Practice news and notes - 8/14

The players can feel it and so can the coaches. With the sun sweltering down upon the purple and white denizens at TESC Thursday, the Washington football team got in some more much-needed practice time, where more than a couple of scuffles broke out Saturday's noon scrimmage looms in the distance.

Back in action today were Reggie Williams, Shelton Sampson and Marquis Cooper, but Clayton Walker sat out with a sore shoulder. He should be 100 percent by Saturday.

Former Husky head coach Jim Lambright made his first appearance in Olympia, and was joined by ex-Dawg QB Cary Conklin. The Yakima native now works as a west coast scout for the Washington Redskins.

The new man in charge, Keith Gilbertson, was seen all over the field. At one moment he was working with the centers, the next timing how long it took the punters to get their kicks off. He's making the rounds and taking the time to watch more than just the offense this go around.

Adam Seery, as the backup to Ty Eriks now at fullback, is showing his durability and also his tenaciousness. During one skeleton drill he got tangled with true frosh corner Clarence 'Dre' Simpson, and the two exchanged some pleasantries. Then, during the main 11-11 'Thud tempo' period, Seery and MIK Tim Galloway traded some bolo punches until Seery's helmet came off. Galloway had the common sense to call off the Dawgs at that point.

Ryan Brooks and Tyler Krambrink also got into a bit of a scrape, but the most humorous one was when Roc Alexander tried to go Ali on Khalif Barnes, throwing some reckless jabs, all the time floating like a butterfly. After a couple of seconds the whole sideline was in laughter at Roc's mock attempt to bust up the big tackle from San Diego.

Back to the action. Gilby praised Rich Alexis for again making strides at the running back position. Sampson didn't get as many reps with the ones, but still looked outstanding. Kenny James is showing himself to be one tough hombre, not as fast as Shelton and not as experienced as Alexis, but with his own style that gets him down the field just the same. And Chris Singleton is making it a legitimate four-man race to the finish line. Whoever gets the nod in Columbus, they will still be sharing time with at least one or more quality backs.

Ben Bandel is fully taking advantage of Joe Toledo sitting out to establish himself as the number one tight end. If Toledo isn't back in the next few days, he may not get it back by August 30th. He's making all the catches, is a huge target, and can block very well. Jeason Benn got some reps with the twos.

Jason Simonson took Walker's place at guard today, the only change among the OL two-deeps. And for the DL, they are completely injury-free right now, so their rotation is exactly as it has been for a couple of days now.

The placekicking challenge is in a bit of a stall right now, as the two kickers today went a combined 0-3 in 'Thud tempo' action. And all three of the punters (Sean Douglas, Isaak Woldeit, and Garth Erickson) have proven they have the leg to get the job done. Picking one out right now will not be an easy job for Gilbertson.

There are only 6 healthy cornerbacks, and the most consistent rotation right now has been Roc Alexander Derrick Johnson and Matt Fountaine. Simpson, Kim Taylor and Cody Ellis are in the next trio. The corners are starting to get into the swing of things and had a much better showing today during the WR/DB one-on-ones.

Right now, as units, the offense and defenses are each having their moments. The defensive line just lit up the O when they did some 11-11 passing stuff, but when they went to 'Thud tempo' and mixed in some runs the OL came back with a vengence, as the running backs made some solid gains.

Co-defensive coordinator Phil Snow was not thrilled at all with the lackadaisical nature of his defense getting back to the huddle, screaming out to his guys that he was the only one allowed to walk on the field and that they had to run at all times while on it. He threatened extra-conditioning for 'loafs', which got everyone's attention quickly.


Notes:
Hemphill to arrive: Gilby told the press assembled after practice that Chris Hemphill would be arriving tomorrow and that he would be available for the afternoon practice. But since he hasn't been with the team he has to go through the mandatory 5 practice orientation first, as well as an academic orientation. So don't expect Chris to get any significant time in until the team returns to Seattle.

Bad news for Ben: Ben Warren, a promising walk-on RS frosh from Vancouver, Washington, tore his ACL on the last play of Wednesday's 'Thud tempo' practice, and is out indefinitely.

Tomorrow's sched: Friday is the team's last two-a-day practice at TESC. They will be in full pads for the AM session and 'lightbulbs' for the PM workout.

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