As if the offensive line didn’t have enough questions marks around it, the unit suffered the first injury of fall camp when junior Erik Kohler went down with a knee injury during 1-on-1 drills with the defensive linemen. Kohler got the right leg caught behind him and let out a loud yell as he crumpled to the turf.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian said that Kohler had his kneecap pop out of place and then pop back in. Sarkisian said they didn’t think it was too serious and that Kohler would be back in a few days. Safety Sean Parker left the field with an oxygen mask and an IV. He was suffering from dehydration. It was pretty hot on the turf of the east practice field.
Speaking of the offensive line — in the first 11 on 11 period, Kohler, last year’s starting right tackle, was working at center, while last year’s starting center, Drew Schaefer, was working at left tackle. This is no surprise. Sarkisian said that he would shift offensive linemen around in the first few weeks. When Kohler went down, Schaefer went back to center and Micah Hatchie, who worked as the first-team left tackle all spring, went back to that spot.
The rest of the first team o-line was Dexter Charles at left guard, James Atoe at right guard and Ben Riva at right tackle. The second team offensive line was Hatchie at left tackle, Siosifa Tufunga at left guard, Mike Criste at center, freshman Shane Brostek at right guard and Ross Dulbec at right tackle.
Last year’s starting left guard Colin Tanigawa, who suffered a torn ACL against Oregon State, was cleared to practice. But it was pretty minimal today. Tanigawa warmed up and did a few other minor individual drills, but no team stuff. Sarkisian even said it would be a gradual process in his return. Same goes for Deontae Cooper, who is coming back after back to back knee surgeries.
To be fair, it wasn’t a very good day for the offensive line. O-line coach Dan Cozzetto was pretty fired up and the defensive line had all kinds of pressure. Of course, it’s the first day and no pads.
Freshman Kendyl Taylor got a lot of first-team looks as the slot receiver along with Cody Bruns.
The best offensive play came when Keith Price hit Cody Bruns on corner route, beating Parker for about 45-yard scoring pass.
Price is listed at 202 pounds and he looks considerably bigger. Sarkisian said it didn’t seem to affect Price’s explosiveness out of the pocket.
The first team defense was much like the spring.
- The defensive line: Talia Crichton, Danny Shelton and Andrew Hudson
- The linebackers: Josh Shirley, Princton Fuiamaono, John Timu and Nate Fellner
- Safeties: Justin Glenn and Sean Parker
- Corners: Greg Ducre and Des Trufant.
Defensive end Hau’oli Jamora worked with the second team unit mostly, but he does look like he’s moving well and participated in all of the team drills.
Freshman Shaq Thompson, who worked at safety and inside as the nickel back on the second and third team units, had an interception of Derrick Brown during 7 on 7 drills.
Brown was also intercepted by Tre Watson during 11 on 11 drills.
John Timu also intercepted a pass of Price that bounced off the hands of James Johnson.
Jesse Callier had a fumble, that Josh Shirley picked up and returned about 20 yards for a touchdown.
the battle for kicker is interesting if for no other reason than junior college transfer Travis Coons and Gig Harbor freshman Korey Durkee both wear #46. Thankfully, Durkee is 6-foot-4 and is a little taller than Coons, who is listed at 6-2.
While Durkee was recruited largely as a punter, he’s a pretty good kicker as well. So he’s also vying for that spot. Coons made 4 of 7 field goals today while Durkee was 6 for 6.
But as Sarkisian pointed out – the misses aren’t just on the kicker. It can also be a factor on the snap and hold.