensively.

With Sam Cunningham and Chris Massey out, 'Dre' Simpson is being thrown to the wolves. Today was perhaps his best day, as he made some very nice jumps on the ball and got a few kudos from corners coach Phil Snow.

The younger WR's made some nice catches today, led by Sonny Shackelford and Anthony Russo. But with Williams out, it was 'ET' time. Charles Frederick was the go-to guy for the ones this afternoon and he picked up the slack nicely.

The ones struggled offensively with a goal-line drill, but Casey Paus and the number twos took care of business, getting two touchdowns from Adam Seery and Chris Singleton.

Special teamers: Derrick Johnson, Matt Fountaine, Evan Benjamin, Chris Singleton, Joe Lobendahn, Ty Eriks, Eric Roy, BJ Newberry, James Sims and Owen Biddle were the first-team kickoff guys Wednesday.

Numbers game: Two numbers changed Wednesday. Wilson Afoa went from 46 to 45 and Casey Tyler went from 86 to 84.

Bear-ly there: As part of their conditioning, the offensive line did bear crawls after practice, a particularly grueling exercise.

Injury update: Gilbertson said that Shelton Sampson is going to go to Seattle to get checked out for his migraine headaches, which have worsened in the past couple of days. Ben Bandel was not wearing red this afternoon, but Joe Toledo stayed in the crimson, along with Reggie Williams, Marquis Cooper, Sam Cunningham, Chris Massey and Charles Smith.

Hemphill to arrive?: When asked about the status of true frosh Chris Hemphill and Juan Garcia, Gilby just shook his head with a smile. "I just expect that Chris will be here any day," he said. He didn't mention Garcia's status at all.

Nate the Great redux: With all the speculation about Nate Robinson and his possible return to playing football, Gilbertson acknowledged that two people not related to Nate Robinson came by to ask about the possibility of Nate returning to play football. He characterized them as 'alumnus'. Gilby said that he told them the best thing for Nate to do was to fulfill his obligation to Coach Romar and the basketball team and then he could return. Top Stories