If the Washington players thought it was going to be a breezy dash at practice-dine at Thankgsiving sort of day, they were wrong.
The UW coaching staff had other ideas in the team’s last full practice before the 102nd Apple Cup on Saturday at Husky Stadium.
If players’ heads weren’t in the 90-minute practice, they heard about it immediately, from the top (coach Steve Sarkisian) all the way down the line (Doug Nussmeier, Dan Cozetto, Joel Thomas, Demetrice Martin).
“Today was really good energy. We challenged them to bring their energy, to be fired up and excited to come to practice today,” Sarkisian said. “The fact there’s thousands of people around the country that are playing “Turkey Bowls” at the parks or at the schools, and we get to actually play football on Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving weekend I think is exciting for our guys.”
Most of the blunt feedback came on special teams, which was the focus for the first half of practice.
Other Turkey Day stuff(ing):
• Receiver Jordan Polk (migraines) did some route-running early, and jogging in his first day of practice this week. Despite not running at all with the No. 1 offense, he has not been ruled out to play Saturday.
“We’re going to bring him. We’ll see how he’s feeling,” Sarkisian said. “He’s a lot better today, so we’ll see how he’s doing.”
• On the topic of defensive tackle Cameron Elisara’s workload after his 31/2-game absence with a neck stinger, Sarkisian noted on game day, he wants “to see him right off the bat and see what it looks like, and then we’ll monitor him very closely. It’s going to be somewhat up to him to see what his strength level is as the game goes on.”
• Linebacker E.J. Savannah (broken left wrist) did not practice, but was in attendance.
• Running back Chris Polk (shoulder) wore the red jersey again, but ran with the first-string offense without limitations.
• No receiver Tony Chidiac (hamstring). Lots of Cody Bruns with the No. 1 offense.
• Sarkisian’s Thanksgiving Day meal won’t be extravagant. “All the traditional stuff,” he said.
News from the WSU camp on Thanksgiving Day:
• No practice for quarterback Jeff Tuel, meaning he’s all but out for Saturday in any capacity other than a spectator.
• Cornerback Brandon Jones (back) is starting to move around more at practice, but he did not participate in any contact drills Thursday. His status is questionable, at best.
• Defensive back Chima Nwachukwu (ankle) did limited work, spending most of his team at safety Thursday. Earlier in the week, coach Paul Wulff said if the junior was going to start, it would be at cornerback in place of Jones.
As it stands, it appears Tyrone Justin and Terrance Hayward will start at cornerback, with Xavier Hicks, Jr. and Easton Johnson at safety.
• Reed Lesuma and Joe Eppele continue to split first-team carries at right guard in place of B.J. Guerra. Eppele should start the game there.