8/18 PM Practice Report

In this corner, wearing the white jersey - fighting out of Sacramento, California...weighing in at a svelte 291 pounds...the Polynesian Punisher...Manase Hopoi! And in this corner, weighing in at a workmanlike 300 pounds...from Scottsdale, Arizona - the Scottsdale Slobberknocker Clay Walker! While at Evergreen State College on Wednesday, we were all enjoying the 'Sweet Science' when a football practice broke out. Nobody told Don King.

The Washington football team, in full pads, decided to compliment their 'thud' tempo team drills for the first time this fall and go live for one period. The trainers must've forgot the gloves, but that didn't matter to Hopoi and Walker, who staged a full-on punching session that Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward would have been proud of. That was just one of many tussles that happened Wednesday, as the team clearly was ready to hit somebody.

Sonny Shackelford and Mike Mapu ended up in the middle of one after Shackelford dropped a pass and decided to use the football as a soccer ball. That caught the ire of UW Head Coach Keith Gilbertson, who sent Sonny to the sidelines. Mapu also expressed his displeasure at Shackelford, and then the whole team decided to join in.

"A couple of guys lost their composure," Gilbertson said Wednesday after practice. "I know they want to do well, but that's stupid. We went from 2nd and goal from the two to third-and-goal from the 17. Things like that, we can't do it. It's a selfish act. And it's part of the learning process."

The fisticuffs didn't dampen Gilbertson's enthusiasm one bit for the work that was put in during the 25-play 'live' session. "I thought the speed of it was very good," he said. "I think James Sims and Zach (Tuiasosospo) are good fullbacks. I don't think our tailbacks got enough work and I didn't think we threw the ball very well. But I certainly like how we ran in general and it was aggressive and wild. I liked that. If they keep that zest for playing...they are fun to coach.

"Winners got ribs and the losers got pasta, so they should have been fired up. They tied 4-4, so everybody eats. I hate that."

Each of the three quarterbacks competing for the starting spot - Casey Paus, Carl Bonnell and Isaiah Stanback - took snaps with all three teams. "We'll go back and look at the video and see what happened," Gilbertson added. "That's good for us. But I do know that if you hand the ball off twice and you score, it's not like you engineered much of a drive."

It was the James Sims show during the scrimmage, as he scored twice. Tuiasosopo also added a score, as did Shelton Sampson.

In the kicking game, it was another toss-up day, as both Evan Knudson and Mike Braunstein had their good and bad kicks. "I don't know if we had a clear-cut winner there," Gilbertson said. "We still have a lot of time and a lot of practice before we make that decision."

With regard to Mapu, it looks like the light has come on for the 6-3, 265-pound junior transfer from American Samoa by way of Mesa, Arizona, . He was in on a few of the scuffles this afternoon and clearly played his way into the number-one defensive end spot.

There were a few more injuries to report Wednesday. Charles 'ET' Frederick suffered a slight sprain of his right ankle. It happened when Frederick and Derrick Johnson got tangled up during one-on-ones. Gilbertson expected Frederick to be back in action by the weekend.

Before his injury, Frederick, Shackelford and Anthony Russo were all flawless catching punts from Sean Douglas. This was a sore spot with Gilbertson Tuesday, so it was nice to see the punt returners go a full period with no muffs.

Frosh cornerback Derrick Bradley suffered another setback. "His surgically-repaired shoulder has been bothering him," Gilbertson said. "They want to look at it again. And he took a hard shot on it yesterday."

Trenton Tuiasosopo is expected to be out two more days with a bothersome hamstring, and Charles Smith might be out longer than that. Donny Mateaki was expected this afternoon, but sat out another day.

Freshmen lineman Casey Bulyca and Matt Olson were in pads for the first time Wednesday. "Because of the acclimatization period, he has five days of one practice a day, so he won't be really available until next week," Gilbertson said of Bulyca, a 6-5, 310-pounder from Woodinville.

After eight practices, Jordan White-Frisbee, Daniel Howell and Darin Harris look to be the true frosh that could see playing time, either at their position or on special teams. White-Frisbee's size and athleticism can't be ignored. Howell just might be the best athlete of the group and has a definite shot to work on special teams. Harris continues to work with the twos in Chris Hemphill's absence and while showing some freshman mistakes he is a hard worker and really understands the game of football.

Neuheisel gets gig: Former UW Head Coach Rick Neuheisel has landed a job with College Sports TV. He will be an analyst for 'Crystal Ball Presented by XBOX'. 'Crystal Ball' is being promoted by CSTV as 'the first look each week at the coming Saturday's on-field action and off-field storylines. The Crystal Ball ensemble cast gazes into the future and dissects all that is going down in college football each week, with highlights, commentary, analysis, news, features and special guests.'

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