Just two practices left now until the Huskies hit the field in Provo, and UW coach Steve Sarkisian (pictured at right, just in case you’d forgotten what he looks like) says the players are ready to take out their anger against someone else.
“We’re getting after it pretty good,” Sarkisian said. “Our guys have been intense in practice and they are chomping at the bit. We’re kind of like those dogs on the leashes and we keep pulling and pulling it and that leash is about to pop. They are antsy, a little grumpy, and that’s a good thing. That means they are excited and eager to go out and play.”
And the injury picture continues to look okay for the Huskies.
The only new name added today is true freshman Greg Ducre, who banged his shoulder early in practice and sat out the rest. Sarkisian said it didn’t look serious but they were being cautious and would examine it tonight.
Defensive end Kalani Aldrich got a little bit of work and Sarkisian said he has a chance to play Saturday.
“Kalani went again today in limited reps,” Sarkisian said. “I think our goal for him right now is to get him another good day of work tomorrow and get him to the game. I don’t forsee him having a major role in the game but I do see him playing some.”
Receiver James Johnson, however, again took a lot of snaps with the ones and appears on track to play Saturday.
“He looks pretty good,” Sarkisian said. “There were some times where he came up a little gimpy, a little hobbly, but I thought all in all he did some good things.”
Otherwise, Sarkisian pretty much gave the team a clean bill of health after what figures to be the last real physical practice of the week — Thursday usually is a little lighter and Friday is a walk-through.
“I think we’re fine,” Sarkisian said. “(Left tackle) Senio (Kelemete) really has come back and looked good. Everrette (Thompson) has come back and performed at a high level. All in all, it looks good.”
Sarkisian said again the team will take 76 players to Provo, and while most are obviously no-brainers (I think that Locker guy will be on the travel roster), Sarkisian said that those who might have been in doubt were finding out after practice (meaning we may be able to find out tomorrow).
For the media, this was the day we got to talk to offensive players and coaches, so that’s inevitably what you’ll see a lot of in the coverage here and elsewhere.
I asked Sarkisian what the biggest challenge was in going against BYU’s defense.
“I think their overall physicality,” he said. “They are a physical group up front. They are a big, physical defensive line. The nose tackle, (Romney) Fuga, is a real physical guy. They do a nice job of setting the edge with their outside ‘backers and funneling things down the middle. And then their safety is a heady player – (Andrew) Rich – he’s a really nice player who plays the game physical and you can tell he’s the quarterback of that defense and gets guys lined up.”
What also appeared evident Wednesday is that true freshman Zach Fogerson could have a role this season. The O’Dea grad scored a touchdown in an early scrimmage, then hurt his shoulder and was limited for a while. But he’s looked good the last week and Sarkisian isn’t ruling out he could play, though he’s not one of the 12 true freshmen who was on the depth chart this week.
“We’ve been mixing him in,” Sarkisian said. “I like Zach. He’s an athletic kid for 230-235 pounds. For a true freshman he is not afraid. He is willing to put his face on people. And he shows the ability to catch the football, so for us that mixture at the fullback spot is big.”
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Sarkisian was also asked about Johri Fogerson and said this: “I don’t mean this in a bad way but he just reminds me of a utility baseball player. Maybe like Steve Lyons or somebody like that. One day he’s playing first base and he makes a key double play with a step on the bag at first and a throw to second and the next day he’s playing third base and he comes up with a saving double play ball in the h ole and the next day he might not stat but he come sin in the seventh with a pinch hit home run, a three run jack. That’s kind of what he’s been doing. He’s been playing tailback fullback, lining up at wide receiver and he’s been making plays. I’ve been really impressed with Johri this camp.”
— Sarkisian was also asked about his statement on Monday that he wouldn’t be surprised to see BYU put both QBs — Riley Nelson, a good runner, and Jake Heaps — on the field at once. Said Sarkisian: “That’s just something that teams when you have somebody that is that athletic like Riley that could easily go play receiver, he’s that good of an athlete, that could potentially pose some problems for a defense if you are not prepared for it. And they do so many quarterback runs with him that Jake (Heaps) could easily line up at wide receiver and he could run their quarterback run stuff. So we won’t be surprised if it occurs.”
— Sarkisian, however, said preparing for two different styles of quarterbacks hadn’t necessarily complicated things this week. “I don’t think so. They’ve got a system in place, first of all, so the system is one. They can only vary so far from the system when each quarterback is in. obviously when Riley is in the quarterback run factor is huge. It’s all the zone read stuff all the quarterback leads, the quarterback powers, the speed options and the things of that nature.”
— Sarkisian also has a great familiarity with the stadium there, but said he wasn’t sure it was similar to any others in the Pac-10: “I don’t know. It’s a beautiful setting, first of all. And the layout is such that it’s not a bowl, but it is, the fans are right on top of you, they are right behind you there. It’s a unique place. It’s a beautiful stadium. They’ve kept it up masterfully, it’s clean. It’s a great setting. It should be fun.”