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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 16, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Monday morning practice notes

The Huskies are off the field after their morning workout, No. 8 of fall camp.
It was a non-contact practice with UW in helmets only, and there were no new injuries.
RB Deontae Cooper (pictured) arrived about midway through, walking on in crutches, then watched the rest from the sidelines.
It was a vivid reminder of the tough news over for the weekend for the Huskies, that Cooper would be lost for the year after suffering a torn ACL in Saturday night’s practice when he was tackled after about a 32-yard run.
Today was our first chance to talk with UW coach Steve Sarkisian about it, so that was obviously the first topic discussed.
Said Sarkisian of the play: “I think it was a gain of about 32 or 34 yards. He was near the sidelines, and nobody touched his leg. He was getting tackled, and it was a little twinge of about four inches. … you can see on the film. And that was it. In a sad way, it’s somewhat of a common injury now in sports. It doesn’t take a lot for those to occur. But I think if there’s anybody on the team…not that you’d wish it on anybody…but if there’s anybody on the team that’s going to do everything in his power to rehab the right way and get himself back healthy, it’s Deontae. He’s got a tremendous work ethic and he’ll have a great attitude about it. He’ll be back before we know it.”
Asked if he could characterize the severity of the injury, Sarkisian said: “It’s a torn ACL. I don’t know all of those specifics, to get to that detailed of it from a doctor’s perspective, and I’m not going to try and act like I do. I know what it is. I know that rehab is generally seven months to a year, roughly. Knowing him and knowing his body type and the way he’s wired, I would imagine it’s going to be closer to seven months than 12 months. But we’ll see how it goes.”
Cooper, a true freshman, had already worked his way into the rotation at tailback behind Chris Polk, which obviously gets a little thinner now. But Sarkisian said his impact on the team to date was more than just what had been evident on the field.
“I think he had as much of an impact on us changing our culture as anybody,” Sarkisian said of Cooper, who arrived in January as one of four members of the Class of 2010 to enroll in time for spring practice. “I thought he came in with a great attitude. He’s a tremendous human being, not only on the football field, but also in the classroom, in the study table sessions off the field. So somebody’s got a play for him, and us, and if there’s anybody that’s going to bounce back, it’s him. He’s got a long career ahead of him and it’s not a career-ending thing or anything of that sort. He’ll be back.”
Sarkisian said the extent of the injury didn’t become known until Sunday.
“We knew there was some pain, we knew there was some looseness in his knee,” he said. “But you never want to speculate on those things until you see the MRI, because some of us have naturally loose knees. You try and test them pre…but it’s hard to tell. In this business you assume the worst and hope for the best, so we assumed that’s what it was, but didn’t want to say anything officially until we knew.”
Asked where Cooper fit on the depth chart, he said: “He was one of those three guys that was behind Chris (Polk), realistically. He, Johri (Fogerson, Jesse (Callier) were all doing nice things and doing different things well. But the beauty for us is that we’re going to be OK. We’ve got a talented returning running back in Chris Polk and we’ve got guys behind him that are very good football players in Johri Fogerson and Jesse Callier. We’re fortunate that it came at a position where we have some good depth. We’ll be fine and Deontae will be fine.”
As Sarkisian mentioned, however, the Huskies at least have depth at that spot and are better positioned to deal with an injury or two than in past years. Knowing what can happen to tailbacks is part of why UW so aggressively recruited Cooper and Callier (who also enrolled in time for spring ball) last year, despite the presence of a returning 1,000-yard rusher in Polk.
“You look at the National Football League, it’s the shortest-lived life in the National Football League at any position once you become a starter,” he said. “For a lot of reasons it’s a tough position to play. But again I think certain guys are wired a certain way to bounce back from these types of things. He’s very young still. We’ve seen what Will Shamburger looks like coming off of his (injury), he looks fantastic. You see these guys are young and in good shape the way their bodies are wired, that he is the type of guy in my opinion is going to come back great.”

— WR James Johnson also sat out of practice today after suffering a sprained ankle Saturday. But Sarkisian said it’s a minor injury and Johnson could be back for tomorrow’s scrimmage. “Sprained ankle,” he said of Johnson. “And those things at the wide out spot can linger a little bit because of all the cutting and different things running routes, decent swollneness last night. So we’ll assess him this afternoon. But I’ll be surprised if he goes this afternoon. Looking more tomorrow afternoon for the scrimmage.”
In fact, Sarkisian said this is the time of camp when some regulars will be given periodic time off, also including Desmond Trufant, who didn’t work much today after getting his bell rung on a hard hit with Devin Aguilar Saturday night. “Again, we’ve set a plan for him to monitor him throughout this camp and to get him to where he’s really, really healthy. So you’re just seeing, you will see a little bit of a rotation at all of our spots. You’ll see it here with our wideouts coming up ,this was a time for him to get a rest time anyway, so he’s getting it and that will rotate through to (Jermaine) Kearse and (Devin) Aguilar and D’Andre (Goodwin) and Jordan (Polk) and back into him again, so it worked out that way again okay anyway.”
— DE Everrette Thompson got his most extensive work of fall camp, working with the No. 1 unit during an 11-on-11 drill that concluded the workout. “We’ll continue to build,” Sarkisian said. “We’re not going to be where ‘OK, you haven’t worked, you haven’t worked and all of a sudden here is 40 plays with the team.’ We’re going to be smart about it, and gradually build not only his strength in his Achilles, but his overall body strength.” Kalani Aldrich is scheduled to work more this afternoon after sitting out this morning as part of the plan to essentially rotate those two guys during two-a-days.
Chris Polk and Nate Williams, who each had been on the resting plan the last few days, got more work this morning, as well: “They’ll get going more,” Sarkisian said. “I thought they both looked good today. Nate really good, and he is just a different body type, different guy playing really fast football. Been impressed.”
— Polk’s time is being limted to contain the number of hits on his shoulder. Sarkisian said he’s not overly concerned about it, but just wants to be careful. “The natural concern, anytime something is surgically-repaired, that is not natural,” Sarkisian said. “You have your obvious concerns from that point of a reinjury on anybody’s injury, so that would be my concern for him. I don’t have a feeling of why I should right now, but if you asked me what my one concern would be, that would be it.”
— Sarkisian said the plan for tonight is a full-pads practice that will be “pretty typical” with a scrimmage set for Tuesday. “Tomorrow, we’re going to have some real scrimmage settings in there again to see what guys look like – more of a scrimmage atmosphere tomorrow tonight working all of our special teams … to get that stuff on film all in one practice. Tonight will be just a normal practice setting.”
— Asked to assess the scrimmage portion of Saturday’s scrimmage, Sarkisian said: “We’re playing too high. As a football team, when you’re in short-yardage and goal-line situations, one of the keys to that is pad level. And our pad level was too high, but that is somewhat is expected the first time you get down there. And we’re not playing violent-enough football at the line of scrimmage. We need to be more violent with our hands – shedding blocks, double-teaming people on thee line of scrimmage. It’s been addressed, and we’ll continue to work on it.”
— There was some mixing on the OL this morning, with Erik Kohler and Greg Christine working with the No. 1 unit at right tackle and right guard, respectively. Sarkisian said it’s just part of the normal preparation of camp, saying that the starting five is “relatively set, but we’re constantly contingency-planning. With offensive linemen, they’re a play away. If they never work with each other and all of a sudden we expect them to do it in the second quarter at BYU, it’s kind of hard on those guys. We’re consistently putting guys in with each other, getting a comfort level with each other so if and when something does happen, we’re prepared for it.”
— Other than the rotating going on, there didn’t appear to be any real moves on the depth chart.
— The team portion of practice included a few two-minute drills, Jake Locker hit Kearse with about a 30-yard pass to lead off one drive and set up a 39-yard field goal by Erik Folk. Keith Price went next and his series was stopped on four plays, with an incomplete pass on fourth down, leaving him 2-4 for six yards. Locker then led another series that included about a 25-yard pass to Aguilar. But that one ended with a 40-yard FG by Folk that bounced high off the cross bar. Excluding a couple of passes meant to stop the clock, I had Locker at 5-6 for 72 yards during that drill.
— SS Justin Glenn had one of the highlight plays during the early portion, diving to bat away a potential TD pass to Cody Bruns.
— And one of the highlight offensive plays early was about a 70-yard completion from Nick Montana to DiAndre Campbell, who caught the pass over a leaping Nate Fellner, who then fell down, allowing Campbell to race to the end zone.
Kiel Rasp, a walk-on punter a year ago from Nathan Hale, is again on the roster after walk-on Sean Halligan left.
All for now.



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