Head Coach Rick Neuheisel liked the effort he saw from his team despite frigid temperatures in Husky Stadium, and got a key weapon back in his arsenal with the return of tight end Jerramy Stevens.
"I thought we practiced well today," said Neuheisel. "There is an eagerness to be productive, and I think the team is looking forward to playing Oregon State. It was a crisp practice, and I was pleased."
Stevens wore full pads and participated in the drills while wearing a red jersey to avoid any big hits. He didn't appear to be hampered at all by the broken foot he sustained in the second game of the season, and looked like the Jerramy Stevens of old. He didn't have any problem running or blocking, and still had the hands that he's always been known for. It's just going to be a matter of conditioning - or lack thereof - that will dictate how much he'll be able to play against OSU.
"I thought he looked pretty good," Neuheisel said. "I think he'll be available to play some but not a great deal (this Saturday). This is the type of thing you ease someone into."
Also practicing today was Reggie Williams, who was forced to leave the Stanford game in the third quarter due to a quad bruise. He too didn't look to be slowed one bit in his return to the field, just the third day since being injured. He ran his routes very sharply and made two outstanding catches. One came on a deep 45-yard throw from quarterback Casey Paus, and the other came on a pass that was thrown at his feet that he was able to turn into a big gain.
"Reggie looked terrific," Neuheisel said. "I was expecting him to be a little bit slowed down, but he looked great."
Paus' deep ball to Reggie wasn't his only great pass of the afternoon. He threw one on the money to Pat Reddick later in practice, and has done it with consistency since arriving. There's no question that the freshman from Illinois throws one of the prettiest deep balls around.
Wilbur Hooks, who injured his shoulder against Stanford, practiced but was held out of contact drills. He wore a red jersey and ran simple routes early in practice to stay sharp for Saturday.
Todd Elstrom had a nice day catching the ball and made several great adjustments coming back for receptions. The cornerbacks had a difficult time staying with him, and the senior from Puyallup made them pay. He also has to be credited with being one of the few players on the field today who didn't wear long sleeves to protect themselves from the cold. Linebacker Tim Galloway and several scout team offensive linemen were other brave players went without sleeves.
Freshman Chris Singleton ran well, and is looking more comfortable on the field than he did earlier in the season. His quickness gave scout team defenders a hard time and he looked to be a weapon on special teams as well. On one kickoff return he hit the corner fast and left every defender in the dust. The first year player from Etiwanda, California has a bright future with the team.
In senior Willie Hurst, Singleton has an ideal person to look up to and model his game and work ethic after. Hurst put a nasty move on Galloway today when running up field, making the redshirt freshman swipe at air, and headed up the field for more positive yardage. It's hard to believe he only has one home game left in his Husky career.
On special team, John Anderson is getting back on track with his consistency. He's booting the ball better than a few weeks ago, and that showed today. Prior to practice, Anderson was sent out on the field to attempt field goals ranging from 30 to 48 yards. He had no problem booting each through the uprights except on two occasions. Once the ball was blocked by Chris Massey, who came around the edge. The other time he just didn't get enough of the ball and it landed short. Unexpectedly, walk-on offensive guard Jerramy Adams, a 380-pound junior, stood behind the goalposts catching Anderson's
kicks and had zero difficulty holding on to the ball.
On the Medical Front: The Huskies left the Stanford game nicked up, but none of the injuries appear to be too serious. Ben Mahdavi hurt his shoulder but was given full clearance by doctors to participate this week. Today he wore a red jersey and spent much of practice pedaling on a stationary bike on the sidelines.
Tyler Krambrink, who's been out all season with torn ligaments in his wrist, will probably see his first action this week. "We're hopeful he'll be able to go," said Neuheisel. "He's moving around and looks ready for competition."
Justin Robbins, who's redshirting the year anyway to recover from a slow-recovering hamstring injury, suffered yet another injury and figures to be unable to participate for the rest of the season. "He broke a bone in his hand on a facemask last week," Neuheisel said. "Now he's got to be in a cast for six weeks."
Simba Healing: Stanford safety Simba Hodari, who left Saturday's game on a
stretcher and was taken to Harborview Medical Hospital with a severe concussion, was released last night. Neuheisel said that he called Hodari before he left. "I wanted to make sure he had everything he needed and that he knew we were glad to hear he's recovering," said Neuheisel.
Asked whether he thought it was a clean block by Charles Frederick, who made the block on Hodari, the coach clearly thought so. "I'm comfortable that there was no intent to injure," he said. "It was just two bodies colliding and unfortunately Frederick's elbow hit Hodari's helmet. It was unfortunate, but not intentional."
Offensive Coordinator Keith Gilbertson agreed. "Anyone who thinks Frederick was trying to do anything but make a block is crazy," he said.
Nevertheless, Frederick said after practice that he's planning on writing a note to Hodari to tell him he's sorry.
11/6 Practice Report
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