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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 6, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Wednesday practice update

Steve Sarkisian doesn’t doubt that Vontaze Burfict will play Saturday. And he’s pretty sure Erik Kohler will.
Those two players were the main topics of conversation after UW’s practice Wednesday, one of the longer ones of the season lasting until roughly 6:12 p.m.
Kohler, a true freshman who has become UW’s starting left guard, was missing from practice Wednesday with what Sarkisian said was a touch of the flu.
“We’ve got a little bit of a flu bug kind of going around the team,” he said. “He’s pretty under the weather.”
Asked if Kohler might have to miss the game, Sarkisian said: “I don’t know. We got to assess it here. It’s Wednesday. We’ve got quite a bit of time until kickoff. We’ll see. It’s good to get (Greg) Christine back in there, and you know obviously (Colin) Porter has gotten some playing time at guard, too. Mykenna (Ikehara) has played inside. We should be OK.”
Christine took Kohler’s place with the starting unit in practice.
As for Burfict, the volatlie ASU linebacker as an obvious subject of query by reporters after it was announced on Tuesday that he would not start after head butting OSU QB Ryan Katz Saturday (video here). It was the latest in a string of incidents by Burfict, who also had three personal fouls against UW a year ago — and could have been called for a fourth when officials missed an apparent punch at UW WR James Johnson.
The length of the benching has been left vague, but Sarkisian said he has no doubt Burfict will see action. “He’s going to play,” he said. “Seriously, he’s going to play.”
Asked if he needed to warn UW’s quarterbacks of head butts, he said: “We took a head-butt last year from him, so we don’t need to warn them. He already knows. We’ve got 15 (yards) for head-butt last year from the guy. … I think there were three personal foul penalties in one game. I had never seen that before.”
Asked his to UW players about Burfict he said: “Get back in the huddle. … I don’t think you can ignore him. If you get caught up playing his game, that’s what he wants. You get back in the huddle and go make your plays.”
Burfict’s penalties were part of a pretty crazy game in which there were eight personal foul or unsportsmanlike penalties. Sarkisian, though, said he thought UW handled it well. There were 21 penalties for the two teams combined last year, UW getting flaffed for 12.
“The game was an oddly-officiated game last year,” he said. “There were a lot of penalties, both ways. I thought the game’s flow got out of whack last year. I don’t know if it necessarily was our guys’ fault. It felt kind of yucky last year, especially in the first half. We’ve already addressed it. We’ll be OK. … I just think, for the integrity of the game, let’s play the game. The stuff between whistles – C’mon, get back in the huddle and play.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Sarkisian said he thought Wednesday’s practice was “good, competitive. I really challenged the guys again on their effort first, and I thought they responded really, really well. They were competitive. Today is about the ball; it’s Turnover Wednesday, and there was a bang-bang play with Devin Aguilar, so we got to go to instant review and see what happens. Show it to the guys tomorrows. See if the whistle blew.” On the play in question, Aguilar was stripped of the ball by Justin Glenn, who has been getting a lot of work with the second unit at free safety.
— FB Zach Fogerson left practice briefly after getting his hand bumped. But X-srays were negative.
— TE Michael Hartvigson is out with an injured shoulder. “We’re just holding him out,” Sarkisian said. “He can’t take the contact on it right now, it’s pretty inflamed.
— Sarkisian was also asked about the role of the tight ends and if he expected more out of the position this year. Said Sarkisian: “Well, I think one, we probably have to call more stuff really for them. We’re fortunate right now that we’ve got a really deep receiving corps, and we’ve got two running backs that can catch the ball extremely well. The pecking order of it all, they’re not as high on the list as maybe they’ve been at other times in our system. And two, it’s just the way coverages are going. It’s about when they’re open. And third, when they’re open, throwing the ball to them. Those are the keys.” Asked about Chris Izbicki, he said: “I thought his role would be kind of what it is. I’ve been impressed with Marlion Barnett. He’s really come on strong. He’s done some things, not only in the pass game, but the run game as well.”
James Johnson looks like he is continuing to round into form and could see more playing time going forward. But Sarkisian said that Johnson also has to work to get playing time with other players performing well. He said the number of plays Johnson had against USC “was the role we had planned for him. For right now, it is kind of where it is — probably be a 15-to-25-snap-a-game guy. It’s hard to beat out the other two guys, they’re playing at a high level. I don’t want to just completely demote Cody Bruns and D’Andre Goodwin; they’re playing well, too. We’re fortunate that we’ve got five receivers that can play a lot. It’s unfortunate for us, too, we haven’t been able to get Jordan Polk on the field the way I’d like to. It’s challenging when you that many good receivers.”
— Asked if he has more trust in guys like Bruns and Goodwin right now, Sarkisian said: “I would say so, just because of the live bullets this year, and them playing and doing the things they’re doing – not that I don’t trust James, it’s hard for me right now to take 15 (Kearse) and 9 (Aguilar) off the field.”
Dorson Boyce, a senior moved to fullback before the season, didn’t make the trip to LA, and Sarkisian said he is kind of lost in the shuffle with Fogerson evolving and Austin Sylvester playing well. “And we’re doing so much two-tailback stuff, it’s hard to get him out there.”
All for now.

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