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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 16, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Thursday practice report — Johnson, Kearse join injury list

Another day, another couple of injuries for the Huskies.

Most of UW’s injuries to this point, though, have been of the usual training camp bump-and-bruise variety (with a few obvious exceptions).

Thursday, though, reporters showed up to see senior receiver James Johnson — a projected starter — and sophomore linebacker Jamaal Kearse, working on the second team — sidelined with injuries that will keep each out indefinitely.

Johnson had his right arm wrapped due to what UW coach Steve Sarkisian said was a dislocated wrist. Kearse was on crutches with his right foot in a boot due to what Sarkisian saaid was a “stress fracture in his tibia, his shin.”

Sarkisian did not give a timetable for either but said they hope to get each back “sooner rather than later.”

“I don’t know enough right yet,” he said when asked when each may be able to return. “”It happened obviously in last night’s practice pretty late, so it’s hard to get everything done by now. So hopefully I have more information for you guys tomorrow.”

The injuries weren’t apparent during the practice and Johnson talked to reporters after practice Wednesday night without mentioning the injury. Kearse also participated in much of practice Wednesday night, getting a lot of work inside.

The injuries came on the same day UW announced that redshirt freshman H-back Joshua Perkins and walk-on sophomore running back Willis Wilson had been dismissed from the team.

Sarkisian said the dismissals and the injuries obviously don’t improve the depth, and the coach made one move to try to address depth issues at tight end, moving walk-on Alec Kimble from linebacker to tight end.

“I think he can compete there,” Sarkisian said of Kimble. “In high school he caught a lot of balls as a wide receiver-type. He’s a great body type. He’s in a little bit of a log jam on the defensive side of the ball and we feel like he can help us on offense.”

Wilson had been competing for the No. 4 tailback spot after the top three of Jesse Callier, Bishop Sankey and Erich Wilson II. The depth at tailback took a hit earlier when Deontae Cooper was lost for the year to another ACL injury.

Asked if he was concerned about the depth there, Sarkisian said: “Yeah, but we know who our primary backs are. We have to be smart in how we practice. I think we know how to do that. Obviously there are opportunities for guys to emerge and do things. I think Dezden Petty has come on the last week. I’ve talked about Erich Wilson at length about what he’s done so far in camp. So again, it’s not ideal like a couple of other positions we have on our roster, but something that we just have to monitor. But I feel good about the guys that we have.”

The Huskies have hoped Johnson could be the No. 2 receiver this year and complement sophomore Kasen Williams in helping replace Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar. Sarkisian said even if there’s a chance Johnson could be out for a little while that he feels good about the depth at that spot.

“We’ve got some pretty quality guys,” he said. “Kasen has had a great camp up to this point. Jaydon (MIckens) has had an impact, Kendyl Taylor has had an impact. You have the reliable guys in DiAndre Campbell and Cody Bruns that are there. We have some types of guys who are close to being those types of guys in Marvin Hall, looking forward to getting Jamaal Jones back, and then obviously when we get James back. It’s a deep group and it’s a talented group so I’m not nearly as concerned at that spot as maybe some of the other ones.”

UW practiced for about an hour and 45 minutes Thursday on what was one of the hottest days of the year in Seattle. It was UW”s 13th practice of 29 it will hold before opening the season.

Sarkisian cut the practice off shortly before 5 p.m. and instructed the players to go jump in nearby Lake Washington. Many did.

“We had a very specific plan for today’s practice,” Sarkisian said. “A lot of work in the red zone, down in tight red zone work to try to take a little bit of the stress off of their legs. We’ve been going hard. Gave a couple of guys a day off today. Obviously the heat and all the things that go into it, this just felt right. We come back with a double day tomorrow, so we are going to go jump in the lake.”

Asked how to assess when it’s time to give a team a little break, Sarkisian said: “I think every team is different. You have to try to learn your team and understand what buttons to push at what time. This is a very close football team they love hanging together, they love doing things together. I probably could have said hey if you want to you can jump in the lake and they all would have jumped in. They just kind of are that way. That’s how they are wired and I appreciate that about them. They give is everything every chance they get and they go for it and I’m grateful for that.”

As Sarkisian noted, a few guys sat out for rest reasons, such as Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Among those who was back was safety Shaq Thompson, who jumped a slant pass from Keith Price to pick it off and return it 60 or so yards for a touchdown.

“Impact player,” Sarkisian said. “As soon as he comes back, another pick-six. He’s just that type of guy. Great instincts, great IQ for the game. Good to have him back. … He’s got the instincts and then his closing speed allows him to go make those plays and that’s what makes him unique. So it’s great to have him back. He got a lot of valuable reps today and will continue to as we move forward.”

With Williams and Johnson out, Mickens and Taylor again got a lot of work with the starting unit. Mickens again caught a TD from Price, of about 12 yards or so — as Sarkisian noted, a lot of red-zone work today.

In good injury news, Princeton Fuimaono was again back after having missed a few days with a hamstring, and could have had another pick-six of a Price pass but simply dropped the ball.

Derrick Brown got a lot of work running the No. 2 offense today, which Sarkisian said was part of the plan.

“We’re counting reps like crazy every day (among the QBs) and certain reps are designed for certain guys and today was kind of Derrick’s day to get extensive work there,” he said. “I think Derrick has done some really nice things and he’s improved in a lot of areas, and again the consistency for Derrick of understanding it and that’s part of the progression of being a young quarterback and progressing through the process of this is his second full camp, things should come a little easier to him. I’ve been for the most part impressed with what he’s done. There’s been some areas that we need to continue to work on.”

NOTES

— Walk-on Michael Kneip of Bellevue got a lot of work with the No. 2 offense at left guard. Said Sarkisian: “We’ve been playing all of those young kids and Michael is another one of them. … All of our young linemen have been progressively working their way in more and more which is a really good thing.”

— Asked if the running back depth might have him re-think having Callier return kicks, Sarkisian said: “I don’t think so. Football is football and you are going to take some hits and all that. I think we have some capable returners we just have to see them continue to return. I mean Jaydon Mickens and Shaq Thompson, Marvin Hall, those types of guys are good kick returners as well, so if they prove that they can handle that they will be back there as well.”

— Asked about the kicking spots, Sarkisian said again that Travis Coons has the lead as the kicker and Korey Durkee as the punter. “(Coons) looks great,” he said. “He’s been tremendous, and we like what Korey is doing in the punting game we’ve just got to get his consistency right.”

Erik Kohler remains a few days away from returning. Asked if Kohler will slide right back in at guard when he does come back, Sarkisian said: “We will probably be rotating guys around. If the weather keeps up the way it is here, our first game is going to be a warm one, so to think just five guys are going to play is not realistic and we are probably going to rotate some guys. And then week two going down to Baton Rogue we have to be prepared to do that then as well, so we are probably going to have a good 7-8-man rotation working the first two weeks of the season.”

— Asked to give a general assessment of positives and negatives at this point in camp, Sarkisian said: “I would say our passing game offensively, our receiving corps. I’m pleased with those guys including the tight ends. The tight ends, the wide outs. Very pleased with the two leads backs — I’ve thought they’ve had very tremendous camps so far, not only running the football and catching it but pass protection. What we are doing from a pass rush standpoint defensively, obviously what Josh (Shirley) brings and Danny Shelton, those guys have done a nice job collapsing the pocket. The play in the back end of our front-line DBs has been good to me. And probably the biggest pleasant surprise — I thought they would be good but I think they are having a very good camp — is our offensive line. Some guys have really taken a step from spring ball to now. I think Micah Hatchie, I think he’s really shown a great deal of improvement. Ben Riva is another guys. So a lot of positives.

“Areas of concern, depth at linebacker right now with where we are at there, depth at tight end isn’t ideal but we like the players there, again the depth at running back isn’t ideal. Who is going to really solidify that second corner spot and take that thing over on the other side of (Desmond Trufant) and then finalizing what we are doing in the return game of who is going to be back there and getting all of that done. So we have time and we have instilled a lot of the things that we need to get done up to this point but that’s why training camp is really four weeks long — you keep utilizing all those days so you can continually get better. You don’t have to put it all in in the first week or the first two weeks. You have time to get it done.”

You can watch Sarkisian’s post-practice media briefing below:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1789802662001″][/do]

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