Hau’oli Kikaha returned to practice Monday morning, two days after Washington’s star defensive end exited UW’s loss to UCLA with a shoulder stringer in the first quarter.
Kikaha did not return from the injury, but UW coach Chris Petersen said that Kikaha “should be” available the Huskies’ game at Arizona on Saturday (12:30 p.m. PT, FOX).
“Hau’oli was running around out there today. As long as he can keep progressing, I think we’ll be OK,” Petersen said at his Monday afternoon press conference.
UW’s defense will get another boost with two-way star Shaq Thompson scheduled to return as a starting linebacker. Thompson has spent the past three games as UW’s primary running back, with redshirt freshman Keishawn Bierria getting the first three starts of his career at Thompson’s outside linebacker spot.
“I think (with) Hau’oli not on that side and (Thompson) not on that side, things changed a little bit,” Petersen said of UW’s defense against UCLA. “So we’re getting our running backs going a little bit, so we’re maybe able to balance (Thompson) back over there (on defense) a little bit more. …
“He’ll start on that defensive side and we’ll kind of go from there. … It’s just as much as he can handle.”
Thompson had 215 all-purpose yards in the Huskies’ win over Colorado on Nov. 1. Against UCLA, he had 16 carries for 100 yards and he had four tackles in limited snaps on defense.
John Ross III is listed as a starter at cornerback this week, ahead of freshman Naijiel Hale, and Petersen said Ross will stick on defense for now.
“I think we’d like to see what he can do over there at the corner position,” Petersen said. “It’s hard to really split reps (between offense and defense), especially when a guy’s new and young to a position”.