The Huskies are off the field following their Wednesday practice. And while there was no significant new personnel news, there was again the sight of junior receiver Kevin Smith fully participating without any limitations.
Smith had spent most of camp in a yellow (non-contact) jersey while recovering from an ACL injury suffered prior to the Alamo Bowl last year. But he appears ready to go as the 2012 season approaches in what could be a key addition to a receiving corps that could start two true freshmen (Jaydon Mickens, Kendyl Taylor) while trying to fill some holes with James Johnson out with a wrist injury.
“I think Kevin looks great,” UW coach Steve Sarkisian said after practice. “He’s had a tremendous return and recovery and rehab. Probably could have been back a llittle earlier than he was but any time you have an injury like that you want to take every precaution. but he just forced himself back onto the field.He looks good, he’s making plays. His experience is good for us at that position. We expect him to play and we’ll see how he does Saturday night.”
Smith tore the ACL on the team’s first day in Texas preparing for the game when he planted on his right knee during a team drill.
“It’s just something that i did 100 times and that one time it happened,” he said.
But Smith said “I feel great” now and while he will wear a brace on the knee, he said he expects to be full go.
“I feel comfortable with it (the brace) on, so I’m going to wear it no matter what,” he said. “I feel great and the brace has been great with it on, so I feel awesome.”
Sarkisian said Smith adds a much-valued presence to the team.
“His competitiveness and enthusiasm is so infectious,” he said. “He’s got an unbreakable spirit. The thing about the guy, last year he tears his ACL the first practice we get (to San Antonio). And two days before the Alamo Bowl with a torn ACL he asked me if he could suit up and be on the3 sideline with his uniform on with his leg wrapped up with his teammates. So I think that just kind of tells you the kind of teammate he is, nwhat he brings to the team. Our guys really respond to him. I can’t remember a day where that guy has come out here where he’s having a bad day. He’s just one of the most energized, appreciative, humble human beings and so I know everybody in our organization was happy for him and I know he’s excited to be back on the field Saturday night.”
Every player listed in this week’s two-deep appears ready to go as WR DiAndre Campbell, who had been in yellow on Tuesday, was in the usual offensive purple today. A couple of players not on the two-deep were out of pads, notably OL Jake Eldrenkamp and TE Alec Kimble (unknown injuries on each).
This was Turnover Wednesday, and the most notable came from defensive end Pio Vatuvei, who leveled Dezden Petty to force a fumble, that also forced Petty to run a lap as punishment.
Frankly, though, those of us watching practice found it difficult at times not to be distracted, Throughout practice construction workers were putting into place one of the trusses on the south end upper deck, with guys climbing all over the place hundreds of feet in the air. Fascinating stuff.
You can watch all of Sarkisian’s post-practice interview in the video below:
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