For my story for today’s paper, I wrote about Chris Polk (shown right, running in the Apple Cup last season), who is sitting out the contact portion of drills this spring but otherwise is involved — and obviously is a huge part of the team going forward.
The centers on his recovery from off-season shoulder surgery, the reason he is limited this spring.
As detailed in the story, he suffered a torn labrum, the same injury that sidelined him for the season in 2008. This time, he vowed to play through it. “He was ‘okay all I have to do is brace it up and I’m ready to go,”’ said running backs coach Joel Thomas. “He was that way from the get go.”
Polk said he wasn’t trying to make a point to anyone, that he just wanted to keep playing football.
“I’m not living in the hype no more,” he said. “I’ve got nothing to prove. The only thing I have to prove it to is myself and my teammates. I’m not worried about anyone else critiquing me. They don’t know what we’ve got going on.”
Polk said he’s up to 215-220 pounds right now as he is trying to add some weight to make him a little more powerful — he hopes to play at 210-215 for the season.
“There are more yards out there (he could get),” Polk said. “I could improve getting better and bigger, give me an extra edge getting stronger. So there’s a lot of room for improvement, and running backs we get hit on every play no matter what play it is, so some extra weight wouldn’t hurt as long as I can keep my speed.”
Thomas said that’s the key, that “he maintains the weight and keeps the speed that he has. I thought he ran very powerfully last year at 205 — he ran like he was 215-220. It was cool to watch. Obviously he’s got to be able to carry his weight and be functional at the weight he puts on. We’ll see here. But he looks fast to me in the drills I have him in, so we just have to keep him fast.”
Polk also said he’s been spending time watching film, seeing where else he could find some hidden yards.
“I always critique myself,” he said. “Certain reads I should have seen, certain cutback lanes that if I would have paid attention to my keys and read the holes instead of just running off instinct, there are way more yards I could have got. But it was my first year and there is always room for improvement, so hopefully what I’m learning now will carry over to next season.”
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Times columnist Steve Kelley caught up with former Husky Reggie Williams after his first day of a three-day tryout with the Seahawks on Tuesday. Williams says he’s relishing having another chance at football in his hometown.
— Coach Sark’s Daily Top Five lists left tackle Senio Kelemete as player of the day and the Vonzell McDowell Jr. interception noted in the practice report as play of the day.
— Craig Spence, who spent the last two years at UW as offensive program coordinator, is the new head coach at Auburn Mountainview High.
— The UW Daily has a story on Nate Williams, who returned to practice on Tuesday after sitting out much of the previous two days with a head injury.
— Al Reser, the man whose name is on the stadium at Oregon State, has died.
— James Boyd, the USC player who was at the center of one of UW’s minor recruiting violations in 2009, has been switched to quarterback.
— SI.com’s Stewart Mandel says Oregon still looks like the favorite in the Pac-10.
And remember, UW is off to day so no practice until again Thursday at 4 p.m.