Shamburger Shines

One of the bright spots so far this spring has been the play of the safeties and one that has seemed to be coming on of late is redshirt freshman Will Shamburger. After eight practices, the youngster who says he's fully recovered from a torn ACL in his right knee, has shown he may be able to push the more experienced players ahead of him for playing time this fall...

Shamburger was QB Keith Price's teammate at St. John Bosco and it was during a basketball game that he suffered the injury that prevented him from working out with the team last summer and fall.

"I should have never played basketball," Shamburger said with a slight chuckle. "I was driving to the hoop and then someone collided with me in the air and knocked me off balance and when I landed all my weight went on (the knee) and it just popped."

Shamburger had offers from Boise State, Utah, Arizona State and a few other schools, but they all backed off because of the injury. Then Washington hired Steve Sarkisian and after reviewing his highlight film, the Huskies extended him an offer.

"You look at 16 or 17 year-old kids, when they have knee injuries, their bodies are still growing and they're in such great shape, especially defensive backs, tailbacks, they heal so quick from those things and to me, that's not a factor," Sarkisian said after practice. "We knew the type of player Will was a St. John Bosco not only as a football player, but as a basketball player and now that he's back healthy we're seeing it, he's a terrific athlete."

Shamburger had three big hits on the day, one laying out TE Chris Izbicki, another when he took on TE Marlion Barnett and lastly when RB Jesse Callier hauled in a pass out of the backfield.

"He's had a nice second-quarter of spring," Sarkisian said. "I thought the first three days or so he might have been a little bit tentative, a little bit hesitant, coming off his injury, but I think that the last four practices he's been really productive, not just in his movement, but he's shown a physicality in his play that is catching everyone's attention.

"The offensive players don't like getting hit by the guy, so we're extremely excited because that's a huge addition for us."

Shamburger credits his teammates, listing Nathan Fellner, Mason Foster, Cort Dennison and Victor Aiyewa as some players helping him get acclimated to the speed of the game and the defensive calls. However, the one player who has been the biggest help is the player who he is competing with for playing time.

"Right now I just have to prove to the coaches that I'm worthy of being on the field, but as of now I'm just looking to my mentor, Nate Williams," Shamburger said. "I think he deserves more reps that me because of his heart and commitment so I'm just watching him this year to see how he does things."

Seeing red: RB Chris Polk (shoulder), OT Cody Habben (shoulder), LB Victor Aiyewa (knee) and WR Cody Bruns continued to wear red. Aiyewa and Bruns took part in a few of the team drills, while Polk and Habben worked out on the side.

DE Everrette Thompson's foot was out of the boot so he appears to be making progress in healing up from his Achilles injury.

WR Jordan Polk, CB Desmond Trufant and LB Brandon Huppert were all running stairs or doing agility drills off to the side.

Schaefer appears to be a fit: Sarkisian seems to be mostly pleased with the move of Drew Schaefer to center.

"Anytime you go from left tackle and all of the sudden you've got your hand on the football and the guy across from you weighs 350 pounds, it's challenging," Sarkisian said. "There's some things that he's struggled with but he's getting to it. What we love is that he's so bright and we generally don't have guys running free into our backfield, whether it's the run game or the passing game. He gets our calls done and he's got long enough levers so that he can reach guys and do some things in the run game."

National media takes a look: There were quite a few recognizable people in attendance today. Former Huskies Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Paul Homer, Tim Cowan and Sonny Sixkiller were looking on along with former coach and Dawgman contributor Dick Baird as well as Chandler (Az.) head coach Jim Ewan (UW QB recruit Brett Hundley's head coach) was on the sidelines and will be a speaker at this weekend's Coaches Clinic.

Also roaming around were two national media guys -- Sports Illustrated's Stuart Mandel and a reporter from the New York Times -- who should have some reports up later tonight. Top Stories