I had a chance to talk a little while today with UW coach Steve Sarkisian, getting some preview stuff for some stories for spring football, which begins March 29.
Some of that I will save for stories/blogs later.
But he provided an update on personnel issues for the spring, so I’ll pass those along now:
— UPDATED — WR Jordan Polk will not participate in spring ball. Sarkisian said that “he’s got some team issues we are dealing with.” UPDATED FROM EARLIER POST — It has since been clarified that Polk is no longer with the team and will not return for the 2011 season. I’ll have another post in a little while detailing why.Polk caught seven passes for 94 yards in 2010 and has 16 receptions in his career and figured to again contend for a backup job as a receiver.
UPDATE 5 P.M. — Here are details on Polk’s departure from the team.
— RB Johri Fogerson, as has already been reported, is indefinitely suspended due to his legal issues earlier this month. Sarkisian said there’s a chance he returns to the team later and that no definite decision on his long-term future with the team has been made. “I’m still assessing the situation of the case and how it is being handled in the courts, so I’m not going to rush to judgment on this thing. Let it play out on that end of it and then make a decision after that.”
— Everybody else on the active roster should be available for the spring, he said, though some will be limited by injuries, which I’ll get to in a minute.
— There will be three new players available for the spring — tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and defensive end/linebacker Jarett Finau, who each signed letters-of-intent in February, and walk-on quarterback Thomas Vincent of King’s High School. There will be no other early spring enrollees.
— Now for injuries, the most significant new development is that cornerback Adam Long, who played in all 13 games as a reserve and on special teams as a sophomore, recently suffered an ACL injury and is out for the spring. Sarkisian said he was injured during a non-contact one-on-one drill during a voluntary team session. “He will be out all of spring and through the summer,” Sarkisian said. “We’re hopeful we can get him back for fall camp but that remains to be seen.” Sarkisian said the injury happened when “his foot got stuck” in the turf.
— DE Talia Crichton, who suffered a knee injury against Oregon State and then reaggravated it in the runup to the Holiday Bowl, will be limited in the spring. Sarkisian said he may do some individual drills but “maybe not quite as much team stuff” early on so he can “play the knee back into football shape” and then increase his work if the knee responds well. Sarkisian said with many players, such as Crichton, they will error on the side of caution in the spring to get them healthy for the fall.
— LT Senio Kelemete suffered a plantar fascia tear in his foot during off-season conditioning and will be limited heading into spring ball. But Sarkisian said Kelemete will participate in some of spring drills and said the upside is that that will allow some of the younger linemen to get some extended work at left tackle. Two he mentioned are Erik Kohler (who will also be in the mix at right tackle) and Micah Hatchie.
— Tailback Deontae Cooper will probably not participate in any full-contact drills throughout the spring. Sarkisian said Cooper has “come a long way in a short amount of time” and remains on track to return for the fall. But he said right now he doesn’t want Cooper in any situations where he is taken to the ground. He said Cooper will do individual work and 7-on-7 drills and some team sessions that are non-contact.
— DT Chris Robinson, who also suffered a knee injury during the Holiday Bowl practices, will also be limited in the spring and on a similar plan as Crichton. “If we had to play a game in a week they could play in the game,” Sarkisian said. “But we don’t have to do that, so we want to continually get these guys healthy and not just throw them out there because we will need all this depth on the line come September.”
— DT Semisi Tokolahi, who suffered a broken and dislocated ankle against Washington State, is still out. “He’s come a long way,” Sarkisian said. “But any time you have that kind of an injury it just takes time. So he’ll still be out.” Sarkisian said they are “hopeful” he may be able to make it back to participate in some drills in the spring at some point but that remains unclear.
— Cornerback Greg Ducre and safety Taz Stevenson each had shoulder surgeries following the season and will not be allowed to have any contact in spring practices. Sarkisian said each will be able to do all non-contact drills so they will get a lot of work in, but they will not do anything involving contact.
— Safety Sean Parker, who missed the last four games with a stinger, “has really improved,” Sarkisian said. However, he said the goal is not to reaggravate the injury so he will be watched closely early in the spring to assess where he is and then go from there. “I might limit his contact but I still want him in the drills, so that will be something I am going to watch very closely,” Sarkisian said.
— Linebackers Princeton Fuimaono and Cooper Pelluer each also had shoulder surgery right after the season and will be in similar situations as Ducre and Stevenson in that they wil have no contact in the spring but will do drills and individiual work.
— Backup OG Nick Wood recently had hip surgery and is out for the spring but should be back for the fall.
— Punter Will Mahan, who suffered an ACL injury after the first game, will be able to do some punting this spring but will be kept out of contact sessions (and yes, Kiel Rasp remains on the team and will also be available).
— The two new graduate assistants are Jordan Paopao, who spent two years at Stanford as a recruiting assistant and last year was at Azusa Pacific, and played at USD under Jim Harbaugh; and Donte Williams, who played at Syracuse and last year was a quality control coach at Nevada. Paopao will work with the tight ends and Williams the linebackers.
— And at the moment, no real position changes other than the usual things such as OLs working at several different spots up front, or linebackers working at more than one spot, etc. Josh Shirley, for instance, remains a defensive end.
All for now.