UW’s first practice of the spring has concluded, and it did so in the cold and rain — excuse the typos if there are any as the fingers are still thawing.
No huge news other than reported in the earlier blog post, that Johri Fogerson is back practicing with the team.
Here’s the explanation from UW coach Steve Sarkisian on allowing him to practice while his case goes through the legal system:
“We’re not playing right now and he had been away from the team for some time and there are still some things down the road that need to get cleared up. But in the mean time he is a student at our campus and part of our football team and we are practicing so he is practicing with us.”
Asked if that meant the suspension was lifted, he said: “We’re not playing a game right now, I don’t have to worry about lifting any suspensions.”
Asked if that meant he would be suspended from a game, he said simply: “Yep.”
As noted in the earlier post, Fogerson has a trial in June so there should be some finality to it by the time UW will have a game. Obviously, however, it appears Fogerson has a future with the team and that whatever the punishment would be if he is found guilty, it won’t be expulsion from the team.
As for practice, no huge news — no apparent new injuries or other personnel changes.
Sarkisian said he thought it was a good first day and when asked for a few standouts, he said: “James (Johnson) made some plays. I thought the two young tight ends made some plays, (Mike) Hartvigson and (Austin) Seferian-Jenkins. I liked the quarterbacks — they stood out to me for their first day out here running with the ones against the first defense, I thought they did a nice job. I thought Quinton Richardson made a couple nice plays on the ball. Up front, I have a feeling Drew Schaefer had a good practice though sometimes it’s hard to tell with the offensive linemen when you are trying to watch everything. I felt like we targeted well up front and that must have meant we communicated well and that all starts with him so he must have had a good day.”
Keith Price went first in all the drills and Nick Montana second, though that was to be expected. Montana threw the only interception of the day, to Justin Glenn, on an intermediate pass to the side. Price may have made a few more big plays than Montana, notably connecting with Johnson twice — once on a fade route where Johnson leaped over Richardson on the sideline — and once with Seferian-Jenkins on about a 20-yard seam route.
Asked to assess the QBs, Sarkisian said: “I thought their decision-making today was good. We had one turnover today on a nice play by Justin Glenn. We didn’t fumble any snaps, I thought our command was good in the huddle. I liked their ability when things weren’t there to check the ball down to the running backs. They showed their knowledge of their offense that they knew where their secondary reads were. But then when people were there down the field I thought we threw the ball down the field pretty well as well so all in all, I just like what they brought to the table for day one.”
As for first impressions of Seferian-Jenkins, he said: “He’s definitely a big guy and he’s got a lot of learning to do. But for a first day, the thing I was impressed was it wasn’t too big for him. He came out and was confident and he’s very coachable, which is good to see in a true freshman his first day out. He didn’t make the same mistake multiple times. He was able to make a mistake and learn from that. And then he made his plays. Sometimes as a young guy making the play can be the hard part. You do everything right and then here comes the ball and you get a little bit antsy. But he made his plays everytime the ball was thrown to him.”
Also, a few of us had a chance to talk with Chris Polk, and I’ll relay that later. But of most note is that Polk said he’s lost about 10 pounds or so and that he was up to 227 at the end of the year which he said was too heavy (though he looked plenty sleek enough in those games against WSU and Nebraska).
Said Sarkisian of Polk: “I think Chris looked good. I’m excited to look at the film and see what he was able to get done in the pass game because that’s a point of emphasis for us with him this spring, not just in pass protection but the route running aspect of it. It’s going to be something that I know he wants to work on to really complete his game and we want him to do we can become a complete offense.”
Also, it was the first chance for us to talk with Josh Shirley since his arrival at UW last July after being kicked off the team at UCLA. I’ll also relay some of that later. But here’s what Sarkisian said of Shirley: “When the whole thing went down there, we just did our research and did our homework and really looked at the entire body of work and everything that went in and sometimes we are in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people and that’s not necessarily indicative of who we are as people. We had a good relationship with Josh and his family during the recruiting process, we knew him extremely well, and I didn’t think that was indicative of him either. So we made the decision to give the guy a second chance because we thought he was deserving of it.”
Asked what he saw out of Shirley today, he said: “It’s the first day of really running our defense but I think he’s got some special qualities rushing the passer which is really needed for us on the defensive side of the ball.”
Shirley said he weighs about 225 pounds and Sarkisian said that: “He’s plenty big enough. He’s just under 230 right now and that’s plenty big enough. We can protect him with some things in the run game but speed is such a big factor. I don’t know what Dwight Freeney weighed when he started out at Syracuse or a Joey Porter. Pass rushers are lean for a reason and his body will grow and the weight will come on naturally.”
Lastly, asked if it was worth reading much into some of the alignments at linebacker and the offensive line, Sarkisian said: “No, we’re just trying to really even out the reps not just with the ones but with the twos and give guys opportunities not just to play but show different aspects of their games. It was very calculated and just trying to compile as much information as we can.”
Also worth noting that Lakes High OL Zach Banner was in attendance, often watching the OL work along with 2011 signees Dexter Charles and Jarett Finau. Former Huskies Mason Foster, Nate Williams and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim were also there for a while.
UPDATE — I should also note that 2012 QB prospect Cyler Miles of Mullen High in Denver was also there, and looked every bit the 6-4 he is listed.