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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 8, 2012 at 7:04 PM

UW training camp report — Day Three

It was just shoulder pads and helmets.

But it was at least some sort of pads, the next step on the road to getting into full pads for the first time on Friday.

And the change in the atmosphere was evident as the Huskies went through day three of training camp on the East Practice Field in the eyes of head coach Steve Sarkisian.

“Guys are battling and competing,” he said. “They are enthusiastic and there is execution that is good at times on both sides and execution we would like to have back on both sides. For the most part I am pleased with where we are at three days in, but again we are only three days into it.”

And through the increased hitting also came more than a few of what the coach calls “teachable moments.”

One came when QB Keith Price took a little longer than Sarkisian liked to get rid of the ball while trying to escape a rush — for reasons that hardly need to be repeated, the team is placing a heavy emphasis on Price staying healthy this year. Sarkisian quite animatedly showed Price the lane where he needed to get rid of it before being put at risk of taking a hit.

“it’s obviously a point of emphasis of ours that we are not going to take sacks and minimize our sacks and not take unnecessary hits,” Sarkisian said. “And especially when we are in the red zone and not taking sacks, and it’s a point of emphasis for him and for us as an offense so we have to make sure we get the point across. . … He’s better, but he’s got to get better. We can’t accept that.”

Another came when safety-turned-LB Nate Fellner hit an offensive player late. Fellner had been banished to the sidelines briefly on Monday for a similar play and was again on Wednesday, each time drawing some strong words from his head coach. (OT Ben Riva and LB Scott Lawyer also had quick banishments for late hits).

“I love our guys but there are coachable moments and teachable moments where we have to get points across,” he said. “. .. You can’t late hit, you know? We try to pride ourselves on being a smart football team and we get a stop in the red zone and you late hit a guy and they get a free first down and get them close to the end zone, you hold them to three points and now you give them a chance to get seven again. Again, teachable moments that you have to learn from and hopefully that everybody can learn from and not just that individual but the other 10 guys on the defense with them.

“It’s a point of emphasis with him and not that I’m trying to take Nate’s stinger, by any means. He’s a physical player and we love that about him, it’s why we moved him to linebacker. But dumb penalties are dumb penalties and we have to eliminate them.”

If there was a player of the day, it might have been WR Cody Bruns, who is off to a strong start this camp and had another couple standout plays, including a TD in the back of the end zone from Cyler Miles. Bruns has also regained the starting job as the team’s holder, which he, well, held in 2010 before redshirting last season.

The team session was spent largely on red zone plays, so there inevitably were a few touchdowns, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins scored one on what might have been the highlight play of the day, a leaping grab in the end zone of a Price pass between two defenders.

Travis Coons got the chances kicking today as the team will trade off (with Korey Durkee getting his shot tomorrow). Coons, a JC transfer, made the most of the opportunity, going 6-6 with the last comfortably good from 52 yards.

“Travis had a great day today,” Sarkisian said. “We really tried to give him the opportunity to kick today and we’ll come back with Korey tomorrow and I think it’s all the batteries getting a little more consistent with the snap, hold kick. Travis has a very strong leg. He missed from 52 twice yesterday and it wasn’t for distance, it was wide left. And he came back today and drilled it from 52, so very strong leg, it’s just finding that consistency.”

No real significant movement in the depth chart yet. The No. 1 OL, with Erik Kohler and Colin Tanigawa out (Tanigawa does individual work but has not gotten in during team sessions yet), looked like this left to right — Micah Hatchie, Dexter Charles, Drew Schaefer, James Atoe and Ben Riva. The No. 1 WRs were Kasen Williams, James Johnson and Bruns (though with DiAndre Campbell getting in a few times, as well) and Jesse Callier and Bishop Sankey at TB (usually in that order though basically just trading off).

The No. 1 DL was Josh Shirley, Andrew Hudson, Danny Shelton and Talia Crichton, with Fellner, John Timu and Princeton Fuimaono at LB, and Justin Glenn and Sean Parker at safety and Greg Ducre and Desmond Trufant at CB.

Speaking of Kohler, Sarkisian said his MRI did not show any additional damage other than the briefly dislocated kneecap suffered on Monday.

“It’s the same,” he said. “He feels really good and what is encouraging is that the swelling is already down significantly and he feels really good about it. It’s just getting that thing strengthened back up and getting him going. I’m not as concerned that he will be available to us for gameday — I have no worry about that. It’s just the continuity factor that’s concerning to me, so the sooner we can get him back, especially even in the early portions of practice to where the communication and all those things are happening is what’s more important to me than if he is going to be there gameweek or not.”

As for when Tanigawa will get fully into the mix, Sarkisian said: “It’s going to be incremental progress and we knew that just kind of naturally from the timeline for an ACL and where we are in training camp that he was going to be right on the cusp of the season of being available to us. So there’s no reason to rush him when we know when that date is going to be. The knee looks great, he’s had no swelling, we’ll just take it day to day the way we are.”

Also getting back incrementally is DT Semisi Tokolahi, a senior coming off a foot injury.

“I think he’s getting more and more comfortable as far as just being back playing football and coming off the surgery,” Sarkisian said. “But I think he is providing our defensive staff some comfort there. Another big body inside that can be productive for us. I think we are pleased where he is at but I think he has plenty of room to grow, as well to get back into it and maybe get his weight down a little bit. But he’s been productive. … Obviously we love Danny (Shelton) and he’s had a great camp so far. He’s so strong and he’s done a tremendous job on the inside, but it’s hard for a guy who is 330 to play 75 snaps a game so we have to find ways to get other guys on the field and we are hopeful we can get Semisi back to where he was two years ago when he was really effective for us, especially down the stretch in the run game, so if he can bring that maybe we can knock 20 or so snaps off of Danny’s game and get Semisi in there, as well.”

A FEW OTHER NOTES. …

— Sarkisian had this to say about Miles: “I thought Cyler did some stuff today that was pretty impressive. The ball to Cody in the back of the end zone there and his ability to understand and not get jittery. He shows a great deal of composure for a young guy.”

— On Kasen Williams: “I thought Kasen has had a very, very consistent camp and is playing at a high level and really has embraced the opportunity that he sees is out there for himself and this started in the off-season and there were some growing pains a little bit in spring ball to understand that. You don’t just get anointed as the top receiver — you earn it. And he is working his tail off to try to make that happen and he is making his plays. He did it yesterday and he came back early in practice today another deep ball and went up and got it. So I’m really impressed with what he is bringing. He’s got a very professional attitude about it.”

— On Dexter Charles working with the ones with Kohler out: “I like Dexter because he’s just a hard-nosed tough guy. He’s what you want in an offensive linemen. He works hard at it, he cares, it matters to him, And at the end of the day he is getting better. …. Very pleased with what he has brought so far.”

— On young players who have stood out so far: “A lot of them have done some things that have been quite impressive. The two young corners, Brandon Beaver made some plays today, you saw the plays the first couple of days that Shaq (Thompson) was making back there. Obviously Pio Vatuvei has been very impressive inside at D-tackle for us. The two young receivers, maybe today wasn’t the best day they’ve had but they’ve shown some stuff, (Jaydon) Mickens and Kendyl Taylor, (Shane) Brostek has gotten in there, we’ve put him in there with the ones and he’s grinding away kind of one good, one bad, but that’s how it’s going to be with all the movement. And I think Erich Wilson, he’s slippery has a natural feel for running the football. And then obviously the two quarterbacks for day three — they are not fumbling snaps and throwing balls right to the defense. They are playing pretty good football for true freshmen.”

Here’s all of what Sarkisian had to say:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1777318607001″][/do]

And here’s a little video of some of the early portions of practice:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1777317181001″][/do]

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