Dawgbytes - 10/21

Playing on the turf at Reser Stadium is akin to an occupational hazard for college football teams, and the Washington Huskies weren't able to escape with just their 38-17 win over Oregon State. The 'Turf Monster' bit at least a few Huskies, and their questionable status means some other players will have to step up with more playing time.

"Today is the first day he'll do anything," Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson said Tuesday afternoon when asked about the status of starting tailback Rich Alexis. "I doubt he'll do much. We'll probably hold him until tomorrow. We'll see if he can try and go, but it'll probably be a couple of days."

Alexis suffered a deep thigh bruise Saturday night in the second quarter and did not return to action. A quad tear has apparently been ruled out. In Alexis' possible absence, Kenny James and Shelton Sampson will be required to play a leading role - one they haven't had to take on so far this year.

"Putting Kenny in there is the logical move, but both will play a lot," Gilbertson said of James and Sampson's potential increased role. "But they both play a lot anyways."

Scott Ballew would be the third back, but Gilbertson still isn't ruling out Alexis. "Scott factors in a lot for us anyways on special teams," he said. "We'll need three to go, but we've got to reserve some snaps for Rich too."

If Alexis is eventually ruled out, Gilbertson has all the confidence in the world in his three redshirt frosh. "Kenny's been very effective," Gilbertson said. "He's been an effective runner since he's been here. And Shelton is a much different runner, a good change-up. They compliment each other really well."

Zach Tuiasosopo and Chris Massey are the other two players that played Saturday that will also skip Tuesday's workout. When asked about Joe Toledo's back, all Gilbertson would say is 'We'll see today'. Toledo has missed the majority of the season already, and is again questionable for this Saturday's game against USC.

One bright spot from Saturday's game was the play of guard Tusi Sa'au. The sophomore from Rainier Beach High School was limited to a play count because of a lower back condition, but he ended up playing 10 plays over that play-count.

"Tusi will play in the same role as last week," Gilbertson said. "This surface (field turf) should be much better for his back." He added that Tusi's condition is such that he'll probably have to deal with it in some form for the rest of the season.

Gilbertson knows he's got his work cut out for him this Saturday. "When you put in the tape for about 10 minutes, you come right back down to earth," he said of the Trojans. "They know how to win on the road and right now they are playing lights out.

"The Notre Dame was telling. It showed just how talented they are, especially the quickness with their front seven (on defense). They have Mike Patterson and (Kenechi) Udeze, (Shaun) Cody and Omar Nazel. They are all big, athletic kids that can change direction. In some ways they are better than Ohio State or UCLA's front seven."

Gilbertson singled out Patterson for his play so far this year. The junior from Los Alamitos, California is tied with UCLA's Dave Ball as the leading tackler for defensive lineman in the Pac-10 with 34 total tackles. He also has 5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss, second for the Trojans behind Udeze.

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