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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 13, 2011 at 10:25 PM

More notes and quotes on Saturday’s practice

As noted in the earlier entry, the Huskies may have suffered their first significant injury of camp tonight, when Quinton Richardson left with a lower-leg injury. The quotes as well as video of what UW coach Steve Sarkisian had to say about it are in the previous entry.

It’s too early yet, obviously, to get into speculating about what it would mean if Richardson were lost for any significant length of time. But to answer the obvious question, the backup cornerbacks tonight were Greg Ducre and Anthony Gobern. Ducre appears to be the No. 3 cornerback, so he’d probably be the one to move up to the starting unit.

True frosh Marcus Peters has impressed early and would probably move up to the second unit, and obviously as time goes by might have a chance to move up further. JC transfer Antavius Sims remains sideline as he has yet to be approved to be enrolled at UW. The Huskies sought him to add depth at cornerback, and that became even more of a priority when Adam Long was lost, presumably for the year, with a knee injury suffered in off-season conditioning. Justin Glenn is also capable of playing cornerback and might be a wildcard in this if UW needed the depth.

So yes, the depth — at least in terms of experience — gets pretty thin quickly at that spot. But Sarkisian was holding out hope the injury may be not that big of a deal. It didn’t look great, as Richardson was on the ground for 4-5 minutes or so and carted off. But injuries often look bad and don’t turn out to be significant, so for now, the Huskies wait and see.

As for the rest of practice, the highlight was a 10-play goal-line session (which turned into 11 plays for reasons that will be explained) that featured the first live tacking I’d seen so far this camp.

The starters had five cracks from roughly the 3-4-yard-line and scored twice on a Keith Price pass to Michael Hartvigson and a Chris Polk run — and with the rest of the players and coaches crowding around, it was hard at times to see who made the defensive plays, so not trying to slight them, it was just hard to see at times. However, Nate Fellner had two good plays in that set as he made a tackle of Bishop Sankey on the first play (I thought it was Sankey, anyway — there seemed to be some debate that maybe it was Jesse Callier) and then helped break up a pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins that Seferian-Jenkins bobbled and almost controlled before dropping. (And assuming it was Sankey, I assume they were just giving him a play with the starters to see how he’d react).

Polk was also stopped on one run and it appeared as if Danny Shelton and Alameda Ta’amu led the defensive charge there.

The second unit then got its five plays and Nick Montana hit Evan Hudson and Hartvigson for TDs and Callier ran one in. That made it 5-3 in favor of the offense, which the coaches loudly announced — one more TD and the offense would win the drill. Sankey, however, was then stopped by a wall of defenders and Johri Fogerson then was also stopped by what appeared to be an even bigger wall.

That caused a one-play overtime to decide the issue. Callier then pushed his way through for a TD to win it for the offense and set off a pretty raucous celebration (the Richardson injury happened a few minutes later).

As Sarkisian notes in the quotes below, there was a lot of situational work, common for this team of year to really work on specific things. And among other play highlights was about a 40-yard pass from Price to Seferian-Jenkins during a seven-on-seven drill.

Here’s a bit more from Sarkisian’s post-practice meeting with the media:

Overall thought on practice: “It was great, exactly what we were hoping for. The first double-day can be hard on the guys mentally but it set up beautifully to do short yardage and goal line and the competition and the intensity the guys really embraced it and it set the stage for a really good practice. As we said the other day, we have set a really high standard here for the energy that is needed to practice here at a uniquely high level and we definitely brought that tonight.”

A first-week assessment of Kasen Williams, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Danny Shelton: “I would say all three of them have had an impact on training camp, meaning that you feel their presence. They have all made some plays that have kind of made you say ‘wow.’ And then you realize they are still freshmen and they make mistakes and they are still learning, and at times they play slower than they are because they are thinking quite a bit. But without a doubt you see the potential that is there. But then on the other side of it I would say you say about all three of them is that they are very serious. Football and playing at the University of Washington matters to them and is important to them and they have put in the time, not only on the field but in studying this thing to get to this point to where they are competing for playing time.”

On what he liked about the short-yardage goal-line drill: “Just that we compete and that the guys had fun doing it as a team. A lot of times it’s easy for the 11 guys that are into it to be fired up, but I thought it was pretty special to see both the offense and the defense really into the drill, not just the guys were in but everybody that was in was having fun and they were competing. I thought it was a really healthy competition, it wasn’t offense against the defense in a negative way. I thought it was good, it was healthy and I thought it was very cool that the defense was down two and they had to get two stops in a row and they were able to do that to set up overtime and the offense obviously won with the last one but it was just great to see our guys battle and compete all the way through.”

On spreading the ball around in that drill: “There was a variety of plays in there as well that we were looking at and I think all in all it worked out really well. We looked at some different things that Keith can do and Nick can do, Hartvigson catches a touchdown, so it wasn’t just get the ball to Austin, hand the ball to Chris Polk. It was using a variety of things and it worked out well.”

On Nick Montana’s camp so far: “I think Nick has had a nice camp the first week. His pocket presence has really improved, he is playing much more sudden and explosive. Again, what I’ve been impressed with from Nick Montana from day one to where we are now, he has improved steadily the whole way through. I don’t think he has ever really taken a step back. He might have a day here, a day there. He has continually gotten stronger, he understands our system better and he is playing faster.”

On the season starting three weeks from today and it getting urgent: “It always feels urgent to me. I just feel like we have to maximize every opportunity we get because we get so few of them in reality. You think about 15 spring practices and not quite 20-something practices to get ready for a first ball game, it just doesn’t seem like a lot to me. So when we are out here we need to maximize and take advantage of the opportunity that we have, one, and then understand the focus for the day, the emphasis for the day, because everything we are doing is very particular to situations of the game that we are trying to educate our guys on and raise their football IQ so that they can play really fast, furious football understanding those special situations. And this was just another night of that. I think tonight we were able to do short-yardage, goal-line, fringe red zone and seven-one-seven, we had a blitz drill, a first-and-10 drill, and we had a third-down drill, so we covered a lot of football situations tonight. But it’s urgent to me that we maximize and capitalize on those situations every time we come out here.”

On Friday being the only day they didn’t practice well: “I’ve seen us better, like I said yesterday. But I thought it (today) was good. This morning was a big emphasis on two-minute drill, so we were able to get that done. All in all I like this team for the simple fact that they are serious. They care, they are in this thing together, they are very focused. Whether that equates to wins or not, I’m not sure. But I know it’s sure enjoyable in training camp to go to meetings with these guys and come on the field with these guys. They are very locked in and they have fun playing football together.”

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