Story for the paper done, time to flesh out a little more on the scrimmage today.
It lasted 93 plays, and featured the one offense against the one defense, the two offense against the two defense and the three offense against the three defense throughout. The caveat is that after the first few series, there was a lot of mixing and matching, and a lot of the veterans played only a few series, with no reason to beat them up now.
“This was somewhat like an NFL pre-season game where the starters get a series or two and then you work in some of the backups where there’s still a few starters in there, and then it works its way to the young guys,” said UW coach Steve Sarkisian.
The starting units, however, revealed no changes other than noted earlier, with Kasen Williams going at receiver ahead of Devin Aguilar, who has been ailing the past few days with a glute strain. Sarkisian said he was “going to hold off on where guys are going to be” until next week. So too early to say yet that Williams is a starter. And the reality is that at a spot like WR, where guys rotate a lot, it can be a little bit of semantics anyway. More telling is simply that Williams is obviously in the rotation and will play a lot.
The highlight play of the day may have been his 10-yard reception from Nick Montana late in the going that didn’t count — Montana was ruled to have been touched just a hair before he threw.
“It was pretty close,” said Sarkisian. “Whether or not it was a sack, it was a pretty good play.”
He elaborated to say: “That was a pretty good catch in the back of the end zone. That’s what he is. We’re finding more and more about what he does really well and what he’s comfortable doing, and we’re trying to put him in those settings. That was great seeing Kasen do that, and Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) made a few plays there, and I thought Bishop Sankey ran the ball well today as a young guy doing his thing. All in all, I thought the young guys showed up today. They weren’t perfect by any means; they have a lot of work to do. But it was great to watch them play football.”
Sarkisian said that while Williams has begun to make highlight-reel plays just about daily now, he hasn’t become “ho-hum.”
“Maybe in a few years I will get ho-hum,” he said. “But I marvel at some of his plays just like everybody else. That’s the beauty of having a great athlete that can bail you out and can make those types of plays. I know it’s a great luxury for the quarterbacks to have that playmaking ability and you add Kasen to Jermaine Kearse and Devin and Kevin and James Johnson and what DiAndre Campbell is bringing, and (Michael Hartvigson) and Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) and Evan Hudson, it’s a pretty dynamic group of playmakers, and it’s fun for us as a staff because now that ball can be spread to five different guys. It’s not ‘we’ve got to get the ball to Jermaine or Devin.’ Everybody can make their plays and it’s allowing the system to work for the quarterback and I think that’s why we are seeing a little bit more efficiency overall in the offense when we are doing things the right way.”
Williams was also tried as a punt returner and a kickoff returner as the team explores ways to get him on the field.
“We are pushing him to see what it looks like and how he responds and he has done nothing but respond every chance we have given him,” Sarkisian said. “There is still the big learning curve and the mistakes that are made. He has not been perfect by any means. But I love his resiliency, I love the fact that when he makes mistakes he wants to learn and get better from them. He takes tremendous notes. He’s a very serious guy when it comes to competing.”
Here are the unofficial stats:
Rushing: Chris Polk 9-36, Jesse Callier 7-22, Johri Fogerson 8-50, Bishop Sankey 7-53, Dezden Petty 7-37, Willis Wilson 4-23, Cole Sager 1-3, Keith Price 3- (-7), Nick Montana 2- (-1), Derrick Brown 1-(-6)
Passing: Keith Price 7-9-80, Nick Montana 14-20-113, Derrick Brown 5-8-34
Receiving: Kasen Williams 4-53, Devin Aguilar 2-40, Kevin Smith 1-20, James Johnson 4-69, DiAndre Campbell 3-17, Evan Hudson 1-16, Marlion Barnett 3-25, Travon Brooks 2-13, Michael Hartvigson 1-12, Austin Seferian-Jenkins 1-7, Jamaal Jones 1-12, Jesse Callier 2-8, Josh Perkins 2-12
Chris Polk 1 run (Erik Folk PAT no good)
Jamaal Kearse 25 fumble return
Travon Brooks 2 pass from Nick Montana (Folk PAT)
Erik Folk 51 field goal
Dezden Petty 13 run (Folk PAT)
Jesse Callier 2 run (Folk PAT)
Eric Guttorp 36 field goal
MORE NOTES. …
— The No. 1 offense was on the field for five series and scored two touchdowns, the runs by Polk and Callier, and had a field goal. The No. 2 offense had five series and scored one TD, the Montana-to-Brooks pass, and also had a field goal by Guttorp, which followed the throw to Williams that didn’t count. Petty’s TD came on the lone scoring drive by the three offense in its four series.
— As noted above, Sarkisian said this scrimmage was designed for younger players to show their wares, and asked who stood out, he said: “I thought guys like (Travis) Feeney and (James) Sample and what they did tackling in the open field. I thought (Nate) Fellner had a heck of a tackle in the open field on Polk, so things show up, and again we go look at the film. I have to imagine somewhere in there Drew Schaefer played pretty well at center for us to do some of the things we were doing, or (Erik) Kohler at right tackle. So guys are starting to raise their level of play. As we are getting better as a team we are getting better individually as well.”
— Here was his assessment of the quarterbacks and the passing game: “I thought Nick did nice, did some nice things today. I thought Keith was efficient. I thought James Johnson did some nice things today, Devin Aguilar. So it was good. I thought the ball got spread around so guys could make some plays. There weren’t a whole lot of missed opportunities and drops and things of that nature. Guys were taking advantage of their opportunities when they had them.”
— Here’s what he said about Sankey and Petty getting a lot of work: “We are trying to figure them out. We don’t have quite as much information on them. But I thought Bishop, again, showed the explosiveness and the elusiveness that you like out of a running back. But one of the things that jumped out at me today was his physical nature. He finished runs really well today and that’s something we preach here, but he really did a nice job of that.”
— The team came out healthy, which was good news to Sarkisian: “All in all I thought it was good for a physical scrimmage. We ran the football and that was an emphasis for us in running the football today. And I’m sure we have some bumps and bruises and guys up in the training room with some shoulders and thighs, but all in all nothing jumped out.”
— Here was Sarkisian’s response when asked about the three ineligible players: “Nothing. Believe me I’ve asked myself that question and other people that question today. I think we are getting closer but it’s a frustrating process but it is what it is.”
— Sarkisian said the play of some of the young skill guys will make for a different look for the offense this season: “We are always going to try to fit our playbook to our personnel and try not to force things upon these guys and try to allow them to do the things that they do well. So there are going to be parts of stuff we have done the past two years that aren’t going to be part of our gameplans this year. That’s just the nature of who we are and how we evolve. But there are a lot of other aspects we will have to knock the dust off a little bit and get back involved in what we are doing because it fits our personnel and our personality.”
— And as might be imagined, he said having more options he something he loves: “Obviously as an offensive coach, I love that – the fact that we have so many players that can do so many different things in a variety of fashion…to have the element of two tight end sets and things we haven’t had here for a couple years, which is great. Today’s emphasis was that a lot of young guys got a chance to play. They maybe haven’t gotten those scrimmage sessions that we’ve had in the past. We had our vets do their thing, and then we had our young guys going…and man! They are an athletic group. Some of the tackles Travis Feeney made in the open field today…James Sample made in the open field today, Scotty Lawyer…I love the athleticism of this team and the future of this team as we move on beyond even this year.”
— Though there were just five penalties, a couple came at critical times: “There were a couple things here and there…we had a series where we had a play called back because of a false start, and then another false start. Those are the things…that has nothing to do with who you’re playing; those are self-inflicted wounds. That’s the stuff that we have to clean up in these settings, when the coaches aren’t on the field with you, when they are on the sidelines…the ability to not have delay of game penalties, false start penalties, illegal formation penalties…we’re getting there, but we can still clean it up. A lot of that comes with Keith and his command of being on the field and getting things fixed and lined up, and that’s part of the role of
— The scrimmage ran quickly as the 40-second clock began right when the ball was whistled dead: “That was totally designed. We want them to feel the heat and the pressure of the clock and reacting to it…if we have shifts and motions and things on where they have to get lined up…that was definitely by design.”
— Here’s what he said about Ta’amu: “He’ll be in that (cast) for a while, and there’s no point for him not to be right now. Let’s let it heal, but he can still play football, and he made a bunch of plays with that thing on, so he should be fine.”
— And here’s what he said about Quinton Richardson’s MRI: “It came back a high ankle sprain, which is very encouraging. It’s also encouraging that Quinton felt good enough that he didn’t want crutches anymore, so he’s just walking in the boot. A lot of it is on his body now, and how he heals from this. I don’t anticipate this being months, by any means. I think this is something that’s more like weeks.”
— Asked if that means Richardson could miss the Eastern game, Sarkisian said: “I guess. The reality of it is, a high ankle sprain and we’ve got two-and-a-half weeks now till that ball game, so I would say it’s in question. The key with a high ankle sprain is not letting that thing linger either. We’ll assess him come game week and where that’s at, and we’ll be very aggressive in his rehab, trying to get him healthy. But as that week comes, and as the week goes on, if he’s not good enough and healthy enough in our opinion to play, we’re not going to force him out there. We’re going to need him out there for the long haul, and we need him healthy for our defensive system and scheme, and what we’re trying to get done this year.”
— The FOX broadcast team of Gus Johnson, Tim Brewster and Charles Davis was on hand as part of a tour of Pac-12 schools, and also conducted a few interviews for later broadcast.
— Thomas Tutogi got a lot of work with the ones as Cort Dennison didn’t play much and had a nice series where he had a sack and then followed after a play by two tackles.
— The No. 1 DL consisted of Crichton, Thompson, Ta’amu and Jamora. The No. 2 DL was Hudson, Lagafuainia, Potoa’e and Shirley. However, Shelton then rotated in for Ta’amu once he came out and got a lot of time with the ones. The No. 1 LBs were Timu, Dennison and Fuimaono and the No. 2s were Gilliland, Tutogi and Pelluer/Kearse. The No. 1 safeties were Fellner and Parker and the No. 2s were Glenn and Walker though with Sample getting in there a lot, as well. The No. 1 CBs were Ducre and Trufant and the No. 2s were Peters and Gobern.
— Based on what we’ve seen so far, five true frosh are sure to play this year — Williams, Shelton, Seferian-Jenkins, Peters and Sample. Sankey appears close to that list, as well. Hard to tell yet on any others.
— The No. 1 OL was the same as it’s been throughout — Kelemete, Tanigawa, Schaefer, Porter, Kohler. The No. 2 was Hatchie, Wood, Porter/Criste, Fancher, Riva.