Practice report - 8/19 PM

With the clouds around Husky Stadium lifting this afternoon, the sun once again burned bright during the Dawgs' pm workout. Elliott Zajac was at practice, taking in the proceedings standing with crutches on the west end line. With Head Coach Rick Neuheisel hopeful Zajac will be ready for the Idaho game, it begs the question; what changes will the Huskies make in the senior guard's absence?

Neuheisel acknowledged that Zajac did have a slight fracture in his fibula right at the base of his ankle but it didn't displace, meaning that it wasn't as serious as it could have been. He's hopeful that Elliott could be available for the game against the Vandals but also said that even if he was ready he probably wouldn't play him.

Neuheisel also said that moving Dan Dicks up to the number one strong guard spot would be the easiest choice to make in regards to filling Zajac's spot but didn't rule out other options. One option discussed would be moving Aaron Butler to strong guard, Nick Newton back to weak guard, Dan Dicks to center and Todd Bachert to strong tackle. Dicks had a strong showing this afternoon, as well as backup center Brad Vanneman.

The ones didn't change much from the am to the pm practice. Nick Newton sat out today with a slight groin pull, so Robin Meadow ran at strong tackle in his place. Every one else stayed the same. Neuheisel said that Newton should be available tomorrow.

Other players sitting out this afternoon included Houdini Jackson (foot strain), Braxton Cleman (slight hamstring), Zach Tuiasosopo (upper calf), Junior Coffin (shoulder), Kai Ellis (knees), Jimmy Newell (hand), Justin Robbins, Patrick Reddick, Kim Taylor, Matt Fountaine, Nathan Rhodes and Stephen Johnson. Newell is getting fitted for his cast and is expected back tomorrow. Cleman and Ellis are day-to-day, Coffin and Tuiasosopo should be back in a few days and Jackson should be back by the middle of next week. Robbins and Reddick were out due to their 'one-a-day' practice status.

Because of the players sitting out, others were given a chance to show something. Brandon Ala ran with the twos at REB today, and Anthony Kelley was the #1 REB. Evan Benjamin ran as the number one free safety in Newell's absence instead of James Sims Jr.. Tui Alailefaleula ran solely with the twos behind Terry Johnson today.

In Zajac's absence on special teams, Tim Galloway, Andy Heater and Mike Thompson are sharing snapping duties.

There was no actual scrimmaging this afternoon, so it was mostly 1-1's, 5-5's and 7-7's. Reggie Williams, Paul Arnold, Charles Frederick, Eddie Jackson and Kevin Ware distinguished themselves offensively, while Joseph Lobendahn, Marquis Cooper, Evan Benjamin, James Sims Jr. and Owen Biddle were the defensive standouts.

This afternoon marked the official beginning of preparations for the Huskies' August 31st matchup with Michigan, as scout teams were formed and used throughout the pm practice.

Offensive play of the afternoon: This a tie between Eddie Jackson and Kevin Ware. Eddie had a nice catch over the middle with Chris Massey all over him. Jackson was able to come up with the ball and shed Massey, leaving nothing but green between him and the end zone. Ware made a sweet one-handed grab of a ball thrown behind him by Cody Pickett as he was spinning upfield.

Defensive play of the afternoon: Since there wasn't an 11-11 drill tonight, this one is a little harder. Greg Carothers made a pick of the scout team, so we'll give this one to the 'Helena Hitman'.

Hit of the afternoon: Reggie Williams made a nice play on a high ball in the end zone, but when he came down he got positively tatooed by Owen Biddle. Reggie raised the ball up, showing that he kept the ball in his possession. Top Stories