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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 18, 2012 at 7:38 PM

More scrimmage notes, quotes and video

The Huskies are now past the halfway point to the regular season — two weeks from today they will play San Diego State, with today marking practice 16 of the 29 they will hold from the start of camp to kickoff against the Aztecs.

I passed along the stats and general overview earlier.

As noted, the offense wasn’t real sharp early

“We are not ready yet,” said quarterback Keith Price. “We’ve still got a long way to go, obviously getting lined up and getting set. That’s our biggest thing. Once we get that down and we teach the young guys are tempo, we are going to be pretty good.”

Price, as the stats passed along earlier showed, had a solid day, going 14-18 for 176 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. He did so wearing a sleeve on his throwing arm, covering his elbow. He said it’s new and that it’s for protection.

There weren’t a slew of surprises personnel wise. A few players sat out with minor aches, notably LBs Princeton Fuimaono (hamstring) and Travis Feeney (apparently minor concussion), PK Travis Coons (tired leg), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (apparently just rested after one play), WR Kevin Smith (knee), S Justin Glenn (concussion) and CB Tre Watson. That’s not to mention the guys with more serious injuries who obviously are still out.

The starting offensive line was as it’s been through camp, going left to right — Micah Hatchie,Colin Tanigawa, Drew Scahefer, James Atoe and Ben Riva. Jesse Callier and Bishop Sankey split the tailback reps. With James Johnson and Smith out, the receiving spots were spread around more — getting the reps with the ones were Kasen Williams. Kendyl Taylor, Jaydon Mickens, Cody Bruns and DiAndre Campbell.

The No. 1 defense offered no new faces other than those necessitated by injuries. What was most notable was Shaq Thompson going all the way as a starting nickelback — and since UW was in nickel maybe 75 percent of the time (which was partly by design to work on that alignment) he was basically with the starting unit throughout.

And UW coach Steve Sarkisian said to see that alignment often this season, saying they will try to get Thompson on the field as much as they can.

“He looked great, he’s healthy, he feels good,” Sarkisian said.. “We’re doing a lot more nickel stuff than we have, it’s about putting your best 11 on the field that we can, and we think he is one of those 11 guys, so we’re just trying to find a role for him

The first team DL was Talia Crichton, Danny Shelton, Andrew Hudson and Josh Shirley. The No. 1 LBs were John Timu and Evan Zeger with Sean Parker, Will Shamburger and Thompson at safety and Desmond Trufant and Greg Ducre at cornerbacks (with Marcus Peters coming off the back injury that appears to still limit him a little and Watson banged up).

As the stats showed, Bishop Sankey had the most success running. Mickens had another good day receiving, including about a 51-yard reception from Price for the longest play of the day on a third-and-long that kept a scoring drive alive, as did Campbell, though Williams had a nice TD on a fade route, leaping over Brandon Beaver for the score. Michael Hartvigson had the other TD on a 30-yard TD from Price on a play-action in which he broke wide open and caught a short pass and rolled into the end zone.

Among defensive standouts were Thompson, Lawrence Lagafuiana (a sack and a tackle-for-loss), James Sample (a half-dozen tackles or so), Crichton (a sack), Shelton (a sack) and Trufant.

As noted in the earlier blog, Korey Durkee handled the placekicking with Coons resting and hit a 26-yarder and two PATs (walk-on Santiago Lopez also tried two field goals but missed both from 31 (wide) and 50 (short).

Thompson also returned a kickoff for a touchdown but it came on what appeared to be a non-contact play. Still, it looked good.

Here’s some of what UW coach Steve Sarkisian had to say afterward:

Overall thoughts on the scrimmage: “I thought we were a little sloppy, I think we’ve had a really good two weeks of work, I think that we’ve really pushed a lot of our younger players to the forefront of this thing and they made some plays today, now we got to get to where our consistency is right, our sense of urgency is right, and minimize some of the mistakes that can hurt us, especially offensively, and then as well defensively, some of the fidgeting at the line of scrimmage, getting lined up, a few of the holds that occurred, that’s playing football, we just got to get used to playing football the right way so I think we have plenty of room for improvement, I like the work that we’ve put in, we still see a lot of the playmaking ability, on a lot of these kids which we saw today. But if we want to be elite, like we can be, we got to minimize those mistakes and that sloppiness that kind of reared it’s ugly head today.”

On goals for the final two weeks of camp: “Continuing these game like situations, to where we are subbing from the sidelines, the personnel groupings are on and off, we pride ourselves on playing fast, even though we aren’t no huddle, we still pride ourselves on playing fast, we weren’t playing fast today, so we got to get used to those mechanics of really doing it from the sidelines, but I think we can though, we’ve grown up enough to where the young guys, we don’t have to run out with them when we break the huddle, and tell them what the call is and what to do. It’s letting them be on the field and having to rely on one another, and talk to one another and fix some of the issues on the field that they need to get fixed without us when we’re not out there with them. So that’s we need to get done between now and the mock game on Friday when we go over to CenturyLink, my goal is for that thing to be really crisp, us be humming, personnel groups subbing in and out, getting our kickers legs back a little bit, they are a little fatigued too, we held those guys for the most part today as well, so that we’re fresh come Friday, we’re feeling good about ourselves and then the implementation of the game plan for San Diego State starting Saturday.”

On having more young players leads to some of the alignment issues: “I think it’s fairly consistent from how camp normally goes, obviously when you are playing two freshman receivers as much as we are with Jaydon and Kendyl, it is one of the issues that we are dealing with, to those kids’ credit, they study their tails off, they weren’t perfect today, but they want to be which is what is cool about it, they are not accepting lining up wrong and then the next play making a play, they want to be right every snap and that’s what’s unique about them so we’ll just keep working with them.”

On Shaq Thompson working with the ones: “He looked great, he’s healthy, he feels good. We’re doing a lot more nickel stuff than we have, it’s about putting your best 11 on the field that we can, and we think he is one of those 11 guys, so we’re just trying to find a role for him. We obviously saw him on the kick return today as well, he’s just a dynamic football player. What I’ve been impressed with him has been his ability to learn the defense, even with him sitting out there a couple days, he’s a very bright football player, has a very high football IQ, and then he applies it when he plays, and he plays with a very physical mentality, and also the closing speed is evident.”

On Mickens and Taylor and if their lack of experience could keep them off the field at times: “I think what will happen come Saturday is, right now they’ve got the bulk of the playbook getting thrown at them and they don’t know what’s coming, when we get on to actual game planning mode, and you have a game plan and its scaled down and those are the plays for the entire week, I’m pretty confident they’ll be okay, the plan is to play them. I feel like they will perform better, they are getting a lot right now, which is okay, it’s good for them, I really think when it pares itself down, and this is what were running for a game, they’ll respond well.”

On possibility of base defense consisting of five defensive backs: “Easily, I think so much of now football, we see so much opened up sets, the I-formation, not that it’s extinct, we see so much more 3 wide receiver sets looks, and that’s almost the norm, the unique thing that Shaq brings, the versatility that he brings, he’s 230 lbs, so granted he is a DB, but he’s bigger than a lot of linebackers at 230 already as a freshman, so he can almost play almost as a hybrid nickel, and then play somewhat of a backer versus some of the sets like he was doing today, he’s got great speed coming off the edge and so again, I would think that that’s definitely a reality.”

On where Shaq will play: “We wanted to get extensive look at that today, when we get some of our linebackers back healthy, you’ll see him back more playing a true safety spot, but because of where we’re at, getting our best guys on the field, that’s what we’re doing.”

On if the injuries at linebacker got Thompson on the field more quickly: “That forced our hand a little bit more, and then we didn’t have him (Shaq) either, and then we got him back, it was what can we get him to learn, and what’s going to be the most versatile defense for us, were playing a team that’s a base offense versus a spread offense, how do we keep our best guys on the field, and right now that feels right.”

On DiAndre Campbell finding his consistency: “I think so, the cool thing about DiAndre is that he knows every receiver spot, all four spots, he can play it, even when we go to 4 wide receiver spots, and those types of guys are valuable because they can go in at any time and fill in for guys and we’re seeing him just make plays, a bit unassuming, you look up and he has three or four catches on the day, and you have to have those guys to be a good offensive football teams, and he provides that for us.”

On the defense’s play today: “It was good, they were good up front, I thought Shelton, Shirley, did a nice job again, Semisi Tokolahi has really come on here the last week, he’s just getting better and better and better, and more comfortable, I would say the same for John Timu, obviously Shaq’s playmaking ability, being out there, helps, we still have some guys we want to get back and it looks like we’ll get them back Monday, Justin Glenn, Travis Feeney, the versatility they provide us there. And we have to solidify our other corner spot, it’s still not to where we want it to be, we know what Tru is and what he’s going to bring for us, so we want someone to take over the other corner spot and we need to make that happen.”

On Tokolahi returning to his form from the 2010 Apple Cup: “I don’t know exactly how close he is, this is as close as he’s been since that injury, he looks the best that he’s looked, his weight is down, I think he’s around the 330/335 range, where he was up near almost 350 there for awhile dealing with the injury, so he’s getting in better shape, his suddenness is coming back, and all those things are huge for us. We start playing those bigger teams, the teams that want to pound the football, when you can get Shelton and Tokolahi in there playing side by side, that’s a pretty big two inside guys, that can take some of the heat of off Timu and some of those guys and let them make their plays.”

On the need for having another big defensive tackle to complement Danny Shelton: “Well it’s big, and in the other sets in the defense, to have a guy that can spell him, to where he’s not having to play 75 snaps a game, that gets hard, and then what happens to those guys, they try to save themselves and they don’t play to the best of their ability every snap, so whether it’s Tokolahi, Lagafuaina, I belive is getting better, one of those guys we’re going to need to spell in in some sets, but also play side by side with him versus some of the bigger sets we get.”

On Shaq’s weight: “I don’t know off the top of my head what he was in high school, he was always a bigger kid, I don’t know exactly, I think on his recruiting trip here, he was 220, if I’m not mistaken, maybe a hair bigger than that. He’s actually put on weight since he’s been here with us, I think the lifting’s helped him.”

Here’s video of Sarkisian’s post-practice session with the media:

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And here’s a quick view of what it looked like at practice Saturday:

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