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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 20, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Talking running backs with Joel Thomas

We were able to speak with UW running backs coach Joel Thomas after practice today about the battle for the starting job, Deontae Cooper’s status and the the progress of some of the younger players.

Here are the quotes, and there’s also some video below:

On the battle for the starting spot between Jesse Callier and Bishop Sankey and what he is seeing there: “I see with reps, Bishop is starting to become a stronger, more confident tailback. Jesse, like I said, he brings the wily veteran leadership to the group. He’s a guy that’s taken a lot of reps, he knows what is going on and the little details and everything. Right now between those two, those would be the guys that would be 1A and 1B and I’ll let you guys decide that is at that point between the two. But it’s been a competitive battle, I really like the energy and the effort they bring every single day. They are serious about taking the job over. One of them is going to do it, and it may be a 55-45 deal, 60-40, I don’t know, I don’t have a crystal ball until we get to next season.”

On it likely being more of a committee than it was the last three years: “Safe to say, but who knows? When I first got here I didn’t think Chris (Polk) was going to carry the ball as many times, as well. We were sprinkling in other guys and he kind of took the job over.”

On what he’s seen from Dezden Petty: “I’ve seen, he was really starting to come along before he had his little mishap with his (back) injury, but he’s a heavy type of runner, if that makes sense. He’s very difficult to bring down. He’s not the most perfect form running, pretty runner. Like Coop (Deontae Cooper) is a pretty runner, this guy is just kind of, he gets garbage yards and when guys try to tackle him it’s like they are hitting a 300-pound bag instead of a 200-pound bag. It’s funny how it transitions from the weight room to the field with Dezden.”

On being able to use Petty in short-yardage situations: “We’re experimenting with that stuff.”

On where Cooper is in his rehab: “He’s hanging out on the sideline with (team trainers) getting ready to go. We’ve all just said ‘hey, let Deontae get healthy and when camp comes around we’ll go ahead and assess him at that point.’ But from what I can see, he looks good running. We’ll see in August when he gets going.”

On how Cooper is handling it: “He’s one of the most positive people, not just football players or kids but people that I’ve ever been around, and if you ever had a chance to meet him you are obviously a fan of him and you want to see him have a chance to get back on the field to participate because he really bleeds Purple and Gold and wants to help this team get better.”

On what he’s seen so far out of Antavius Sims: “He’s got some work to go. He’s got a couple flashes here and there but in defense of Antavius it’s his first time playing running back ever. So he’s learning. I talk about the nuances for the guys that have been here, this is like a foreign language (for Sims). He speaks Spanish and I’m teaching him Japanese, and I speak English, so it’s a different one. So we are all trying to get on the same page. To his credit he is very positive and tries to get better and works hard and just have to see where this goes and obviously summertime will be another huge event for him as far as time commitment to getting better with his teammates and seeing where he can make a mark on our roster.”

Here’s some video:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1573712478001″][/do]

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