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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 17, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Scrimmage today, and answering a few questions

The Huskies will take the field at 3 p.m. for what will be their first significant scrimmage of fall camp.
UW coach Steve Sarkisian on Monday described what to expect this way: “We’re going to have some real scrimmage settings in there again to see what guys look like — more of a scrimmage atmosphere, working all of our special teams … to get that stuff on film all in one practice.”
Here are five other things I think will be interesting to watch:
1, The backup QBs: Looks like it’s still pretty wide open between Keith Price and Nick Montana — though I think conventional wisdom remains that if the season started today,m Price would get the nod due to experience in the system. But live settings are where all players can make their biggest impressions. A scrimmage like today won’t decide the issue, but obviously can help influence the issue.
2, The strongside linebacker position: Victor Aiyewa has consistently worked with the starting unit throughout camp ahead of fellow senior Matt Houston. But as LB coach Mike Cox said last week, what matters most is how the competitors at this spot play once things get really physical.
3, Backup receivers: Guys such as D’Andre Goodwin, Jordan Polk and Cody Bruns have have had some nice practices of late, easing some of the concerns about the depth at the receiver spot. Those concerns decrease even more if those guys continue to perform well in scrimmages.
4, The freshmen: There are a number that have made a good impression so far and appeared to be in the two-deep — notably, Sean Parker at strong safety; Erik Kohler and Colin Porter on the offensive line; Hau’oli Jamora and Sione Potoa’e on the defensive line, just to name a few. But scrimmages are where the men begin to separate from the boys, so to speak. Coaches really begin to learn about these guys in these sorts of full-contact settings.
5, Defensive ends: Still a spot worth watching for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who has read this space much the last few months. We’ll see if guys like Kalani Aldrich and Everrette Thompson get much work and how they respond.
Also, longtime comment board contributor FG asked a few good questions last night, so thought I would answer those here, as well:
1, Is Kavario Middleton going to Nebraska on scholarship or walking on at first? I assume the former. Answer: That’s my assumption as well. The rumor was he had a couple other options but Nebraska was the favored choice as long as space for a scholarship worked out this year. Sounds like that happened.
2) I think we all assumed that Tim Tucker and Victor Burnett would fight for the
No. 2 slot at middle linebacker. Now they’re 3 and 4. What happened?
A: I think Brandon Huppert has simply played better so far. Remember, he had begun to work his way onto the depth chart last year and had earned a scholarship before being injured against USC. He’s been in the program for four years, and with this staff from day one, obviously, so he knows the system. And despite Burnett’s potential, stepping into the No. 2 slot at such an important position is a lot to ask for a true freshman. Knowing where to be is a big part of playing defense, and guys with experience in the system always have an edge there.
3) You mentioned in the chat that punter Will Mahan had “one of the best season’s in school history.” I knew he’d had a good year, albeit with a few costly shanks here and there, but didn’t realize it warranted “one of the best year’s in school history.” Can you later do a story on this with comparisons to former guys? I think most of us didn’t realize his year ranked up there that highly and this would be newsworthy. A: As sometimes happens in the chat, where I’m dashing off answers as quickly as I can, I might have oversimplified that one a little bit. In general, given the difficulties of punting at UW (sea level, lots of wind, etc.) it’s generally thought that any plus-40 average is good. And that’s what Mahan had last year, at 40.6, which is just off the list of top 10 seasons in school history (which starts at 40.9 and works up to to the record of 43.2 by Sean Douglas in 2006, which is probably one of the lowest school records for any Pac-10 school — and indicative of the struggles punting here). Mahan also had 17 of his 52 punts downed inside the 20, and did the angle punting thing well enough that UW ranked in the top half of the conference in all punt return stats. Saying one of the best in history may have been overstating it a little, but it was a more-than-acceptable season and my general point is that punting is not an issue for this team heading into the season.
4. Can you elaborate briefly on the nature of Evan Hudson’s injury and when
he’s expected back?
A: Shoulder bruise, and any day now.

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