8/28 Final Scrimmage of Fall

A number of questions were answered after the Huskies final scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday afternoon, as Washington coach Keith Gilbertson named Casey Paus the team's starter at quarterback and Evan Knudson the team's starting kicker. Eight days remain before the Huskies season-opener at home against Fresno State, however, and other jobs remain up for grabs in the final week of camp.

Paus didn't exactly leave the other quarterbacks in the dust with his play over the past two weeks of camp, but he impressed the coaching staff enough in last week's scrimmage by executing a 99-yard touchdown drive and again today, connecting on 11-of-18 passes for 94 yards, to earn the job.

"During the whole camp he was really consistent and he made plays," said John Pettas, the Huskies' quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. "He made some nice throws and proved he is capable of making the plays we wanted him to run."

Also impressive over fall camp has been third-year quarterback Isaiah Stanback, who has shown better accuracy on his passes and a better grasp of the offense. Gilbertson said both Paus and Stanback will play against Fresno State, but doubted the team would go to a three-quarterback rotation.

Today's scrimmage helped crystallize that decision for the Huskies' head coach.

"I thought we were pretty sharp today offensively. I was pleased with both quarterbacks efforts," said Gilbertson, referring to Paus and Stanback. "I thought Carl (Bonnell) wasn't as sharp as maybe he's been before. I thought Casey and Isaiah moved us pretty consistently."

Stanback finished 10-for-17 with 118 yards and had one of the best plays of the day on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Whithorne.

"He's gotten a lot better and a lot more consistent," said Pettas of Stanback. "He's at about 95 percent right now. There's still about five percent of the time where he'll do something he's not supposed to, but he's really gotten comfortable throwing the ball."

Meanwhile, Bonnell was just 6-12 for 77 yards and was intercepted by defensive end Mike Mapu on a pass intended for tailback Shelton Sampson. Mapu reacted quickly to make the play, then rumbled all the way down the field with Sampson on his hip pocket. He pulled the third-year running back for 15 yards before falling down three yards short of the endzone.

Mapu had a nice scrimmage, getting a good push off the line, all but solidifying the starters spot at the Husky position.

The defensive front got some help today as Donny Mateaki returned from a nagging hamstring injury and helped make a couple defensive stops in the backfield. Gilbertson didn't appear impressed enough to feel comfortable putting Mateaki in the starting lineup for the season-opener.

"I'm not ready to say that Donny is ready to play," said the Huskies' coach.

Dan Milsten, a third-year player from Rogers High, got the bulk of the snaps with the first team unit today and will start if Mateaki doesn't.

The battles for the starting spots at weak tackle and left guard are both going down to the wire. Fifth-year senior Ryan Brooks and fourth-year junior Robin Meadow are in a dogfight for that tackle spot, while sophomore Stanley Daniels and junior Tusi Sa'au aren't giving up any ground to one another at guard.

Gilbertson hasn't yet named a starter at either position, and says the competition has been good for everybody involved.

Brooks and Daniels were the starters today, but the depth chart could still change over the next week.

In somewhat of a surprise move that didn't end up being as significant as first thought, Chris Hemphill started opposite Dashon Goldson at safety while fifth-year senior Jimmy Newell played with the second team. At 6-foot-6, Hemphill has made some of the hardest hits of the fall, and his stock has steadily risen, but the move up to the starter's role caused some heads to turn.

It turns out, the coaching staff just wanted to get Hemphill some extended reps due to the time he missed from a bruised chest muscle. Gilbertson says Newell will still start in the opener.

"We wanted to get a rotation running at safety with Chris Hemphill, Dashon Goldson and Jimmy Newell," said Gilbertson. "Chris missed some work and so we wanted to give him a lot more work."

Hemphill recorded one of three sacks on the day, good for a seven-yard loss.

True freshmen ILB Daniel Howell, REB linebacker Greyson Gunheim and DT Jordan White-Frisbee all ran with the second team defense.

Sophomore safety C.J. Wallace led all defenders with seven solo tackles, while Cody Ellis was right behind with five. Ellis, a second-year player out of Puyallup High who has moved up as the No. 4 cornerback behind Derrick Johnson, Same Cunningham and Matt Fountaine, made a terrific play to swat a ball away from tight end Jon Lyon.

Johnson also had a similar play on a ball intended for redshirt freshman receiver, Craig Chambers. Speaking of receivers, Charles Frederick was out of his red jersey but was held to limited action on the day. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown and caught one pass for nine yards early in the scrimmage, then took a seat on the bench to rest his ankle.

Lyon had a similar day, participating early then heading to the sidelines to rest a calf injury that has plagued him since early last week.

Sophomore receiver Corey Williams didn't participate for the second day in a row, still recovering from a minor injury.

Sonny Shackelford led all receivers with six receptions, but was a bit overshadowed by the five catches and diving touchdown by Whithorne and the route-running and elusiveness of Anthony Russo. Russo caught one pass and turned it into a big gain by making a quick move in the open field that left Wallace diving for air. All three will be counted on in a much larger capacity this year.

Dash Crutchley had the biggest day through the air, though, even moreso than any of the receivers. With Lyon limited and Joe Toledo and Ben Bandel each sidelined, Crutchley showed reliable hands and pulled down six receptions for a scrimmage-best 85 yards. Crutchley, Robert Lewis and Michael Gottlieb got the majority of the snaps on the day.

Gilbertson remained hesitant to award Crutchley, a third-year tight end, with too much praise after practice.

"Dash catches the ball but there are some other things I'm not so pleased with," he said.

All of the running backs had good days on the ground, partly because the first-team offense often lined up with the second-team defense. Even still, it was hard to argue with the results.

James Sims took his first carry of the day 70 yards for a touchdown, doing it against the first-team defense. Once the junior broke a couple tackles near the line of scrimmage, he burst out of heap and left the pack in the dust, galloping to the endzone.

Gilbertson singled out the play after practice.

"James Sims made a beautiful run against the first defense," said the Husky coach. "We think he is a very fine back, and I was very impressed with the run he made. He broke some tackles and gave us a long run. He's a pretty talented youngster."

Defensive coordinator and safeties coach Phil Snow wasn't happy about the long run by Sims when he talked to the media after practice, quite understandable considering how easily it appeared to occur.

"The secondary is responsible for long runs," said Snow. "They've got to show up there." Sims finished with three carries for 76 yards.

As for the others: Kenny James had five carries for 48 yards, Sampson four for 15 yards, Zach Tuiasosopo three for 18 yards and Chris Singleton four for 32 yards. Singleton and James each had short touchdown scores as well.

The special teams left much to be desired on the day. Punter Sean Douglas never got in much of a rhythm, due partly to the inconsistency of the snaps, and averaged just 30.4 yards on five punts. His best went 51 yards, a booming spiral that carried 55 yards before bouncing backwards near the endzone.

In the field goal department, Knudson went 1-2 on his attempts while Michael Braunstein nailed the only one he tried. Gilbertson saw enough to finally name his starter moments after practice.

"I don't know that either one of them have stood out. I think Evan is going to be the kicker," said Gilbertson.


Returning to Form: Gilbertson said Jon Lyon, Joe Toledo and Corey Williams will all be at full speed on Monday.

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