With a game still nine days away, the Huskies used their practice Tuesday in part to get a look at some of the younger players on the team.
That included about a 10-minute full-contact session at the end with Nick Montana quarterbacking the offense against a number of young and redshirting defenders.
First, though, a quick note that there didn’t appear to be any new injuries. Cort Dennison was absent due to a death in the family but everyone else who would be expected appeared able to go. Jake Locker, as planned, did not practice and won’t until Saturday at the earliest. Jesse Callier, wearing red due to a shoulder injury, was limited. And some regulars appeared to sit out a little more than normal. Otherwise, nothing that appeared out of the ordinary.
Being a Tuesday, we didn’t talk with Steve Sarkisian afterward, so nothing to pass along from the coach.
As noted, the practice ended with a few series of live contact for some of the youngsters (though no tackling of the QB still).
Defensive end Josh Shirley was one of the highlight players with two straight sacks of Montana, breaking quickly off the edge each time.
“He’s coming along,” said UW defensive line coach Johnny Nansen after practice. “And (Andrew) Hudson, too. Our future with the young guys and our defensive ends, I know we’ve got some issues with pass rush, but I think our future is bright. Now you see Josh is starting to get comfortable at the position. In high school he was more of a standup guy more than a down guy, and now you are seeing he is more comfortable and you are seeing the result of it.”
Montana kind of got the last laugh, though, when he threw about a 35-yard TD to Kevin Smith on the last play. The pass was a little underthrown and Smith had to duck back under Greg Ducre to get the ball in the end zone, with Ducre arguing that he was pushed.
Nansen, meanwhile, also said that he liked a lot of what he saw from the line on Saturday with a lot of younger players getting time up front, something that was the design to try to deal with Oregon’s tempo — the Ducks ran 92 plays Saturday.
“Because of the tempo and Oregon’s offense we wanted to rotate and keep guys fresh and it worked out for us,” he said. “The guys played pretty well up front, Meda (Alameda Ta’amu) you could totally see how Meda’s production was (seven tackles), especially with some rest. Hau’oli (Jamora) played real well. It was nice to have that rotation and we are going to try to continue to have that.
“I thought Everrette (Thompson) did an excellent job. Chris Robinson did some good things, and obviously he needs to play more. Obviously it was nice to see No. 50, Kalani (Aldrich) being out there just to give Hau’oli some breather. So it was nice to have a rotation. Usually we go in with a seven-man rotation but it was nice to have some depth to help the starters out.”
One defensive lineman who is gone for the season, however, is Cameron Elisara. It was announced this week that he won’t return with a shoulder/neck stinger issue.
“My understanding is that the injury is more serious than we thought it was going to be,” Nansen said. “Cameron not only was he a good leader in our room he was a great person and as far as football helping our young guys develop. Obviously he’s in there, his presence is still in our room. Obviously I wish we could still have him but you know we totally understand injuries and obviously that is something you have to deal with in football and his health is more important than football right now.”
UW will practice again Wednesday and then take Thursday and Friday off before resuming a normal gameweek on Saturday.
Also, it has been announced that the time of the Cal game in Berkeley Nov. 27 is 12:30. When I get the exact local TV situation I will pass it on.