It may be Thanksgiving, but it’s also only two days before the Apple Cup, which means a semi-regular day of work for the Huskies, who have just gotten off the practice field. They will now be free to head to homes of friends, families and coaches for the rest of the day before returning for a regular day of work Friday.
With the holiday in mind, I’ll make this one long post, including practice notes, a few links, and rumors of a possible new commit:
PRACTICE REPORT — First, I’ll express Thanksgiving Day thanks to Todd Milles of the Tacoma News Tribune for handling duties covering practice today. Our only availability is head coach Steve Sarkisian following practice, so we decided just one of us could handle that and Milles
lost a bet/volunteered to be our eyes and ears out there today.
Milles reports practice ran about 90 minutes and seemed a little more intense and chippy than the usual Thursday practices. That’s seemed the theme all week — Sarkisian mentioned that on Tuesday that practices had been pretty chippy and the coaches have seemed particularly animated each of the past few days. Not a game they want to lose, obviously, and they also want to avoid the hesitant way the Huskies opened the game at Oregon State.
In other practice notes:
— WR Jordan Polk, out the last few days with migraines, did some route-running early, and jogging. However, Sarkisian said it was still too early to tell if he can play Saturday. “We’ll see how he’s feeling,” Sarkisian said. “He’s a lot better today, so we’ll see how he’s doing.”
— For a fourth consecutive day, defensive tackle Cameron Elisara (neck stinger) practiced with the No. 1 defense.
— RB Chris Polk (shoulder) wore the red jersey again, but ran with the first-string offense without limitations.
— Cody Bruns continued to get a lot of work with the No. 1 offense with Jordan Polk’s situation for Saturday unclear. Sarkisian said on Wednesday there’s as chance Bruns could see some action this week.
— Asked the general feeling of the team heading into the game, Sarkisian said: “I think they’re great. Today was really good energy. We challenged them to bring their energy, to be fired up and excited to come to practice today. The fact there’s thousands of people around the country that are playing ‘Turkey Bowls’ at the parks or at the schools, and we get to actually play football on Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving weekend I think is exciting for our guys.”
— Asked how much Elisara might play, he said: “We’ll monitor him. I want to see him right off the bat and see what it looks like, and then we’ll monitor him very closely. It’s going to be somewhat up to him to see what his strength level is as the game goes on.”
— Asked about fitting Dorson Boyce into the offense, Sarkisian said: “It’s been hard. Anytime a JC transfer is in, that transition is hard. He’s going to be a guy that is really going to benefit from the offseason of really getting this offense, because he is a talented kid, and we’re going to need him to contribute.”
— Sarkisian mentioned on Wednesday there could be other guys working on both offense and defense, as Anthony Boyles has done the last few weeks. Asked to elaborate on that today he said: “It’s a recruiting thing, but I think there’s a couple guys on the roster that potentially could help that way. We’ve got to look at that in the offseason. It’s too late now.”
A NEW HUSKY? Meanwhile, there are multiple reports today that the Huskies have recevied a commitment from OT Michael Criste of Mission Viejo (Calif.) High. He’s rated as the No. 93 OT in the country by Scout.com and visited UW the weekend of the Oregon game.
OCVarsity.com quotes Criste as saying that he has committed. RealDawg.com has its own report and noted that he has also been offered by Arizona State and UNLV.
ESPN.com rates Criste as the No. 69 OT in the country and says he has “the size and athletic ability” to be a tackle at the highest level of college competition.
The Orange County Register recently rated Criste the No. 14 recruit in its coverage area.
Assuming it’s true, Criste would be the 24th commitment to UW’s Class of 2010 and the fifth offensive linemen, joining Erik Kohler of Oaks Christian, Colin Porter of Bothell, Ben Riva of O’Dea and Colin Tanigawa of Loyola.
All 24 commits in the class are high school seniors, indicating indeed that Sarkisian is building for the future.
TURKEY DAY LINKS — Or maybe they should be drumsticks. Anyway, here are a few:
— For my main story today, I examined just how young the Huskies and Cougars are in relation to the rest of the Pac-10. My general thesis is that aside from the two Arizona schools, every team in the Pac-10 can make a claim to being young, so any hope for the two in-state schools that all they need is to wait a few years for all their players to mature and they’ll just ease right back into the top level of the conference may be a little faulty.
I see some criticism in the comments section that I didn’t go in-depth enough. That’s one of the unfortunate realities at times of having to make a story fit the space allowed in the newspaper — I had to leave some stuff out. In general, I don’t think looking more closely at linemen or juniors would change the general view much — a lot of other teams in the conference are playing an awful lot of young guys.
However, I do plan to do some really specific breakdowns of all the other rosters in the Pac-10 in a few weeks, once UW’s season is over, to examine just how the Huskies do stack up in relation to the rest.
— I also wrote this notebook leading with an item on some players with connections to both sides of the rivalry — seems like a lot of those this year.
— Our high school notebook leads with an item on UW commit Sione Potoa’e being suspended for Lakes’ playoff game tomorrow after being ejected last week.
— Here’s all the WSU news you would need from The Spokesman-Review. Most interesting may be that it looks like there’s no real chance Jeff Tuel will see any time at QB, leaving the duties to Kevin Lopina and Marshall Lobbestael.
— Here’s an update on Nick Montana.
— Jon Wilner calls for “a Husky romp.”
— The usual comprehensive Pac-10 links from Ken Goe at The Oregonian.
SENDING THANKS TO ALL OF YOU — I see some of you have sent Thanksgiving Day well wishes out to everyone connected with the blog. I echo those sentiments — thanks to all of the readers out there. I realize fully I have no job doing this if no one’s reading, so thanks.
Also, I’ll have the Pac-10 picks up later, as well as the pick on the game (probably tomorrow, though there’s no real suspense in who, it’s just by how much). Until then, have a great holiday and thanks for reading.