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Football unit-by-unit preview: The running backs — After Sankey, it’s a group of wild cards

Post by Todd Dybas / The News Tribune on Aug. 2, 2013 at 10:56 am with 2 Comments »
August 2, 2013 11:04 am
Bishop Sankey averaged 5 yards per carry last season. / AP photo, Elaine Thompson
Bishop Sankey averaged 5 yards per carry last season. / AP photo, Elaine Thompson

One of the funny things about Bishop Sankey is hardly anyone talks about him.

At Pac-12 Media Day, his name didn’t come up during Washington’s formal session. During lunchtime, relaxed and and eating a Wolfgang Puck-produced meal, Steve Sarkisian didn’t answer any questions about Sankey.

Jesse Callier was the starter last season before tearing his ACL  in the opener against San Diego State. That was all the opportunity Sankey needed to go on a rampage. He had 66 yards after replacing Callier that day, then, along with the rest of the offense, was pounded into the ground by LSU. His eight carries in Baton Rouge produced 16 yards.

But, he ran for more than 100 yards — including 205 in the Las Vegas Bowl — in seven of the remaining 11 games. His 1,439 yards were third all-time in Washington history behind Corey Dillon’s 1,695 in 1996 and Chris Polk’s 1,488 in 2011. Sankey ended up averaging 110.7 yards per game last year as a true sophomore.

Sankey also proved durable. His 289 carries were third-most in a single season in Washington history. He steadied what would could have become a rotating mess.

As Keith Price put it one time last season about riding Sankey, “Just feed the hog.”

They expect to do so again this year.

Next in line: This is where the backfield becomes intriguing and curious. Redshirt freshman Dwayne Washington may end up No. 2 on the depth chart. Washington has three backs coming off ACL tears: Callier, Deontae Cooper (his third) and Ryan McDaniel. Erich Wilson II, who showed potential, transferred to San Jose State. Kendyl Taylor is more of a dual back; he had 14 catches and 35 carries last season. Incoming freshman Lavon Coleman has good size at 6 feet, 210 pounds.

“We have a known commodity in Bishop Sankey,” Sarkisian said. “I think there is a lot of intrigue in what Dwayne Washington can develop into. I think we have a really young, developing player in Kendyl Taylor who can do a lot of different things for us.”

But, it’s Callier, Cooper and McDaniel that Sarkisian is wondering about.

“If we get all three of them back completely healthy, what a bonus,” Sarkisian said. “If we get two of the three, great. If we get one of the three, good. We’ll see what happens. They’re cleared and ready to go for training camp.

“With Deontae, we’re obviously going to monitor him very closely, even closer than a day-to-day basis. Kind of throughout practice, throughout practice, day after day to make sure we’re giving him the best chance to be successful.

“It has a chance to be a great position of depth for us, but we do have three wild cards out there.”

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. I hope Deontae Cooper scores the first TD in new Husky Stadium. Amazing he’s still trying after all those knee injuries

  2. fredbenson says:

    I hope all of them stay healthy. Like you, TacDawg, I hope to see Coop play. If Sankey stays healthy, I’d like to see Coop returning punts and kick offs, he’s explosive when he’s healthy.

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