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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 15, 2011 at 10:38 PM

More notes and quotes from Monday practice

Now for the more complete version of the notes from Monday’s practice, and this just in — Chris Polk is still really good.

And Austin Seferian-Jenkins is continuing to become pretty good (and for the injury updates, check the entry below)

The Huskies ran about 40 live plays in Monday’s practice, and almost immediately Polk ripped off about a 20-yard run in which be plowed over safety Nate Fellner (and no shame on Fellner’s behalf there).

Seferian-Jenkins was the star of a non-contact session in which he had two highlight-reel catches (both from Keith Price, who had a nice night), including one in which he grabbed a pass with his left hand as he blew through the middle of the defense and then kept going for what was unofficially a 77-yard TD.

You can see Seferian-Jenkins talk about that catch as well as how he’s trying to improve on his blocking in the video below:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1111957848001″][/do]

UW coach Steve Sarkisian said he wanted to do some live work tonight after watching the film of some of the live sessions from Saturday.

“We had a really efficient period where we had a chance to do some live stuff, and it was pretty evident, the first time you go to tackle, and cut and do different things you get a little sloppy,” he said. “So that is why we came back tonight with another emphasis of a 40-play period where we tackled again, and cut and did different things. I thought it got a little bit better, but there is still plenty of room for improvement that way. All in all, I love their energy, I love their enthusiasm from Saturday night … but technically, fundamentally when it came down to the moment of truth, a lot of times we weren’t right. That is the stuff we have to continue to work on.”

The 40-play session tonight was all situational, with the offense beginning every day at its own 2-yard-line or so. On none of the drives did the offense get past its own 47-yard-line —- I think the DL will probably grade out higher than the OL on this night — doing so on the drive in which Polk had his 20-yard run as well as another of about 13 (he then pretty much took a seat for the rest of the night).

All of the quarterbacks got work in that session and Price had the best night, completing his first four passes as well as turning in a few good runs (the drive he led to the 47 might have continued if not for a dropped pass by Jermaine Kearse).

The defense otherwise appeared to have the upper hand, and it was a somewhat remade defense featuring Greg Ducre at cornerback and Danny Shelton at tackle in place of the injured Quinton Richardson and Alameda Ta’amu.

Sarkisian had particularly high praise for Ducre.

“I thought he had a nice practice today — he really showed up,” Sarkisian said. “Sometimes a guy thinks of himself as a backup and can almost play like a backup, and then all the sudden they get pushed to the forefront and go with the ones and that talent that we know is there comes out and they start playing like a starter, and I thought Greg did that tonight. I thought he got a little better this morning and I thought tonight was far and away his best practice.”

Ducre needed a few days in fall camp to shake off the rust after being limited in the spring following off-season shoulder surgery.

“In the spring he was able to do a lot of the footwork stuff, and that’s of huge importance,” Sarkisian said. “And then he was able to keep hearing all the calls and things and that’s the second most important thing. The catching up for him was really mentally knowing that his shoulder is fine. It was surgically healed, he’s strong, he’s fine, so for him to make a couple of the plays he made tonight showing me and coach (Demetrice) Martin and coach (Nick) Holt that he’s not afraid of the shoulder. He’s playing and he’s diving and he’s doing all the things you need to do to be a complete player.”

Ducre spoke to reporters afterward and coined something of a new word in describing what he thinks is a strength in his game: “my instinctability.”

He also said he feels more comfortable on the field after playing a little bit last year.

“It’s more playing with more confidence and more experience,” he said. “Everything is still coming around pretty good now.”

Of the shoulder, he said the injury “was pretty big, but I’m glad I got it fixed. I feel like I’m ready.”

Sarkisian assessed the entire corner position this way: “You never like losing a starter at any position, but I was encouraged again by what Ducre brought tonight, and I was encouraged that Marcus Peters had his best practice tonight. So it’s good to see those two guys coming, and (Anthony) Gobern has had a nice camp, he’s steadily improved, and obviously what Desmond (Trufant) has done — he had a great interception tonight. When we get Quinton back we’ll have a good five guys at that spot. And again, I don’t think Quinton’s deal is a long, long thing. If it’s a few weeks, it’s a few weeks. But I don’t think it’s anything like months.”

Peters and Gobern ran consistently with the twos all night.

Shelton, meanwhile, appeared to hold his own in the middle in place of Ta’amu and with every day seems to be becoming someone who will have a big role on this year’s team.

“Again the D-line is hard for me to see exactly what is going on,” Sarkisian said. “But I’m assuming he was playing pretty well. I didn’t see any gaping holes in the middle where he was out of position, and he’s a big, strong guy. But I’ll be able to see more off the film.”

Of Ta’amu, Sarkisian said: “There’s no point to rush him right now…let that thing settle down a little bit, maybe get the swelling down a little bit. It’s not going to be something that’s going to inhibit him from playing. Today was not the day to bring him right back the next night. He suited up, but let’s get the swelling down.”


Kasen Williams got significant work as a punt returner along with Cody Bruns, Devin Aguilar, Johri Fogerson and Willis Wilson. Said Sarkisian: “We need to get as much information on Kasen back there as we can. It’s easy to catch punts in pre-practice, but how much we can do with guys running at him, understanding schemes, making good decisions when we are back up. He obviously did quite a bit of that in high school so we would be foolish not to give him that opportunity not to see what he can do with us.”

John Timu continues to run with the ones at weakside linebacker, but Sarkisian said the battle with Garret Gilliland is far from over: “It’s a great battle, and we are going to need both of those guys. You are hard-pressed to go through a season with three linebackers being healthy all the way through. We learned that last year where Garret started a game at (middle linebacker) and Princeton (Fuimaono) started a game at (strongside linebacker). So I like the fact that we’ve got nice depth at the linebacker spot. It’s a healthy competition. I think they are bringing the best out of both of each other.”

— More Sarkisian on Timu: “He was a high school quarterback, so he has a high football IQ. He gets the game. Two, he can really run. He’s by far and away our fastest backer…maybe Scotty Lawyer is a young guy that can really run. But the thing he’s been able to do is show courage. He’s got instincts in the box. He puts his face on people. He’s physical. That’s been the biggest surprise of it all, I think.”

— Asked about the progress of Seferian-Jenkins and Williams, he said: “I appreciate Austin, and Kasen for that matter…these guys, it’s hard when you’re a true freshman and you’re fighting the fight mentally, physically, emotionally, the playbook…it’s a grind. Those two guys are two competitive suckers, the more I’m around them. They don’t like not making plays. They don’t like when the ball is thrown to them and it’s a bang-bang play and they don’t catch it. You almost see a sense of frustration in both of them, and that’s a good thing. I don’t mind it. They are highly-competitive guys, and they want the ball and they want to make plays. … the stage hasn’t been too big for them. They’ve risen up – they’ve battled and competed and it’s going to take them time when they can play fast because they know what exactly what they’re doing on every snap.”

— He said plays such as the one Seferian-Jenkins made tonight might not have been possible without him coming in early for spring: “Without a doubt (it was) huge for him to be here for spring practices and to take advantage of those 15 practices. We’re seeing the results of it. And the great thing about Austin is that he’s so competitive. He wants to be even better, and he wants to know even more. And that’s what makes him uniquely special.”

— He elaborated on Seferian-Jenkins’ progress to date to say: “It’s mental, but it’s also technique fundamentals. It’s not about sheer athleticism or strength; it’s the mental side of knowing what to do and then at the moment when things happen using the proper fundamentals and techniques. That’s where he can get himself in trouble. When he’s right, he blocks all the people he needs to block, he blocks them really well, and he makes all the plays he needs to make down the field. So now it’s just a matter of finding that consistency with him, which he’ll get to.”

— Sarkisian said DiAndre Campbell, who got a lot of work with the No. 2 unit at WR tonight, continues to impress: “Love him. He’s really been one of the real surprises of training camp. He’s dedicated himself in the off-season to mentally and physically get ready, and he’s making plays and earning himself a spot right now.”

— This was practice nine for the Huskies, and Sarkisian said this is a time when it can get challenging for the freshmen: “But that’s the experience of being a freshman and going through a training camp on a good football team. You’re going to have those moments when you struggle, but this is also where you develop the mental toughness to preserver. These guys will do it. We have a nice freshman class. We’ll do it.”

— Here were his overall thoughts on the second two-a-day: “It was good. I thought we had a really good practice this morning, with an emphasis on two-minute drill, red zone and different things. Then for them to come back tonight, I thought they brought a lot of energy tonight. They are excited – any time they to tackle and play live football, they get even more excited about it. Definitely plenty of things to clean up.”

Taz Stevenson was in uniform but didn’t do any work during the live session. Evan Zeger, however, did, getting his most significant work of camp.

— Other than the defensive changes due to injury, there did not appear to be any changes to the offensive or defensive starters (check the depth chart posted earlier today for those listings).

— Unofficially, two interceptions during the entire practice, both by Trufant, and those appeared to be the only turnovers.

— Finally, Sarkisian said the team will hold what could be considered scrimmages on Tuesday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.: “We will scrimmage. But it will be a lot of situational work – things that we really need to get done important for a learning purpose. But we are going to do a lot of live tackling again (Tuesday). So it will be a scrimmage portion of a practice.”



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