Wrapping up our coverage of practice today, time to get to some more news and notes. …
— First, the Senior Bowl today announced that it had invited nine players, including UW cornerback Desmond Trufant. The Senior Bowl is generally regarded these days as the most important one in terms of a player helping his NFL Draft status. And the game brings back good memories for the Trufant family as it’s often been said that Marcus Trufant greatly helped his stock when he played in the 2003 game.
— After I left the session with UW coach Steve Sarkisian, he told the guys from Dawgman.com that Shane Brostek has been moved for now to the defensive line to help fill in depth issues there — obviously, the same reasons they’ve also had Austin Seferian-Jenkins playing some at end. Sarkisian told Dawgman.com that Brostek wants to find a way onto the field this season and that this isn’t necessarily a permanent move. Brostek started the Stanford, Oregon and USC games at right guard, but Mike Criste has since ascended to the guard spot and Brostek has not played of late. UW has had some significant injury issues on the DL with Pio Vateuvei out for the year with an injury suffered against Cal, and Talia Crichton and Josh Banks also limited with injuries suffered against Cal and Semisi Tokolahi also limited at times.
— Speaking of Trufant, he’s been battling a hamstring injury the last two games and his status for this week remains uncertain. If he can’t go, Greg Ducre would start alongside Marcus Peters, having stepped in and played quite a big the past two games. Said Sarkisian: “I think Greg has played really well for us in three consecutive weeks now. He made some plays there at the end of the Oregon State game, he made some plays there in the Cal game, when Des was down, and I thought he played really well again the other night against Utah. ” Ducre lost his starting job from a year ago earlier this season but Sarkisian said “he’s responded well” to the challenge. “The position, for us, looks a lot better now than maybe we might have anticipated, but it looks pretty good for us,” he said. “And we’ve got a couple young kids with Cleveland Wallace, Brandon Beaver, and then the transfer, Travell Dixon, at that corner spot that I can help us next year as well.”
— Sarkisian also was asked about some of the team’s younger players and their progress and said: “We’ve got some current guys that are playing right now. Obviously you’re seeing Jaydon Mickens get more of a role. You’re seeing Kendyl Taylor, I think his comfort level is getting better for us. Obviously what Shaq’s (Thompson) doing on defense, being a real impact player on that side. Cory Littleton is another guy who’s getting more and more comfortable, not only on defense but on special teams. We do have some freshmen I think are gonna end up being really good players for us when their time’s come.
“I think Cleveland Wallace has really improved, not only at corner but in the return game. I think he can be a guy that can help us. Jake Eldrenkamp is another guy who really has improved on the offensive line — excited to see what he’s gonna be able to do for us down the road. Those are a few, but they’ve all shown a lot of good signs of maturing. Blake Rodgers, I think the last two weeks he’s had his best two weeks. It’s all of that. It’s getting used to playing against better talent every day, it’s getting used to living on your own in a dorm, and then managing your time and getting your rest, taking care of your body and then really competing every day, even when knowing I’m not playing on Saturday, but these days are valuable for my development. Some guys understand that a little quicker than others, but for the most part that freshmen class is doing nice.”
— UW also cut practice a little short today, doing so by first indicating that another drill was about to begin, then suddenly blowing the horn to end practice. Said Sarkisian:”As coaches, we want them to be mentally tough, we want to pound them and all that stuff. But at the end, you want them to know that you recognize when they’re doing the things that you ask of them to do. That’s a way for us to show that we recognize and see the things that they’re responding to from us. In the end it’s a nice reward for them and something that I think they appreciate.”
Here’s more, via video, of what Sarkisian had to say today:
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