10/17 Practice Report

Another day of Husky practice is in the books, yet the quarterback situation remains unclear for the upcoming game versus Arizona this Saturday. Cody Pickett and Casey Paus carried the load today as Taylor Barton missed practice to have further tests done on his head and foot.

Barton hadn't been feeling well, so the team decided it'd be best for him to have an MRI to detect if there were any problems. An MRI can examine the whole body at once.

"It's to rule out things," Husky Head Coach Rick Neuheisel said of the test. "There isn't any real concern that they're going to find out things. It's just making sure that we've taken every necessary precaution before he goes back to play."

After missing yesterday's practice, today was the second day in a row Barton hadn't been able to go. Prior to that, the redshirt junior hadn't missed a practice in his college career.

"We'll see what he can accomplish tomorrow," said Neuheisel of Barton. "I'm hoping that he can practice tomorrow. We're making sure that everything checks out before he plays again."

In Barton's absence, Pickett and Paus took control of the offense. Pickett looked to be back to his old self. At times, he'd use somewhat of a modified delivery when throwing the ball, but his passes seemed to still have that typical zing on them. To rehab the shoulder injury he's gotten treatments on it three times a day and that's helped quicken the recovery process. After practice, he told reporters that he's still sore but will have to play through it.

"Cody looked fine," Neuheisel said. "We've gone with him on kind of a slow process to see what he could take. I think he'll be available (against Arizona). How much, we'll wait and see."

Paus, meanwhile, continues to grow up fast in the Husky offensive system as he sees his name quickly move up the depth chart. Today, he put his strong arm on display and often times it came at his detriment. A lot of the receivers had a hard time hanging on to the ball because of the velocity the freshman had on his passes. Paus has to learn to take a little off his throws on the shorter routes to improve the chances of pass completions. Even so, he appears like he would be able to hold his own if the team needed him to play on Saturday.

Asked if he'll be able to name a starter by tomorrow, Neuheisel said, "No, we've got to wait and see who's available." It will likely be a game-time decision.

Redshirt sophomore Adam Seery continues to get plenty of reps, and will likely be the number three quarterback this week barring a miraculous recovery from Barton.

The throw of practice today came on a deep post route to Paul Arnold from Pickett. Pickett didn't even wait for Arnold to break, and delivered a bullet-pass on the money just as the junior speedster broke to the ball and beat freshman safety Evan Benjamin for the catch. It was the kind of pass that Pickett would have thrown before the injury, a sure-tell sign that he's recovering fast.

Defensively, a name that many people probably haven't heard from in a while put in a solid practice, RayShon Dukes. The redshirt freshman who moved back to cornerback from receiver in the fall played tight man coverage, and was able to fly in and swat away passes on two different occasions. It's unlike ly that Dukes will see any time this season, but he could be a welcome contributor in the secondary next year once Omare Lowe graduates.

Overall, Neuheisel thought it was a good practice.

"Certainly we'd like to be a little more crisp, but hopefully we'll get that accomplished tomorrow," he said. "I like the resiliency of our team. I think they are excited about having another opportunity to play so they can try to get the taste out of their mouths from last weekend's defeat."

Right now the focus is just moving on after the pounding from UCLA, and improving as a team.

"I think if you're competitive, which I'm gathering that a great majority of the football players are, that you're going to take those kind of defeats personally and going to want to do something about it. Hopefully what we do about it is have urgency to improve and get fundamentally better."

Husky Notes:

Redshirt Possibilities: The likelihood that both receiver Justin Robbins and runningback Braxton Cleman will redshirt this season appears to be pretty good. Robbins is still not 100 percent from the hamstring injury he suffered early in fall camp, and Cleman is lost for the year after suffering a broken collarbone in the Idaho game. Cleman is a senior this season, but never utilized a redshirt season and as of now he's planning on returning next year.

"Braxton and I have talked, and he said he is really leaning towards coming back and using this as a redshirt year," Neuheisel said. "That would be wonderful news for us."

Kai Still Unable to Go: REB linebacker Kai Ellis won't play this weekend against Arizona, Neuheisel said after today's practice.

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