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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

July 14, 2009 at 3:42 PM

All freshmen in for LEAP program, other notes

The University of Washington’s summer LEAP program for freshmen athletes began Monday, and all 13 of the football team’s incoming frosh are enrolled. This is not a program for junior college players, so this does not impact the six JC players the Huskies also signed in February.
The 13 scholarship football players enrolled are Marlion Barnett, Talia Crichton, Nate Fellner, James Johnson, Kimo Makaula, Keith Price, Andru Pulu, Chris Robinson, Will Shamburger, Semisi Tokolahi, Desmond Trufant, Tim Tucker and Jordan Wallace.
The LEAP program (often referred to in the past as the “bridge program” but no longer, so I’ve changed it here) is a four-week course designed to prepare the incoming freshmen for college class work, with the players also taking part in sanctioned conditioning sessions and voluntary workouts with their teammates.
Coach Steve Sarkisian said today he spoke to the group last night and is, as you might expect, excited that they are all here.
“They look really good,” he said. “They are a versatile group. We don’t have any freshmen offensive linemen and we don’t have huge numbers. But outside of that I think we have some really good versatility. … I just like the mix of the guys, and they all look like they’ve been keeping in the best shape they can up until this point. It’s always difficult for these guys finishing high school. They think they are working out, but they get a little bit of a rude awakening when they start working out with our guys. But they all looked really good the first day.”
Of the six JC transfers, one, tight end Dorson Boyce, is admitted and on campus. The other five are still in varying degrees of getting their work completed. But it’s thought that CB Dominique Gaisie and P Will Mahan will make it in just fine, with S David Batts and OL Daniel Mafoe close but still needing a little more work. DL Johnny Tivao, however, has further to go and his status may be the most uncertain of the group.
Sarkisian also addressed the team’s tailback situation with the Huskies down to four scholarship players at that position after it was learned last week that David Freeman and Brandon Johnson will not be on the roster for academic reasons. Sarkisian said neither player is expected to return to UW, and also said he does not anticipate any other departures prior to fall camp.
Sarkisian said that for now, the Huskies are likely to go with the four players they have at tailback — Chris Polk, Willie Griffin, Curtis Shaw and Demitrius Bronson — and not make any moves to add depth at that spot.
“We are going to have to assess it,” he said. “With four healthy guys, that’s good from a depth issue. And we have some walk-on kids coming in who can give us some depth there, so it’s not an immediate concern. But we’ll look at it a little bit.”
An obvious candidate to move if the Huskies desired would be Johri Fogerson, a sophomore who began his career as a tailback before switching to safety early last season. But Sarkisian said for now, he likes Fogerson at safety — Fogerson ended the spring as a co-starter at free safety with Greg Walker.
“I thought he really came on the second half of the spring at safety,” Sarkisian said of Fogerson. However, he noted that the move of Alvin Logan from receiver to free safety and the probable return of Jason Wells could give the Huskies some added depth there. “So we’ll have to assess it to see (who fits where),” he said. But as of now, everyone will begin fall camp at their current spots, he said.
The coaches are mostly taking July off as a last respite before the 24-7 of the playing season and the recruiting wars that follow. But as might be expected, Aug. 10, when fall camp begins, is never far from Sarkisian’s mind.
Asked a particular area of emphasis for the beginning of fall camp, Sarkisian said “our depth on special teams is a big issue for us,” saying that’s one area where the 13 freshmen who enrolled this week could help the most.
“That’s why these incoming freshmen and assessing them early on in training camp and where they can contribute, not just on offense or defense but also special teams, is so important,” he said. “We are not the deepest of teams, so anywhere the guys can help is critical to our success, especially early in the season.”
Sarkisian said that lack of depth will also play into how training camp will be structured, with an emphasis on keeping the team as fresh as possible.
“Again, we are not the deepest team and we’ve still got a huge amount of teaching that we want to get done,” he said. “So finding ways to stay fresh through training camp is important so that we are maximizing our athleticism when LSU comes around on Labor Day Weekend.”

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