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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 24, 2009 at 6:17 PM

Monday afternoon practice

Filling in for Bob Condotta.
It’s obvious training camp is winding down and the intensity is increasing on Montlake. Just 13 days remain until the Sept. 5 opener against No. 11 LSU and the playmakers are starting to emerge. At least they are in the backfield.
This afternoon, RB Chris Polk was the star of practice. The 5-11, 210-pounder ripped off two amazing runs during team drills that drew a loud applause from the 50 or so fans that lingered around the track and sat in the Husky Stadium stands.
On the first play, Polk took a screen pass on the right, slipped two tackles and raced 70 yards along the sideline.
A few minutes later, Polk got the ball on a draw, raced through a gaping hole in the middle and turned on the jets to outrace defenders along the right sideline again.
It was the kind of big-play ability that was missing from the offense last season.
Obviously, Coach Steve Sarkisian raved about Polk and described his day as an “excellent practice.” Polk was more subdued. He’s hoping to nail down the starting spot in the next few days and believes a few more practices like today will do the trick.
“I really don’t know what going through the coach’s head,” he said. “That’s his decision. … But yes, if I can do what I’ve been doing, that’s what I’m aiming for. Just being consistent.”
Polk said he’s working on becoming a North-South type of runner and wants to exploit defenses with his blazing speed. He said he ran 4.35 seconds in the 40-yard dash in the spring when he weighed 215 pounds.
Despite the recent strong showings, Sarkisian said the there’s still competition for starting jobs at several positions, including running back. Sophomore Johri Fogerson is still in contention along with Curtis Shaw and Willie Griffin.
QB Keith Price, DE Talia Crichton and LB Tim Tucker missed today’s practice. Sarkisian said the three freshman sat out because the NCAA Clearinghouse needed to review their eligibility for the upcoming season. The coach didn’t appear alarmed and was hopeful to have them return soon. Stay tuned.
DB Quinton Richardson (hip pointer), TE Kavario Middleton (sore hamstring) and S David Batts (sore foot) also missed Monday’s drill and will likely skip a few more days to recover. It appears as if it’s just a precauction.
I spoke with Richardson after practice and he was reluctant to discuss the injury. He did say he would like to return tomorrow, but the final word will likely come from Sarkisian and the medical staff. Sarkisian is erring on the side of caution, which is the same thing he did with a few other players last week.
FB Paul Homer and Ryan Tolar (toe), who sat out last week returned to practice. Homer worked mostly with the No. 2 offense, while Tolar rejoined the starters. SS Victor Aiyewa (mild concussion) also worked out.
Sarkisian liked almost everything about Saturday’s scrimmage. The effort was there. The players were attentive to detail. However, he said it didn’t seem as if the players were having any fun and they played with little emotion, which is a big no-no for a fired-up guy like Sarkisian.
“I want them to enjoy football,” he said.
During training camp, the coaches are on the field with players and often they’re more amped than anyone else. Sarkisian said he’ll use this final week of camp to simulate game-like conditions. He plans to substitute with players from the sidelines, keep the coaches away from the huddle and hopes the players can create intensity amongst themselves.
— No real changes to the depth chart, except for the injury replacements.
— A camera crew for ESPN followed Sarkisian during practice. The energetic coach wore a microphone, which more than likely provided great material for a piece that will air on ESPN GameDay before the LSU game. Said Sark: “I have no problems wearing a microphone. This is what we do. And this is the way we do it. … I want people to see that.”
— CB Desmond Trufant got in some work with the No. 1 defense during a drill. Sarkisan said he’s anxious to watch him over the next few days.
— CB Adam Long did an admirable job filling in for Richardson.
— RB Demitrus Bronson had great difficulty holding on to the football today. By my unofficial count, he fumbled at least twice, which doesn’t bode well for his chances of carving out playing time in a very crowded backfield. Sarkisian tried to cut Bronson some slack explaining he has a shoulder injury.
— Freshman WR James Johnson continues to impress with his pass-catching ability. Today he had a couple of nice grabs during a 7-on-7 pass drill, including a catch along the sideline on a corner route.
For you Dawgfather fans, legendary UW coach Don James is expected to make an appearance at Tuesday night’s 6:45 p.m. practice, which the second of two practices. The Huskies also practice at 8:45 a.m.
It’s believed it’s the first time James will observe a Sarksian-led workout. Not sure if James will address the team or not, but it will be neat to see the two coaches hangout on the field so get there early if you’re going and bring your cameras.



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