Alas, it was only a scare for the Huskies and rush-end Cory Littleton.
Carted off the sideline late in Wednesday’s practice, Littleton was back in shells with the rest of the team for Thursday’s practice, though the sophomore only did some light jogging with what appears to be a left ankle injury.
“Nothing serious,” UW coach Steve Sarkisian said. “Probably, if we were playing today, probably could’ve played. But it’s training camp and it’s an opportunity to get a few guys healthy. Did it with a few guys actually.”
As for the sudden end to Wednesday evening’s practice — after 327-pound nose tackle Danny Shelton knocked down QB Keith Price — Sarkisian said he later addressed the team about the incident.
“I just spoke to them about an expectation level, of where we’re at and what we need,” he said. “I didn’t have to say much. I like my message was pretty clear, and I think my message got across.”
Sarkisian was asked if his frustration late Wednesday was a culmination of things from camp.
“No. Not at all. Not at all,” he said. “It’s been an issue we’ve had — which I’d much rather it be this way than the other way around, where I gotta tell these guys to play harder. We just are playing so hard right now that we’re falling on the ground. And then when it comes to the point where it starts dealing with your quarterback, that’s not OK. We need to make sure that we understand (with) 29 practices, we can’t go full live every day or we won’t make it to the first ballgame.
“I love that this is what I have to do, that I have to hold on to the leash of these dogs and hold onto ‘em. Because these guys when you let go, they’re going to run and they’re going to play hard and they’re going to be physical, which is a good problem to have. So they understand. We talk about it daily and I thought the guys came out today and it was probably our best practice of staying off the ground, and we were still playing fast and flying around and playing with really good energy.”
— CB Marcus Peters (knee) participated in only one team drill toward the end of practice, but sounds like mostly a precaution with him. Redshirt freshman Cleveland Wallace took most of the reps in Peters’ place.
— DE Connor Cree was again in a yellow jersey.
— OL Erik Kohler remain in a boot.
— True freshman receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow was having his knee checked in the trainers’ tent late in Thursday’s practice.
— The other standout freshman receiver, John Ross, was limited Thursday. “He’d been doing a lot in the return game and at receiver,” Sarkisian said. “He started to look a little bit fatigued, so we backed off him tonight and we could potentially even more in the next day or so.”
— Sarkisian, on the strong returns from Tuesday’s scrimmage, including Ross’ 50-yard punt return: “Seeing Marvin (Hall) looking more and more comfortable as the kick returner (compared to) where he was a year ago. And John Ross’ punt return, he made a cut in that scrimmage on the punt return that was reminiscent of an old No. 5 (Reggie Bush) I used to coach. It was a full speed, violent cut and it was impressive.”
— Even with Austin Seferian-Jenkins‘ pinkie injury, Sarkisian said converted tight end Evan Hudson will stay at defensive end.
“Evan’s doing awesome,” Sarkisian said. “He’s exactly what we were looking for. And to Evan’s credit, he’s gotten better and better and better every practice. For us, because of what we’re doing, to have a strong-side defensive end that can be that physical and take on double teams — whether it’s guards and tackles, or tackles and tight ends — is really essential, and he’s doing a good job.”
— For much of this week, senior Princeton Fuimaono has been taking the majority of reps at one outside linebacker spot, with Travis Feeney running mostly with the No. 2 defense.
“It’s ongoing,” Sarkisian said. “Those guys have been trading off back and forth. Fui’s had a great camp. I don’t know if he can play better than he’s playing. It seems like every day he’s making tackles, he’s breaking up passes, he’s sacking the quarterback. … We’re just trying to reward a guy for playing well. (Then) Travis comes in (with the twos) and the next thing you know he’s batting down balls and sacking the quarterback.”
— True freshman DE Joe Mathis has seen more and more time with the No. 1 defense.
“Joe, the last coupe days, he’s a sudden guy and he plays the game hard,” Sarkisian said. “He’s relentless in his effort. Obviously a lot of learning to do, a lot of learning to go. But I’ve been impressed with JoJo and his work ethic and his want-to and his suddenness. You notice him and that’s a good sign as a defensive lineman; you want to notice the guy’s on the field; you don’t want him to go unnoticed.”
Scheduling notes: Friday’s practice, scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m., is considered the last formal workout of training camp — and it’s the last practice open to the media. The Huskies will have a closed scrimmage on Saturday, with no media availability after.