Dawgbytes - 10/14

Keith Gilbertson might start boning up on a new profession - physician. The Washington head coach has become familiar with plenty of medical terms this fall keeping up with the rash of injuries that has hit the Huskies - probably too familiar for his liking. And Tuesday there was more bad news for a player that had fought hard to get back on the field.

Justin Robbins will be out at least two weeks after doctors removed fluid from his knee. Robbins, Washington's third receiver, didn't play at all during the second half of the Huskies' 28-17 lost to Nevada.

"Justin will be out at least two weeks," Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson said Tuesday when asked about the MRI performed on the junior from Lacey. "They removed fluid from his knee and there was blood in it. That means there might be some torn cartilege or it could be something where it's bone on bone."

Gilbertson said that the ligaments in Justin's knee appear to be fine. "The doctors want to give it two weeks and see where he is then."

Robbins, Joe Toledo, Reggie Williams and Tusi Sa'au will be held out of Tuesday's practice, while Roc Alexander, Tim Galloway and Chris Massey will see very limited action. Alexander and Galloway are suffering from a reoccurance of stingers.

Gilbertson said that, of Toledo and Sa'au, the two players that missed the Nevada game, Sa'au had the best chance of playing this Saturday evening against Oregon State in Corvallis.

Speaking of the offensive line, the number of scholarshipped OL available are arguably at an all-time low. "Right now we only have 9 scholarshipped linemen ready to go," Gilbertson said. He was not counting the three true freshmen linemen that are redshirting (Juan Garcia, Erik Berglund and Chad Macklin).

"Ideally, we'd like to have 18-20 offensive linemen all the time. And when you look at all the guys we've lost on the defensive line, like Josh Miller and Junior Coffin - you can see that we have a lot of front-line guys missing right now."

One of the lone bright spots to come from the loss to Nevada was Rich Alexis. The senior RB from Florida had 120 yards against the Wolf Pack, upping his season totals to 540 yards on 126 carries through 6 games.

"Rich has been fun to watch," Gilbertson said. "He has played very complete games, so it's tough to take him out of the game. You want to get the other guys some time, but he's hard to bring out.

"I do think we've been running the ball well and if you take away the sack yardage the running yardage is pretty good."

But he understands the chicken-and-egg nature of the offensive mood-swings. "Last year it was 'What's wrong with the running game,'" Gilbertson said. "Now it's, 'What's wrong with the passing game,'."

He then added, with a smile, "I know I can't win. I have only known a couple of teams that have been able to do both very well."

But ask Gilbertson about specific players and their struggles, and you'll get no quarter from the head coach. "I will not throw my players under the bus," he said. I'm not going to answer those questions."

With Alexander and Massey dealing with the injury bug, Gilbertson said that there's a very good chance Clarence 'Dre' Simpson will get looks against the Beavers. "You have to give Sam Cunningham some time," Gilbertson said. "And with Derrick Johnson, Matt Fountaine and Dre Simpson, we're still two-deep. Dre will have to figure in there somewhere."

All this will be in preparation for an Oregon State team that appears to be running on all cylinders. At the head of the list - running back Steven Jackson.

"He's the complete deal," Gilbertson said of the junior from Las Vegas. "He's a big back with inside moves. "He can catch out of the backfield. He's a high-profile, primetime player."

And containing Jackson is just one part of the puzzle the Husky defense will need to solve. "It's not like we can put 9 in the box, because their quarterback (Derek Anderson) will beat you," he said. "He's had a couple of very good games back-to-back. Their front is good.

"They are a very complete offense right now."

Dawgman.com Top Stories