I wanted to pass along a few more notes from practice. …
— I covered the injury news earlier, but wanted to pass along this coach from UW coach Steve Sarkisian on Nate Fellner and James Johnson: “His foot (Fellner’s), we’ll know for sure here, I’m gonna go check it out. Anytime a guy’s feet are involved and he notices it initially, that’s generally not great. James didn’t notice it right away, he noticed it this morning, that one, a little bit more of a sprain. But when a guy feels it right away, a little bit more concerning for me.”
— Here’s also more from Sarkisian on what happened with Deontae Cooper: “He did everything we asked him to do, I don’t think he did anymore than what the rehab called for and his other knee looked great, he looked awesome, cleared, ready to go, and I don’t know if it’s fluke, I don’t know what it is that it could go to his other knee in a drill where there wasn’t even a person around him. He got it cutting working a ball exchange. He made a cut and he didn’t fall down, nothing happened, he initially said, “I think I tweaked my calf.” I’ve never seen this before, I’ve never seen three, I’ve seen two, never three. Out of all the guys on the team, we got great, tough, kids, I don’t know if there is anybody who will handle it better than Deontae. He’s going to do everything in his power to try to come back.”
— As noted earlier, Sarkisian said that while the injuries are obviously not what a team wants, he feels UW is better equipped to handle them now than in the past: “The good thing is that I think we have the roster with the depth finally to withstand some of these injuries, do I like them, no, but were at a point now where we’ve got some guys that have opportunities to step in and play today and did some good stuff. Princeton (Fuimaono) hurt his hamstring and guys stepped in, Jamaal Kearse, (Scott) Lawyer, steps in. Shaq (Thompson) got some more opportunities today, that’s the beauty of having depth. James Johnson goes out, you see more Jaydon Mickens today, you see more Kendyl Taylor. That’s the positive part about it.”
— Aside from the injuries, it was another day where there was some teaching to be done of late hits. Today, it was Sean Parker and Talia Crichton who had to literally go stand in the corner for a while after some late contact that ran afoul of the coaches. Parker’s came when he got involved in a little tussle with Willis Wilson and Kasen Williams came over to defend his offensive player (it started when Desmond Trufant ran Wilson out of bounds and the play sort of kept going). Crichton’s came when he pushed through the line to sack Keith Price, apparently going past the whistle.
Said Sarkisian: “Well the thing is, I don’t doubt our talent level, or our competitive nature and our schemes, I want to make sure that were at a point now where we should pride ourselves on playing smart football and not making the dumb penalties. It’s the same as yesterday and what bothered me about Sean’s deal today, that was a huge point of emphasis after practice yesterday and last night’s meeting and for it to come out today, his emotions got the better of him and that’s not okay, that’s a selfish move.
“The hard part is and I addressed it with the team after practice and Sean right there, Sean’s arguably one of my top 5 favorite guys on our team and so, it’s not about who you are, at the end of the day we’re all held to the same standard. He’ll be fine but again, it’s a learning lesson, we have to learn from one another, we have to learn from that today.”
— Overall, the defense got the better of the day, as has often been the case since the spring. Among the notable plays were interceptions by Tre Watson and Parker (the latter from Price), pass breakups Brandon Beaver (of a pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins), Ducre (Williams) and Shaq Thompson. Said Sarkisian of the defense:
“It was great, what was cool about today’s practice was that the offense started well and the offense had some great moments early in practice and Justin (Wilcox) and I talked mid-practice and he goes “were just not competing again” and sure enough the defense came back and second half, that’s where you win. It was pretty cool to watch, the offense missed some opportunities, in that too, miscommunication on the pick that Sean gets with Kendyl down the middle and some bang bang plays that the defense was able to win on so that’s the value of competing. And watching our guys again and not accept “well were not doing great today”, they rallied the troops and got that going again and they had a great second half of practice.”
— The play noted above was typical of the kind of camp Watson is having so far — he’s definitely in the rotation at cornerback right now. “He’s a scrappy guy, a high football IQ,” Sarkisian said. “He has a knack for understanding where the ball’s going to go. Even when a guy’s catching the ball, he has a unique understanding where the ball is going to go to the tuck. He just gets great breaks on the ball, he really has a nice feel for the game.”
— As noted by Sarkisian earlier, Thompson got some more extensive looks in some schemes today. Here’s what Sarkisian said when asked what Thompson’s role is right now: “He’s in the nickel quite extensively, were just trying to find again, how do we get the best 11 guys on the field right now? And then as we continue to grow, how we can evolve from that. We’re trying to get them around the ball as best we can, especially in the nickel situations, he’ll get more shots of safety as we continue to grow, he really has a unique burst to the ball, that’s for sure, he gets to the football in a short amount of time.”
— Colin Tanigawa got a little work at guard during team sessions, the the offensive line was generally as it’s been throughout camp — left to right, Micah Hatchie, Dexter Charles, Drew Schaefer, James Atoe and Ben Riva.
— The second OL usually looked like this, left to right: Jake Eldrenkamp, Charles or Siosifa Tufunga, Mike Criste, Shane Brostek, Ross Dolbec. Sarkisian, when asked about Eldrenkamp, said: “He’s been going, that’s what he’s been doing, Jake is a terrific athlete, great feet. Obviously coming from Bellevue, his run blocking technique is tremendous, were continuing to work him getting out of the stance and he’s got great challenges in front of him, Josh Shirley, Hau’oli Jamora, or those guys coming off the edge. He’s getting introduced to college pretty quickly here especially in the third down drills, stuff like that. For a true freshman playing left tackle, I’m very pleased. I wouldn’t say there’s no chance he’d start this season, but I don’t see that in the immediate plans right now.”
— During the punting drills, the returners were Kasen Williams, Jaydon Mickens, Antavius Sims and Marvin Hall.
— Travis Coons was 3-3 and Korey Durkee 2-3 (though the snap appeared bad on that one) during the kicking, all from inside 40 or so.
— The Huskies are expected to get in full pads for the first time on Friday. Said Sarkisian: “The cool thing about us in full pads, we might have one or two sessions where there’ll be some live stuff, but were not going to be going to the ground, we’ll be staying up, we’ll progressively work ourselves into it. This day and age, the whole notion of full pads is a little over blown, all it is a thigh pad and the knee pad, it’ll be good for us, we need to do some tackling, we need to tackle, even our individual settings with the defense but then we need to get tackled too, our backs need to get tackled, we need to continue to gain information on those guys.”