There are a number of ways to look at Adam Long:
1, Track and field sprinter playing football.
2, Quinton Richardon’s sudden replacement at cornerback.
3, Gnat-of-a-defensive back – small but pesky.
And moving forward, facing the lethal spread offense of Oregon on Saturday, and beyond, it appears Long is Nick Holt’s flavor-of-the-month choice to man the cornerback spot opposite Desmond Trufant.
“When you looked at the Arizona State film, he had a really nice ball game,” UW coach Steve Sarkisian said. “And he’s come out this week and he’s practicing well again. He’s running around he’s playing fast and physical.”
Fast, he is.
Physical, he’s learning to be.
Long is slight of build – 5-foot-10 and 166 pounds – much like his fellow St. Bernard High teammate Greg Walker, who is the backup free safety for the Huskies.
He relies on anticipation, and has the quickness to get in and out of receivers’ cuts on routes.
On Saturday, he was one of the UW’s few reliable tacklers, which coaches gave him high marks on in film review.
“It was really my full first game. They did tell me I did a good job, told me some things to work on … just little things on film, technique-wise, stuff I knew how to fix,” Long said. “They didn’t say too much about my tackling, which is fine. I did well tackling. I need to keep it up.”
The bye week is coming up after the Oregon game. Sarkisian mentioned that’s going to be the time the coaching staff evaluates each position group to see how vital it is to switch – or shore up personnel.
“It’s not that Vonzell and Q(uinton) aren’t playing good. Those guys (Trufant and Long) are just playing well. They’re playing hard, they’re understanding what we’re doing. So it’s good for us, we’re getting depth,” Sarkisian said. “We are getting younger, in a sense, but hopefully all four of those guys can continue to work and get their opportunities.”
Other buckets of data from Wednesday:
• It was defensive coordinator Nick Holt’s turn to explain what happened on the final play of ASU’s 24-17 win over the Huskies – a 50-yard touchdown pass from Danny Sullivan to Chris McGaha with five seconds to go.
“Too bad, we just didn’t finish up the game,” Holt said. “That is one of our lead defenses (cover-3) in that situation. Obviously it didn’t work out. That defense has won a lot of battles for us. God, I wish we would have that play over again, and do something different – a different call or you know, reminding guys of what they can do here.
Yes, Holt said he’s second-guessed his decision on what defense to call, but added, “When you have 3-4 calls that you have going into a situation like that, sometimes three out of four, you get it right – and the next time, you get it wrong.”
• Sarkisian said the bye-week schedule has been set. The team will practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, have the next three days off, and return for a Sunday night workout.
“It will be pretty regular. Our young guys will get a lot more work,” Sarkisian said. “It won’t be as much stuff like going against each other (in team period).”
The first-year coach said the staff won’t sit down until the day after the Oregon game to decide what – if any – position group will get tweaked.
• Quick-hit stuff: If defensive tackle Cameron Elisara (neck stinger) misses the game Saturday – Sarkisian lists him as doubtful – it will mark the eighth starter from the opening-game defense to miss a start. Elisara missed his third consecutive day of practice, wearing the red jersey to signify injury. Everrette Thompson would likely start in his place. … Strong safety Victor Aiweya hurt his shoulder in the Arizona State game, had an MRI on it this week and remains with the No. 2 defense. Nate Fellner appears ready to start at free safety, shifting Nate Williams back to his natural strong-safety position. … Receiver Jordan Polk (knee) had surgery last week, and is on track to return for the UCLA game Nov. 7. … Running back Curtis Shaw returned to practice, but receiver Anthony Boyles was out on the sidelines. Both have had a touch of the flu. … Speaking of being ill, Sarkisian has been battling a bug since the weekend. “I’m just getting over it. Stay back,” he told reporters. … Offensive tackle Drew Schaefer has been getting some snaps this week at center.