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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 18, 2011 at 8:47 PM

Thursday night practice notes — Callier gets his shot

However long Chris Polk may be out figures to be too long for holding-their-breath Husky fans.

As noted in the post below, however, UW coach Steve Sarkisian doesn’t seem to think Polk will be out long.

Still, while Polk is on the mend, the tailback job will shift to Jesse Callier, a sophomore who was one of the prize signees in the Class of 2010.

Callier enrolled in time for spring ball in 2010 and then had a solid freshman year with 433 yards on 77 carries, with a best of 107 yards on 10 carries against UCLA.

Callier talked with the media afterward and said he’s confident he can fill the void for however long may be necessary:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1117174156001″][/do]

And as noted in the previous post, Sarkisian also said he feels comfortable with the trio of tailbacks that the Huskies will go with for the next few weeks.

Callier did much of his damage last year on the outside, including on fly sweeps. But Sarkisian said he can handle all the inside running that would be required.

“He was an in-between the tackle guy for his entire career of high school, really, and we do it quite a bit with him,” Sarkisian said. “But it’s hard on game day when you’ve got No. 1 (Polk) to justify not giving it to No. 1 when you are going in-between the tackles. But I do think Jesse has the capabaility of doing that and I thought he showed it today — he had a couple of nice runs inside. … He’s a pretty physical kid, you know. Sometimes he comes across as a smiling happy-go-lucky kid but he is definitely a physical kid.”

In fact, Callier had about a 35-yard TD run during a team session today (the team was in helmets and shoulder pads only and it was not full-contact).

Sarkisian said at Pac-12 media day in July that he thought Callier hit a little bit of a wall late in the year. Callier said today that “I maybe got too comfortable. I maybe thought I knew too much of the game. But I’m pretty sure there was a lot to know. There is still stuff I’m learning that I didn’t know. So I just probably got too comfortable.”

He said he had a good off-season, saying he now weighs 205 pounds, up from 195 last year, and that he’s eager for whatever opportunity awaits. “Nothing changes,” he said. “I’m still going to be me. I’m still going to be the guy that laughs and jokes around. I’m still going to be me.”

IN OTHER NEWS. …

— Linebacker Jordan Wallace also sat out practice and Sarkisian said he will have an MRI tonight to determine the extent of the damage. He said it’s unclear when Wallace got hurt.

Anthony Gobern continued to run with the starting unit at one cornerback spot alongside Desmond Trufant and Justin Glenn got a lot of time at free safety. “Until they prove to us otherwise we are going to continue to give them opportunities,” Sarkisian said. “They have earned it and from what I can tell they both responded pretty well again today. We need depth. I think that is something we have lacked here for two years, where we were hanging by a thread. If we got an injury it was ‘oh no.’ And now with the healthy competition at a lot spots and guys pushing one another it is allowing us to play more guys, especially early in ball games, so that we are fresh in the second half and that is something we are leaning on doing.”

— Sarkisian said there was “a big emphasis to go into more spread looks, more four wide looks three wide looks,” during practice today, both for the offense and for the defense to get more practice defending against a scheme that a lot of UW opponents run.

— During a goal-line session, Austin Seferian-Jenkins had yet another TD catch from Nick Montana. Kasen Williams also caught a few passes during those sessions. Said Sarkisian: “Again it just goes back to what we have been saying from the beginning, that that’s an area where they feel comfortable. They have a knack for obviously elevating and catching the balls in the back end line and doing those types of things, so we made it a point to put them in those positions to do those things so they could feel good about what they are good at and that they can play at this level, and the quarterback figured it out too that those guys can jump and they can bail you out a little bit.”

— UW will practice Friday night at 7 p.m. and then hold a scrimmage Saturday at 3:15. Said Sarkisian of the scrimmage: “This will be realistically the last really good chance for a lot of our young guys to just play football as we know it — live, getting after it. There will be a really good emphasis on special teams, as we touched on last night. I want to see us let it go and play fast, free special teams football, which I think we can do but we have to take that step to do that. And then there will be some situational stuff, offense and defense. We’ve got some stuff I know our coaches want to work on, but we will meet tonight and tomorrow and identify exactly what those things are we want to get nailed.”

— After that scrimmage, decisions on redshirts will begin to be made. “We have to start to get a feeling of it to be fair to the kids and their parents and their families to give them an idea of what is happening and the they are happening the way they are. We will get through Saturday and then take a day off Sunday to assess all those things and then come back Monday with a decent idea of what we are doing. But things (can) change, stuff happens, and you have to adjust, so we will keep coaching and pushing those kids. But hopefully we will have a pretty good idea come Monday.”

— Defensive coordinator Nick Holt said that Danny Shelton and James Sample are sure to play this year but that it’s too early to say yet about any other defensive players. Offensively, Williams and Seferian-Jenkins will obviously play this year.

— One special teams emphasis Saturday will be to get a look at the returners. Said Sarkisian: “We’ve got some other guys that need opportunities to show what they can do, obviously Kasen and Bishop first and foremost. And I’d love to see Desmond get a return. I love the way he has been playing on defense and I would love to see him get a return. I think he would too, He was so excited last scrimmage that he dropped the ball, and that’s not acceptable, so we have to work through those things and give those guys more opportunities so they get more comfortable back there.”

— It was a long day for Sarkisian, who attended the funeral for one of his former coaches, Fred Petersen, in California in the morning and got to UW during the early stages of practice. “When I was growing up, he was the high school head coach for my local high school, where I ended up going. They win the CIF Championship in 1982, and I was eight years old at the time, and I was the little kid playing in the end zone while they were playing the game. I remember watching that game, and I always thought of Fred Petersen at the time as this giant – this guy that was nine feet tall and the hard-nosed coach that everybody looked up to. So when the time came for my opportunity to play for him at El Camino Junior College, I had to get over that factor, because I always thought of him as bigger than life. Now, going through it and the impact that he had, I think back to a lot of the things I’m trying to instill in our football team…the messages I’m trying to give to our guys are the same messages coach Pete gave me and instilled in me. His legacy will live on with me and with our football team because I think he’s got great values. He’s a tremendous football coach, and I’ll always think of him in certain situations, because he meant so much to me.”

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