The Huskies are off the field following their 13th of 15 practices this spring.
It was a pretty nice morning on Montlake with the sun creeping in, and the team was in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts, sweats, taking it a little lighter after the scrimmage on Saturday.
No real big news, though UW coach Steve Sarkisian did announce the general format for Saturday’s Spring Game, which will be held at 4 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
Unfortunately for those who may want to really see a game, Sarkisian said the Huskies will not be able to do that, explaining that they are a little limited on healthy bodies — while UW has had no serious injuries this spring it has had a few minor issues of late holding some guys out.
Asked about the Spring Game format, Sarkisian said: “We’re a little bit nicked up so what we will do is we are going to have a practice with scrimmage segments broken out between, so we will have four scrimmage segments broken out in a practice format. That being said, there should be some fun stuff that takes place in the competitions we will do, whether they are throwing competitions, kicking competitions, really trying to get the fans involved with some fan play calls and different things, so we are trying to make it beneficial to us to maximize our time on the field but also make it entertaining for our fans so that they feel good about the Husky football team for 2013.’’
He also said no score will be kept and that “we are going to do situational work, red zone, two-minute, backed-up situations, overtime, things like that.”
All Pac-12 spring games this year are being telecast on the Pac-12 Networks, and it’s possible/likely Sarkisian also wants to keep some aspects of the team’s move to a no-huddle, hurry-up offense under wraps.
Among the newly banged-up is running back Erich Wilson, who was not in pads today, though Sarkisian said it was nothing serious. Cornerback Tre Watson was also in yellow, but practiced.
In other news. …
— I asked Sarkisian about the stability of the offensive line this spring, which has featured the same five starters throughout — left tackle Micah Hatchie, left guard Dexter Charles, center Mike Criste, right guard James Atoe and right tackle Ben Riva. Here’s what he said when I asked if he expected those five would take over the line the way they have: “Well we didn’t know. We were seeing if anybody could bump anybody out of there. I think if we were to play a game we would probably play 7-8 offensive linemen, especially when we get (Colin) Tanigawa back. We are going to see some different guys with the tempo we are playing at, to realistically think you are only going to play five offensive linemen isn’t realistic. I think Erik Kohler is coming along and when we get Tanigawa back, and Shane Brostek has had an ankle thing that has hobbled him some. But those guys will have an opportunity to step in and do some good stuff for us. I feel good about what those five guys have done but when they get fatigued, they struggle some, so we have to be ready and willing early on in games to sub those guys just like we would in a practice so they don’t get too fatigued late in the ballgame.’’
— Asked about the emergence of Criste at center, the one spot where UW lost a starter from a year ago in Drew Schaefer, Sarkisian said: “He’s a really strong guy. He’s strong in the lower half in that he can anchor and he’s going against a great nose tackle in Danny Shelton right now. He’s a very bright young man and can communicate, and he’s athletic enough to do some of the things that we ask our centers to do. We pull him at times and ask him to get to the second level. This spring he’s been forced to have a 340-pound nose tackle on his nose all camp, but we are going to play plenty of times that play more of an even front and nobody will be on him and he’s going to be asked to get up to that second level and you need that athleticism, so it’s been good. What’s taxing in this offense as well as conditioning and then the ability to snap accurately consecutively and consistently over time and he’s primarily done that. He’s had a few here and there but for the most part he’s been good.’’
— Asked about the status of Kohler, who has played tackle, guard and center this spring, Sarkisian said: “I’m moving him around some right now to be somewhat of a utility guy. When we get back to fall camp we will settle him in more. But we are going to need a backup tackle, which he can provide that. We are going to need a backup guard, and he can provide that. He can provide being a backup center. Now when we come back to fall camp and he’s fully healthy and in great shape then we will let the competition really wage on for who is going to be one of those starting five guys.’’
— Sarkisian also said Josh Perkins has been a surprise player this spring, saying: “He’s been a real pleasant surprise for us. He’s been somewhat of a hybrid for us, slot receiver/tight end for us. The one thing Josh has done is consistently is when we have thrown him the ball, he is catching it. First and foremost if you are going to be a tight end, that is paramount for what you are doing. But he is also showing the focus and attention to detail in his route running and blocking and he’s been really engaged in our day-to-day activities and all of that shows when he goes out and plays. I think he’s going to help us this fall.’’
Here’s the video of Sarkisian’s session with the media today:
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