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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 7, 2007 at 2:58 PM

Butler sidelined

UW coach Tyrone Willingham threw a little surprise our way during his regular press briefing today by announcing that projected starting middle linebacker Donald Butler will be sidelined for a day or two while he continues to recover from off-season knee surgery.
Willingham called it a “precautionary” move and said he was not worried that it is something that will impact Butler long-term.
That Butler had surgery in the off-season, however, wasn’t known until today.
Willingham said the surgery was to clean up an injury that dated to his high school days at Del Campo High in Sacramento.
Asked it if was simply a scope, Willingham said it was “a little more intensive than that.”
Willingham said that any time a player has work done to his knee “you have to be careful with those,” which is why Butler was sitting out today.
Today’s practice, set to begin at 3:30, will be the most intense for the Huskies as UW will put on shells (essentially helmets and shoulder pads) after going without pads the previous two days.
The news on Butler doesn’t sound earth-shaking, but any setback for him could be problematic as he is a key part of UW’s defensive future after making 24 tackles last season as a true freshman.
OTHER NOTES
— Willingham was asked again about the lineup shakeups and indicated that all are still in effect, and all could be long-term. “Usually once you get there (behind on the depth chart) it’s a little more difficult to get out,” he said. Asked if he would be comfortable with the current starting offensive line as the starters for the opener at Syracuse, Willingham said “absolutely. I’d be very comfortable.”
— Willingham said the passing and catching in Monday’s practice was better than Sunday, when the entire passing offense looked a little ragged. “We’re still not sharp yet, but I thought we took a step forward,” Willingham said.
— Willingham talked a little about the tight end spot and said he “likes the chemistry of the group. They are working really well together.” Still sounds as if the coaches would like to see someone emerge as the go-to guy at that spot.
PRACTICE UPDATE 4 P.M.: Just back from the 25 minutes of practice we are allowed to watch. Butler had his right knee in a wrap and was jogging around and throwing passes during interception drills but otherwise apparently won’t do much today.
RB Louis Rankin wore a gold jersey, symbolizing his solid play in practice so far, the first winner of the fall. RB coach Trent Miles praised Rankin’s play when he met with a few of us earlier in the day. Miles also said that he is impressed with all of the team’s new running backs but that it’s still way too early to determine who might play and how much. He said “three or four” are likely to have to play this season, however, if only on special teams, if nothing else.
Among the visitors to practice were former Huskies Hugh Millen and Wilbur Hooks, the latter now working for the Department of Homeland Security.

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