The sun came out on the second day of Washington’s 2010 football training camp.
So, too, emerged a clear lesson from UW coach Steve Sarkisian in how the Huskies are to conduct themselves in practice.
What should be becoming clear is that while the Husky coach values the team getting physically ready for the season, he values just as much that each of the team’s players makes it through camp ready to play come Sept. 4 at BYU.
So Sarkisian didn’t let it slide when about halfway through practice, linebacker Mason Foster pushed running back Chris Polk out of bounds —- the team was again in helmets only and shying away from major contact.
The coach sent Foster to the sidelines, with a loud explanation of why, and let his senior linebacker and one of the team’s leaders stew there for five minutes or so before being returned to action.
“It was about shoving a guy in the back and we didn’t need to do that,” Sarkisian said later. “And for me being the coach is I’m trying to not just teach Mason that lesson but trying to teach all of the guys that lesson, especially the young guys, the way we practice the way we play, protecting each other. It was a great opportunity to capitalize on that because for it to be a team leader like Mason is, and for the rest of the team to know that it doesn’t matter who you are, we don’t play that way, it worked out beautifully. And Mason’s fine, he understands, the team understands and we’re moving on.”
Indeed, Foster soon returned to action, and the Huskies continued with another practice the coach viewed a success (and as noted earlier, there didn’t appear to be any new injuries).
“I thought it was good,” he said. “I thought the intensity was really good today. The guys…in this format after one day of just being in helmets, they start clamoring. They want to get the pads on. Traditionally this day can be a little difficult because you’re just in helmets again, but I thought we responded well in all phases. I thought the offense was efficient doing things…running the ball, throwing the football. And I’ve been really impressed with a lot of the young defensive players. And a credit to (defensive coordinator) Nick (Holt) and (linebackers coach) Mike Cox and those guys on that side of the ball, to play those young kids in there with the ones, to get a feel for how they look. And there are some guys that are doing some pretty good stuff.”
Asked to name a few, Sarkisian said: “Defensive side of the ball today, I feel like I saw Sione (Potoa’e) again. I feel like that guy…he’s powerful enough that he shows up. You see him. Princeton Fuimaono again… Cooper Pelluer did some nice things… Sean Parker, he’s a good football player. He’s kind of what we thought he would be. And Greg Ducre had another good day for him. So those are just a couple off the top of my head just from the plays I saw today.”
Offensively, Sarkisian cited RB Deontae Cooper, though also with a nod to Chris Polk: “What I noticed the first couple of days is that I noticed Chris Polk showing up, and I think that’s because of Deontae’s presence. And I think now with Chris doing what he’s done for the first two days, I thought Coop really came back and had a nice day. I don’t know if yesterday was his best day, but I thought he bounced back today and had a real nice day.”
MORE NOTES. …
— Not as many big offensive plays today, which seemed as much a function of the practice (which was heavy on special teams early) as anything else. If I had to pick of the play of the day, it might be an interception of a tipped Keith Price pass by Ducre during the 11-on-11 period.
— The most notable personnel move early remains the defensive line, with Alameda Ta’amu at nose tackle and Semisi Tokolahi at the other tackle working with the No. 1 unit. That would give UW about 630 pounds up the middle (Ta’amu listed at 330, Tokolahi at 297) and allow Cameron Elisara to play at one end spot and Talia Crichton at the other. Sarkisian said it’s a look that could be used against better running teams. “We’re looking at things and there is some emphasis when we are facing specific run teams we might be bigger inside and bigger with Cameron at the end,” he said. “But depending on the type of style of team we play so looking at different options so we are prepared for it.”
— One notable change on the OL was true frosh Colin Porter splitting time at right guard with the second unit with Skyler Fancher. Erik Kohler also remains with the second unit at left tackle — the other true frosh OLs remain with the third team. So right now, judging by where they appear to be on the depth chart, Kohler and Porter look to be the closest to playing of those true frosh OLs.
— Not sure if it means much, and the two backups appear to be splitting reps pretty evenly. But Nick Montana generally goes first in the rotation after Jake Locker, followed by Price.
— We get to talk to guys on different days based on when they lift after practice, so today was our chance to talk to the non-skill position guys, which meant our first chance to talk to Chris Izbicki since the news of the dismissal of Kavario Middleton — he’ll be the focus of my story for tomorrow’s paper. Sarkisian praised Izbicki’s work ethic but said he needs to have more belief in what he can do in the passing game. Asked about Izbicki’s work in the off-season, he said: “I think it’s focus and preparation, on and off the field, in the weight room, studying and understanding his responsibility. I think he’s just transformed himself in all phases of life. I think for him to really take that next step is a firm belief in himself in the passing game. He’s fine in the running game; he understands what his responsibility is. But he can be a playmaker for us in the passing game. He just needs to believe in himself to do that.”
— Sarkisian also said of Izbicki that “athletically he’s the same” as Middleton. … “it’s a matter of really, really believing in himself. He had some opportunities today that didn’t pan out the way he wanted to and he had an opportunities, he was open a couple of times down the field and didn’t get them. But he’s just working through the individual and understanding of it and when he gets his opportunities to go make his plays.”
— Another vet impressing so far is senior WR D’Andre Goodwin, who in the first two days has looked healthy and ready to take on the role of fourth receiver. Said Sarkisian: “I think he looks good and that’s what I was hoping to see. For me, I’m really monitoring him closely because traditionally he started pretty well the first coupe of practices and then his hamstrings get pretty tight there practices four, five, six, so we are going to look at him closely and closely monitor him because he’s a very good football player and he’s one of those guys like Izbicki has kind of changed his focus and his mindset on what’s important and he’s shown that he’s dedicated to this thing and doing it the right way and I just want him to be healthy so he can show it to everybody.”
— And here’s how Sarkisian described Richardson’s situation: “He’s had back spasms and they are tight and we are going to monitor them. I think you guys are starting to understand our approach to it, we are not going to throw them right back in there and got to battle through it and be mister tough guy all the time. It’s about getting guys back healthy.”
All for now.