Dawgbytes - 9/14

Boy, Keith Gilbertson does not like bye weeks. Hate may not even be a strong enough word. Loathe? Detest? One thing is for sure - he tried his hardest to get one more non-conference game on Washington's schedule before this weekend's Pac-10 opener against UCLA.

The main reason was because of the uncertainty at the quarterback position, an uncertainty that manifested itself with spooky clairvoyance on Gilbertson's part against Fresno State in week one. The Huskies contacted San Jose State about moving their game up, but the Spartans were unable to. "That's why I was so adamant about getting another game after that first game," he said Tuesday. "But we didn't get one."

"It (Fresno State) was a non-conference game and we needed to get those guys out there."

Isaiah Stanback was not at full speed Monday and he's still touch and go for Saturday. Gilbertson said that it would 'take a lot' for Isaiah to play, but that doesn't mean that Carl Bonnell will immediately take Stanback's place behind starter Casey Paus.

"The optimum would clearly be to have one clear-cut guy who is a veteran player, having started 24-36 games," Gilbertson said. "We don't have that."

UCLA Head Coach Karl Dorrell has publically said that he's game-planning on all three quarterbacks, because he's not sure who he'll see. Gilbertson doesn't believe that uncertainty will give him an advantage Saturday when the Huskies and Bruins square off at Husky Stadium. "Whether Casey is in there, Isaiah is in there or Carl is in there - you defend what we do," he said. "We'll have the option, the passing game. Doesn't matter who is going to be in there because we run the same stuff."

So the ideal would be Paus playing every snap of every game? "It would be a wonderful thing," said Gilbertson.

With the way players have been going down with injuries, Gilbertson shouldn't expect that luxury. Derrick Bradley had his second surgery Monday for the same shoulder that he had repaired in 2003. "Whether or not he'll be able to play anymore or whether our doctors will clear him is up in the air right now," Gilbertson said of the frosh corner from Kamiak High School in Mukilteo.

The last corner that played after a knee injury in recent memory was Jermaine Smith, who played from 1996-1999.

"It's a real blow because we've lost both young corners. I've never had a corner with an ACL injury (Josh Okoebor) before. Corners really need their knees to plant, cut and change direction." Gilbertson also added that he expects to recruit the JC ranks heavily to fill a need at cornerback. The Huskies already have one JC verbal commitment in San Diego (Calif.) Mesa College CB Keno Walter-White.

Frosh DT Jasper Henry will undergo shoulder surgery on the 20th for a pre-existing problem he had while at Dorsey High School in Los Angeles. "He won the shot-put championship three years in a row with a bad shoulder, so there's no telling what he's capable of," Gilbertson said.

In a strange bit of news, kicker Evan Knudson was diagnosed with Mononucleosis, giving Gilbertson an answer as to why the performance of the walk-on from North Thurston had curtailed sharply during fall camp.

"I thought his kicking had fallen off," Gilbertson said of Knudson. "The ball just didn't seem to be jumping off his foot, but we just found out he had mono. He was sick. He didn't know it, we didn't know it, so I want him to heal up and get back in the competition." Knudson is past the stage of being contagious, so expect him to be available this weekend if needed.

Another player that doesn't seem to be responding well is junior running back Chris Singleton. Singleton broke his foot in 2003 and Gilbertson feels that the junior from Etiwanda, California just hasn't been the same player. "He said it doesn't bother him, but when I watch him cut I don't see what I used to see," Gilbertson said. Look for Louis Rankin to move up in the rotation and get some playing time against the Bruins Saturday.

In positive injury news, Ryan Brooks returned Monday and will again split time with Robin Meadow at right tackle, as they did against Fresno State and Juan Garcia just might be ready in a couple of weeks to be thrown in with the lions. "He's close," Gilbertson said of Garcia, a sophomore from Yakima. He's going to get some reps. My sense is that he's farther away than he thinks he is, but he's such a tough individual. I had the same exact injury when I was in college and it took a long time to heal, but they repair it so different nowadays."

Gilbertson is hoping Garcia can focus solely on the center position, but some other news just might force him to use Garcia in a different way. "I'd like to redshirt him," Gilbertson said of senior offensive lineman Tui Alailefaleula, who did not play against Fresno State. "I'd like to save his year so he could have a couple of years on offense." Because of this development, Garcia, Jens Jellen or Brandon Leyritz could each be used to back up Clay Walker at the right guard spot.

Speaking of saving redshirts, Gilbertson talked Tuesday about saving Darin Harris' redshirt, but Jordan White-Frisbee, Greyson Gunheim, Dan Howell and Trenton Tuiasosopo are the four freshmen that will definitely burn theirs.

Hair Dance, Part II: Gilbertson was asked again if he had a chance to see the now-infamous 'Hair Dance' between Charles Frederick, Isaiah Stanback and a couple of other UW players after Stanback's touchdown against Fresno State. "You aren't going to see everything that happens on the sidelines," Gilbertson said, announcing his strong objection to having TV cameras available behind the team's benches. "I saw two things that happened over the weekend, and I've already talked to our team about them. First thing was, I saw a game where two guys were talking on a cell phone on the sideline, in uniform. The second thing was, I saw a player mugging it up on the camera in the middle of the fourth quarter. At the end of the fourth quarter, he fumbled one to lose the game. I'd be out of my mind if I saw those things happening."

Dawgman.com Top Stories