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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 5, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Press conference highlights

UW coach Steve Sarkisian has concluded his first press conference of the season, kicking off fall camp.
I had some of the highlights on my Twitter page as it was ongoing, and as much as I can this year I will use that, as well, to pass along news. I also hope to have some more complete quotes from the press conference later. (Though in the full disclosure portion of this blog, I wasn’t physically there as I forgot that they’d close every road in the state so that the Blue Angels could practice for Seafair. After getting a call from Todd Milles that I-5 was backed up to Sacramento or so, I just stayed home and literally phoned it in).
For now, here are some highlights:
— Sark said incoming frosh DB John Timu and DE Brent Williams will sit out the fall as gray shirts. Timu is continuing to recover from a knee injury and Williams will use the time to continue to develop physically — he was listed at 186 pounds when he signed. That does make each a recruitable athlete again, but each was here for the summer LEAP program and presumably on board with the decision.
— Sarkisian said he thinks Jake Locker can improve his completion percentage from the 58.4 percent of last season to 65-68 this year, and can also improve his TD-to-interception rate from last year’s two-to-one (21-to-11 in actual numbers) to 3-to-1 this year. He said if those two things happen “good things are going to happen for the Huskies this fall.”
— The only returning player Sarkisian specifically cited as “limited” due to injury heading into camp is safety Justin Glenn, who broke his fibula last year against Notre Dame and is still recovering.
— Sark said everyone else should be good to go. He said Chris Polk is “100 percent” and that DEs Kalani Aldrich and Everrette Thompson should be ready for the first practice. However, he said Aldrich (who missed the spring with knee issues) and Thompson (who missed with an Achilles injury) will need to be “monitored” throughout camp and are unlikely to ever do both practices on the day UW holds two-a-days. He reiterated what he has said before that the key is to get them ready for BYU, not beat them up during camp. He called Ta’amu “a new man” based on having lost at least 30 pounds since arriving at UW.
— He also noted that the new Pac-10 rule allowing teams to travel 70 players to conference games (up from 64) should allow for more flexibility and added depth for road games, which he said could be a particular help for UW’s D-line this year, allowing them to rotate more players. This isn’t an issue at home where teams can dress as many players as they like.
— He said KO returners will likely be Chris Polk and Deontae Cooper but that lots of guys (such as Jesse Callier, Kevin Smith and a few others) could end up rotating in, as well. As punt returner, he said Devin Aguilar will go into camp as the lead guy with Cody Bruns in backup.
— He said the starting CBs going in would be Desmond Trufant and Quinton Richardson, with Vonzell McDowell and Adam Long next in line.
— Said the starting DL as of today would be Talia Crichton and De’Shon Matthews at end, and Cameron Elisara and Alameda Ta’amu at tackles.
— He said Josh Shirley will start at out defensive end, at the same rush end spot (or LEO in UW’s terminology) behind Crichton. That would allow Crichton to move to the other spot at times, if needed. Said Shirley is actually 225 pounds and not the 210 listed.
— The overarching theme of his comments was that he feels UW is a much better football team this year in every way. As he did at Pac-10 media day last week, he noted the improved physical condition of the team and said that “we look like a really good football team now. I don’t know if I could say that a year ago.” He also said that where a year ago, the goal was to be competitive and let the opponent know it had been in for a tough game, this year the goal is simply to win. “Last year it was compete, fight, scratch and claw,” he said. “This year it’s ‘let’s go play well and win championships.”
— He said new walk-on QB Erik Wilson of Redondo Beach is a player they have seen a lot in the recruiting process. He was a grayshirt at UNLV last year but didn’t get a scholarship there and has come to UW, instead. Sark said Wilson and fellow walk-on QB Mike King of Aberdeen can each run the spread and throw well enough to give UW the scout team looks it needs to prepare for opponents during the season.
All for now.

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