As noted earlier, the big news from practice today was that redshirt freshman H-back Joshua Perkins of Gahr High in Cerritos, Calif., and walk-on tailback Willis Wilson of Lakes High in Lakewood were reinstated to the team.
Each had been dismissed the day before, UW announcing in a press release that the reason was an unspecified “violation of team rules.”
UW coach Steve Sarkisian said after practice that some more investigation of the incident that led to the dismissal, and talks with other players helped lead to a change of heart.
“We gathered some more information on the situation and it felt like the right thing to do,” Sarkisian said. “We met with some of the leaders on the team, felt like the right thing to do. Their punishment will be handled in-house and I think that they are thankful for the opportunity to get back and I think that their teammates happy to have them back.”
Perkins, who came to UW as a receiver, was moved to an H-back/tight end role before training camp and was expected to add depth at that spot this season. Wilson, in his third year in the program, has yet to see action in a game but had been impressive early in camp and counted on for depth at a tailback spot that took a hit when Deontae Cooper suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month.
Each participated in practice Friday night though neither was made available to the media.
Sarkisian also said that two players who he said were injured late in Wednesday’s practice — receiver James Johnson and linebacker Jamaal Kearse — will be out 4-6 weeks after having surgery on Friday to repair their ailments.
Johnson, a senior who was counted on to help fill the void created by the graduation of Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar, suffered not only a dislocated wrist but also some torn ligaments, as revealed by the surgery.
Jamaal Kearse, contending a spot at a linebacker position that has had its share of injuries, suffered a stress fracture. Sarkisian said Kearse had surgery to “clean it up.”
With Johnson out through possibly the first month of the season, the Huskies are hoping that junior Kevin Smith will be able to make it back from an ACL injury suffered prior to the Alamo Bowl last December.
Smith, also the team’s leading kickoff returner last season, saw some of his most extensive work of the spring in Friday night’s practice, though he continues to be limited to one practice a day on two-a-days.
“We’ve been very encouraged by his progress to this point,” Sarkisian said. “So much of when you have a knee injury is it’s mental as much as it’s physical. … we’ll work him back gradually.”
Sarkisian said as much as the team will miss Johnson while he recovers — Johnson has 68 career catches, most of anyone on the roster — UW’s depth at receiver has been bolstered by the solid play through the first two weeks of camp of true freshmen Jaydon Mickens and Kendyl Taylor.
Each spent extensive time working with the starting offense in Friday might’s practice.
“We’ve been fortunate with Jaydon and Kendyl, their knowledge of the game and their football IQ, those guys have been tremendous as far as freshmen, not just as far as making plays but knowing what to do,” Sarkisian said.
— There were no apparent new injuries. Also wearing yellow (as was Smith) and participating on a limited basis were CB Tre Watson and WR Jamaal Jones.
— LB Blake Rodgers spent much of practice on the exercise bike. He has been battling a knee issue. Also still out was LB Travis Feeney.
— LB Thomas Tutogi, who has been out with a sprained knee, was out of the wrap and doing lots of conditioning work, appearing well on the road to recovery.
— QB Keith Price sat out most of practice as a rest day, giving extensive work with the starting offense to redshirt freshman Derrick Brown. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins also was rested. “It was good work for the backup younger quarterbacks to get some extensive work in some team settings, some blitz settings, and I think their is some real lessons to be learned within the practice for them,” Sarkisian said. “However, a number of other players who rested on Thursday were back, such as WR Kasen Williams.
— Asked about Brown, Sarkisian said: “I see some real flashes of ‘wow, this guy’s got a chance to be a real player.’ And then I see some plays that tell me he’s not quite there yet and that’s the challenge for us to get him to that point, as well as preparing Cyler (Miles) and Jeff (Lindquist).”
— Safety Justin Glenn has been out all week with what Sarkisian said earlier was a mild concussion. Sarkisian said he hopes Glenn returns on Monday to give him two weeks to prepare for the season opener on Sept. 1 against San Diego State.
— The team will scrimmage Saturday.
— UW practiced Friday night in the white helmets they wore twice last season. The helmets will remain in the rotation as possibly to be worn during a game so the team will occasionally practice in them.
— Appearing to have one of his better practices was JC WR Antavius Sims, who caught a couple passes of sizeable gains from Miles, who also got a lot of work at quarterback.
— Former Montana coach Robin Pflugrad was a guest at practice.
— Offensive line commit OL Andrew Kirkland attended practice.
Here’s Steve Sarkisian’s session with the media following practice:
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And here’s a little view of what it looked like during practice:
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