The Huskies appeared to make it through the first day of full pads without any significant new injuries.
There was some other personnel news, however, that left the linebacking corps in particular looking suddenly thin.
UW coach Steve Sarkisian announced after practice that senior strongside linebacker Nate Fellner will be out roughly four weeks after suffering a broken fifth metatarsal in his foot in practice on Thursday.
“(For) most guys, that’s about a four-week recovery,” Sarkisian said. “We know what it is, it’s nothing worse, there’s no ligament damage, hopefully he gets back sooner rather than later. The guy today that got a lot of reps was Jamaal Kearse as well as Scott Lawyer and did some nice stuff today.”
Sarkisian also announced after practice that junior linebacker Garret Gilliland has decided to give up football. He said Gilliland will stay at UW (though he would no longer be on scholarship since it is his choice to give up football). Gilliland memorably started as a true freshman against Nebraska in 2010 when Cort Dennison was injured but was running usually with the second and third units early on in camp this week.
“He’s not going to play football anymore, he’s going to stay at school here at UW, an opportunity maybe lost there,” Sarkisian said. “We want him to play football and he doesn’t want to, it’s unfortunate.”
A few other injuries left UW with just eight linebackers for practice as starting weakside backer Princeton Fuimaono sat out with a hamstring issue that cropped up Thursday. (Lawyer filled in for Fellner’s spot and Kearse for Fuimaono).
“Princeton’s got a hamstring that we’re just going to monitor very closely,” he said. “We don’t want that thing to linger all year long, were going to get him healthy.”
Taz Stevenson also sat out with a migraine that arose on Thursday. Sarkisian also said true freshman Blake Rodgers continues to struggle with a knee injury. “It’s just not quite back to where we can get him on the field,” Sarkisian said.
UW also lost a body at linebacker before the season when redshirt freshman Matt Lyons decided to transfer.
Sarkisian, though, said he’s not troubled by the depth at linebacker.
“A lot of guys (are) getting shots,” he said. “Cory Littleton, a lot more reps than he’s had in the first few days, Thomas Tutogi, a lot of reps. I think they embrace it (the opportunity), we talked about it last night, as a team, as one guy goes down, the reason we recruited those guys was to come here and play, and I think they are working on it. Just like a lot of young guys, you make some plays and then there’s some plays you’d like to have back. You have to look at the film to see how it all played out but I think they were excited for the opportunity. Evan Zeger is another name I should have used, he’s getting more opportunities as well. With some of the guys that moved down, Fellner and Zeger, our numbers aren’t the issue there, it’s getting the right guys on the field at the right spots.”
As for practice itself, Sarkisian said he liked what he saw on the team’s first day in full pads.
“I thought it went well,” he said. “I thought it was good intensity, there was some cool stuff, we obviously did the pride drill there in the middle of practice and it was great to see the guys get excited and compete, and a nice physical team run period, and then obviously finishing up here in the red zone late and watching guys on both sides of the ball making plays, which first day in pads is good. We understood the tempo and that we weren’t live today, it wasn’t about trying to go to the ground, it was still understanding pad level and staying up and I thought the guys did a nice job.”
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Sarkisian told KJR-AM that Hau’oli Jamora will have surgery next week on his knee — they need to wait to get in to see the right doctor, apparently.
— Offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto missed practice with what Sarkisian termed “personal issues.”
— WR James Johnson also sat out again with what Sarkisian called a “sprain in his foot that I think is more of a day to day, nothing structural.” With Johnson out and Kevin Smith still not practicing other than some conditioning drills, Cody Bruns, DiAndre Campbell, Jaydon Mickens and Kendyl Taylor all got time with the starting unit, as did Marvin Hall, who might have had the play of the day when he came back to dive and catch a pass from Jeff Lindquist for about a 40-yard touchdown.
— Lindquist and Cyler Miles appeared to split the reps with the No. 2 offense behind Keith Price (we didn’t get a reason but Sarkisian has said previously to expect to see some changeups in the rotation there to get everybody the needed work). Lindquist had a few plays he’d probably like to have back, including missing an open Michael Hartvigson for a potential touchdown on the last play of practice. Miles had a pass tipped at the line by Connor Cree that Semisi Tokolahi caught for an interception as this seemed another day when the defense won more battles than the offense.
— True frosh Cory Fuavai was limited in practice. “He’s got Achilles strain that’s just been bothering him. It’s bothered him throughout the summer, he thought he shook it and couldn’t.”
— Other than the changes necessitated by some of the injuries, there were no apparent changes to the starting lineups. Colin Tanigawa got some of the most work he’s received all camp at guard. The starting OL was otherwise the same as it’s been since Erik Kohler was injured with Micah Hatchie at left tackle, Dexter Charles at LG, Drew Schaefer at center, James Atoe at RG and Ben Riva at RT.
— Travis Coons got all six attempts during the team session and hit five, including two that appeared to be just over 50 yards (hard to tell sometimes from our vantage point).
— Mickens stayed after practice for a while working with a jugs machine.
— Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, now doing some Pac-12 TV work for Fox, attended practice.
Here’s video of Sarkisian’s post-practice press conference:
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And here’s some video of practice:
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