Dawgman Insider Blog: August 2009

With the days ticking ever closer to Washington's September 5th clash with LSU, the more Steve Sarkisian is thinking about the game. More specifically, how the mechanics of the game are going to go. With that in mind, as well as the thought that he wants his team as fresh as possible going into their battle with the Bayou Bengals, it appears that full pads are done for fall camp.

Posted by Chris Fetters
8/25/2009
9:55 pm

Wednesday Practice Report:

With the days ticking ever closer to Washington's September 5th clash with LSU, the more Steve Sarkisian is thinking about the game. More specifically, how the mechanics of the game are going to go. With that in mind, as well as the thought that he wants his team as fresh as possible going into their battle with the Bayou Bengals, it appears that full pads are done for fall camp.

The team was in shells and shorts today, working a lot of situational periods, and the defense won the team period Wednesday, which focused on two-point conversions. "There were no turnovers today, so the offense won the challenge of the day," Sarkisian said.

This was the first time the first teams for offense and defense were going up against their service counterparts, a staple of game week preparation. Sarkisian said the reasoning for doing it now is so that they will be fully accustomed to doing it when their game week starts, which is this upcoming Saturday.

"For us, it's to get the exact looks you need from an opponent's standpoint," he said, noting that Thursday's final daily-double of camp will also be light and focused more on understanding how to go through their game week routine. "I know we're starting to game plan for Saturday, but we're all about getting prepared for what we're going to do. We ran our service period today so that both sides of the ball can understand what it's like, so when we come back Saturday and it's all about game plan work, it's not so much about how do we do the drill but what we want within the drill.

And Friday's closed practice will be a mock game, complete with all the trappings a fan would see on a normal game day. "For us, it's now the mechanics of heading into the weekend of a game; our Friday routine, how we meet, what's our walk-through like, how we got to the hotel, what it's like at the hotel from a meeting standpoint, getting up, coming back over to the stadium, our pre-game rituals, what we do on the field - and then we're going to mock a game: We're going to use substitutions, time-outs, everything that goes into a ball game to get them to understand what it's like to play a game under our system," Sarkisian said. "After that, we're into game prep."

But just because the team is starting to wind down camp doesn't mean the staff has finalized depth charts. In fact, just the opposite is true. All spots are still open for competition, save for Jake Locker and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim. Case in point: Victor Aiyewa worked most of Wednesday as the No. 1 strong safety alongside Nate Williams.

"We're just trying to shake things up and he's been playing well, so we wanted to give him the opportunity to prove himself," Sarkisian said of the junior from Texas. "We let Nate Williams play some free safety today and put Victor at strong. And he keeps doing great things."

Even at the wide receiver spot, where D'Andre Goodwin has been a fixture, this staff is not handing anything out for free. "I went with a clean slate, and he's competing his butt off," Sarkisian said of Goodwin. "It's a tough position group, there are a lot of really good players. I think D'Andre came back wondering if he was healthy and where he fit in because he missed a lot of spring. He got off to a little bit of a slow start here in camp, but I think he's really come on strong the last couple of days."

In fact, Sarkisian said he felt the receiver group has gotten past their mid-camp slump and are now playing they way they are capable of. "I think they are performing really well. I think James (Johnson) is back, Jermaine (Kearse) is back, I think Flea (Goodwin) is really back. Jordan Polk had a really good night last night and we're just trying to save his legs and get them fresh again. We need to give DA, Devin (Aguilar), one of those days as well to get him where he's feeling really fresh again, so his day will probably be tomorrow."

Cody Bruns is one of the receivers that is hurting a little bit from a slight hamstring pull, but according to Sarkisian he should be fine. Also, Chris Polk suffered a little 'ding in his head from last night's practice', according to Sarkisian. "With him, if you put him in pads he'll find a way to sneak in, so we just shut him down," he added of the redshirt frosh RB.

While those two players appear to be able to play against LSU, two others have been ruled out of next Saturday's game in Seattle. Safety Jason Wells continues to struggle with his achilles, and offensive tackle Skyler Fancher has an ankle injury that might have to require surgery. It's the same issue he had in the spring. With him out, that probably moves Mark Armelin up the depth at tackle behind Cody Habben, Drew Schaefer and Nick Scott.

Also, Matt Houston is probably out as well with a bicep tear, but he hasn't been ruled 100 percent out of the game.
Notes:
Holmgren in the house: Former Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Mike Holmgren was spotted at practice with his former offensive coordinator Gil Haskell, and also his son-in-law, Matt Peterson. Peterson is on the Huskies staff. "I think he just wanted to check out practice and see how Jake is doing," Sarkisian said. "He likes those quarterbacks." Holmgren appeared to leave before practice was over, so he didn't speak to the team.

Another assistant added: There was a person at practice today working with the defensive line a lot in the same way Marques Tuiasosopo was working with the offense. We asked Sarkisian about it after practice and found out it was former USC DL Kenechi Udeze. Udeze had to retire from playing football after it became too difficult for him to play and also fight his battle with leukemia, which is now in remission. Here is an ESPN story on Udeze and his retirement rom the Minnesota Vikings. The Huskies have hired him as another assistant strength coach.

"He's got a great story and he's overcome a lot of adversity in his life and in football," Sarkisian said of Udeze. "His freshman year USC finished last in the conference, and his last year he was a national champion. He's seen it all. He's going to be great for our guys in the weight room. He'll be a motivating factor."

Give 'em a hand?: The American Football Coaches Association and the NCAA announced a couple of weeks ago that beginning this season all college football teams will be encouraged to include pregame handshakes. Will that happen between LSU and Washington? "That's going to be something Les and I will talk about at some point here and decide what we want to do there," Sarkisian said. "It's a little bit odd when I think about it. There's no other sport in the world where you shake hands before you play somebody. I think it's a good gesture, but it definitely has to be a mutual thing. It can't be something where one team tries to do it and the other team doesn't."

Husky Walk: Per a question asked about the gear the team will be wearing for the Husky Walk, Sarkisian confirmed that the team would be wearing sweats and polos, similar to what USC does.

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/25/2009
9:55 pm

Unofficial 2-deeps:

This is based solely on what we've seen, making some educated guesses along the way. We'll compare this to what coach Sarkisian puts out Monday during the LSU game week press conference.
Offense
QB - Jake Locker, Ronnie Fouch, Keith Price
RB - Chris Polk, Johri Fogerson/Curtis Shaw/Willie Griffin/
Demitrius Bronson
FB - Paul Homer, Austin Sylvester
TE - Kavario Middleton, Chris Izbicki, Dorson Boyce
WR - D'Andre Goodwin, Anthony Boyles
WR - Jermaine Kearse/Devin Aguilar/James Johnson
WR - Jordan Polk, Cody Bruns
LT - Cody Habben, Nick Scott
LG - Ben Ossai, Greg Christine
C - Ryan Tolar, Mykenna Ikehara
RG - Senio Kelemete, Morgan Rosborough
RT - Drew Schaefer, Skyler Fancher

Defense
DE - Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Kalani Aldrich
DT - Cameron Elisara, De'Shon Matthews/Semisi Tokolahi
DT - Alameda Ta'amu, Tyrone Duncan
DE - Darrion Jones, Everrette Thompson, Andru Pulu/Talia Crichton
MIK - Donald Butler, Trenton Tuiasosopo/Cort Dennison
WIL - E.J. Savannah, Josh Gage
SAM - Mason Foster, Brandon Huppert/Jordan Wallace
SS - Nate Williams, Victor Aiyewa 
FS - Greg Walker, David Batts/Alvin Logan
CB - Quinton Richardson, Adam Long
CB - Justin Glenn, Vonzell McDowell/Matt Mosley/Desmond Trufant

Special Teams
P - Will Mahan, Kiel Rasp
PK - Erik Folk, Eric Guttorp
SNP - Danny Morovick
HLD - Ronnie Fouch
KOR - Jordan Polk, Quinton Richardson/Curtis Shaw
PR - Devin Aguilar, Cody Bruns
Talk about it: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/25/2009
9:35 pm

A conversation with Don James:

The Dawgfather, Don James, was at Tuesday night's practice, and before practice really got underway, he spoke to Dawgman.com's Scott Eklund, Percy Allen of the Seattle Times, Scott Johnson of the Everett Herald and the 'Go 2 Guy', Jim Moore.

To listen to the conversation, click on the link below.



Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/25/2009
11:40 am

Tuesday Morning Practice Report

As they have been doing for the morning practices of daily doubles, the team was out in helmets, jerseys and shorts today, working a lot on special teams, and also red zone work during their team period.

Defense won the team period, led by a Donald Butler interception of a Jake Locker pass on the very first play. Neither the first team or second team offense was able to sniff the end zone. "They did a good job, and really kicked it off in the red zone with the interception by Butler," UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian said after practice. "That really set the tone."

As is with the defense, the defensive line makes things happen first, and even though there were no pads Tuesday morning, Sarkisian had things to say about how the front four of Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Alameda Ta'amu, Cameron Elisara and Darrion Jones have come together to provide stability in the trenches.

"They are looking great," Sarkisian said of the DL. "We've added some much-needed depth there with some of our young guys. Obviously Daniel Te'o-Nesheim has been fantastic. The guy we're really excited about that's had a nice camp so far has been Cameron Elisara. He's improved immensely. He's doing things right and he's playing with great effort. And we can't ask any more out of him.

"We like what we've been getting out of Kalani Aldrich and Everrette Thompson. And the young three kids are coming."

Keith Price was back in action, as the freshman quarterback showed up about half-way through practice after being cleared to play by the clearinghouse. "We got Keith back, that was good," Sarkisian said. "And he did some nice things today, I was proud of him.

But that still leaves linebacker Tim Tucker and defensive end Talia Crichton as awaiting final clearance to resume playing. "It's really, really frustrating situation," Sarkisian added. "Fortunately for us, we haven't started school yet. There's some other schools that have started school yesterday and today. And their guys are missing class. It's a tough situation.

One freshman that also missed camp due to the clearinghouse was Desmond Trufant, but the cornerback from Tacoma has worked himself into already becoming a valuable addition on the defense and special teams. "He's doing some really nice things," Sarkisian said of Trufant. "I'm anxious to watch him as he can get into more full contact stuff and how he can play, but he's got a real natural feel out there. He's very savvy for a freshman. That probably just comes from being around football his whole life. We like what we see so far."

Special teams has definitely been a big point of emphasis during these non-padded workouts, and Sarkisian sees special teams as a microcosm for what these Huskies have to do in order to become a winning football team.

"Special teams is a lot like our team - it's about effort first," Sarkisian said of the 'Wild Bunch', the nickname being given to the UW special teams unit. "It's a want-to, not a have-to. It's a mentality. Coach Nansen does a great job of getting those guys fired up and excited about it. And you have to be a little half-crazy to want to run down on a kickoff and cover punts and go block punts and do all the things that you have to do to be a good special teams football team.

"It's a third of the game, and it's something we focused on recruiting for the class of 2009. By bringing in (punter Will) Mahan and getting some guys that can really cover kicks...if there's one area we can get better and a lot quicker at, it's special teams."

Mahan, in particular, had a great morning practice, booming punts into the wind consistently between 45 and 50 yards. His last kick was a knuckler that went out of bounds inside the 2-yard line, so the junior college transfer from Bakersfield seems to have provided the cure to UW's punting uncertainty heading into the fall.

"He has done a nice job," Sarkisian said of Mahan. "He's got a nice leg about him, and I think he's added a calming effect to (kicker Erik) Folk kicking the ball. For whatever reason, I think they've got a natural little bond there and Erik is kicking the ball great as well."

Talk about it Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/25/2009
7:40 am

What the Kohler commit means to the 2010 class...

Getting Oaks Christian OL Erik Kohler to commit to the Huskies was a big time coup for the football staff and here's what it means as far as recruiting is concerned...

Kohler can play either side at tackle although I expect him to end up at right tackle when it's all said and done. He's big and he has great footwork for a young man his size. He's a good athlete that has the ability to move inside if necessary, but because of his arm length I expect him to stay outside. He needs to add strength and he has work to do on his technique, but his upside is huge and he could be a cornerstone tackle for the Huskies for four years after his redshirt season (I expect him to redshirt once he arrives).

So...how does this effect the rest of the class?

Well, I've gone on record stating I expected the Huskies to take five linemen in this class and I still hold true to that. I do know the Huskies are perusing the JC offensive linemen available in December and are looking in that direction to fill a hole in the depth (UW has three viable OT prospects next year with Fancher, Schaefer and Habben) and I know they would like to redshirt all of their OL prospects from this class if at all possible. Should UW get five commitments and someone like Nick Rowland came and said "coach I want to commit" I would expect them to figure out a way to get six high school OL in. That being said, I don't expect Rowland to end up at UW...so that might not matter.

As it is, UW is heavily in the mix for Micah Hatchie, the OT from Waialua, and they have made a play for Kody Innes, the OT from Saguaro as well as Kaiwi Crabb from Punahou and Michael Criste from Mission Viejo, but their best shot is with Hatchie.

Hatchie has the ability to play on either side as well, but he might be a better athlete overall than Kohler. That would slide Kohler to the right side and give UW two dominating tackle prospects over the next four or five years.

Add to that the commitments from Colin Porter and Ben Riva, two players who I expect to move inside and you have a very solid line class coming in.

Colin Tanigawa from Loyola, who is expected to set up his official visit to Washington in the next week or so, has had UW in the lead for a while and I expect if they get him up on a visit that he will end up committing. He is probably your center of the future and would be able to back up Mykenna Ikehara for a couple of years before taking over.

So here's what I see as a strong possibility of happening when it's all said and done...

OT: Kohler, Hatchie
OG: Porter, Riva
C: Tanigawa

That would probably rank either first or second on the conference depending on who the rest of the conference are able to bring in and it would be one of the best OL hauls of any class UW has signed in the past few decades.

What does Kohler's commitment mean? It means about as much as anything that has happened to UW in quite some time...

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/24/2009
6:45 pm

Monday full practice report

The Washington Huskies were back at it Monday afternoon, in full pads and under beautiful skies in Seattle. Monday's practice was the first for UW during their last week of fall camp. They still have plenty to work on as the LSU opener September 5th looms large on the horizon, and it was nice to see some players back in the lineup after missing Saturday's scrimmage. But others were missing.

With blue skies covering Husky Stadium, the Washington Huskies got after it during the first practice of their final camp week. Steve Sarkisian was happy with the effort the team gave on Saturday during their final formal scrimmage, but wants to see the team enjoy themselves just a little bit more.

"I saw guys play with really good effort," he said after Monday's 135-minute workout. "I saw them more attentive to the details. I was very impressed by that. But I didn't think we played with the emotion that we have been playing with in practice. That's something we want to address this week in practice. We want to have a lot of fun and be an enthusiastic football team."

So after Saturday's scrimmage, Sarkisian surprised the team by taking them to the movies. They went and saw District 9.

"I want them to enjoy football," he added. "Training camp is a grind, and one of the beauties of training camp is when you form that comraderie as a football team. It's not just about the blood sweat and tears, but also the smiles and doing fun things together and the memories these guys forge."

Sarkisian noted that he felt the team came out with the right kind of enthusiasm on Monday. "I thought our guys brought a lot of energy," he said of the full pads practice. "When you get a day off, you get your legs back and your mind back a little bit. It was a physical practice and it was competitive. I think we got out of it everything we wanted."

Perhaps part of that enthusiasm was generated by ESPN. They had a crew out shooting film for their Game Day show. Sarkisian was mic'd up for the occasion. "It's to show how hard we work," he said when asked why he agreed to do it, adding that he'll also do it for their own staff's film they create during camp, but wouldn't do it during game day. "It's the same reason we open up practice."

Sarkisian said that as the team works their way through this final week of camp, he wants the Huskies to go from practicing to playing. So the team spent a lot of time on game situations. "We're substituting from the sidelines, more game-like substitutions, more game-like special situations, so they can get accustomed to playing on the field and not practicing out on the field," he said.

But outside of Jake Locker and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Sarkisian said that no one has locked up a starting spot. So as they work more toward tightening up their game play, they also are working hard toward earning that coveted start. That's been more evident at running back than probably anywhere else, as the Huskies have five legitimate options with Chris Polk, Johri Fogerson, Willie Griffin, Curtis Shaw and Demitrius Bronson.

"I thought Chris Polk had an excellent practice today," Sarkisian said of the redshirt frosh from Redlands East Valley. "He ran physical and then showed some speed in the open field. Johri continues to show some things. I was impressed with Curtis Shaw and what he did this past weekend. Bronson has a shoulder deal and he's putting the ball on the ground too much for us, so we have to get that thing cleaned up. And Willie Griffin, he just keeps making plays. He's kind of an all-around guy. He doesn't wow you, but he plays really consistently.

Fogerson has had the most ground to cover, as he was moved from his original spot at safety. "I went back and looked at his high school film," Sarkisian said. "Now he's more of a physical back, but he still has a nice feel in the pass game and a good feel for running the football. He's exceeded my initial expectations when we first decided to make the move."

And of the true freshman, no one has made a bigger move this camp than James Johnson. The 6-foot, 193-pound receiver continues to make big catches and Monday was no different. "He's a competitive guy," Sarkisian said of Johnson. "You can feel his presence out on the field. Tough catches aren't tough catches to him. He's got great attention to detail. And one of his best attributes is he's mentally tough. If he makes a mistake he gets back in the huddle and it doesn't faze him.

"He put in the time and preparation, even when he was at home in San Diego. He came prepared to battle and compete and it's showing up for him."

The other freshman who is turning heads is Tacoma Wilson cornerback Desmond Trufant. Tuesday will be the first day in full pads for the 6-foot, 172-pound Trufant, but that hasn't stopped Sarkisian and his staff from throwing him right in the deep end from Day One.

"He's an impressive kid," Sarkisian said of Trufant. "You see his work ethic and the effort that he put in the weight room with our guys in the summer, it's showing up."
Notes:
More Clearinghouse Woes: Keith Price, Talia Crichton and Tim Tucker did not participate Monday as their transcripts were being reviewed by the NCAA Clearinghouse. "The NCAA this time of year gets backed up, and we had three kids that weren't allowed to practice," Sarkisian said. "Hopefully by the time I get up to my office they'll be cleared. It's not a matter of denied or accepted, they haven't even been reviewed (by the NCAA) yet."

Walking wounded: Quinton Richardson (hip pointer), Kavario Middleton )hamstring), and David Batts (sore foot/heel) were all banged up during Monday's physical practice. "None of those guys are serious, but they are nagging," Sarkisian said. "And we if we keep pushing, it's going to get worse. We won't see those guys for a couple of days."

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/24/2009
3:45 pm

Monday Mid-practice report

Another beautiful day in Seattle, perfect weather to start off the final week of Washington's fall camp. They are in full pads this afternoon, so I expect a brisk team period later on.

Jim Lambright is again at practice; it's always great to see the former coaches out and involved in what's going on. According to CoachSark.com, Don James will be at Tuesday night's practice, and that's a great sign that Sarkisian is pushing all the right buttons in bringing back all the old guard to Montlake.

Not too much else to report early on, other than there's a lot of players that didn't play in Saturday's scrimmage back in action. Ryan Tolar, Paul Homer and Johri Fogerson were all back in full pads, while Matt Mosley, Jason Wells, Will Shamburger and Matt Houston were in pads and shorts. Morgan Rosborough was in full pads, but wearing red because of his injured shoulder.

It's the last day of acclimatization for Desmond Trufant, so if the Huskies go full pads during either of their planned Tuesday practices, he'll be able to join them in full pads.

I'll have more after practice is done.

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/21/2009
9:30 pm

Friday evening practice report...

In continuing with the theme of the day, the Huskies went through a brisk two-hour workout in helmets and shoulder pads Friday evening while preparing for the last full-scrimmage of fall camp which will take place Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.

The typical install, stretching and special teams session was followed by a spirited short-yardage/goal line session that featured plenty of hooping and hollering.

Each running back scored a touchdown and tight ends Kavario Middleton and Kimo Makaula each had touchdown catches. After each play, whether it was a score or a stop, the "winning" unit all ran onto the field to congratulate their mates. One funny moment was RB Demitrius Bronson scoring untouched on a run and then putting the ball at the feet of DT Alameda Ta'amu who was standing at the back of the endzone watching with the rest of the first unit. The sophomore defensive tackle didn't take too kindly to the action and picked up the ball and threw it, hitting Bronson in the back as he celebrated with his teammates.

One of the more impressive players this evening was freshman CB Desmond Trufant who was very physical even though he was only out there with his helmet and no shoulder pads due to NCAA rules that stipulate he must practice for four days without pads. On on play he dropped back into coverage and as he went into his drop he read the play, dropped down on WR D'Andre Goodwin who was running up the seam and broke up the play, hitting Goodwin just as the ball arrived from QB Jake Locker.

Speaking of Locker he was a bit erratic at times tonight, hitting two receivers perfectly, allowing them to make plays after their received the ball, but then missing two players high, one being intercepted and returned for a touchdown by S Nate Williams.

Williams had two picks on the night, CB Vonzell McDowell had one (although pass interference was flagged on the play) and freshman LB Tim Tucker also hauled in an interception.

DE Daniel Te'o Nesheim was disruptive on almost every play, harassing both Locker and Ronnie Fouch and notching two straight sacks, one coming in tandem with DT Cameron Elisara.

RB Chris Polk had a couple of nice runs in the full-team session while Middleton had a couple of nice receptions after working his way open versus a zone defense.

One thing to note on a play by play basis is the constant coaching that goes on. Whether it's Locker, Fouch or Keith Price with either offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier or head coach Steve Sarkisian or Demetrice Martin and Jeff Mills talking it up with the different defensive backs, the coaches are constantly giving feedback, both good and bad, to their players.

On player who got an earful from linebackers coach Mike Cox was LB Josh Gage who closed in on WR Jordan Polk who had made a reception for a minimal gain. Gage did not maintain good outside leverage and allowed the super-quick wideout to get past him for what would have been a first down. Cox ran to within about two feet of Gage and implored him not to do that again and also used some colorful language to get his point across.

Tomorrow's practice promises to be a spirited one with the team repping through most of the installed offense. Expect to see Locker and Fouch get more reps than they did on Tuesday as the coaches begin to hone their gameplan for the LSU game.


Injury update: The newest Husky to appear to be struggling with an injury is OT Skylar Fancher who was completely dressed out, but was seen limping around and then later on was fully icing down his right ankle. Since the media were unable to talk to Sarkisian after practice we will have to find out the extent of the injury after tomorrow's scrimmage.

Other than that, FB Paul Homer was seen doing more than he had in previous days while C Ryan Tolar (Toe), OT Terance Thomas (Foot), S Jason Wells (Knee), CB Matt Mosley (Knee), LB Matt Houston (Biceps), OG Morgan Rosborough (Shoulder) and S Victor Aiyewa (Neck) all sat out practice as well for different reasons.

Aiyewa and Rosborough both did extensive conditioning, running the stairs on the lower bowl as well as around the field.

Kicking update: K Erik Folk continues to look good when given the opportunity. He was five of six with his only miss coming 43 yards out. He nailed kicks from 43, 45, 39 and 38 twice (from different hashmarks).

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/21/2009
11:45 am

Friday morning practice report:

Friday Morning Practice Notes

Friday morning's workout was a 90-minute practice, one of the shorter practices the Washington Huskies have had since fall camp started. Steve Sarkisian said that the shorter morning practices are going to be pretty standard during daily doubles.

"It was pretty brisk," he said after practice. "We're not going to be out here real long in the morning. Sarkisian added that there was an emphasis in the passing game, with red zone and third down and play-action pass periods.

During the end of practice, the team ran two-minute drills with the first and second team. With the first team down two and 1:10 left in the game, Jake Locker was able to get his team in field goal position, but Erik Folk had to rush the kick when time ran out.

Sarkisian said the rushed kick was due to a clock malfunction, but he was pleased nonetheless. "I thought the mechanics went really well," he said, referring to the offense's ability to move downfield. "They were down by two points at the end of the game and they needed to get into field goal range. They got that done. They gave us an opportunity."

The second team's drive only lasted one play, as Ronnie Fouch threw a pass to Devin Aguilar. The ball popped off of Aguilar's pads and into the waiting arms of E.J. Savannah, who cleanly caught the ball despite a cast on his left hand.

Sarkisian isn't overly concerned with the receivers dropping passes right now. "Dropped passes happen in camp because of the grind," he said. "It's not a physical thing, it's more of a mental thing. It's grinding and it's hard. It's about focus and energy. When we get mentally fresh, I just think we'll be fine."

There was also a big emphasis on special teams work this morning. "The field goal mechanics are much better," Sarkisian said. "Folk is kicking well and the battery is playing well."

Vonzell McDowell got some work at punt returner, and the guy behind him? Freshman Desmond Trufant, in only his second practice with the team since getting cleared to play. "He did it in high school and he's very talented," Sarkisian said of his abilities as a return man. "We're going to give him his opportunities and throw him out there - not just at corner but at some other spots.

Sarkisian added that he'll know a lot more about who will be counted on as return specialists after they are done with Saturday's scrimmage.

Speaking of Saturday, the 3 p.m. scheduled workout is the last full scrimmage of fall camp. Sarkisian said he hopes to see guys play multiple downs in a row. "I'd like to see the first offense put a 10, 12-play drive together and cohesively work together," he said. "I'd like to see our defense get in a situation where they give up a couple of third-down conversions and then have to get a stop out on the fringe."
Notes:
Injury Update: Probably the biggest news Friday morning was that starting center Ryan Tolar was wearing a boot and riding a stationary bike after getting hurt Thursday. Mykenna Ikehara and Greg Christine took all the snaps with the ones and twos today. "He has a sore toe," Sarkisian said. "Those things can get worse and graduate into turf toe. We want to keep it harnessed in one spot and not let it get any worse."

The Huskies can't afford hits to their offensive line depth. "There's no question," added Sarkisian. "It's a big concern. That's why we've rolled a lot of guys through, guys playing different positions. Injuries occur, and a big key for us is versatility.

Cornerback Matt Mosley was another player not in action due to an injury sustained on Thursday. "He banged his knee up at the end of Thursday's practice," Sarkisian said. "It's something that had a little lingering effect from last season, and it flared up yesterday. We'll have to get him assessed to see how it is."

Matt Houston (bicep tear), Craig Noble (knee), Victor Aiyewa (head), Terence Thomas (foot), Morgan Rosborough (shoulder) and Johri Fogerson (ankle) were all off to the side, rehabbing. Noble, Aiyewa and Will Shamburger (knee) all walked stairs.

Safety Greg Walker was back in action after wearing red Thursday for an elbow injury.

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/20/2009
6:50 pm

Dick Baird's Practice Thoughts - 8/20:

As we've tried to do for a number of the practices this fall, we've gotten the opinions of Dick Baird, former UW Linebackers Coach and Recruiting Coordinator, on what he's seen so far from camp. Dick was at Husky Stadium Thursday, and he sat down with Dawgman.com's Chris Fetters to talk about the day and what impressed him.

Please click on the link below to hear Baird's comments on Thursday's practice.



Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/20/2009
6:35 pm

Thursday Full Practice Report:

The biggest news of the day was the inclusion of Desmond Trufant into camp proceedings. The true freshman corner from Wilson High School in Tacoma - and also the younger brother of current Seattle Seahawk Marcus Trufant - was cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse to play after it was discovered a class Wilson used as one of his core requirements was not accepted.

"It's good to have him out here," UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian said of getting Trufant in the fold. "I'm happy for him that it finally got done. He's got a quick learning curve here. He's a very talented kid, he's very bright. He's put in a lot of time and effort. He'll be fine. I know coach (Demetrice) Martin will get him going.

We'll push him along to see where we are at. We're going to throw him in there. You'll see him a lot. Just as we've always done, we're going to compile as much information as we can on anybody that's new. He'll be out there in a lot of different situations. He'll struggle some, things are new to him. But he's got the mindset and the ethic...he'll be fine."

Getting Trufant in was key at this stage of camp, because right now the Huskies are getting nicked and dinged to death. Safety Greg Walker was in red due to an elbow injury. Johri Fogerson has an ankle sprain, one Sarkisian said the sophomore RB could have played on if it was game day. Two of the other safeties, Jason Wells and Victor Aiyewa, were running stairs. Morgan Rosborough has a shoulder injury. Terence Thomas has a nagging foot injury that's probably going to require further examination. Craig Noble has an inflamed knee. Linebacker Matt Houston has a slight tear of his bicep. Ryan Tolar looked to injure his ankle, so Mykenna Ikehara took the last couple series at center for the first team. Josh Gage - like EJ Savannah - has a heavily taped hand.

"Linebackers and training camp...a lot of fingers and hands happen," Sarkisian said after Thursday's practice with a grin. "It's kind of how it goes. As camp moves on and we're a week and a half through it, guys are going to get nicked up. But I'm proud of our guys. They are starting to work their way back. James Johnson's back out here making plays. As guys are getting nicked up other guys are working their way back. EJ's back out here. We'll lose a few guys but we'll bring back guys that are fresh. That's how we're hoping it will go."

The key to rotating players is to keep everyone upright by the time LSU lands at Sea-Tac. "Come September 5th, we want to be a healthy, fresh football team that is playing fast," Sarkisian said. "We need to be fresh so we can challenge both sides and keep getting better as a group."

There's no question this staff is looking at a lot of different options to try and become a better football team. A lot of it has to do with personnel. Wednesday night they showed sets that had two tailbacks - in this case Johri Fogerson and Chris Polk.

"We did it quite a bit when we had Reggie (Bush) and LenDale (White) in 2005," Sarkisian said. "It's a good way to create more versatility and do more things.

"They are both talented guys, but running and catching. They are both very physical, so we can do some different things when they are both in there together. Hopefully we can continue to expand on that to help us down the road.

The new 'Thunder and Lightning'? "I'd be surprised if they all couldn't do it, but I think that Chris and Johri might be our most versatile guys," added Sarkisian. "That doesn't mean Curtis (Shaw), Demitrius (Bronson) or Willie (Griffin) couldn't do it either."

Running back isn't the only spot where they've used two or more players. The tight end position has seen Kavario Middleton, Chris Izbicki and JC newcomer Dorson Boyce all battle for time, either in single sets or plays where two or three of them are needed.

"It's a critical position in our offense," Sarkisian said. "It's critical to have versatility. We forced Dorson out on the field. Understandably, he's made some mistakes, but we keep pushing him out there. We're just trying to compile as much information as we can to see what he does well. We need to assess our tight ends and get them on the field, because they are a big part of our offense."

At receiver, Jordan Polk continues to turn heads with his toughness and ability to make the tight catch in traffic, as well as turn and gain yards after the catch. And truth be told, we really haven't seen him get a chance to explode in the return game. "I think you'll see him quite a bit," Sarkisian said of the sophomore from Portland. "He's a dynamic player. He made a lot of plays in the spring and worked really hard in the summer. He's made a lot of plays so far in camp. I'm excited about him."

On defense, the Huskies are finding that David Batts is a Jack of All Trades. Not only has the junior college defensive back seen time at both safety and corner, but he's also been put in nickel situations. Thursday he played mostly strong safety because of the injury to Walker.

"We're trying to figure out what he does the best," Sarkisian said of the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Batts. "We don't have a lot of information. It's like having a freshman. He's a very talented kid and we're just trying to find what he does best to get him on the field."

Batts also showed that he is not afraid of contact, even in shells. In one 7-7 period, he got underneath James Johnson and flipped the frosh wideout. Johnson lay stunned on the Husky Stadium carpet for a few minutes, and then was led to the sidelines where he was treated. Johnson came back in and actually scored a touchdown during the final Team Period.

Sarkisian also added that he feels Quinton Richardson, Justin Glenn and Adam Long have been the most consistent corners to date in camp.
Notes:
Kicking update: Erik Folk and Eric Guttorp were 4-5 today during the special teams period, but made all three of their kicks at the end of drives during the practice-ending Team Period. Folk made the last one from 42 yards.

In the house: Full teams from Steilacoom and Hazen were at practice. Former kicker Ryan Perkins was also seen on the sidelines hanging out and talking with the specialists. It also appeared that NFL scouts from the Redskins and Colts were there too.

Turnover Thursday?: While we're not sure if it was Turnover Thursday or not, there continued to be a huge emphasis on stripping the ball from the ballcarrier by the defense, and they came up with one today for their efforts. Demetrius Bronson appeared to be stripped by Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, and Nate Williams came up with it on the bounce. As he stopped to go back for the next play, he threw the ball at Senio Kelemete, and then ran. Kelemete, showing his accuracy, threw the ball back at Williams and hit him. Meanwhile, Bronson ran a lap around the field as his punishment for coughing up the rock.

Kelemete also showed incredible hustle on a long run play by Bronson early in practice. Bronson cut through the linebackers and headed down the sidelines. After being called out of bounds inside the 10, he was greeted first by Kelemete, who had sprinted at least 60 yards to get to the play.

Band Fundraiser: Roughly 300-400 former members of the UW band and their families were on hand at the Don James Center to watch practice and help raise funds for the band. This is a yearly event, and Sarkisian was expected to speak to the crowd after practice.

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Posted by Chris Fetters
8/20/2009
3:30 pm

Thursday mid-practice notes:

Desmond Trufant is out and practicing today. The freshman from Tacoma has apparently cleared his Clearinghouse hurdles. And he was the first DB out to practice today, so he is chomping at the bit to get started.

He's only in a helmet, jersey and shorts today, per the acclimatization rules. He won't be able to go full pads until next week.

Also, Morgan Rosborough was wearing a sling around his left arm, pointing to a shoulder injury. We don't know the extent of the injury yet, but we should know after talking to Sarkisian tonight.

I also saw Jason Wells, and the senior safety was in shells and shorts today, a remarkable turnaround from the beginning of the week where an apparent re-injury to his achilles meant his college career might be finished. Terence Thomas was wearing a boot on his right foot, but it didn't stop him from using the stationary bike - same for Rosborough.

Greg Walker was wearing red, due to an apparent elbow injury. I'll find out more later on that.

Fullback Paul Homer appeared to be doing some work again for the first time in a few days. It looks like he's close to getting back from his hamstring pull.

There are a lot of high school football players here, as both Steilacoom and Hazen have brought their teams to watch practice under sunny skies.

I'll have more after practice.

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Aaron Beach
8/20/2009
12:30 pm

Couple of thoughts on Terrence Jones:

I'm hearing that things are going particularily well with Jones. He's expected to narrow his list after the Boost Mobile Elite 24, but based on what I know, I'd put Washington near the top of his list. With Carolina in the picture though, anything can happen - Kentucky as well. Everything I know about him tells me he likes to see his name in lights and no light shines brighter than Chapel Hill. I do know that the top small forward in the country - Harrison Barnes is UNC's top target but Kansas and Duke are all over him. Currently though, Williams doesn't have a scholarship for TJ. I also know that Arizona is pushing hard as well and UCLA recently offered him (Terrible fit, never happen, no idea why Howland would bother.)

That said, the fit is perfect at Washington. No program in the country provides the "program fit" that Washington does. UW should be a legitimate final four contender next year fulfilling his "spotlight" dreams, and Pondexter vacating the three spot on an otherwise veteran team located two and a half hours North of home is a perfect situation for Terrence. Couple that with his incredible versatility and you've got the PERFECT Lorenzo Romar recruit. I mean perfect.

Doesn't mean he's headed to Washington, but it sure makes an awful lot of sense

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Posted by Chris Fetters
8/20/2009
12:35 pm

Dawgman.com talks with Spencer Hawes:

Husky practice always attracts a crowd, and you always spot a few celebrities and the like when the team hits the field at Husky Stadium. Well they don't come much bigger than former UW center Spencer Hawes. Chris Fetters caught up with the Sacramento King to find out about his passion for UW football.

Click on the link below to hear the quick interview with Hawes.



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Posted by Chris Fetters
8/19/2009
12:45 pm

Wednesday Morning Practice Report:

Around this time in fall camp, teams can hit a wall. It started to happen Wednesday with the offense, as the morning practice didn't go quite as well as Steve Sarkisian would have wanted it

"I think we're in the midst of it right now," Sarkisian said after Wednesday morning's practice, one that focused on special teams and third-down work. "We're in the mud right now and we're trying to pick our feet up and pound through it. Today, offensively especially, we felt it. We dropped some balls, there were some assignment errors that were day one, basic stuff. Not only do they get physically tired, but they get mentally tired. We just have to continue to pound through it."

The team was in helmets, jerseys and shorts this morning; Wednesday night's 6:45 workout will be a full pad practice.

But as always, when you practice against yourself, a bad day for one probably means a good day for the other side. "I thought our defense came out focused and moving fast and playing well," Sarkisian said. "There was a huge emphasis for them on third down and getting stops and playing better man coverage. They did that today. They were really squeezing routes and did a nice job."

The defense won the team period. "They did a good job pressuring, on third down in 7-7 and in the team period," he added. "They made it hard on the wideouts. We've challenged the wideouts. They have to create separation in man coverage. We have to find a way to get out of the mold of being 'convenience catchers'. When it's convenient and no one's around, it's easy. When it's contested, that's when we have to make our plays."

While the team works through their physical and mental barriers, it's been impressive how the Huskies have stayed away from the injury bug.

"Knock on wood," Sarkisian said with a smile. "We have a long way to go. Our guys have really come in in shape. I think it's across the board. Those big guys were going at 6 a.m. in the morning all off-season. They've all put in a lot of time and effort to do something special. As a staff, we've appreciated their hard work, and it's shown up.

"And I think the coaches have done a nice of knowing when a guy has a nick or something, of taking care of them. That's been our mindset coming in. We want to be a fresh football team come labor day weekend. This is a marathon, not a sprint. We have to get to that first game healthy and fresh."

Outside of the occasional hamstring or knee bruise, they have been remarkably injury-free despite playing fast, aggressive football. "We're learning how to practice," Sarkisian added. "There's less bodies on the ground. We're still running and hitting, but we're not on the ground, we're not falling over each other. That's when injuries occur. We're a more athletic team."

Darrion Jones has clearly been one of the players that immediately stands out from a physical standpoint. At 262 pounds, he's 15 pounds heavier than last year, and he's saw big increases his lifting and jumping numbers. The senior defensive end now benches 500 pounds.

"I just didn't put on weight that I can't move with," he said. "I need to be a little more sturdy, especially against the run."

Jones talked a little about his off-season regimen. "I had to get myself mentally prepared for the upcoming task, to work hard enough in conditioning and weight lifting so I could withstand what we're about to do during the season," he said. "I tried to get a couple other guys to join me to get physically and mentally prepared. Of course my buddy Daniel Te'o-Nesheim was there with me every day. We were the first ones to lift and probably the last guys to leave the weight room every day. De'Shon Matthews and Donald Butler were always there too."
Notes:
Special Teams emphasis: As was stated earlier, Wednesday morning had a lot of special teams work. "Effort," he said when asked about what gets emphasized during their special teams periods. "Special teams is about effort first, and you have to play hard and run fast. It's about effort. It has to become a 'want to', not a 'have to'.

He also addressed one very important technical aspect that was lacking at times last year - the ability to play in space. "When you're covering a kick you have to be able to tackle beyond a 5-yard box and not miss, or block a guy downfield without clipping them," he said. That responsibility, especially on the outside, will go to the gunners. Watching them practice, it looked like Justin Glenn and Adam Long were the first set to be used, followed by Quinton Richardson and Anthony Gobern.

Sarkisian also mentioned how important it was to get Erik Folk and Will Mahan in the mix as soon as possible, considering how unsettled the kicking duties were after spring football. "There were a lot of unknowns there," he said. "I love what Folk what has brought us, and Will Mahan - I couldn't have asked for more of what he's brought so far." Folk participated Wednesday morning despite sitting out Tuesday's scrimmage with a knee bruise.

Battle at right tackle: Drew Schaefer and Nick Scott continue to battle it out at the No. 1 RT position. Each got a lot of reps with the ones and twos during the team period.

"I thought Drew played pretty well yesterday," Sarkisian said of the redshirt frosh from Eastlake. "Assignment-wise he did well. He was more physical. He really showed up in the run game. We're trying to keep that thing alive and keep 'em motivated. I'm anxious to see what they do tonight in pads."

Linebacker depth: With E.J. Savannah out Wednesday morning, Joshua Gage was the first 'backer in, but Sarkisian is also looking to the youth, specifically Jordan Wallace. "He showed up again yesterday in the scrimmage," he said of C.J. Wallace's younger brother, a true freshman. "We're just trying to get him assignment-wise down to the point where he can just go out there and feel comfortable playing.

"Matt Houston keeps getting better. He came into camp in great shape. He's showing up in camp. And Cort Dennison, he just kind of makes plays. He's not the flashiest guy in the world, but he knows his assignments pretty well and he makes plays."

Film Study: With so many of the backups and frosh playing during Tuesday afternooon's scrimmage, what did Sarkisian see during the film review? "When they know what they are doing, they play hard, they play fast and they do things well," he said. "They struggle, like all kids do, when something new comes in. They don't feel very comfortable with it and it slows them down. The challenge for us is to keep bringing those guys along to where they can help us in a normal game setting."

Odds and Sods: Craig Noble wasn't at practice this morning, but according to Sarkisian he is just finishing up a class. It doesn't sound like the freshman DT will be at any of the morning workouts...It looked like Justin Glenn is back to full speed after sitting out with a hip flexor. He had one really nice breakup of a pass intended for D'Andre Goodwin that he was able to rip out of the senior's hands...Marquis Persley had the only turnover of the day, an interception intended for Jordan Polk, but Polk slipped...

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Posted by Chris Fetters
8/18/2009
7:30 pm

Dawgman talks with Larry Scott:

Dawgman.com's Kim Grinolds spoke Tuesday with Larry Scott, the new Pac-10 Commissioner, who was in Seattle as part of a barnstorming tour to get to know all the different schools in the conference.

To listen to the interview, click on the link below.



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Posted by Chris Fetters
8/18/2009
7:00 pm

Tuesday Full Scrimmage Notes:

"We kind of treated as if it was the NFL," he said after practice. "It was like our first pre-season game. First team played a couple of series. It was a chance to see our two play quite a bit, and also a chance to see our young guys play and see what they've retained.

So why did he go that route? "We want to be a fresh football team," said Sarkisian. "We don't want to be battered and bruised. We're also trying to compile info on the younger guys."

A second scrimmage will be more involved, more game planning and the first team will play more, according to Sarkisian. To view the entire official statistics for the practice, click HERE.

As it stands, first team quarterback Jake Locker was 4-8 for 55 yards in minimal action. "It's always nice to get more reps, but the coaches know best," he said afterward. "They set up this format, and it's going to benefit us."

Ronnie Fouch was 4-11 for 89 yards (0-5 in the second half) and two scores, one to Cody Bruns and another to Anthony Boyles on a pretty pass to the southwest corner of the endzone. Keith Price was 6-12 for 83 yards and one touchdown, to freshman tight end Marlion Barnett.

"I thought they did a good job," Locker said of the other quarterbacks. "Ronnie was able to finish drives, he did a good job of converting when they were down there. Keith did a good job as well. He's new with this offense, and he did a good job moving the sticks and giving the offense a chance."

But the biggest revelation of the day was the running game. The five competing tailbacks took 23 carries and amassed 245 yards, an average of nearly 11 yards a carry. But because of the format, they barely played against the first-teamers.

"We were able to have some explosive runs, and that was nice to see," Locker said. "That's going to help out the passing game."

"I loved what Fogerson, Polk and Shaw all brought," Sarkisian added. "Not to discount what Bronson or Willie Griffin did, but I thought our running backs played well."

Fogerson, in particular, was a busy man. The sophomore from Seattle carried the ball six times for 48 yards, caught two passes for 58 yards, and also had a punt return for 50 yards.

"I feel like almost he's taken a breath of fresh air," Sarkisian said of Fogerson. "He's back on offense, he's confident, he believes in what he's doing and I'm happy for him. I think he's a real good spirit on our football team. You keep working hard and good things will happen to you."

Sophomore receiver Cody Bruns had a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown called back on a penalty. Clearly there were some big plays made Tuesday, and Sarkisian is hopeful it's just the start. "We've placed a huge emphasis on special teams," he said. "I know I've been talking about it for months. I thought we were really clean today. Unfortunately we had one block in the back on one punt, but I thought our kids performed well. There's been an emphasis. We're getting our starters on special teams. They are believing in it and they are performing well."

Erik Folk sat because of a bruised knee, and Eric Guttorp was 1-2 in field goal attempts, the made one coming from 39. The punting was much better, as Will Mahan averaged 58.5 yards on two kicks and Kiel Rasp 52.3 yards on four kicks, all with roughly a 10-mph tailwind.

Competition and opportunity have been Sarkisian's catch-words of fall camp, and that has been more more evident than on the offensive line. Senior transfer Nick Scott started to get reps at the No. 1 right tackle spot in front of Drew Schaefer Monday night, and he continued to get the lion's share of time there Tuesday.

"We're trying to keep competition alive," Sarkisian said. He also mentioned junior Greg Christine as another lineman that has done well and deserves a shot to play more. "We're trying to reward guys for doing things right. We'd be wrong not to reward guys for playing well. They were really good yesterday. And you may not of known it, because it felt like the defense really dominated the team period of practice. When you went back and looked at the film the offensive line was really good yesterday, and they came out and I thought they performed well today."

Unfortunately, when you play yourself, you have to look at both sides. So when big plays were made, Sarkisian knows he needs to look at what caused those plays to happen and shore things up. Outside of incomplete passes, the offense had a clean game with no turnovers. That's something Sarkisian is keen on changing.

"We just need to continue from that point and play faster, faster, faster."
Notes:
Others that impressed: "I'm anxious to see a couple of our linebackers," Sarkisian said. "Tim Tucker and Jordan Wallace, I think they might have done some good things as well."

Injury update: EJ Savannah was out of commission Tuesday because of a bruised knee, according to Sarkisian. "If a guy is nicked up, we're not going to force 'em out there - and especially a guy like EJ," he said. "If you put him in pads, he'll sneak out onto the field. So we put 'em in shorts and keep 'em off the field."

"I really want to be out there every day," EJ added when we spoke with him after practice. "But we have a great coaching staff and they know how to protect their players."

Jason Wells (achilles), Paul Homer (hamstring), Victor Aiyewa (knock to head) also stayed out of the scrimmage. "They want to be out there, and it's a beautiful mindset to have, but we're just trying to be smart as a coaching staff," Sarkisian said.

Recruits in the house: Tony Wroten was seen with Justin Dentmon and Washington Head Basketball Coach Lorenzo Romar at practice Tuesday. Wroten, a 6-foot-4 guard from Garfield is one of the top hoops prospects in the country for the 2011 class. His father Tony was a standout tight end for Washington in the early 80's.

For football, Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Gig Harbor), Cooper Pelluer (Skyline), Evan Zeger (Skyline), Miles Edwards (Skyline) and Ben Riva (O'Dea) were on hand, as well as 2011 standout defensive linemen Taniela Tupou and Julius Tevaga from Archbishop Murphy. Sefarian-Jenkins spent time with Sarkisian and Joel Thomas, as well with Romar.

Hoop Dawgs hit Husky Stadium: Speaking of Romar, he wasn't the only basketball guy hanging around Husky Stadium on Tuesday. Quincy Pondexter, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Venoy Overton and Tyreese Breshers were all watching practice.

Talk about it Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/18/2009
3:45 pm

Tuesday Mid-Practice Notes:

With a glorious, sunny August afternoon as their backdrop, the Washington Huskies took part in their first full official scrimmage of the fall, and the fans came in droves. As I left to go to the media room, it looked like at least 700-800 were there and many others were waiting to get in. There was a merchandise booth there, and KJR's Mike Gastineau was doing his radio show right under the Jumbotron.

First, time to get the injury situation taken care of. Jason Wells, Paul Homer, Will Shamburger and Victor Aiyewa were all in shorts, meaning they did not get cleared to participate. Chris Robinson was still on crutches, recovering from his knee surgery. James Johnson was in full pads, and that was a good sight to see.

E.J. Savannah was not on the field, and apparently he wasn't in the meeting rooms prior to the scrimmage, so our best guess is that he's probably having his hand looked at. He had a cast put on it to prevent any more damage being done to a broken bone on his left hand.

From a recruiting standpoint, I saw a number of prospects. Cooper Pelluer, Evan Zeger and Miles Edwards from Skyliine were there, and according to Skyline Head Coach Mat Taylor, Kasen Williams is expected to watch practice. I also saw the two 2011 defensive linemen from Archbishop Murphy, Taniela Tupou and Julius Tevaga. Tupou already has a verbal scholarship offer from UW.

Word has also come down that Gig Harbor TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins is supposed to be at practice, but I haven't seen him yet. If I do, I'll definitely add him to the blog. There were a number of local HS coaches there too besides Taylor. Shaun Tarantola (Juanita), Danny Razore (Bellevue) and Mike Pluschke (Redmond) were the others I noticed, and I'm sure there are probably even more than that.

Also of note, Jake Locker's father Scott was there. It's the first time I've noticed Scott out there, and he's probably celebrating after having negotiated a baseball deal for Jake with the Anaheim Angels. It's always good to see the Lockers out at practice.

I'll have a lot more from the scrimmage a little later tonight.

Talk about it Here
Posted by Scott Eklund
8/17/2009
9:45 pm

Monday Full Practice Report...

It was a perfect evening for Washington's eighth practice of fall camp as the players continued to get prepared for their September 5th matchup with LSU.

The defense had most of the big plays and big hits on the night, but one of the biggest hits of the day came when S Greg Walker intercepted a tipped Jake Locker pass and returned it toward the endzone, escorted by a host of defensive teammates. However, RB Johri Fogerson wasn't about to let things go without making his presence known and he delivered the blow of the night to the redshirt freshman safety at the 15 yard line eliciting a collective "OHHHH" from his teammates as well as the crowd on hand.

There were three big injury scares on the evening, the first coming when WR Jordan Polk and CB Vonzell McDowell both went up for a nicely thrown ball by QB Ronnie Fouch. McDowell landed on Polk as both went out of bounds and Polk stayed down for a few moments as the trainers came over to have a look at him. Eventually, the sophomore wideout rolled over and sat up and then walked down the sidelines before putting his helmet back on and rejoining the full-team session.

During the session, WR Devin Aguilar caught a short pass from Locker on a nice read and made a move on McDowell that left the junior corner grasping for air. Coming over to help was S Jason Wells who was in hot pursuit with Aguilar before pulling up lame. Confirmation came down later in the practice that it was indeed an Achilles injury to the same leg he blew out over the winter, but we've been advised that it doesn't appear to be serious at this point.

Lastly, S Victor Aiyewa had to sit out the rest of practice with an ice pack on his neck. Initial reports are that he suffered a ding and shouldn't miss much, if any, time. Before his injury, Aiyewa lit up Fogerson on a short pass and many in the crowd gave out the customary cheer for his effort.

After the Fogerson and Aiyewa hits, the next biggest crack of the pads came when WR Cody Bruns juggled a short pass and as he was being taken down by McDowell, freshman LB Jordan Wallace came over to deliver another bone-jarring hit that had Bruns shaking the cobwebs out for the rest of the series.

During the night's 11-on-11 sessions the Huskies appeared to be rotating a few different players in at different positions. OT Nick Scott played right tackle on the first unit while Ben Ossai moved out to left tackle and backup C/G Greg Christine moved in at left guard. Redshirt freshman Drew Schaefer manned to right tackle spot on the second unit for the entire evening.

The OL/DL one-on-ones were interesting to watch as offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto really laid into his charges for repeated mistakes. Scott especially got the brunt of Cozzetto's ire for getting beaten on successive plays by freshman DE Talia Crichton.

The one consistently solid offensive lineman of the evening was G Senio Kelemete who pancaked his man twice and deftly mirrored two rushes by DT Cameron Elisara.

K Nick Folk was three of five on the night, missing from 37 and 47, but hit from 25, 32 and 40. Both punters, Will Mahan and Kiel Rasp, had solid nights hitting 50 yarders consistently. Mahan has the more consistent leg, but Rasp, when he hits it correctly, can really root the ball out of there.

Locker, Fouch and Keith Price were spotty at best, but none got much help from their receivers as there were several drops of catchable balls.

Of the youngsters who have yet to see the field, CB Adam Long continues to impress, showing a physical nature that no one knew he had in him. On one play, a checkdown to TE Chris Izbicki, the redshirt freshman corner came up and laid a lick on the bigger Izbicki, dropping him in his tracks.

Tommorrow, Washington will practice at 3:00 pm in what is considered the first scrimmage of camp.


Injury updates: Out were FB Paul Homer (hamstring); DT Chris Robinson (knee); S Will Shamburger (knee); E.J. Savannah (hand).

DE Everrette Thompson (ankle), WR James Johnson (shoulder) and FB Tobias Togi all were limited, but did take part in some drills.

CB Justin Glenn returned to action and saw time with the first unit in the 11-on-11 drills.

Running backs show some toughness: During the full-team drills, especially in the redzone, Chris Polk, Johri Fogerson and Demitrius Bronson all ran hard and had their moments.

Fogerson continues to just make plays when he has a chance to make a play, but Polk seemed to run especially hard gaining some tough yards over the left side, lowering his shoulder to gain an extra two yards.

Recruits in the house: O'Dea OL Ben Riva; Lakes CB Dee Maggitt; Lakes LB Jordan Patterson; Lakes RB Willis Wilson.


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/17/2009
4:30 pm

DuRocher is done:

There was some disappointing news Monday afternoon, after we learned that one of Washington's former QB's was unable to make a comeback due to injury.

Former Washington QB Johnny DuRocher, trying to play one more year of college football in an attempt to make it into the NFL, has had to retire due to injury.

DuRocher spoke with Dawgman.com's Kim Grinolds Monday and told him that he had torn his groin, thus ending any chance he might have had to resurrect a football career sidelined by brain surgery in December of 2006 to remove a tumor.

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/17/2009
11:40 am

Monday Practice Report:
With Tuesday's scrimmage looming, spots on the Washington football team are starting to take hold. Monday morning's workout was just that, a workout - with the team only in helmets, jerseys and shorts, and Steve Sarkisian is using the mornings to get the kids out of bed, on their feet and moving all the time.

"When we get out here in the morning, we really run," Sarkisian said after Monday morning's two-hour session. "There's a huge emphasis on throwing the football, get our receivers running and our DB's working. That'll wake 'em up and get 'em going. Now they won't be back on the field until 6:45, so they get a lot of time off their feet.

"They come back tonight and it should be a physical practice."

Monday was the second day of team daily-doubles, with the evening practice set to start at 6:45 p.m.

With no pads on, the edge should usually go to the offense. "The offense won today's practice," Sarkisian said. "There was a big two-minute emphasis. Especially with the ones, they did a nice job of getting up and down the field. Jake (Locker) was extremely accurate. I liked the receivers making their plays. Devin Aguilar had a nice two-minute drill and the offensive line in pass pro did a nice job.

"You still have to cover guys, so we have to do a better job of shoring up our man coverage stuff and try to eliminate the space between our receivers and our DB's. I liked the precision of the passing game today - not only in the team period, but also in the 7-7 stuff."

With James Johnson out nursing a sore shoulder, Anthony Boyles has made a move up the depth. He had a nice Saturday night scrimmage and then added to that today with more solid play, including a bomb he caught from freshman QB Keith Price that turned some heads. "I thought early in this camp, he wasn't playing to our expectations or to his expectations the way he should be playing," Sarkisian said of Boyles. "It can be frustrating. It was himself more than anything. It was just believing in himself and taking advantage of those opportunities when you get your chances.

"But to get that opportunity he got the other night was good for him and us. We have to keep that depth alive at the wide receiver spot."

The running backs are also getting rolled through with regularity, and while RB Coach Joel Thomas said that most likely it would be either Chris Polk or Willie Griffin getting the starting nod Tuesday afternoon, there's going to be plenty of opportunities to get reps for all five of the tailbacks involved in the competition.

"We're still rolling them in," he said. "We've been evaluating as we go through camp, but as we get to tomorrow's first scrimmage, that'll be the one where I'll stand back and let 'em play. The players will show. The film doesn't lie when it's all said and done.

"We have a great plan, and we have to keep the course - keep going. Guys are going to have good and bad days; we just have to keep having more good and eliminate the bad ones. That's how we're going to get better."

One tailback trying to make up for lost time in a hurry is Johri Fogerson. His brother, O'Dea fullback Zach Fogerson, was out watching big brother this morning, and the 6-foot-1, 191-pound sophomore is going to get his touches, according to Thomas.

"It's been great," Thomas said of Fogerson's ability to ramp up his learning curve and get right into the competitive mix. "It's just learning the nuances of the positions. He understands his assignments; now it's what you do off the variables of each assignment. And that's with the whole group. We have to continue to increase our football IQ. That's why we're not playing today."

Polk is a player that came in with much fanfare after the Huskies beat USC for his services, but a hurt shoulder cut his 2008 season way too short. "I loved his versatility coming out," Sarkisian said of the 5-foot-11, 210-pound Polk. "He was a guy that played some wideout, some tailback in a very good high school offensive scheme. I loved his versatility and his ability to play violent when he had the ball in his hand. He had a tendency to run people over and he was a good blocker."

Now that his shoulder is back to normal, Sarkisian is seeing more of the player he saw when he was coaching with the Trojans. "That's what he's showing for us," Sarkisian said. "He's getting more confidence that his shoulder is fine. He's able to lower his shoulder and be physical. He's showing good speed, good elusiveness and good hands.

"I like what Johri and Chris did Saturday night. They were very consistent in all three aspects of the game - running, throwing and catching. I don't want to discount what those other guys did, they did some nice things as well. But it's not just about effort, it's about doing things right.

On the defensive side of the ball, Justin Glenn is still less than 100 percent with a sore hip flexor, so that's allowed a couple of other corners to get right in the mix - Vonzell McDowell and Adam Long.

"We're mixing guys in here pretty good," Sarkisian said of his cornerbacks. "We're trying to bump Adam Long up a little bit, he had a nice practice Saturday night. We're just trying to keep things alive at the corner spot.

"(Justin) is there, but he's not 100 percent. We wanted to get him moving again and not let that thing stay tight. We limited him some today, but I think it was good for him to get back out."

During 7-7's, Quinton Richardson picked off a Ronnie Fouch pass that was tipped by Boyles. And during nickel situations, it appeared that David Batts was the one coming in for extra support in the secondary.

At linebacker, E.J. Savannah is wearing a smallish cast over his left hand to protect a broken bone, but it's not stopping him from playing. "We just don't want it to get injured any more," Sarkisian said. And Cort Dennison looked to have suffered a stinger or shoulder issue after a hit, but stayed in for the rest of practice.

With Savannah, Donald Butler and Mason Foster ensconced with the No. 1 linebacking corps, who are pushing for action in the two-deeps? "I like what Josh Gage has brought," Sarkisian said. "I like what (Brandon) Huppert has brought. We moved Cort Dennison inside and he's done some good things. We're fighting with Matt Houston with staying consistent and doing things right down after down because he's a talented kid.

"And Jordan Wallace, he keeps coming. He keeps showing up. He's not perfect by any means. It's hard on a young guy, but he does some things that show up that make you say wow, this guy is going to be a good player."
Notes:
Injury Report: Justin Glenn (hip), James Johnson (shoulder), Paul Homer (hamstring), Chris Robinson (knee), Will Shamburger (knee). Freshman safety Nate Fellner was not out at practice today, but Sarkisian said he was OK.

Trufant may be close: Sarkisian said that freshman corner Desmond Trufant may be available for practice after learning that he would have to retake a class in order to pass through the NCAA Clearinghouse. "I'm hearing that it's getting close to getting done," Sarkisian said. "Hopefully it's sooner rather than later. We'd love to have him out here."

Ted Miller in the house: ESPN's Ted Miller, who was a UW beat writer for the Seattle P-I for a time, was in Seattle Monday as part of his road trip through the Pac-10, so expect to see more info on Sarkisian and the Huskies soon in his ESPN Blog. We tried to talk to Ted about getting something on his thoughts for the season on the site, but ESPN wouldn't allow it.



Talk about it Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/17/2009
9:30 am

Monday Mid-Morning Practice Notes:
Everyone was early to rise Monday morning, even those who looked to be banged up by Saturday's first daily-double. Nate Williams and James Johnson were practicing, as well as Justin Glenn, but Paul Homer was doing stairs and the stationary bike as he continues to rehab a stingy hamstring.

Zach Fogerson was there early today, no doubt watching his brother Johri, who has been working with the punt return unit as well as the running backs. Devin Aguilar, Cody Bruns and Vonzell McDowell were the others working at punt return, while Jordan Polk, Curtis Shaw, Chris Polk, Quinton Richardson and James Johnson were on the other side working as kick returners.

Speaking of McDowell, the junior from Rainier Beach was working opposite Richardson with the ones as the defense continues to install things in preparation for their Sept. 5th game against LSU. Glenn and Adam Long were working as the No. 2 corners. Nate Williams and Greg Walker were the safeties, followed by Jason Wells and Victor Aiyewa at the twos.

For the defensive line, nothing has changed really since the beginning of fall camp. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Alameda Ta'amu, Cameron Elisara and Darrion Jones are working as the ones, with Everrette Thompson, Tyrone Duncan, De'Shon Matthews and Kalani Aldrich working as the twos.

Freshman Will Shamburger was also decked out in gear for the first time this fall, and the knee brace he had been wearing is gone. He wasn't practicing, however. It appeared that the coaches wanted him involved to the extent were he was learning the defense and taking mental reps.

Like I said, it's going to probably be a light day - but if anything else happens I'll let you know after we talk to coach Sarkisian and the players.

Talk about it Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/15/2009
10:10 pm

Locker talks about possible MLB career

Locker was drafted in 10th round of the MLB Draft in June and he recently agreed to terms with the team that selected him -- the Los Angeles Angels.

So that begs the question -- Does this change his focus at all?

"I came here to play football and I fully plan on doing that," Locker told the media in attendance on Saturday after the evening practice session had ended. "It's a great opportunity for me, something that I couldn't pass up and the Angels have been great with me, worked with me being that I am a football player and we made it work."

Locker wouldn't go into details about the contract, but said that he may play baseball next summer in the Angels organization, however that is yet to be determined.

"I want to play football and that's what I'm going to put my focus into," Locker said. "We just worried about getting the contract done and they told me to focus on the season and we'll talk all about the details afterwards."


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/15/2009
11:30 am

Saturday Morning Practice Report...

Following Friday evening's first padded practice, the Huskies took the field Saturday morning for the first of two practices, this time in only helmets and shorts. The offense had a much better time of it early on, completing several long passes, but once the full eleven man squad hit the field, again it was the defense that got the better of things...

It was a light, helmets and shorts practice for the morning session that kicked off at 9:00 am this morning.

"It was good," head coach Steve Sarkisian noted following the 90-minute workout. "It was our first helmeted practice since we got out of pads and the challenge is always to make sure we bring the energy, the tempo, the enthusiasm and that we're playing fast football still and I thought they did that."

Early on the offense had some big plays in the seven-on-sevens and full team drills.

QB Jake Locker looked especially sharp hitting WR Cody Bruns who had gotten behind S David Batts for a 40 yard touchdown. Afterwards, the number one nickel defense which had Batts in and LB Donald Butler out met on the sidelines and talked about their missed assignment.

Locker also hit perfect passes to WR Devin Aguilar and WR D'Andre Goodwin for big gainers while QB Ronnie Fouch hit FB Austin Sylvester for long completion on the sideline and followed that up with a big completion to Aguilar for what would have been a touchdown.

"I think our receivers are playing well," Sarkisian said. "I think with the addition of James Johnson, the progression of Jermaine Kearse, Jordan Polk and Devin Aguilar, those guys have really stepped their game up and improved since spring and here early in fall camp.

"I think we still have to push D'Andre (Goodwin) to get him back going and believing that he's healthy and can go full speed and make plays, but I like what they're doing so far."

Defensively, the linebackers got lit up by coach Mike Cox who used some colorful language to describe what he thought of the effort.

The coaching staff seemed to focus on situational aspects of game management going through different scenarios and even had a clock going for the two-minute drill that ended practice.

There weren't any points scored by the offense, but to end the morning practice they brought K Erik Folk on for a 22-yard attempt that ended up hitting the right upgright, thus giving the defense the apparent victory for the day.

Tonight's evening practice begins at 7:00 pm to conclude the first two-a-day session of fall camp.


Injury update: S Will Shamburger and FB Paul Homer both were riding the exercise bike off to the side while practice was going on. CB Justin Glenn took part in position drills, but did not take part in full-team activities.

Sarkisian also noted that DE Everrette Thompson was held out due to a "sore ankle", but it did not appear to be serious.

Middleton adapts: Talented TE Kavario Middleton is a player the Huskies are counting on this fall to be a player that can cause matchup problems for opposing defenses. However, he's been pushed by both Chris Izbicki and Dorson Boyce who both have incredible work ethics and bring blocking skills that Middleton didn't necessarily have before this spring.

"Yeah, that's definitely something I've worked on," Middleton said. "I want to be the starter and the coaches told us all when they got here that the competition is open so if you want to start you'd better step up and take it and that's what I've felt like I've done."

Middleton said he's increased his overall strength "a lot since the coaches got here" and that he feels stronger and more agile than in years past.

"When you see a guy like Chris or Dorson make a play, that just makes you want to get out there and get it done too," Middleton said. "We push each other definitely. It's friendly, but it's still competition. You want to win. I wouldn't want to be out here and compete against guys who are just going to let me win it."

Middleton said he's also been working hard at playing a more natural tight end role.

"The releases are so much different off the line than out wide where I played in high school and last year," Middleton noted. "I think I'm coming along, but I know there's still a long way to go before any of that is decided."

Of note is that Middleton was running with the first unit for much of the day.

Talk about it Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/14/2009
7:05 pm

In the Seattle media community, there isn't a bigger honk for the Washington Huskies than Dave 'Softy' Mahler of 950 KJR-AM. Chris Fetters of Dawgman.com talked with Softy after Friday's practice - the first one in full pads - to get his take on what he saw, and how fall camp this year under Steve Sarkisian has been different than last year under Tyrone Willingham.

To listen to Softy's take on practice, click on the link below.



Talk about it Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/14/2009
6:53 pm

Full Friday practice report

What started off as a grey day at Husky Stadium turned into a sunny afternoon on the western shores of Lake Washington. While things were nice and pleasant weather-wise, the heat was definitely turned up with the full-pads practice taking place on the field.

The offense moved the ball early on, but toward the end of practice the defense started to throw blitzes at the offense and that led to some big plays on the defensive side of the ball including six sacks -- one each recorded by DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, DT Alameda Ta'amu, S David Batts and CS Victor Aiyewa and two by LB Mason Foster -- on quarterbacks Jake Locker and Ronnie Fouch.

"It thought early on (the offense) were doing some pretty good things," husky head coach Steve Sarkisian said. "Then we hit the blitz period and the sudden change period, I thought our defense really stepped up the intensity. They did a great job with their pressures and they did a good job of making it hard on the offense."

The offense did have it's moments during the two-and-a-half hour workout as Locker hit TE Chris Izbicki for 21 yard gain and then the junior quarterback was able to do what he does best when protection broke down and he ran it 35 yards for a touchdown. Locker also managed to find WR D'Andre Goodwin behind S Nate Williams and the junior wideout took it 45 yards for another score.

Fouch also threw a touchdown pass, deftly dropping it over the defender into the waiting hands of WR Jermaine Kearse.

The running backs struggled to move the ball most of the day, but Chris Polk had a 20 yarder over the right side while Curtis Shaw bulldozed his way for an 11-yard gain.

Even though the offense made some plays, it was the ones they missed on that really hurt.

On one play Locker found Izbicki behind the defense and the sophomore tight end dropped what would have been a big gainer if not a touchdowns.

Fouch also overthrew an open Jordan Polk who had knifed between Aiyewa and CB Matt Mosley a little later.

While Sarkisian wasn't pleased with the missed opportunities, he likes the competitive spirit he's seen out on the field.

"I think we've got a lot of really good competitors on this team," Sarkisian said. "I think the challenge is to show the fire all the time, not just when things aren't going well because adversity going to strike and it strikes in all different shapes and sizes in football.

"The challenge for us as coaches, the challenge for our team is that the leadership is consistent and we stay steady and we continue to compete really well and play with great effort and keep doing things right until the momentum switches back in our favor."

Sarkisian noted that Saturday's practices will consist of a light but "brisk" morning practice in helmets and shorts and then things will amp up again when the team dons full pads for the second time and they will focus on redzone and short yardage situations.
Injury updates: FB Paul Homer (hamstring) wasn't dressed out today and CB Justin Glenn (hip flexor) was held out as well.

"As camp has gone on, if guys have gotten little nicks, we're not just pushing them to get them back out there and keep that thing sore forever," Sarkisian noted. "We've got enough corners that we can keep him fresh and get him healthy before he comes back out."

Freshman D-linemen step up: Sark also noted that if they played a game this weekend, DT Semisi Tokolahi and DE's Talia Crichton and Andru Pulu would all play.

All three have looked outstanding in one-on-one drills as well as the full team exercises and maximized their efforts when they've gotten the chance to contribute.

Desmond Trufant update: We've heard that Trufant could be back as soon as Monday, but no official word has come down. The youngster from Tacoma is replacing a class that the the NCAA Clearinghouse didn't allow. He also was at Friday's workout.

Freshmen pay the price: S Nate Fellner and injured S Will Shamburger both carried off the shoulder pads of upper-class teammates.

Fellner could be seen carrying Jason Wells' shoulder pads and helmet while Shamburger was carrying what appeared to be Nate Williams' pads.

Recruits in the house: Auburn DT Danny Shelton and Lake Oswego ATH Tyson Coleman, both big-time 2011 kids, were both on hand as well as 2010 Husky commitment Ben Riva. One more player we've been able to confirm 6-3, 265 OL/DL Corey English from Auburn was also in the house. He will only be a sophomore this year so he won't sign until 2012.

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/14/2009
4:10 pm

Friday Mid-Practice Notes...

-- Darrion Jones and Nate Williams were both in full pads looking like they will take part in the full contact of practice.

-- Dominique Gaisie isn't even listed on the roster anymore so it appears the saga involving him qualifying is over.

-- Saw Desmond Trufant walking in in street clothes so it appears he's still working on getting his Clearinghouse issues resolved.

-- Paul Homer appears to be out. He is not dressed at all, so Austin Sylvester was running as the number one fullback.

-- The team worked a lot on special teams early on and P Will Mahan was booming them. You can see the difference of the way he hits the ball as compared to the other two punters.

-- 2011 Auburn DT Danny Shelton was in the house to watch practice.

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Kim Grinolds
8/14/2009
12:00 pm

Juan Garcia update:


Dawgman.com's Kim Grinolds spoke Friday morning with one of UW's favorite sons, current Minnesota Viking center Juan Garcia. Garcia is in the middle of trying to earn a coveted spot on the Vikings' roster, and told Grinolds about camp, as well as a visit from a current Husky.

As you can tell, Juan is not wearing his normal No. 58 anymore. Now it's number 72. "If I make the team, I'm not complaining," he said with a laugh between practices Friday morning.

"It's a lot more intense. At camp, you don't know if you're going to be here the next day. It's cool, but I'm also nervous.

According to Garcia, the Viking players are up at 6:30, and their day is not done until 10, with about 3-4 hours of free time to get meals and rest in.

"I always love camp food," he added.

Apparently this group of Vikings are being treated well weather-wise in Mankato. Garcia reports there's no mosquito troubles to be had. "Mankato weather has been great," he said. "The older guys have been saying it's the best weather they've seen since they've been there."

But the rookies don't have much time to worry about the weather, as the coaches are putting them through the ringer to see if they have the right stuff to stick in the NFL. "They beat us up a lot," Garcia said. "We go shells and shorts in the morning, but when we go full pads you know it's going to be a long day, because it's just goal-line, backed-up. They put you in tough situations, and it's just banging."

How has it been compared to fall camps in college? "The speed is different, and guys are just that much older, so they're stronger," he added. "When you get hit, you feel it a little bit more.

"We're doing pretty good for what we've been put up against. Being in the NFL, you thought you might be overwhelmed, but it's been more like just being a rookie and waiting to get your chance.

Garcia feels that learning the playbook has been the toughest part, simply because of the amount of information and the short amount of time he's had to assimilate everything. "It's starting to slow down a little bit, but at first it was overwhelming," he said. "In OTA's they give you the playbook and throw a lot at you, but they go through it. But right now, they don't wait. You either catch on or you get left behind."

The Vikings play their first pre-season game tonight against Indianapolis. It appears the only TV available is local Indianapolis TV, so it's going to be tough to see Juan get his first taste of life as a pro player. "I'm on special teams, so if I do go in I might go in for field goals in the second half," he said. "The rookies, we probably won't get to go in until the late third quarter or fourth quarter. They told us that they don't start putting us in until the third or fourth game. But if I do go in, it'll be later in the game.

As a side note, the players get paid every week, and that first check was something special for Garcia. "It felt good to finally get paid for something I've been doing for a long time," he said. "I finally earned something. I hope I can get more."

So with the busy life of an NFL rookie, has Garcia had much time to check up on the Huskies? "I shoot a text off to guys like Cody (Habben) or Preach (Greg Christine), but that's about it," he said.

"Cody came up to practice last week. He has some family back in Iowa. He drove all the way to Mankato to check me out at practice, so that was pretty nice."

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/13/2009
7:20 pm

A Talk With Jim Lambright:
It's always amazing to catch up with the former Head Coach of the Huskies to get his thoughts, and this was the first practice of the fall for Jim, so he dropped some knowledge, as well as gave us an update on what he's been doing lately. Click on the link below to listen to the conversation between Jim and Dawgman.com's Chris Fetters.



Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/13/2009
7:00 pm

Thursday Full Practice Report:
The rain came, and no one cared. It was expected all week, and when the skies finally opened up on Thursday, the team took their cue from former Head Coach Jim Lambright, who was on the side of the field in a short-sleeve polo shirt. He didn't bat an eyelash.

"I think they got excited," Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian said after practice in the tunnel, one of the few times the media has been allowed in the tunnel in the past four years. "It came today. Plus I think there were a couple of songs that got them going too.

It's good for us to be out there. We're a team that's not one-dimensional, so we have to get used to throwing the ball in that environment. And we have to get used to it, period."

The emphasis on Thursday was third-downs, and Sarkisian singled out Jake Locker, Ronnie Fouch, Johri Fogerson, Chris Polk, Jermaine Kearse for their play while the liquid sunshine came pouring from the clouds high above Husky Stadium.

"I thought our offensive players made plays today. That's what it takes on third down. You have to protect and win your one-on-one battles when they are in man coverage.

"Our offense came back and matched the intensity and were able to make some plays. That's how it should be. For us to continue to excel and improve and get better, we've got to help one another. And the only way we can do that is match the intensity and the effort and the enthusiasm daily."

So the big question is; who won? Offense or defense? Sarkisian couldn't say. "We're going to have to go back (to the tape)," he said. "There were a lot of plays right at the stick. It's going to go to the committee tonight."

The rain came down during the last part of a two-hour-plus practice, and there was never any question the team was going to finish outside what they started. "It's not that big a deal," Sarkisian said of the conditions. "It all depends on what we're trying to get taught. In spring, we needed to maximize our time, so that's why we went inside. It could be a game week situation so we can teach and execute the things we want executed."

The other big news of the day is that some precipitation has apparently come down on junior college cornerback Dominique Gaisie. There was supposed to be a resolution to a Clearinghouse issue that took Gaisie off the field after practicing Monday, and according the Sarkisian, the forecast looks gloomy. "It doesn't look like he's gonna make it," Sarkisian said of Gaisie. "I'd be very shocked if it did happen. It may have already happened by the time I get back up there (office). It's unfortunate. Dominique's a great player. If it happens, we wish him the best of luck. He's a very good kid."

Gaisie's exit from Montlake means Washington will only soldier on with half of their original junior college signees for the 2009 class: Punter Will Mahan, tight end Dorson Boyce and safety David Batts.

Friday's practice will be in full pads - the first one allowed by NCAA rules. "We're not trying to kill each other," Sarkisian said when asked about what he hopes to get accomplished during that initial session. "But we need to see how we tackle. We have to tackle well. We have to see some things with our offensive line of being able to cut block now. We have to be able to get off cut blocks on the defensive line. The key for me is that we can continue to play at the intensity level that we're playing at right now."

And after Friday, the team will have their first two-a-day session, number one of six they'll have during the remainder of camp. Are they ready? "If they aren't, our coaches will get them ready," Sarkisian said. "When you can motivate a group day-in and day-out, that becomes the norm, and they start to motivate themselves. And that's starting to happen."
Notes:
Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em: One of the techniques Sarkisian and his staff are using to get the players focused and in the moment is to blast music during the majority of practice, something they don't do at USC. "We're trying to get our guys focused when there could be distractions," he said. "When you get into a football game there are a lot of distractions. And if our guys can stay focused, whether it's a song they like or dislike, it's exciting for them. And as coaches we have to get used to that environment, to coach through the noise, the different things. I think it's just fun for everybody. Every once in a while you hear a good song that keeps you motivated."

So who is providing the playlists? The team has caught on, so they are putting in their own requests. "Jared Blank is getting a lot more CD's to play in practice," Sarkisian added with a laugh.

Game Planning: So how much of this week's preparation has included gameplanning for the Huskies' first opponent - LSU? "We aren't talking to our guys about LSU at all," Sarkisian said, noting that there's a good chance some of what they've installed will show up on September 5th. "We'll sprinkle it in as we get closer, in the next week or so."

Injury update: Darrion Jones apparently came up with a hand injury requiring an x-ray, but Sarkisian expects the senior defensive end to be fine. Same goes for Nate Williams and a sore knee, as well as Paul Homer and a touchy hamstring. "He could have gone if it was game week," Sarkisian said of Williams. "But there's no point to force guys back if we need to, because we need to get David Batts reps, as well as Kalani (Aldrich). We were also able to get Austin Sylvester and Tobias Togi out there."

Freshman defensive tackle Chris Robinson was on crutches this afternoon, and it's unclear how long his rehabilitation for a knee injury will be.

Depth is coming: With building depth in mind, Sarkisian was quick to praise the three true freshman along the defensive line. "I love those three guys," he said. "From (Andru) Pulu to Semisi (Tokolahi), to now having Talia (Crichton) out there, I like our future at that spot. Those three guys have all done some nice things, but they still have a lot to learn. They are starting to learn from the old guys on how we want them to play. They are adding great depth. They have great energy."

I like it on the line. I think we've got a really solid two-deep, with even a sprinkle beyond that. I like our linebackers. Coming in we all knew what the top three guys (Donald Butler, E.J. Savannah and Mason Foster) could do, but the addition of (Jordan) Wallace, Cort Dennison, (Brandon) Huppert, (Joshua) Gage coming back...we're getting some depth on the defensive side of the ball, especially up front. And it's much needed."

Dennison, the sophomore linebacker from Salt Lake City, recorded an interception for the defense on Thursday.

Gameday Responsibilities: Thursday the media found out which coaches are going to be in the press box booth during games, and who is going to be on the field. In the booth will be Jeff Mills, Graduate Assistant Mike Anderson, Doug Nussmeier and Graduate Assistant/Tight Ends Coach Brent Miller. On the field will be Sarkisian, Nick Holt, Mike Cox, Demetrice Martin, Johnny Nansen, Joel Thomas, Dan Cozzetto and Jimmie Dougherty.

Watching Sarkisian and Holt on the field should be a treat. "He's always been on the field," he said of Holt, who also roamed the sidelines as USC's Defensive Coordinator for the past three seasons. "He likes the feel of the game down there, and it's good for us because the players feel his intensity. Jeff Mills is great up top, he has a history of being up there and recognizing things. It fits really well for us offensively with Doug being up top as well, because that's where he's accustomed to being. And I've been on the field my entire career."

Recruiting Update: On the recruiting front, Juanita HC Shaun Tarantola was once again visiting, with a bunch of Rebels in tow, including 2011 standout DE Sam Shirley. Also there in the stands was UW verbal commit Ben Riva from O'Dea, who has also been a regular to the Huskies' fall camp. On the way into the media room, it was good to see Skyline HC Mat Taylor, who is busy getting ready for the Spartans' season. One of Taylor's standout players, Kasen Williams, was also seen at practice with his father, former UW receiver Aaron Williams.

Scott Eklund has spoken to Kasen and will have a report up on his visit at some point later tonight.

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/13/2009
3:30 pm

Thursday Mid-Afternoon Notes:
Nothing new on Dominique Gaisie. The JC cornerback, now currently held out with clearinghouse issues, was expected to have an answer sometime Thursday, according to UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian. But he wasn't out at practice, and we have heard that he's in the process of working on a solution right now. Unless Sarkisian finds out something before the end of practice, don't expect a resolution until Friday at the earliest.

Desmond Trufant is still not in pads, either, as he works toward finishing a class that will get him eligible for fall camp. The other two freshmen not suited up - Will Shamburger and Chris Robinson - were both at practice, but not in uniform. Shamburger was rehabbing his knee, while Robinson was on crutches, his left leg heavily wrapped. While not knowing for sure, it appears the frosh DT from Tustin, Calif. had surgery this week. We'll follow up with Sarkisian at the end of the day.

Nate Williams and Cameron Elisara appeared to be a little worse for wear after Wednesday's first padded practice, but both were out and practicing and showing no ill affects from yesterday's hitting session.

As he was passing me on the way to the east field, safety Victor Aiyewa said, 'Today's gonna be a good day'. Clearly the team has wholly embraced the enthusiasm of the coaches, and are having fun while giving their all.

It was also great to see former UW DL Dan Milsten at practice today. Unfortunately he'll probably be best remembered for the horrific injury he sustained against Oregon State years ago that brought out an ambulance to the middle of Husky Stadium.

On the recruiting front, Juanita HC Shaun Tarantola was once again visiting, with a bunch of Rebels in tow, including 2011 standout DE Sam Shirley. Also there in the stands was UW verbal commit Ben Riva from O'Dea, who has also been a regular to the Huskies' fall camp. On the way into the media room, it was good to see Skyline HC Mat Taylor, who is busy getting ready for the Spartans' season.

Talk about it Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/12/2009
8:30 pm

Fall Camp Photo Gallery 2:
It was a brilliant, sunny Wednesday afternoon, perfect for taking pictures of fall camp. Dawgman.com's Kim Grinolds took over 1000 photos, and these are the cream of the crop.

To check out the full photo gallery, click on the link below.

Fall Camp Photo Gallery 2

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/12/2009
8:15 pm

Post-practice with Bob Condotta:
Since coach Baird didn't show up to practice Wednesday, we had to dig deep in the second unit, but I think we found the ultimate replacement - Seattle Times Beat Writer Emeritus Bob Condotta. Bob and I broke down what we saw Wednesday, including Greg Walker, James Johnson and Jake Locker. Click on the link below to listen in.



Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/12/2009
8:10 pm

Wednesday Full Practice Report:
For those that came out to a sunny Wednesday practice and sat up in the stands, it probably didn't look like a shells practice. There was hitting in abundance, and balls flying around on the Husky Stadium turf.

"It shouldn't be different if we're just wearing helmets, shoulder pads or full pads," UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian said after practice. "We only know how to go one way, and that's 100 miles an hour."

It was 'Turnover Wednesday', and the defense led the day. Arguably the top performer was redshirt frosh safety Greg Walker. The 5-10.5, 197-pounder from southern California put on an exhibition during the first 11-11 period by the red zone, picking off a pass and forcing a couple of incompletions in the end zone with some fierce hits. The biggest hit of the day came via Matt Houston against Jordan Polk, but Walker was the most consistent.

"Our strength guys were raving about him all summer about how good his off-season has been," Sarkisian said of Walker after Wednesday's practice, the first one in pads. The team won't go in full pads until Friday. "That's what you like to see, the guy that puts in the extra effort and have that translate on the field. I was also encouraged that he became a physical player today. That comes from being confident and trusting your instincts."

"He had a great summer working hard," added UW safeties coach Jeff Mills. "He's a good young man, smart and cares about it. He makes good decisions on and off the field."

"There's so much competition, I just know I have to be on top of my game," Walker said. "We have seven safeties that could start at any time. All the positions are open, so I'm just trying to do my thing."

With Wednesday being the first padded practice, it was expected that the defense set the tone for the day with their shoulder gear. "The typical pattern for day three is installation on both sides of the ball," Sarkisian said. "It's the first day with shoulder pads on, and for whatever reason the quarterbacks - it's never their best day. It gets a little intense. We just have to continue to work through it, coach really well, teach really well, and we'll get through it.

"There's been a lot of installation on offense, a lot on defense. There's a lot of thinking going on. And we go in the red zone on purpose, because that can highten the intensity. It's a smaller field, the windows are tighter. We're pressuring more in the red zone. And then you throw pads on top of it? It can create a very intense afternoon, and I thought that showed up today."

That intensity and competitiveness also showed up on the east field during one-on-ones with the linemen. Dan Cozzetto was putting his guys through some grueling mental warfare, with players like Nick Scott and Terence Thomas going through numerous reps against defensive ends before finishing the drill to Cozzetto's satisfaction.

"I'm counting on him," Cozzetto said of Scott, the 6-foot-5, 318-pound transfer from Drake. "He's a snap away from being a starter. He's worked hard and has to continue to compete. We're going to have injuries, so we need to have quality backups.

"You have to show them you aren't going to let up. It's going to be Sark's way. That's the way we're going to coach it. It's going to be full-speed. It's going to be about the ball. It's all about mental toughness and becoming a better player every day. If you get better at something, you had a good day.

"You have to break them first. They are tired and they start to second-guess their fundamentals. You just have to work 'em and work' em and totally create a new man. Like I tell them, if I quit coaching you, there's something wrong. Either you're doing everything right, or you're wasting my time."

Center Mykenna Ikehara showed that being outweighed by 80 pounds doesn't mean much, as he put freshman DT Semisi Tokolahi on his butt twice as Tokolahi tried to bull-rush the 260-pound Ikehara. Alameda Ta'amu, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Andru Pulu and Everrette Thompson looked good defensively, while Cody Habben and Senio Kelemete held their own for the offense.

"Guys are giving great effort, and they have to believe that they are doing a lot of good things, and they have to do it on a consistent basis," Cozzetto said. "It's coming more and more and more, but they have to learn to take one play at a time. They can't go in the tank. That's not how the game works.

"As long as they are willing to work hard, we can do a lot of things."

It was also interesting to watch new strength and conditioning assistant Marques Tuiasosopo work the sled with Cozzetto, going after guys like Morgan Rosborough to give it their all. It sure looked like Tui was going to leave it all on the field. Even during the first play of the final quarter of scrimmaging, he looked at the side judge on what he thought was a clear offside call against the defense.

"It's great not having to coach against him," Cozzetto said with a chuckle.

"It's just like when you're a kid - you want to compete at everything," added Mills. "You give a young man something to strive for, a carrot. But the thing about coach Sark is that he creates competition, but at the end of the day it's fun too. We want to enjoy what we're doing. It's fun when I step into the building in the morning and it's fun until I leave."
Notes:
Johnson still impressing: On offense, it definitely appeared as if frosh WR James Johnson is making a compelling case for playing time. He made a great one-handed catch against CB Adam Long, one of three or four touchdowns he had on the day. "I thought James Johnson really showed up today," Sarkisian said. "We had high hopes for him. He was a highly recruited kid coming in. He really showed a work ethic in the classroom that he wanted to be great. And he's making plays right now.

"If we were playing Saturday, he would play."

Sarkisian's pedometer: Sarkisian told the media Wednesday that he tracks how much he walks in a day. During a typical day he'll go roughly 30,000 feet, and he said that he was just over eight miles when he spoke with us after practice.

Injury update: Nate Williams banged knees during practice, but Sarkisian said he would be fine, as is Cameron Elisara, who apparently came up with a quad bruise at some point during practice. "Our goal is to get them back up fresh and give other guys opportunities," he said. "It gives other guys shots to play, and so far, so good with that method."

Gaisie and Trufant still unsettled: Sarkisian said that the school might know by as early as tomorrow the official clearinghouse status of junior college cornerback Dominique Gaisie. "They'll make a decision, and we'll move on one way or the other," he said. Trufant is still in the process of completing a class to clear the way for him to join the team in camp.

Middleton gone for the day: Tight end Kavario Middleton was not at practice Wednesday, but it was just to take care of a personal issue, Sarkisian said. The sophomore from Lakes is expected back Thursday.

Kicking update: Erik Folk didn't miss a kick today, going 4-4, the longest from 42 yards. "I think our battery is working better, the mechanics that go into the whole thing," Sarkisian said. The battery consists of Folk, snapper Danny Morovick and holder Ronnie Fouch. "When you feel good about the battery, now it's a little easier to just go kick the ball."

Recruits in the house: Zach Fogerson was there for the third day in a row, and Rainier Beach Head Coach Mark Haley was also there with a few of his guys. Perhaps the biggest recruit (literally) at Husky Stadium Wednesday was Stanwood OL Dexter Charles. The junior-to-be looked at least 6-5 and 250 pounds on the hoof, and definitely passed the look test.

Talk about it Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/12/2009
3:40 pm

Wednesday Mid-Practice Report:
All the players that practiced yesterday are still there. It does appear that walk-on Anthony Tokunaga is on offense now.

Desmond Trufant and Dominique Gaisie were not at practice. I spotted Trufant coming into practice as I was leaving to type this up. Will Shamburger was working out with trainers and riding a stationary bike, and I didn't see Chris Robinson out there today.

Don't know if the players were hitting a mini-wall or what, but it was clear the coaches weren't going to let them loaf. Dan Cozzetto and Jeff Mills were especially vocal in their displeasure. They were making it real obvious that they weren't going to let them just go through the motions. It'll be interesting to see how practice picks up in the second half.

There were also officials out there for the first time this fall, so I suspect some scrimmaging now that the team has shells on.

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/12/2009
12:15 am

Catching up with Coach Baird-Tuesday:
Dick was out and about Tuesday, and just happened to be at Huskies practice again, so I spoke to him again about what impressed him and what didn't. And just for fun, you also get to hear him give OL Coach Dan Cozzetto a little grief, and he high-fives Jake Locker too. To listen to the update, click on the link below.

Catching up with Coach Baird-Tuesday

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/11/2009
7:15 pm

Tuesday Full Practice Notes:
"The defense won today," Steve Sarkisian said after Tuesday's full workout, one that went about 150 minutes, maybe longer if you include their pre-game. "And the exciting thing about it is that they were down 10-8 with two plays to go and they won the last two plays to get to the tiebreaker. And then they finished strong with a great play by Justin Glenn. It wasn't an easy play. We were in man coverage and we went into empty (formation) and they had to get aligned. Justin made a play on the ball and that was exciting.

"That's how it should be, as we keep growing and getting better as a football team. The offense won yesterday and the defense battled back and came back and won today.

"It was a good atmosphere. It comes down to one-on-one matchups.

The play in question was a pass attempt from Jake Locker to Jermaine Kearse, and Glenn came over the top to knock it down. The rest of the defense came in and mobbed the redshirt frosh from Kamiak. It was a rough period for Kearse, who also had a ball go through his hands and right into gloves of CB Vonzell McDowell.

The receivers all stayed after practice for some extra work catching the football.

Probably the biggest news of the day was the fact that another Clearinghouse issue took a player off the field - and it was another cornerback. Monday it was Desmond Trufant; today it was junior college transfer Dominique Gaisie. Gaisie was watching the practice in street clothes.

"We just have to communicate with them and we're sending things back and forth," Sarkisian said of the process to get Gaisie reinstated. He practiced with the team on Monday. "He could be back tomorrow, it could be anytime. With that stuff, I wish I knew more because that part of it gets frustrating. You sit in limbo.

Devin Aguilar practice some of Tuesday, but was held out of the 11-11 work after an ankle he rolled Monday started to worsen. "There's no point in pushing a guy too hard too early right now when we have the depth we have, especially at those spots," Sarkisian said of Aguilar's situation. "So hopefully he can come back tomorrow full-go."

He also mentioned that freshman Talia Crichton is suffering from groin injury, and the staff is letting it heal completely before throwing the 6-foot-3, 229-pound defensive end into the mix.

One group that has been very active from the get-go this fall has been the tight ends. Kavario Middleton, Chris Izbicki and Dorson Boyce all getting a lot of looks with the top unit. Even the freshmen, Kimo Makaula and Marlion Barnett, are impressing Sarkisian.

"We like to be multiple, we like to have multiple tight ends on the field because of the run threat," Sarkisian said, explaining why it's a big deal to this staff to have excellent production from the tight end position. "To have the ability to still be able to throw the ball to those guys is critical in our system."

Middleton, so far, appears to be the leader of the group, but it's really too early to make any sort of pronouncements about the depth. "He has come back in good shape and he's doing a nice job in the run and pass game," Sarkisian said of the 6-foot-5, 253-pound sophomore from Lakes. "I just think he's showing up more. You can feel his presence. And a guy of his talent, that's how you want him to be, because he can be that player."

Now that they have two practices without pads under their belt, the team will go into 'lightbulbs' tomorrow - meaning shells and helmets - and full pads are expected on Friday. "It's the first step of emphasizing that we're a physical football team and making the strides to becoming that," Sarkisian said, adding that, in the football world, the team is 'in underwear' right now.

They have a scrimmage planned for the 18th, but for Sarkisian, that's just a distinction made for the fans. "For us, scrimmage is a great term for the outside world, but for anyone that has already been to our practices, the last bit of our practice is every bit the scrimmage mentality as you can get," he said. "Our kids play hard. To label it a scrimmage isn't that big a deal to us because we play that way every day."

And I'm working on an article that features the comebacks of Izbicki and E.J. Savannah, but Sarkisian made it clear that there could be up to a dozen guys that are taking advantage of their personal Get Out of Jail Free Card. It's his way of making sure there are no regrets and no stones are unturned when it comes to tapping the full potential of this team.

"They are enjoying the opportunity," he said of his 'clean slate' policy. "These are still kids of a sort - 18,19, 20-year guys. Everybody can make a mistake here or there and you're still finding your way. Sometimes you feel that you made so many wrong decisions that it's doom and gloom. And sometimes when you get a ray of hope or an opportunity, it can motivate you. We've got quite a few guys that have been motivated to the point where they know they have an opportunity and they're making the most of it."

Sarkisian mentioned Ben Ossai as another one of those players. "He's a guy that's kind of been beaten up a little bit mentally," Sarkisian said of the senior lineman from Bakersfield. "I've enjoyed what he's done for us here. In a sense, Chris Polk is in that boat. There was so much hype for him last year, and he didn't live up to the expectations. Now he's got a clean slate to go after it again.

"We have a lot of guys that put some things on film last year, especially the second half of the year, that they would be the first to tell you they aren't proud of. They aren't proud of the effort they played with. We wiped the slate clean of that, and we're going to give them every opportunity to show who they are on this field every day.

"I commend our football team since the day we got here. They've been great on the field and they've been great off the field."

Notes:
Kicking Update: Erik Folk was 4-5 from distances ranging from 22 to 42 yards Tuesday, the one miss mostly due to a poor snap.

Big W Club Update: I was able to catch up with Elliot Silvers, head of the Big W Club, and he told me a little more about the Big W Golf Classic, presented by MoveWire. It'll be the day before the LSU game, so that's Friday, September 4th. It'll be held at the Golf Club at Redmond Ridge, formerly known as Trilogy. It's for all former Washington athletes, but some of the former football players scheduled to play include Billy Joe Hobert, Corey Dillon, Chad Ward, Cam Cleeland and Rick Redman. Available spots are going fast, so if you want to find out more about the tournament, call the Big W Club at 206-685-3013.

Elliot also wanted fans and former UW athletes to know that the Big W Club will have their own tent in 'The Zone' for the LSU game. 'The Zone' will be at the east field adjacent to Husky Stadium on game days, and is free of charge to enter. For those looking for some more information on 'The Zone', click HERE

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/11/2009
6:15 pm

Dominique Gaisie Update:

According to Sarkisian Tuesday night after practice, the JC corner has a Clearinghouse issue that's being resolved. He said that it's not quite like Desmond Trufant's issue, but similar. He could be cleared as early as tomorrow, but there's no time frame as to when the Huskies expect him back.

The staff is communicating with the Clearinghouse to get the issue resolved, same as with Trufant.

I'll have more from the Blog tonight, just wanted to pass that along right away.

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/11/2009
3:45 pm

Tuesday Mid-Practice Notes:

Just popped back into the media room while the team was going through their stretching period. Not too much to tell you so far, other than the skies have opened up and it's going to be a glorious Tuesday afternoon in the Emerald City...

As far as personnel, both Chris Robinson and Will Shamburger are out still, both with knee issues. Desmond Trufant was still in street clothes, as well as junior college transfer Dominique Gaisie. We'll have to ask coach Sarkisian at the end of practice what Gaisie's status is at the moment. On the surface, he was walking around fine and everything appeared to be normal physically.

Travis Dupart, the sophomore transfer from Valdosta State, apparently has made a switch to defense, as he was wearing white this afternoon.

Before I came inside, I watched the kickoff and punt return units work out a little bit. It's clear that Will Mahan is the guy as far as punts go. His leg strength is superior to anyone else UW has right now. James Johnson, Vonzell McDowell, Jordan Polk, Chris Polk, Cody Bruns, Devin Aguilar and Quinton Richardson were the ones doing the returning. Johnson, both Polks and Richardson appeared to be the kickoff specialists, while McDowell, Bruns and Aguilar were handling punts.

Aguilar looked to be slowed somewhat by a knee, but that didn't stop him from participating.

I'll have more later on tonight after I speak to coach Sarkisian.

Talk about it Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/11/2009
12:15 pm

More on the Gold Endzones:

After speaking to some folks in the AD and SID, here's what I've learned about the process that put gold in the endzones at Husky Stadium:

1) They are going to put another coat of paint on the end zone prior to the first game. Basically, our staff got the field "practice ready" in time for this week.

2) The facility staff tested more than 10 different colors of paint and looked at how they displayed. Each one had a fault of some sort. The most interesting color, even one with sort of a gold metallic look to it, turned almost brown once it blended with the black rubber pellets underneath. With the uniqueness of the "blades of grass" to the time of day and the black pellets, it made actual color selection more difficult that one might think.

3) UW did not put a gold stitched-in, permanent grass turf into the end zone since they will hopefully be moving that turf to another location upon renovation of Husky Stadium. The old turf had outlived its usefulness and needed to be replaced. They could not afford, from a safety perspective, to wait until the renovation to replace the turf.

Talk about it Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/10/2009
7:45 pm

Coach Baird's take on Monday's Practice:

Former UW Linebackers Coach Dick Baird was on hand Monday and he spoke with Chris Fetters about his impressions of the Huskies' first fall practice. Click on the link below.



Talk About It: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/10/2009
7:30 pm

Monday Full Practice Notes:

I'll have more on Marques Tuiasosopo joining the Huskies' strength and conditioning staff, but here's a quick quote from Marques about taking the position. "It feels great to be here," he said. "I love this place. To be back here is like a dream come true. My alma mater, I'd love to see them do well. It's great to see coach Sark here and the energy that he brings and the staff that he put together. It reminds me of when I played here and the coaches that coached me. I'm very excited."

Marques did say that his agent is still out there testing the market, and if he gets a call to resume his NFL career, he will.

The biggest news to come out of Monday's camp - aside from Tuiasosopo - was that of Desmond Trufant's ineligibility. Apparently there was a class he took at Wilson on his transcripts that didn't conform to the 48-H list of approved classes, so he's in the process of retaking a class to make sure he becomes eligible for the rest of the fall.

"Normally this type of stuff of happens, but it's unfortunate because he's had a good offseason, a good summer," Sarkisian said of the true frosh cornerback. "He's a good student; it isn't an issue of a student struggling."

All the other freshmen made it into camp, but a couple of them have some nagging injury concerns. St. John Bosco safety Will Shamburger and Tustin DT Chris Robinson both come in with knee problems. Shamburger was seen at practice wearing a very large knee brace. He will be out the year, and Robinson will have to have surgery, with an unknown length of time for rehab.

Sarkisian said they knew about Shamburger's condition, and was one of the reasons they were thinking about greyshirting him. But they decided to bring him in so he could work out and rehab under their medical staff's supervision.

Sarkisian felt Monday's practice was better than the first day of spring game to be sure, but stopped short of any real major accolades. "Was it perfect? No. But we did things really, really well that jumped out at me," he said.

He apparently was pleased with the way the three quarterbacks performed - Jake Locker, Ronnie Fouch and Keith Price. "I was very encouraged by our quarterback play," he said. "All three of those kids - from Jake, the progression's there - to Ronnie, this would have been his best day of spring, and he had it in fall camp. That's what you like to see. And Keith Price, he handled himself well. He had good huddle presence, nice footwork. So I like all three of those guys."

The biggest position switch was that of Johri Fogerson from safety to running back, and Sarkisian feels offense is going to give the second-year player from O'Dea the best opportunity to take advantage of his skills. Fogerson also had a bit of a rooting section, as his younger brother Zach was there, as well as O'Dea OT Ben Riva. Both are 2010 verbal commits to the Huskies.

"I think he was excited," he said of Fogerson. "I think he was hungry. He's back in a little bit of a comfort zone where he can show us what he's all about.

He also mentioned three of the new junior college players - TE Dorson Boyce, Safety David Batts and Cornerback Dominique Gaisie. "He's physical in the run game," Sarkisian said of Boyce. "I'm anxious to see him get in shape."

Boyce was working as the No. 3 TE behind Kavario Middleton and Chris Izbicki.

"He was still feeling his way through the defense, but at times he showed what he was all about, he said of Batts, while also making the same mention of Gaisie.

Sarkisian also said they were 'rolling' guys in and out of the secondary, and it's the first time in a long time where there appeared to be more than enough safeties and cornerbacks to go around. Safeties coach Jeff Mills was seen constantly grabbing jerseys and moving guys - especially the younger players - around to where they were supposed to line up.

As far as the other safeties, it was great to see Jason Wells back in action for the first time in nearly two years. "They are just a little tight, but they feel pretty good right now," he said of his knee and achilles injuries that have kept him off the field. "It's still going to take a little bit of time, but over time it's going to feel better."

Wells added that he feels about '85 percent' ready on his achilles tear, but he's 100 percent back from the knee injury he suffered against USC back in 2007.

The Huskies won't be able to put on full pads until their first daily-double, which will be this Saturday.

Notes:
LSU almost sold out: It appears that only obstructed-view only seats are available for the Sept. 5th opener against LSU, which means there are less than 1500 tickets available.

Scheduling News: According to UW Athletic Director Scott Woodward, future out-of-conference games for the Huskies will include BYU, Illinois and Colorado. The Huskies will also travel to LSU in 2012.

Dawgs and Hawks on the 18th: Washington will scrimmage on Tuesday the 18th at 3 p.m., followed by the Seattle Seahawks practicing at Husky Stadium later that night. "It's great for the community," Sarkisian said.

Talk About It: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/10/2009
4:00 pm

Monday mid-practice notes:

Still have at least an hour or so to go in the opening practice of UW's fall football camp, and about 300 or so fans braved the threatening conditions to come out and see the team work out.

The biggest news so far is off the field, as former UW great Marques Tuiasosopo has been added to the Huskies' Strength and Conditioning staff. This move could be very temporary, however, if Marques is offered an opportunity to play quarterback again in the NFL. We'll be monitoring this story throughout camp.

As far as camp itself, surprisingly there's no real big news. Everyone that was expected to be at camp is there, but there are some notes to go with that. Freshman cornerback Desmond Trufant is in street clothes and watching practice. We don't know why he isn't suited up, as he practiced all summer with the team in informal workouts. We'll be asking UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian about Trufant's status at the end of practice.

There were two other freshmen suited up - Chris Robinson and Will Shamburger - who didn't look like they were participating. Shamburger has a lineman-sized brace on his right knee, which confirms initial reports about why Sarkisian was thinking about asking the safety from St. John Bosco to delay his enrollment.

So other than maybe Andru Pulu, Talia Crichton or Semisi Tokolahi on the DL, the only true frosh that appears set to seriously compete for playing time this fall is WR James Johnson.

Everyone got a chance to see how much the team ran from one field to the other in spring, and that hasn't changed at all this fall. On Monday they did their warmups on the east field, the first time I can remember them happening there during fall. And they've added a couple of new wrinkles into the mix. To keep focus up, the coaches randomly threw balls at the players while in mid-drill. Also, during the stretching portion of the warmup, the team faced each other.

Saw a few recruits there, including O'Dea commits Zach Fogerson and Ben Riva, as well as Juanita's Jerimiah Laufasa. Juanita Head Coach Shaun Tarantola was also there.

Talk About It Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/10/2009
3:00 pm

Marques Tuiasosopo hired to S&C staff...

Dawgman.com learned Monday that former Husky QB Marques Tuiasosopo, who had been hoping to catch on with a NFL team after spending the 2008 season on the Oakland Raiders roster, has been hired to be a part of the Strength and Conditioning staff.

We'll have more on this breaking story later...

Talk about it Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/10/2009
12:45 a.m.

Our interview with Ivan Lewis:
Click Here to listen to our interview with UW Strength and Conditioning Coach Ivan Lewis Saturday morning on KJR-950AM. To our knowledge, this is the first time anyone in the media has been able to get Ivan on the record since his arrival to Seattle back in December, so we really thank him for providing some great insight on the changes that have been made.

Talk about it Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/9/2009
12:15 pm

Sunday Morning links...

-- Bob Condotta looks at Jake Locker's legacy and how many months he has left to remake it.

-- Condotta also does a nice roster analysis of the weight changes that some of the Husky football players have made since Ivan Lewis arrived in January.

-- John Berkowitz, who moonlights on the Dawgman site as well, posted his thoughts on what can go right and what can go wrong for the Huskies in 2009.

That's all for now...we have a Pre-Camp chat tonight for our subscribers at 7 p.m. Join us if you get a chance...


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/7/2009
5:15 pm

Dan Cozzetto Notes:
-- In the NFL you can't take 10 guys all the time, so the offensive line has to be more flexible and guys like Senio Kelemete have to know more than one position. Said the more guys can work together like they did this summer and interact together and communicate they have a chance to be "pretty good".

-- As a group the players needed to get stronger. Said "Thank God" Ivan Lewis got here and both he and Cozzetto have the same mindset -- back to the "old school" of cleaning, benching and squatting -- and that they have to be able to run. Said his track record shows he needs and wants athletes and that the OL really worked hard this summer and that Lewis took the helm.

-- Said he'd like to have more than seven guys they can use. Wants Mykenna Ikehara to get a little bit bigger so that can take some pressure off of Ryan Tolar who they could move over to guard.

-- Said Ben Ossai can easily move back to left tackle and that Cody Habben can move over to right tackle because he's done it. Said that Drew Schaefer needs to be able to play both tackle spots and needs to learn left tackle. Said that the tackles need to be able to play both tackle spots and the interior guys need to learn all three spots.

-- Said he hopes Skylar Fancher is healthy and ready to go on Monday. Said he's a guy he's counting on to be good and could possibly move him inside to get more stability there.

-- Said they hope to start settling their line and interchaning down about two weeks into camp.

-- Said Morgan Rosborough is down to 370 pounds and that he can go in and do a quality job. Said he told Morgan he needed to have a good summer to show them he can do what they need him to do.

-- Intersted in seeing Skylar, Morgan and Mykenna a lot. Said the game of football is important to Ikehara and that he knows where he has to be in order to play football weight-wise and strength-wise.

-- Said he thinks Ikehara can play at about 270 or so.

Talk About It: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/7/2009
5:10 pm

Jeff Mills Notes:
-- Said his foundation in coaching was from Washington (he was a GA for James in 90 and 91).

-- Said it was surreal at first to be coaching at Washington. Said he had dreamed about coaching at UW and that his wife and her family is all from here. Said everything had changed from a facilities standpoint since the last time he had been here.

-- Said connecting with former players who have dropped by has been fun. He can see a correlation with the way they practiced when James was here with the way that Sark runs things as far as the intensity, the preparation and the excitement for the program are.

-- Charles Mincy checked in right away and Walter Bailey and Shane Pauakoa and Lawyer Milloy as guys he's been in contact with. Said it's been fun to see guys from that era as well as older teams and recent teams come back to be around the players so they can see some of the greats and what made them great. Connecting with the past is important for building to the future.

-- Said Nate Williams and Greg Walker had solid springs. Said that Alvin Logan is a guy he wants to see this fall and that when he moved from receiver he picked things up pretty quickly. Said Victor Aiyewa is a big physical guy they like and Jason Wells is a guy they want to see. Also noted that David Batts and Tripper Johnson are guys he's interested to see what they can do and how they fit in.

-- Said Batts is excited to wear the number 25 and that it's a great honor for him and that he realizes how physical of a player that Curtis Williams was and that's the type of player they want him to be.

-- Said Batts just needs to learn the coverages, the schemes and the calls so that he can play with abandon and be physical.

-- Said the first goal is to play with great effort. Said the competition level has established a daily need to be perfect and give the effort they need to be successful.

-- Said leverage is a big key in playing the safety position. Needs a force player and an alley player and guys who can defend the deep pass and their job as safety is to prevent the big play.

-- Said they want the D to cause more turnovers and that they expect to get the ball back and that every defensive coach he's worked for has said stop the big play, cause turnovers and play fanatical swarm defense and that's something coach Holt preaches.

Talk About It: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/7/2009
5:10 pm

Doug Nussmeier Notes:
-- When you're training QBs down the field you have to train them to keep their eyes on the target not the ball.

-- Offense will be "Substantially different" from the offense of the last staff. Said the progress in the spring was good and that early on the learning curve was steep, but that it leveled off toward the end and that the anticipation is that they will improve quickly.

-- Said the players have done the work in the conditioning and in the player-led position work.

-- Said that Sarkisian will call the plays, but that it will be an open conversation and that so far it's been a great working relationship between the two and how they have gone about things.

-- Said his philosophy on coaching a QB fit perfectly with what type of system that Sarkisian was going to run and once they talked and figured that out then it was a perfect match.

-- Said the team has to find a feature back and a change of pace guy and a third down guy at the running back position and they need to figure out how to use guys in different roles.

-- Said all of the backs will get opportunities and competition.

-- Said Chris Polk looks like he's gained some weight and his body has matured. Said he is at 100% and should have a great fall camp.

-- Said that Demitrius Bronson is a guy they have to remember is still young and that the progress he made over the 15 practices in spring ball was great and they expect big things from him.

-- When you look at the tight ends the Huskies have they have so many different talents and they can use them in a lot of different ways. Said they need big contributions from the tight ends this year and like the running back position the coaching staff still has to find their best guys and figure out who gets used and how.

-- On Jake Locker, Nussmeier said it's about repetition. Said "we need as many reps as possible with him without wearing him out". Said there are going to be growing pains, but even if you take a step back the next time out you need to take a huge step forward.

-- Said that practice cannot be a relaxed situation for the quarterback. It needs to prepare them for the game and if you don't prepare for that you have "chaos".

-- When asked if there will be specific run plays designed for Locker, Nussmeier said "I don't know, I guess you'll have to show up on September 5th to find out".

Talk About It: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/7/2009
5:05 pm

Nick Holt Notes:
-- You think that 29 practices are enough, but then two days before the game you say to yourself "oh my gosh, we forgot to do this", but that they will use their time wisely, work hard and see where things are on September 5th.

-- Said that what was installed in the spring was picked up pretty quickly. Most defensive systems are pretty similar, the only difference is terminology or a few twists here and there, but that the style of how you play and coach is the biggest thing the staff needs to accomplish. He said that he felt the defensive players responded really well in the spring to the way they taught and that they need to start off from where they left off in spring and start from there.

-- Said developing the guys already here and all the new guys are a key for them heading into the season.

-- Said that the depth of the corner and safety spot is encouraging and picked out Quinton Richardson as a guy they know is a good player and that he played a lot last year, but the rest of the corners you can throw in a hat right now. Pointed out that Justin Glenn looked good enough to warrant being a starter, but with more numbers it's for real and not just for having fun and playing spring ball...they have to win some games.

-- Said the secondary is where the best battle will come from.

-- Said he feels comfortable with Nate Williams and what he can do and that there are three guys at linebacker (E.J. Savannah, Donald Butler and Mason Foster) are a cut above the rest and that the rest of the guys are guys they have to figure out who can play and who cant.

-- Said the DL is a situation where they have some really good battles that will happen and that this fall between some guys already here and a lot of the new guys they have coming in.

-- Said Daniel Te'o-Nesheim could play anywhere in the country and be a great football player, but that UW is lucky they have him. Said he's a great kid, a great player and has a great motor. Said you just don't make many guys like Te'o-Nesheim. Said he's better, stronger and faster and that they expect big things of him.

-- Said that he compares Te'o-Nesheim to a guy like Troy Paulomalu in his work ethic and how he goes about his business.

-- Said Glenn is tough, tackles, works hard on the things they want him to do, said the coaches trust him in what they ask him to do. He isn't the fastest guy in the world and they want to get better, they're coachable and he's mentally tough.

-- Said he likes E.J. and he's a great player when he's healthy. Said he likes his personality, he's fun to coach and UW needs him. Said he wants to see the seniors play really well. Said he's been in the battles and have been successful.

Talk About It: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/7/2009
5:00 pm

Jimmie Dougherty Notes:
-- Said the biggest thing with the group he's working with is that it's a deep group. Said experience is huge. Said the unit as a whole had a great summer and he's excited to see them compete this fall.

-- Said D'Andre Goodwin is back to 100% now after struggling with his hamstring injuries, but said he believes he'll have a good camp and that he's someone he's excited to get an eye on this fall.

-- Said the receivers have to score more touchdowns. Said last year they didn't catch enough touchdowns and that they have to be the big play guys for the offense. Said nothing they can do will help the quarterbacks on the team more than if they know "hey all I have to do is get it close to those guys and they're going to come down with it and make a big play".

-- Said Jordan Polk is special. When a guy like that has the speed and quickness he has and has the chip on his shoulder that he has he's going to be a real weapon for the offense. Said he's very competitive and just goes out and makes plays every time he touches the ball.

-- Said that Devin Aguilar is special with his wiggle and elusiveness are great, but it's his love of the game and his competitiveness that really make him special. Said Devin text'd him and said he's "so excited to start camp" and that is something you love as a coach. Said he knows he's going to come in ready to go.

-- Said Anthony Boyles has great physical talent and that he's still learning the game and works hard. Said you can't coach the fact that he's tall, fast, quick and rangy and that he isn't going to be intimidated by anything. Said he's working really hard.

-- Said that Jermaine Kearse is the leader of the receivers even though Goodwin caught the most balls and has the most experience. Said he's been the most consistent guy and knows the plays and gets the guys together to do work.

-- When it came to Cody Bruns he said he knows he was a prolific guy in high school so they know he can get it done. Dougherty said he's a package guy right now (meeaning the four wide sets), but that he believes he can be an every down guy in the future. Said his football IQ is great and that he thinks he can be a real player in the system down the road.

-- James Johnson is a player they are very excited about and what he brings to the table. He works hard, has great intensity and because he's seen him since he was a sophomore in high school that he knows what James brings to the table and how they can use him in the offense.

-- He said overall he's thrilled with the competitve nature of the entire group and that they all get along and he almost wishes someone would get upset and say "this is my job", but he said the depth and weapons they have and trying to figure out how to get everyone some touches is a "good problem to have" and that it's better than only have one person to go to.

Talk About It: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/7/2009
5:00 pm

Mike Cox Notes:
-- Said he loves Seattle and he and the family have settled in well.

-- Donald Butler, going off of what he heard he did in the summer, was that he has put in the work, and judging from how he did in the spring he thinks he's the most versatile linebacker they have and one of the leaders of the unit.

-- Said Mason Foster was the most improved linebacker from the start of spring to the end and he's got a lot of stats and playing time that proves he can play.

-- Said he's real anxious to see E.J. Savannah come in ready to play and that he thinks he can be really special. Said he's been fine with what E.J. has done as far as putting in the work and that he needs to continue to do it.

-- Said that Trenton Tuiasosopo is consistent and smart and he's a real asset to the linebacker corps.

-- Said he's been impressed so far with what he's just eyed from the likes of Tim Tucker and Jordan Wallace and what dimensions they bring to the team. Said he's really excited to see what both of them can do once the pads come on.

-- Said he's excited to see what Josh Gage and Cort Dennison can do since he didn't get to see much of them in the spring due to injuries.

-- Said Wallace was a bit of a surprise to see him still available. Said he's real physical and shows up on tape really well.

-- Said guys like Dennison, Kurt Mangum and Matt Houston are all guys they are going to plug in so they can see what they can do.

Talk About It: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/7/2009
4:50 pm

Joel Thomas Notes:
Spoke with coach Thomas for quite a while about his different guys and here's what he had to say.

-- Said he's excited about Johri Fogerson being with the running backs. Said he always knew that was where Johri's heart was and that when they would watch "cut ups" of film that Johri would remind him of how many yards and touchdowns he rushed for in high school. Said Johri is a hard worker and will do whatever the team needs him to do, but his speed, his "wiggle" and his hard-nosed style will be a nice addition to their unit.

-- Said with Demitrius Bronson he always has to remind himself that he's only been through 15 practices. Said there are some things that Demitrius needs to "sharpen up" but that he's very excited for where his ceiling is at. Said Bronson's work ethic is one of the best on the team and that he's always ready to learn something or work on something and that it only bodes well for the future.

-- When it came to Chris Polk, Thomas said the main question for him is "can he stay healthy". He said last fall Polk only went once per day and he missed most of the spring so it's up to Polk to show that he can be durable enough and stay healthy long enough to realize his potential. Said they staff has to develop him and that it's up to Thomas to coach him to not take some hits when he doesn't need to. Said they need to put him in situations in a drill or a team situation where they show him how to handle different situations.

-- Said that Curtis Shaw is slippery and makes plays here and there that you can't help but "raise your eyebrow at". Said his speed is what helps him be different than anyone.

-- Willie Griffin was referred to as "the crutch". Thomas said he trusts Griffin. That he knows that he won't bust a blocking assignment and that he will make the right decision at the right time. He said he's the guy he could throw out there right now and he'd get about 90% of the plays correct right off the bat.

-- Said that he doesn't think there is a 25-carry per game carry back on the roster, but what he's looking for is very little if any drop off when the second and third and fourth back comes in.

-- Said the starting job is still up for grabs, but if they were to have to name the starters right now it would be Griffin and Polk with the ones, but that Demitrius is right there. All of the backs will get reps with the ones. After a week and a half he hopes someone has taken control of the spot and "runs" with it (sorry for the pun).

-- Paul Homer is a warrior according to Thomas. He embraces the sense of urgency he needs to have. Going to do some different things with the FB this year than what they've done. He's a leader on the offense.

-- Austin Sylvester and Homer are like "Mutt and Jeff" where they are always together. Said Sylvester is a really hard worker and that he's been trying to get with the Seahawks fullbacks in order to work on things to get better.

Talk About It: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/7/2009
4:40 pm

Johnny Nansen Notes:
-- Said overall he's very pleased with the progress made by everybody over the summer. Said Daniel Te'o-Nesheim in the leader and the hard worker, but guys like Everrette Thompson and Tyrone Duncan have worked hard and put in the time along with all the other players so that is what really gets him excited to see what happens once camp gets started.

-- Said that Alameda Ta'amu has shed about 40 pounds, but over the past month he's had some "personal stuff" to take care of so he's working on getting himself back into shape and he's encouraged by the progress he's made.

-- The new scheme allows the line to "play fast". Nansen said it's all about the "get off" and how explosive they are off the ball and that will help them be more aggressive and cause more problems for the opposing offense. Said that it's all about getting pentration off the snap and that they don't need the "down guys" don't need to be thinking, but just that they need to "charge" and maintain their gaps.

-- Said this system is easier and that they should be able to pick up their assignments faster and feel more comfortable quicker.

-- Said that guys like Semisi Tokolahi and Talia Crichton are both great kids and he's heard from the strength coaches that they like to work, they love football and they are always hanging out in the football offices.

-- Said Tokolahi is even more athletic than Ta'amu is, but he's "strong as heck" and that he thinks he will contribute pretty early.

-- Said that all of the linemen are always bugging him about football and that all of the kids follow Cameron Elisara and Te'o Nesheim around, but that all of the guys are leaders and hard workers.

-- Lastly, Nansen said that the coaches are just ready to get out and coach and work with these guys. He said he doesn't think he's ever been this excited for the start of football and that he thinks the enthusiasm of the entire team will show when it comes to the games.

Talk About It: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/7/2009
3:20 pm

Sarkisian's Friday press conference:

Steve Sarkisian reprised his main themes Friday during his initial fall camp press conference by talking about culture and attitude changes he's seen since he took over as Washington's Head Coach on December 8th.

"Eight months on the job now, and you think about some of the things we've done in that amount of time, not only on the football field, but off the football field," he said. "Eight months ago, standing in front of you guys, you make statements that you believe in. There's nothing that got said that day that I didn't believe in, and eight months later it's great to look back on what we've accomplished so far. Things are still holding true. I said it then and I'm going to say it again; it's not going to take us very long. We're going to become a great football team.

"From the standpoint of the program, and where we are today, we had a great relationship with the community, the city of Seattle and the state of Washington. Everything that's gone on around this program - the energy, the buzz that's been created in the past eight months has been pretty amazing."

He mentioned the coach's tour, the spring recruiting, throwing out the first pitch at a Seattle Mariners game, interacting with the Seattle Seahawks and involving former players and alumni in the program is something they are proud of as a coaching staff. "When we came in December 8th and that first press conference and talking about trying to change a culture and change an attitude - I feel like it's happening."

He was also quick to point out how the change in culture is going to show itself on gameday - not only on the field, but off the field as well. He talked about 'The Zone', something Dick Baird has already written about on Dawgman. 'The Zone' will be adjacent to Husky Stadium on the defensive practice field, and available for pre-game. "We're just trying to get people closer to the stadium, so when that siren goes off 20 minutes before kickoff, we want everyone to come into the stadium," he said. "As a staff, we want Husky Stadium as loud as it can be from the opening kickoff to the final whistle."

He also talked about 'Raise the Woof', which kicks off the season on August 28th. Not only will fans be able to go down the tunnel and have a BBQ dinner with the team, but each coach will introduce their players and the captains for 2009 will be announced. It's an all-ages event. "It should be a family-friendly event, something that should get the excitement and energy flowing," Sarkisian said.

And lastly, he talked about the importance of having open practices, something he hopes will go a long ways towards gaining fan appreciation for just how hard everyone in the UW program is working toward bringing Husky football back. "They do put a lot into this," he said. "There's a lot of time, effort and energy that goes into it, and I encourage people to come out and see how hard everyone in this process works, because they do a good job.

"I want our kids used to performing in front of people. The last thing I want is us to be confined and enclosed and then we show up and there's 73,000 crazy Dawg fans barking and all of a sudden we get big-eyed. We look up at the scoreboard and it's 14-0 because we're still looking at the stands. I want our guys to feel comfortable in the environment. I want them used to having eyes on them and having people cheer for them. I want our coaches used to having eyes on them."

The only interesting twist in all this is that he's not allowing access to any of the incoming players for the foreseeable future. He explained that he wants the newcomers to get used to all the things going on first before getting bombarded by the media asking questions. Hopefully the transition period for these players goes quickly, as it would be nice to talk to them about how their camps are going.

Besides the cultural and attitude changes that have gone on, Sarkisian also mentioned the impact new strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis has made. "I think we're bigger, faster and stronger," he said. "We are a healthy, strong, athletic football program heading into fall." There was an emphasis placed on speed, change of direction and explosiveness, and now the mentality in the weight room is one of 'want to', as opposed to 'have to'. "That's all part of a culture changing and an attitude changing."

Next, he talked about finishing up spring and what that meant heading into fall. "We're not near the ceiling, but we have to get it done," he said. "It's crazy to me that none of us have been on the football field coaching football since April 25th. Hopefully we can capitalize on the work they've put in over the summer and just keep going up and up and up."

If spring football was phase one, phase two in fall camp is to take what was done in spring and excel at it. They'll take a step back initially with the goal of trying to speed up how they play so that they are 100 percent fresh for their Sept. 5th game against LSU.

Since the staff only had 15 practices, Sarkisian wants the staff to still come in with open minds, so that they give all the players another chance to shine, as well as seeing who has made the biggest improvement over the summer. "A lot of guys have changed. It's open. The competition is on, and I think the cream is going to rise to the top. Our leaders are going to come out of this. I'm anxious to see who's changed. I'm anxious to see them perform.

And he made no bones about it; a true frosh can win a starting spot over a fifth-year senior. "We're going to play the best players, the guys that give us the best opportunity to win. I don't want to put a ceiling on the (young) guys. We're going to push them because we're going to need them. We may redshirt them, but we're not going to make that decision right now."

Roster Moves: As far as roster additions and subtractions, Sarkisian noted that three more JC players have been admitted; David Batts, Dominique Gaisie and Will Mahan. TE Dorson Boyce has already been in school and has been participating in the 7-7's. He added that the two other JC signings from February - Johnny Tivao and Daniel Mafoe - have not been admitted yet simply because they have not finished their classwork. "We're going to go with the approach that they are not going to be with us, and if we do get them, it's a bonus."

The biggest name missing from the fall roster was Matt Sedillo. While not getting into specifics, it sounds like there was either a personal or family issue that affected him and that probably played the biggest part in him not returning to Seattle. Both Brandon Yakaboski and Vince Taylor have had setbacks with knees, so they will not be available for fall camp.

Other than those names, Sarkisian said that he's expecting everyone to start out fall camp at 100 percent health. There are guys coming back, like Jason Wells and Chris Polk that they'll have to monitor.

Fogerson to RB: Sarkisian confirmed that Johri Fogerson, a sophomore from O'Dea, will be moved from safety to running back, but that it's not necessarily a permanent move. "He had a desire to come back to the running back position, and it was a depth issue for us where he could come back," Sarkisian said. "He's a great athlete and we want to give him every opportunity to get on the football field. He was a natural fit to come over and play the running back spot."

Fogerson will join Chris Polk, Willie Griffin, Curtis Shaw and Demitrius Bronson as the UW running backs heading into fall. Terrance Dailey, Brandon Johnson and David Freeman have all left the program since spring ball.

He also said that he doesn't foresee any other roster switches heading into fall camp. He did note that frosh LB Andru Pulu will probably see more time at the defensive line, and safety Jordan Wallace will start out with the linebackers.

Practice Times: Sarkisian was asked about practice times, and why there was such variance between practice times during their daily doubles, and Sarkisian noted that a 6:45 night practice is going to help them get acclimated for the night game they'll be playing against LSU, as well as the simple fact that the players will be able to get two full meals between practices, and that will allow them to replenish their bodies and also allow them plenty of rest. "For us, it's kind of a win-win all over the place."

Getting feedback: Sark was asked about the most common questions he heard while going around the state in the spring, and he said that people asked him about the logo ('The Weasel'), which is being changed, as well as Jake Locker's progress from runner to quarterback.

He was asked why he might be the guy to get the best out of Locker, who big things are expected of this fall. "I don't know that I'm the right guy. But fortunately for us he's a talented kid physically, but better than that he's a tremendous human being. He's got a great work ethic and is very bright. He's got tremendous leadership skills. And to have a guy like Doug (Nussmeier) working with him on a daily basis, I think Jake's going to take off in the system."

Honoring 25: Sarkisian talked about honoring Curtis Williams. In the past, there's been a 25 on the UW side of the field, but Washington has decided to bring back Curtis' number. This season it will be worn by incoming JC safety David Batts. "Hopefully that puts him back out on the field, because that's where he always wanted to be," Sarkisian said of Curtis. He added that there is also going to be a memorial in Washington's locker room, but didn't elaborate on what it would exactly be.

Talk About It: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/7/2009
12:00 pm

Endzone pics:

People have been asking about more pictures of the new gold endzones at Husky Stadium, so here they are.





Talk About It: Here
Posted by Chris Fetters
8/7/2009
11:45 am

Roster Update:
The roster, including updated heights and weights, is up on Gohuskies.com, the new and improved version of the official website. HERE
is the updated roster.

A few things stand out: Matt Sedillo, Brandon Yakaboski and Vince Taylor aren't listed on the roster. We know that Yakaboski and Taylor are still on the team, but apparently won't be in fall camp due to injury. We don't know about Sedillo, but will ask Steve Sarkisian at noon.

There are six players without numbers: Reece Anderson, William Chandler, Paul Dickey, Travis Dupart, Cole Sager and Anthony Tokunaga. For now we're assuming they are invited walk-ons. We'll have more on them later.

Talk About It: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/6/2009
4:25 pm

Kohler and Riley updates...

Just talked to Kohler's mom and spoke really briefly with Dietrich who was in the middle of eating...but neither plan to come up for camp due to scheduling conflicts (Kohler) and a job (Riley).

Riley did mention he plans to take an official visit to UW though...

Hard to say what this means as far as Kohler is concerned, but we've been hearing rumors that UCLA has gotten back in the race so this one could get interesting as we get closer to him making a final decision...

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/6/2009
11:40 am

Juan Garcia update:

Spent some time Thursday morning texting with former UW center Juan Garcia, who is in the middle of Minnesota's training camp, a camp that still has four to five weeks still left in it. It's a pressure cooker, and Juan knows that he can be cut at any time, but he's working hard and ramping up his learning curve.

Here are some of his comments:
"Just grinding in camp. Things are starting to slow dow now. I'm getting the hang of the play book. At first there just was so much information thrown at us it was unreal."

What about his odds of making the team? "Too early to tell," he said. "I will have a better feeling next week when we start preseason games.

Garcia has been in Minnesota since a week ago last Tuesday, and camp started on Thursday.

To finish up, this is what he had to say to UW fans: "To Husky fans that I hold dear in my heart, thank you for having my back!!"

We'll be in touch with Juan periodically to see how things are progressing for him in camp.

Talk About It: Here


Posted by Kim Grinolds
8/5/2009
12:15 pm

Tuesday Open Gym Report:
Everybody was there except Scott Suggs, Venoy Overton and Justin Holiday. Holiday is back home in LA. Suggs had class and Venoy was there early but didn't stay. Nick Collison, Jamal Crawford, Alvin Snow and Will Conroy were also there.

The players were a little ragged as they'd just finished conditioning and a mile run. Everybody claimed the same time with a smile: "5:45".

I'm not sure what it is, but Crawford and Quincy Pondexter really get after each other. They go after each other pretty hard and talk about it the whole time. It's fun to watch.

Once Conroy steps on the floor, the intensity picks up. Will plays hard and everybody else seems to follow. He was making it a point to defend Isaiah Thomas while holding his hands behind his back. He was working on just keeping him in front of him. Will, Jamal, Quincy, and Alvin Snow were still playing 2-on-2 long after everybody else left.

Collison and Matthew Bryan-Amaning were banging quite a bit. MBA has great low post moves, but still needs to get better. I think playing rough and tumble with guys like Collison and Spencer Hawes has been good for him. It's pretty physical down low with those guys.

Clarence Trent is an explosive bull. He's so quick off his feet and looks unreal at times. Then he's lost. He has a long ways to go, but he's got a lot of raw talent. He also appears to have a larger wing span than I thought. He was quick off his feet blocking shots.

Isaiah Thomas has not only bulked up his upper body, but he's also improved his hops. I spoke with him a little about it and he said he's worked hard on his lower body as well. He sure seems to be getting up higher right now. He still has that infectious smile.

Quincy is playing with a lot of confidence and is going to be a load. He's worked hard on his shot and it makes him more difficult to defend.

CJ Wilcox can just flat out shoot. It'll be interesting to see what he does once practice starts, but man…….the kid can just drain it effortlessly.

Will Conroy and Jamal Crawford…..Sometimes it's just best to pull up a seat and listen. Those two are like brothers, and we all know how ruthless brothers can be. Both of them were on top of their game yesterday when it came to smack. Will was all over Jamal about being the oldest player in the league to never make the playoffs. Jamal was all over Will about not being in the league. This went on for a good ten minutes. It was as good as any stand up comedy act I've seen. The guys on the sidelines were in stitches. Then Will started in the whole, "You didn't even play here. You weren't good enough………"

Talk About It: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/5/2009
7:20 am

Campbell gets ready for big senior season

When Oakland Tech WR DiAndre Campbell decided to commit to Washington, it came a bit out of left field.

"Honestly, I was surprised I was doing it," Campbell told Dawgman.com Tuesday evening. "It just felt right. The coaches are great, there's playing time available and it's the Pac 10. It was just the right fit."

Now that he's more than a month removed from his commitment to the Huskies, Campbell is still solidly set on signing with the Dawgs, but he said that hasn't stopped schools from letting him know they like him.

"I get letters and stuff right now," Campbell said. "Mainly it's Pac 10 schools -- Oregon, Oregon State, Cal -- the usual teams. Washington is the only school I've really spoken with so they are the ones who have shown me they really want me and they like what I can do.

"It would take a lot for me to even consider going somewhere else. Washington was the first school to offer me and I hear it's great up there. I'm going to talk to coach (Nick) Holt who is the coach recruiting me for them next week sometime so I can set up my official visit there.

"I've heard that the LSU game is going to be huge and I'd like to go up for that one, but if not there are a couple of other games I'd like to see."

Campbell has been hard at work adding muscle and working on his speed this summer.

"It's my senior year, so I'm real focused," Campbell said. "I've been doing a lot of speed training and benching and just adding to what I had already done.

"I don't know any of my numbers right now because we won't max until we start camp, but I know I'm stronger."

Campbell said he plans to watch most of Washington's games this season so "I can see who I'll be playing with in the future."

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Chris Fetters
8/4/2009
10:45 am

Walk-on scheduled to join team

One of the many questions we hear as fall camp looms is the status of any walk-on players that may be available for fall camp. Tuesday, Dawgman.com was able to confirm one walk-on player that has been asked to join the team for fall camp.

I received a phone call from Reece Anderson Tuesday morning, who confirmed to Dawgman.com that he has been asked to join the Washington football team as they take the field Monday for their fall camp.

"I talked to coach (Jeff) Mills, and he asked me to join the team on Sunday," Anderson said. Anderson is a 6-0, 200-pound safety prospect who played his high school football at Newport High in Bellevue, but decided to play a year of post-graduate ball in Connecticut for more exposure in recruiting. He will arrive at Montlake as a true freshman, with five years to play four.

Anderson added that he'll be starting his UW career at outside linebacker.

Anderson, ironically enough, is the second post-grad safety from Newport to join the team. Tripper Johnson showed up in 2008 after spending eight seasons playing minor league baseball.

Receivers William Chandler from Skyline and Stan Langlow from Curtis are the only other walk-ons we've heard about to date, and if we hear about any others, we will pass that information along.

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Aaron Beach
8/3/2009
11:55 pm

Open Gym Report

I caught a little open gym action Monday afternoon, and all played but Elston Turner (visiting his family) and Justin Holiday (spending the summer back home).

Tyreese Breshers is nearing a return and has started running, focusing on getting back into shape after a two year injury-induced sabbatical from basketball. He was limbering up on the court and shooting around with his teammates and he looked to be in positive spirits as his return inches closer. I asked how far out he thought he was and he joked, "two weeks." Obviously, the message board chatter about Tyreese always responding with "two weeks" hasn't been lost on him.

Quincy Pondexter is still recovering from an ankle injury, though it didn't seem to slow him much. He's typically a slow starter in open gym, asserting himself after a couple games. His work in the weight room is paying off, and he looked stronger than I have ever seen him. Last season, Quincy spent most of his time 15 feet in, but now he seems to have made his perimeter game more of a priority and was firing jumpers from well beyond the 3-point arc. Sometimes he lulls you into forgetting what a superb athlete is, until he soars above the rim for a spectacular dunk. This season has the potential to be something special for Quincy, as far as his UW legacy is concerned.

Isaiah Thomas seems to be smiling a lot more these days, shedding his brooding persona for a lighter, more engaging attitude. Surprisingly, he's a bit of a comedian on the court. His 3-point shot was falling today and he seemed comfortable running the point against freshman PG Abdul Gaddy and playing more of a distributor role. The rest of his game doesn't really need any further description.

Speaking of Gaddy, I've touched on his skills as a playmaker, but his scoring abilities are every bit as dangerous as his passing. He's a deadly shooter from downtown, and will only improve with repetition. He's also got a crazy knack for finding the bottom of the bucket, not dissimilar to Thomas, only in a much bigger package. He attacks the basket and skitters in and out of traffic, the ball seemingly glued to his hands. He's got a full arsenal of scoring at his disposal: Runners, turnarounds, pull-ups – you name it, he can do it. Opposing defenses are going to have their hands full stopping both Gaddy and Thomas when they're on the floor at the same time.

This is my first time seeing Scott Suggs since he came back to school last week and I was pleasantly surprised. Suggs has never lacked skill, but last season - in my opinion - he didn't play with purpose. That wasn't the case from what I saw of him Monday. He made his shots with confidence and let the game come to him, rather than drifting about and looking surprised/confused when the ball ended up in his hands. If Suggs approaches practice as seriously as he did open-gym, he's got a bright future with the program.

Venoy Overton is a difference-maker, but it's a little disappointing watching the ball clank off the back iron whenever he shoots it from outside. He's more in control in every other aspect of his game, so much so that if he could iron out his shooting deficiencies he'd be an all-conference player. It's not going to come without dedicating himself to improving his jumper the way Justin Dentmon did last offseason.

I was pretty critical of Clarence Trent the last time I wrote about open gym, but the more I see him the more I see potential. It's true, his hoops IQ is pretty poor - but even if it isn't pretty, he's always where the action is. He's got uncanny instincts and quick hands whenever the ball is in his vicinity (which seems to be often), and as long as he focuses on being more of a glue guy rather than a jump shooter/scorer he positively impacts the game. His fundamentals need a lot of work (tip jams after every shot make transition defense difficult), but there is potential there as long as he is open to coaching and discipline. It helps to have a guy like Pondexter there to show him what it really takes to be a D1 player.

Finally, Husky fans are in for a real treat when CJ Wilcox gets to announce his presence to the Pac-10. Unfortunately it may have to wait a year, as he continues to seriously mull over redshirting this season. Wilcox is, in a word, automatic. The moment he catches the ball in open space you might as well count the points before he ever shoots the shot. His skills aren't limited to the 3-point arc either. He approaches the basket strong and possesses a myriad of moves when he attacks from the elbow. Were this team not blessed with much guard depth, there's little doubt in my mind he'd be one of the top freshmen in the conference. He's that good.

Talk about it: Here


Posted by Scott Eklund
8/1/2009
8:15 pm

--First thing's first...here's the link to get to our interview with Scott Woodward on today's Dawgman.com Radio Show.

It hasn't been posted yet, but should be in the next few days...

--Now, here's a rundown of the top DBs on Washington's list and where they are leaning at this point...

The top two that Washington has a real shot at are Palmdale's Joshua Shaw and Corona's Demetrius Wright. Both will be in the house for UW's game against LSU on September 5th and both have had the Huskies at or near the top of their list for quite some time.

In fact, Wright has made it known that Washington and USC are his top two while Shaw has visited Montlake once already and will take another unofficial visit to Seattle for the LSU game.

Shaw told me he is unlikely to take an official visit to any west coast schools since he can "easily get to those whenever I want to."

Look for both to take their time on making a decision, but should Washington get off to a good start on the season, they will be in perfect position to pull both of these studs out of southern California.

Another DB very high on the Dawgs is St. Bonaventure CB Troy Hill, a super-quick corner prospect who looks a lot like Desmond Trufant who signed with Washington in February and who has looked excellent in workouts.

Hill has already visited Washington once, for the spring game, and plans to unofficially visit again for the LSU game as well.

I haven't been able to reach Marquis Flowers, but word is he is still considering the Huskies along with schools like Colorado, Arizona State, Arizona, Michigan, USC and UCLA. He's a big, rangy safety who would be an ideal fit at free safety. With his ball skills, he would be an ideal fit in UW's new system.

From what I've been hearing, UW is in heavily on Colton S Derrick Malone a 6-2, 195 pounder who is more of a ball-hawk than a big hitter. He recently told Scout's Allen Wallace that the Huskies are recruiting him the hardest and that he could see early playing time with the Dawgs if he were to choose them.

Pittsburgh (Ca.) S Erick Dargan is a big-hitter who would be an ideal strong safety prospect and I'll do my best to get some info on him down the road.

Two players from the Islands who have Washington on their list are Marcus Umu from St. Louis (Honolulu) and Taz Stevenson from Mililani. Umu would be a solid strong safety prospect. He plays with a mean streak, whereas Stevenson is a specimen who has the athleticism to play free or strong safety depending on the situation.

I spoke with Los Alamitos ATH Shaquille Richardson briefly this week and he told me he plans to set up a visit to UW during the season, but is unsure of when. He said he's thinking about coming up sometime in October so he's a corner prospect to keep an eye on.

Two players who haven't been offered yet, but who are on Washington's radar, that fans should keep an eye on are Serra (Gardena, Ca.) CB Bene Benwikere and Colony (Ontario, Ca.) CB Jered Bell. Both are good athletes who aren't as polished or as bulky as the other corners the Huskies are looking at, but they can both play the game and play it well.

That's a quick look at some of the top prospects, but remember...others may emerge after the first month of the season and highlight film begins to be distributed.

Also remember, both Keanon Lowe and Jamaal Kearse have committed to the Huskies already and they are both considered to be multi-talented prospects that can move to the defensive side of the ball if necessary.

That's all for now, I will have a receiver update in the very near future...

Talk about it: Here


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