It started to feel a little more like football weather at Husky Stadium today as there were a few clouds and a little wind — though sounds like the sun is returning for the weekend.
It was the usual Wednesday practice, full pads and lots of preparation for this week’s game against Cal. And Keith Price took part in most of the work. He doesn’t look 100 percent but UW coach Steve Sarkisian said he thought Price looked better today than a week ago.
“He moved pretty good today,” Sarkisian said. “I thought he moved better this Wednesday than he did a Wednesday ago, so I’m encouraged by that.”
Also back was running back Jesse Callier, who suffered a hamstring injury against Nebraska. Said Sarkisian: “I thought he moved around a lot better today too, so we’ll see how he responds tomorrow.”
Safeties Nate Fellner and Taz Stevenson, however, are more questionable. Fellner was in pads but didn’t appear to do anything. Stevenson was not in pads.
“We’re on the mend,” Sarkisian said. “The guys that were a little nicked up after the ball game are getting better. That’s natural. I think the guys that were out of the game – Taz and Fellner – are both getting better. I don’t know if we’ll have them back necessarily for Saturday, but they are getting better.”
Price has been limitted at times, however, which has allowed Nick Montana to take a lot of snaps with the ones. And Sarkisian said he’s confident in how Montana would perform if he had to play.
“Nick’s been playing well,” Sarkisian said. “I think it dates back to the second half of training camp through now. He’s been playing well. That wasn’t the case of why Nick wasn’t our starter. It was Keith playing really well. And we’re seeing that as well, the capabilities that Keith has at quarterback.”
You can watch Sarkisian’s media session today in the video below, with some more comments after the jump:
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— This was the week that Sarkisian had targeted for a return to full health of DT Semisi Tokolahi. Tokolahi saw brief action last week, but Sarkisian said he is still not 100 percent. “The hardest part is just the overall feeling and strength of his foot. You know, it’s just not quite there to where we want it to be. Our job, I think, first is to make sure that the well-being of our players is in the right place of order. There’s days when he really shows things that are encouraging. There’s other days when he doesn’t show things the way we would like. So that’s what’s making it so hard to put him in the game, actually.”
— Asked if the injuries are impacting Price’s throwing mechanics, Sarkisian said: “Not so much throwing, I think. He has a tendency to get his base a little too wide, and I don’t know if that’s because of the knee or not. I don’t think so. I think that was even before. The only thing mechanically is not being able to really run…he’s still quick and elusive. We see that in the pocket, and we see that with some suddenness on the 6-7 yard runs…he just hasn’t been able to really open up and go the way he can. But again – I thought he moved and ran better today in a lot of our movement stuff, and I would imagine that he’ll be even better tomorrow.”
— Asked how much of the playbook has yet to be revealed, he said: “We’ve got all sorts of stuff (laughs). I think we’re about on course of what we would normally be. There are some things we are excited about that we’d like to run that fits the opponent and what you’re doing. I think it would be foolish to have everything all at once, and you can’t call all those plays. We try to save some things from week to week to input.”
— Asked about Quinton Richardson bouncing back from last week, he said: “He’s getting there. He’s still not 100 percent, which I think is part of the problem. I think he’s responded. I thought he was in real good spirits today and had a good practice.”
— And asked a similar question about Bishop Sankey he said: “He’s OK. I reminded the team, and I reminded Bishop – the opening kickoff of the 2010 season, a guy by the name of Chris Polk dropped that one too, and went on to rush for 1400 yards last year. So you can rebound. One play doesn’t define a young man, and Bishop will be fine.”
— Sarkisian said again that the team would like to find a way to get more players involved on the defensive line: “Hopefully. We would like to. Hopefully that would help us stay fresh later in the ball game. That comes with trust. That comes with guys doing things right in practice on a consistent basis, and then when they get their chances in ball games doing things right. So that comes with trust, that comes with time, and hopefully we can develop that sooner rather than later.” He said depth on the line might have been an issue at times against Nebraska. “At some points there were. There were a couple of drives when I think it was an issue, where I thought we wore down and they leaned on us pretty good. I thought it had an effect.”
— If UW employs more players up front, that could mean more time for Sione Potoa’e. Sarkisian said “he’s back to normal now” from the knee issues he had during camp.
— Asked about getting more production out of the outside linebackers, he said: “I didn’t know. There was so much unknown with those kids. You don’t know. It’s the same as all of our young players. Some of them can adapt and play to the level of the game that’s necessary to really be effective and productive, and other guys it just takes a little time. I think Johnny (Timu) and Princeton (Fuimaono) have had some moments when they’ve really done some nice things, and other moments when they haven’t been as good. But that’s part of being a young player. And hopefully, we’re not continually making whatever mistakes we’re making, whatever mishaps, on a consistent basis. Hopefully we learn from it, we move on, and when that situation comes up again, you play better when it comes.”
— Another player who might see more time on the line is Josh Shirley, if practice this week means anything. Sarkisian said that Shirley “has had his best week of practice. Yesterday and today were the best two practices he’s had since spring ball. I don’t know exactly where the light turned on, but it did. I expect him to get more involved this Saturday when he’s on the field, to be more productive. … he’s just playing faster. He’s playing fast, I’m noticing him, I’m feeling him in practice, his speed. So the goal is to get that to carry over on Saturday.”