Dawgbytes - 9/24

The news coming from Montlake Wednesday was a little mixed. It appears that Joe Toledo, a 6-6, 290-pound tight end, will be out for this Saturday's game versus Stanford, leaving Ben Bandel and Jon Lyon to help pick up the slack. And while Joe isn't ready to go, there's one player that's looking for a chance to show he's ready to 'tackle' a new challenge.

"It looks like he's not going to make the bell," Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson said of Toledo's lower back condition. According to Gilbertson, there's a bulge that's pressing against the spine that's causing discomfort, but mentioned Bern Brostek and Benji Olson as two players he knew of that were able to play through back problems.

"There are a number of guys like that," he said, adding that everyone, at one point or another, plays with pain or injury of some sort. "But the trainers think things will settle down by Monday and he'll be ready to go.

We'll go with Ben Bandel, Jon Lyon, Jason Benn and Andy Heater and we'll be fine at that position. Ben started the entire spring and has had a full fall, so he's ready to go."

Ty Eriks, unlike Toledo, is looking to break out on Saturday. Moved from fullback to the rush end backer a couple of weeks ago, Eriks is making steady progress in shoring that position.

"Ty's done a nice job," Gilbertson said of the sophomore from O'Dea. "He's learning a lot every day and I think he's having fun just putting his hand on the ground and playing.

"He gets better every day and he's been fun to watch for me. Is he a ready-made guy yet? No. But he's certainly improving."

Just because Saturday marks the beginning of the Pac-10 schedule, it doesn't mean there's been a change in the tempo or demeanor of the team. "I think we've practiced hard from the get-go," Gilbertson said. "I haven't been disappointed in that at all.

"The things we need to work on is the mis-alignments, the missed assignments. We have to be error-free. But this is a team that likes to play and they like each other. And there's been an awful lot going on and I'm sure there are people looking at us. And we're doing all we can do."

Gilbertson mentioned that both Clarence 'Dre' Simpson and C.J. Wallace will not redshirt this season. "As the season goes on, having 6 corners becomes a bit of a necessity," he said. "He (Simpson) is really close to being ready to play. And C.J., he's definitely made the cut. He won't redshirt."

Both Derrick Johnson and Manase Hopoi returned to full action Wednesday and are both expected to start against the Cardinal.

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