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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 11, 2011 at 7:45 PM

UW Fall Camp practice report, Day Four

College football training camps almost inevitably result in a departure of a player or two, for any number of reasons.

So it was with UW today. As noted in the previous post, backup middle linebacker Victor Burnett was dismissed from the team for an unspecified violation of team rules. The redshirt freshman was vying with Tim Tucker for the third spot behind starter Cort Dennison and JC transfer Thomas Tutogi, who appears to be the backup there at the moment.

UW coach Steve Sarkisian didn’t elaborate on the reasons for dismissing Burnett but said he doesn’t feel as if the Huskies have had significant off-field issues during his tenure.

“I am not frustrated,” he said. “I am frustrated maybe with myself, because I feel like part of my job is to raise these guys. I am inheriting a kid at 18 years old, and I have him for the four or five years of their lives, and those are big years in a young man’s life with a lot of changes. You try to get them all – try and make them all better people, and better students and better football players, so the frustration maybe is with me when you don’t get them all. Then you sit back and you realize I’ve got 115 sons, and the percentages tell me we’re doing pretty good.”

Given his status as a third- or fourth-team MLB this year, Burnett’s loss isn’t critical to the 2011 Huskies and obviously opens up a spot down the road.

As for practice, it was the second straight day in helmets and shoulder pads, and featured some significant 11-on-11 work.

Statistically, it wasn’t the greatest day for QB Keith Price, who had three interceptions during the team sessions. But one was, and as is always the case this time of year, a bad play for the offense is a good one for the defense, so there’s always somebody feeling good about something, and vice versa.

“I thought it was a very intense, upbeat, enthusiastic practice,” he said.

The tipped interception landed in the hands of John Timu, who appears to be making a serious run at taking the weakside linebacker spot manned last year by Mason Foster. Garret Gilliland is also playing at that position.

Asked later to name some players who have made significant moves up the depth chart, Sarkisian started with Timu.

“For a guy who is essentially a true freshman for us right now, he basically started today,” Sarkisian said. “For a guy who has never really played the position, being a high school quarterback and safety, he is just a natural football player. He has got great instincts. He is very athletic. He can run. He’s tough. He has really probably made the biggest impact.”

Mmaking one of the other interceptions, a bomb on what was the last play of the day, was Sean Parker, who was the next player cited by Sarkisian as being a standout so far.

“He is just around the ball,” Sarkisian said. “He is a natural football player. If he doesn’t get an interception a day, he’s got his hands on one that he doesn’t quite catch. He is around the ball quite a bit.” (The other interceptions were by Quinton Richardson and Travis Feeney of a tipped pass by Nick Montana that in a game situation would have gone for a touchdown — in practice, he met the line of the rest of the waiting players).

Other highlights of the day included about a 60-yard TD run by Chris Polk, a nice catch-and-run by James Johnson on a slant to escape a tackle by Greg Ducre, a short pass that Johri Fogerson turned into about a 70-yard TD, and two straight completions by Montana in the last two-minute drill to Kasen Williams and Kevin Smith — Sarkisian said it was an emphasis to throw the ball deep during the drill.

MORE NOTES

— Sarkisian on when Semisi Tokolahi may be back: “I don’t know. He (was able to practice) on the sled. But we’re not going to force it with him. We’ve got time. We’ve got a lot more depth on the defensive line than I think people think. I want to make sure he’s playing really good football for us in October and in November. If that means that we lose a little of that in early September, that’s okay with me. I just want to make sure he’s healthy.”

— Backup CB Marquis Persley sat out the end of practice with a foot/leg injury of unknown severity, but otherwise the Huskies have stayed pretty healthy so far. “Knock on wood,” Sarkisian said. “We’re doing pretty good. And some guys that weren’t healthy are getting healthier, so that’s the idea being the madness, I guess. … (Evan) Zeger’s getting better, Taz (Stevenson) is getting better. Sione’s (Potoa’e) obviously getting better. We’re getting healthy.”

— Asked to elaborate on Zeger, Sarkisian said: “It’s a hamstring, and the last thing I want is for that thing to linger for months. Let’s just nip it in the bud and get him 100 percent healthy before we get into October and we’re still talking about Evan Zeger and his hamstring.”

— Asked if he feels better about the linebacker spot with what he’s seen of Timu, Sarkisian said: “I think so, because Princeton (Fuimaono) is playing at a high level. Cort (Dennison) is playing at a high level. Not that Garret (Gilliland) isn’t, it’s just Johnny is really pressing the issue. That is going to be make Garret better, going to make Jamaal better and so overall it’s tough to go through a year with just three (linebackers). That is a physical spot, so we are going to need the depth that we have. They are pushing one another.”

— The Huskies are practicing more on the East Field, in part as preparation for the renovation:
“Well, we got new turf over there,” Sarkisian said. “That’s part of it. We like to be over there and the guys like to be over there too…sometimes there’s a little bit more sun on that side of it. And there’s a little bit of trying to get into a comfort zone over there, because come November 6th, and this thing closes down, we’re over there full time and I don’t want the shock of all of a sudden moving to the East field. The turf’s good, and we’re just trying to get used to it.”

— Sarkisian said the Huskies continue to experiment with two-tight end sets due to the sudden depth at that spot. “We’ve been doing quite a bit of it. lot of two tight sets with Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) and Michael (Hartvigson), as well as Evan Hudson...and Cameron Salley has shown up too at that spot. We’ve been doing it and I think it’s been good to us. We’ve created a lot of big plays in the passing game and the running game because of it, so I think we’ll stay the course and it’ll be a part of our offense.”

— He said, however, that doesn’t mean less fullback stuff, necessarily. “Jonathan Amosa played quite a bit, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Nick Holt at the position, it’s something he hasn’t played before. But we’re also doing some stuff, utilizing what appears to be two tight end sets, with one of the tight ends at fullback. So we’re incorporating that as well.”

— The punting job remains wide open and Sarkisian said he hasn’t really narrowed down yet when or how that will be decided. “I’m hoping one starts shanking a couple of them. They are both bombing the ball right now. They are cranking it. We don’t need to rush. They are both experienced, and they’ve both played a lot of football. Hopefully when it’s all said and done they both get their opportunities.”

— The Huskies will be in full pads for a 3:15 p.m. practice on Friday.

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