Wednesday practice report

SEATTLE - It seems almost cliche to say during spring football, but every time an injured player comes back to participate, another one goes down. Such was the case Wednesday, as 'Turnover Wednesday' turned into 'Walking Wounded Wednesday'.

"Unfortunately when you get a couple guys back you lose a couple," Sarkisian wistfully pointed out after Wednesday's spirited 120-minute workout at Husky Stadium. Matt Mosley and Brandon Johnson came back to participate after being in red or shorts and shells on Monday, but they lost Vince Taylor to an ankle injury. Cort Dennison apparently went into the locker room halfway through practice for x-rays to an injured hand, but did come back to participate in the team period. Everrette Thompson looked to hurt his left ankle/foot, but Sarkisian said that the sophomore DE would be fine.

But the biggest news came from an injury that happened a couple of days ago. Back-up offensive tackle Skyler Fancher, who was securing his role in the depth, broke his leg during Monday's team period, and according to Sarkisian had surgery Wednesday to repair the leg, as well as some ligament damage. Washington's trainers are expecting Fancher back in time for the beginning of fall camp if everything heals as it should.

Josh Gage, Vonzell McDowell, Anthony Gobern, Marek Domanski, Romeo Savant and Andrew Lutton were in red Wednesday. In shells and shorts were Terence Thomas (foot), Brandon Yakaboski (knee), D'Andre Goodwin (hamstring) and Devin Aguilar (unknown). Alvin Logan and Chris Polk were in full pads and doing some things, but outside of Polk lining up for some punt return work with McDowell and Cody Bruns, their action was limited.

The other major piece of news Wednesday was that former UW safety Lawyer Milloy was at practice and helping out. It's the second UW player seen helping out during spring ball, as former UW WR Jerome Pathon was also assisting a couple of practices ago. I spoke with Lawyer and you can read that story here

Ben Ossai, Washington's starting left tackle last year that has been moved to left guard this spring, was missing today, and Sarkisian confirmed that Ossai is out for academic reasons - joining Bradly Roussel, Allen Carroll and Terrance Dailey as players who are not at practice right now. With Ossai out, Ryan Tolar slid back into his familiar role at left guard, while Mykenna Ikehara moved to first-string center, a spot he's seen plenty of time at so far this spring.

At the end of the team period, the defense took top honors. "We had struggled in the red zone the first two days of emphasis, but I thought they did a nice job today," Sarkisian said, talking about the offense. "But during that last team period after the first drive, the defense did a great job. They were down a little bit and they battled back. They refocused and did a great job."

A Jake Locker to Kavario Middleton completion was the only thing keeping the defense from completely shutting out the offense during the first part of the team period, which concentrated on red zone work. But when the twos met, Ronnie Fouch found Jermaine Kearse for a 19-yard gain right by the right end zone pilon, and hit Jordan Polk in the left flat and he did the rest, scooting around defenders to find paydirt. Polk nearly scored a running touchdown too, coming up just one-yard short after a 19-yard gain.

It was during the team period where Polk really stepped up his game, but you could tell he was going to have a solid day of work when he beat safety Victor Aiyewa during the 1-1 drills and toyed with the sophomore safety while racing to the line for a touchdown. Polk, Bruns and Kearse all had solid catches during this period, and Anthony Boyles closed out the scoring with a deep touchdown catch from Fouch, beating Johri Fogerson over the top. Fouch also had two more scores, to Polk and Austin Sylvester, when the team moved to the defense's 25-yard line, outside the red zone.

"Jordan's really come on the last few practices," Sarkisian said of the sophomore from Portland. "He's getting more comfortable in the system and he's playing to his speed. He's not thinking as much and slowing himself down. He's playing fast. This was a day that allowed him to get featured some with some runs to the receivers and some of the catches that he had."

But he nearly spoiled all his hard work when he tried to lend support to fellow receiver Jermaine Kearse while Kearse and cornerback Quinton Richardson were involved in a little dustup that didn't look like it would escalate. That changed when Polk took exception. Sarkisian booted both Polk and Richardson out of the drill and onto the sidelines, his message clear.

"We have to learn that football is an emotional game, but we have to funnel our emotion in the right direction," he said. "Nothing good happens after the whistle. It's a waste of energy. The bad stuff is that penalties occur and we lose yardage and we hurt ourselves. We have to understand that we have to go play the next snap.

"There are no personal vendettas on this team."
Notes:
It's springtime!: You know it's spring, because the track team was running stairs on the upper part of the north deck. And they weren't running the aisles. They were literally running the stairs, as in over them. About three-quarters of the way up it gets so steep that they have to crawl over them, but they got to the top. Made me tired just watching them.

And then on the way back to the media room I saw the men's basketball team working out in Hec Ed. Spring is definitely upon us.

Dubs checking out his digs: Dubs, the newest Husky mascot, was seen at practice today. The Alaskan Malamute pup was celebrating being five months old, as he was born on November 15. He clearly was having fun hanging out on the track and occasionally working on his bark. It needs a little work, but that's what spring is for!

Wednesday's kicking update: Watching the kickers earlier in practice, I saw Erik Folk nail a kick from right on the edge of the 'W' in the center of the field, so I'm guessing that was right around 55 or 56 yards. Cory Rutkowski tried the same kick and missed short and right. During the actual kicking period, Folk was 2-2 from short range. Rutkowski was 1-1 and Eric Guttorp was 1-2, his miss coming from right around 40 yards.

Zebras for hire: Sarkisian was asked why he's decided to use full referee crews this spring. The crews have been a fixture at every practice to date. "They learn to see the game and get their reps at it," Sarkisian said. "And our guys get used to having penalties called on them - what's legal and what's not legal. And as a staff, we can ask questions. Everybody learns from it; it's a win-win for everybody."


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