UW Huskies Insider

‘Limbo’ practice signals transition period

Post by Todd Milles / The News Tribune on Aug. 29, 2009 at 3:50 pm with No Comments »
August 29, 2009 3:50 pm

Quite frankly, the morning practice Saturday was about as listless a workout session as you’re going to find under new University of Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian and his high-energy standards.


He admitted as such, saying afterward, “This is always kind of a hard day for the guys, because we break (preseason) camp, but we’re really not in game-prep mode. They haven’t gotten their playbooks or anything like that. So it’s kind of a limbo day for them. But I’m sure when we come back Monday, we’ll be ready to go.”


About the only animated characters Saturday were in Nick Holt’s cast on defense, particularly the linebackers.


Mason Foster intercepted a Jake Locker pass during first-down offense drills and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.



Two plays later, Donald Butler sacked Locker. And on the first-team offense’s next series, Butler put a serious pile-drive on running back Chris Polk for a 5-yard loss on a run.


“We wanted to go out with a bang, and bring the passion for the last day to show it’s not the end, but the start of something big,” Foster said.


Other notes:


&bull The list of injuries keeps growing. New additions Saturday were defensive tackle Cameron Elisara (shoulder) and defensive end Darrion Jones (ill), both starters. Neither practiced. In fact, Jones wasn’t even near Husky Stadium.


“With the flu, especially heading into a game week, we just try and keep him away so no one else gets it,” Sarkisian said.


Others not practicing included linebackers Matt Houston (arm) and Reece Anderson; safeties Will Shamburger (knee) and Jason Wells (Achilles); cornerbacks Matt Mosley (knee) and Justin Glenn (hip); running back Johri Fogerson (right ankle); receiver James Johnson (right ankle); offensive linemen Skyler Fancher (ankle) and Terence Thomas (foot); tight end Kavario Middleton (hamstring) and defensive linemen Chris Robinson (knee) and Everrette Thompson (ankle).


Middleton said he would return Monday for practice. Also practicing Saturday was fullback Paul Homer (hamstring), who will rest the next day-and-a-half.


&bull After practice Thursday, Sarkisian spoke at length about the team’s “mock game,” or game-day simulation for Friday. The Huskies went through every facet, including pre- and post-game activities, in that exercise.


What’s clear is the game-day simulation wasn’t a walk-through. There was some hitting going on.


“Yeah, everyone was ready to go, so we came out like it was a real game. It was physical. It was a lot of fun,” Foster said. “And our uniforms were looking real nice. Mine was real sweet.”


&bull No depth chart was revealed Saturday. In fact, what appears to be one of the themes of the Sarkisian era is that the new coach prefers starting pods – a group of guys he can substitute in and out, based on matchups, so that there is no true starter taking all the snaps.


On the secondary, which saw Vonzell McDowell, Jr., Quinton Richardson and some of Desmond Trufant running with the No. 1 defense, as well as safeties, Greg Walker, Nate Williams and Victor Aiyewa doing the same, Sarkisian said “we’re going to talk quite a bit about that here for the next two days so we can focus in on reps as we get into game week.”


With Fogerson out, Chris Polk took the majority of the snaps with the first-string offense, with Willie Griffin spelling him. When asked if Polk was atop the depth chart, Sarkisian was coy. “We’ll decide that later,” he said.


As far as receivers, Jordan Polk, D’Andre Goodwin and Aguilar started out with the No. 1 offense, but Jermaine Kearse and even Anthony Boyles ran some plays with Locker and company.


&bull True freshman Talia Crichton continues to make a name for himself at defensive end, and was a standout Saturday.


“Talia is starting to come into his own. He got a little bit of a late start with the groin injury of camp, but he’s come on here the last couple days, and he showed up again today,” Sarkisisan said. “Obviously that’s a huge bonus for us if we can really get him going, add him to the mix on the defensive line and also be the pass rusher that we up.”


&bull Locker’s numbers were unimpressive, to say the least. Here is the breakdown:

* 7-on-7, 4-of-5, 53 yards.

* First down offense: 3-of-7, 41 yards, INT (Mason Foster 35-yard return, steps in front of Devin Aguilar).

* Third-down offense: 2-of-4, 30 yards (Offense converted 3-of-5 third downs).


&bull Placekicker Erik Folk struggled again, hitting 1-of-3 field goals. He made his first one from 43 yards, but missed from 45 (low, left) and 38 (wide right). Backup Eric Guttorp made his from 38 yards.


&bull Trufant looks to be part of the rotation at cornerback, and appears to have locked up a spot as a starting gunner on the punt-return squad. He’s a true freshman from Wilson High.


&bull The “Cushion Patrol” was out in full force (must have been 75 workers), setting up the rear-end cushions for season-ticket holders throughout Husky Stadium for the home opener Sept. 5 against No. 11 Louisiana State.


&bull Seb Sarkisian, the coach’s father, was in town from California the past few days, and watched his last practice of the fall Saturday before he and his wife, Sally, returned home.

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