A surprisingly nice day at Husky Stadium for the final practice of the spring Thursday before tomorrow night’s Friday Night Lights spring game.
The team was on the field for only about an hour, and in helmets only, running through plays and special teams work.
Afterward, UW coach Steve Sarkisian said the format for the spring game will be the one offense and two defense against the one defense and two offense.
So that means, obviously enough, ones against ones and twos against twos.
He said he went that way to keep the units working together the way they have been all spring.
“I didn’t want to break it up,” he said. “I want to give our guys the best opportunity to go out and perform and play well and show how far they’ve come and I felt like that was the right thing to do.”
Jake Locker and Keith Price will be the quarterbacks for the No. 1 offense, with Nick Montana working with the twos.
Sarkisian said Locker “will play until we feel he’s gotten enough reps and then Keith will go.”
The coaching staffs will also be split up with Dan Cozzetto coaching the team that will be quarterbacked by Montana, and Nick Holt the team with Locker and Price. Sarkisian will oversee all of it.
Asked what he wants to see out of the Spring Game, Sarkisian said: “I really just want to see our guys play and be successful. I know what I don’t want to see are false starts and offsides and holdings and pass interferences. I want to see our guys play a really clean football game and see them having fun and excited and play a crisp fast-paced scrimmage with a lot of interaction with our fans.”
That latter statement is a reference to some events that are described in this story here, such as a throwing competition with Marques Tuiasosopo and possibly a hot dog eating competition.
The only player newly added to the injury list who is likely out for the game is receiver Jermaine Kearse, who sprained his foot in practice Tuesday. Sarkisian said it’s not serious but probably not worth trying to play him Friday. D’Andre Goodwin also remains out with a hamstring injury, so the WR spot will be a little shy of depth.
Sarkisian said the No. 1 WRs will be James Johnson, Devin Aguilar and Cody Bruns. Jordan Polk and Luther Leonard will work with twos.
Sarkisian also said the No. 1 offensive line will be as it’s been the last week — Senio Kelemete at LT, Ryan Tolar at LG, Drew Schaefer at center, Mykenna Ikehara at RG and Daniel Kanczugowski at RT.
The only change there from the beginning of the spring is Kanczugowski, replacing Skyler Fancher.
Asked about Kanczugowski, Sarkisian said: “He’s just been steady. He’s physical in the run game and he’s been pretty steady. He’s still young so he’s learning, but what I like is when he makes a mistake and we coach him up, that solves it. He doesn’t continually make the same mistake over and over and over, which is a challenge, you’d be surprised, for some guys. He’s been steady.”
The No. 1 TE will apparently be Chris Izbicki, who ran with the ones throughout practice today.
Friday Night Lights officially begins at 6:30 p.m. but actual kickoff will be closer to 7 p.m. It will feature 15-minute running clocks, stopping only on change of possession.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Sarkisian said Brandon Yakaboski, a sophomore running back from Mt. Si High, will give up football, unable to recover from a knee injury initially suffered in 2008. “His knee just couldn’t get right,” he said. Yakaboski will remain in school on a medical scholarship, but does not count against the 85-man scholarship limit for football.
— CB Desmond Trufant, recovering from sports hernia surgery in the off-season, worked most of Thursday’s practice with the No. 1 defense but will not play Friday. But he is on track to be fully recovered in the fall.
— Will Shamburger continues to run as the No. 1 free safety alongside Nate Williams at strong. The No. 2 FS is Nate Fellner with Greg Walker working as the No. 2 strong safety Thursday. Holt said after practice that the emergence of Shamburger has helped to clarify the safety position longterm and that touted recruit Sean Parker will begin his career at strong safety in the fall (meaning a likely roll for him this season is backing up Williams and then potentially taking over as the starter in 2011). I’ll have from Holt later.
— Others out tomorrow include DEs Kalani Aldrich and Everrette Thompson, TBs Chris Polk and Jesse Callier, OT Cody Habben and LB Victor Aiyewa. However, Holt said again afterward he expects Aldrich and Thompson to return in the fall, and all the rest are also said to be good to go come August.
— Joe Montana was a vistitor at practice with wife Jennifer.
— The coaches will hit the road recruiting next week, and while some teams that have already ended spring ball are already out, Sarkisian said he likes being a little later, in part because most high school teams have yet to start their own spring practice. “I feel we have a distinct advantage. The majority of schools haven’t started spring ball. Part of May, to me, is the evaluation process of it and you are evaluating from a grade and character standpoint but (you also) need to evaluate them on the field and in practice, and to me I don’t quite see the advantage to being the first guy in the door if you don’t get to see them work. So I’d rather be out as late as we can to make sure we get to as many spring practices as we can.”
— Head coaches, however, cannot go on the road in May and Sarkisian will spent much of next week at the Pac-10 football coaches meetings in Phoenix.
— A few recruits were on-hand, with a few more expected Friday. Among those there Thursday were QB Cody Kessler of Bakersfield, Calif., and OL Justin Hansen of Longmont, Col.
All for now.