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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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August 31, 2008 7:48 PM

More post-game quotes

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few more post-game quotes from players and coaches:

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR ED DONATELL

On the second half: "We kind of had the thing under control, we felt (at halftime), then tney made a couple of big plays. We had a miscommunication on a ball down the sideline where we vacated a zone and then (gave up) a couple of other (big plays).''

What happened on the Jaison Williams play? "We just lost the guy. We just lost him in the transition, coming in and out, and didn't see him.''

On the 3-3-5 alignment: "It worked at times during the game. We stopped them early. We played both fronts in that and got hit on the screen play on third down and that didn't have anything to do with that front. I told the players 'that's on me.' I put them in that one. They had a good call against my call. And then our guys battled back on that one.''

Overall thoughts: "I'm not going to make excuses, going to count who had starts and who didn't. We intended to come down here and win the football game and we didn't do it. No excuses. We had our practices. We knew what our hand was.''

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR TIM LAPPANO

On inability to run: "They brought the gas and said you'll have to win with your young guys outside and you're not going to run the football. We were never able to run the football in any way, shape or form.''

On Chris Polk: "There wasn't a lot of room, it didn't look like. But until I see the film I don't really know. It looked pretty stuffed up in there. It didn't look like there was anywhere to go.''

On attempts to throw deep: "They pressured us and made us get the ball out fast and we didn't have time to get the ball down the field.''

On why Polk didn't get the ball more in different roles: "We didn't feel like this was the game to do that. We moved him around a little bit in practice but we didn't know if you want to do that in this stadium, his first game. Don't know if he's ready to do all of that just yet

Was Jake Locker healthy?: "I think he was. He ran pretty well and got out on the edge. They had their ends wide and tried to contain him pretty good. He still got outside a couple of times and looked like he was able to run pretty well to me. I don't think it (the hamstring) bothered him at all.''

Did you miss Michael Gottlieb?: "I think we missed him in the run game. As far as throwing the ball, I think Kavario (Middleton) did a nice job. But we missed (Gottlieb) in the run game, I guarantee that.''

On passing game: "They left the middle of the field wide open. But (Locker) didn't have time to settle his feet. He had (Goodwin) open a couple of times for touchdowns and couldn't get it to him. It was frustrating.''

JAKE LOCKER

On the new WRs: "I thought we ran some good routes. They got open. I just wasn't able to get them the ball.'

On how he felt at halftime: "Not good. We felt like we left a lot of opportunities on the table, But we were at a place where it was still a game at that point and we didn't take advantage of it.''

LINEBACKER DONALD BUTLER

What happened? "There were just some plays that us as a defense we needed to make that we didn't make them and they captalized on them.''

Is this team better than last year? "Yes. No disrespect to the guys who left last year, but I definitely think we have a better team. Again, it goes back to those 3-4 plays that we need to make that we didn't make and they did.''

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August 31, 2008 6:13 PM

Ex-Husky updates

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few updates on some former Huskies:

--- Marcel Reece, Louis Rankin and Greyson Gunheim all made Oakland's practice, as reported by the Contra Costa Times. Marques Tuiasiosopo made the regular roster.

--- Roy Lewis made the Pittsburgh Steelers' practice squad, but Jordan Reffett did not, getting cut yesterday and not resigned.

--- Dan Howell was cut by the Bengals and Joe Toledo by the 49ers.

--- C.J. Wallace made the roster of the Seahawks for the second straight year.

--- Isaiah Stanback is nursing a dislocated shoulder, but is on the active roster and could play this week.

--- Joe Lobendahn will be playing with Winnipeg in the Labour Day Classic against Saskatchewan Monday.

All for now.

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August 31, 2008 4:16 PM

No odds yet on UW-BYU game

Posted by Bob Condotta

There are no Las Vegas odds yet on the Washington-BYU game Saturday as there is apparently some question over the status of Cougar quarterback Max Hall.

Hall played the entire game Saturday against Northern Iowa, going 34-41 for 486 yards, but said afterward he took a few hits and was feeling nauseous, enough so that he had to cut his post-game interviews short, according to this story from the Salt Lake Tribune.

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August 31, 2008 12:24 PM

Tyrone Willingham quotes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are some quotes from UW coach Tyrone Willingham after the game:

Overall thoughts on the game: Obviously the outcome was one that we didn't anticipate. We felt coming in that we would fare much better than this and we would have a chance to win the football game even in this environment. The disappointing things were one, that we did run the football as well as we thought we would, and the defense giving up too many big plays that didn't allow us to keep their offense in check.''

Were the problems in the running game up front or in the backfield? "It was all of the above. There were some opportunities we had to hit some and we didn't, and some opportunities that we didn't block them very well. They did a nice job of keeping the ninth guy down in the box and we couldn't find the right way to get him out of there.''

On the Jaison Williams TD: "I think a miscommunication. We're playing a technique where our corner plays in between (to cover the run and pass) and we didn't communicate it well. That's what it was.''

On Oregon running the no-huddle at the end of the game: "I think they were consistent all day in how they ran their offense. There's wasn't a deviation from the beginning of the game to the end.''

On the freshmen: "I thought it was a learning experience for them. I thought in some areas they did pretty good, probably our tight end got his first start and thought he did a pretty good job overall and I thought there were some other guys who played and made some plays. ... But there was no area where we can feel very comfortable about right now in terms of saying that area played very well.''

On Jake Locker's health: "I think the hamstring was okay. ... You could see at some points in the game he was kind of tired because he ran the ball a few times in a row. But I think he came out of it okay.''

Any injuries: Said it was pretty good overall but that "(Mason Foster) was cramping, we had a few of that. (Jermaine) Kearse was affected by that also a couple of times during the ball game.''

Thoughts on the pass protection: "It wasn't well enough. I won't put a letter grade on it, but obviously we didn't do well enough, especially early in the ball game. We didn't give ourselves enough time to get the ball off.''

On how the young players may be affected: "The great thing about youth is they are more resilient than others. They will bounce back.''

On what he told his team afterward: "I told them there was a better team in the locker room than we showed on the field. I do believe we can run the football. I do believe we can pass the football. I believe we can tackle better.''

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August 31, 2008 9:27 AM

Sunday morning links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Admittedly maybe not a game anyone wants to read more about, but I'll pass along a few links anyway:

--- Our coverage today included my game story, a notebook focusing on the team's youthful roster, Jerry Brewer's column stating the Huskies were "awful in every way,'' and Jerry's blog recapping the game, stating that the loss might be looked at "as the unofficial end of the Willingham era.''

--- The Eugene Register-Guard looks at how Oregon had to scramble due to injuries at the QB spot. Here's a link to all the RG coverage including this post from columnist George Schroeder who says Oregon's excitement has to be tempered by the knowledge that Willingham "is not long for Seattle'' and that "Washington is not good. Not good at all.''

--- The Oregonian's John Hunt has these post-game ruminations led off by this depressing stat for UW fans --- Oregon has outscored UW 50-3 in the fourth quarter of the last three games between the two teams. Hunt also has this game story.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller has this look at the game, and these post-game thoughts, as well as his usual exhaustive around-the-conference links. Miller also has this post asking "where was all that speed'' UW has been said to be recruiting?

--- The Oregon school newspaper has this story on Jake Locker's thought's following the game including Locker's assertion that the Oregon defense was "running all kinds of stuff'' and that he said "I need to get the ball out quicker.''

All for now.

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August 31, 2008 9:19 AM

Oregon player quotes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are some leftover quotes from the Oregon locker room, passed along since there is sometimes some insight to be gained on the Huskies by listening to those who played against them:

QB Jeremiah Masoli

On his game: "As the game went along and I got the jitters out, the game just came to me. Coach (offensive coordintator Chip) Kelly makes it so easy for us. ... It took a series or two. The first series I had a couple overthrown balls and you know, some miscues with the receivers, but a couple series is all it took to get back on our feet."

On rotating with Chris Harper: "We were just trying to mix it up and give them a different look. When (Justin) Roper went down, we weren't sure what we were going to do''

CB Jairus Byrd

On Jake Locker: "You saw what he did. He scrambled a lot and did a lot of things with his legs. ... Coach (defensive coordinator Nick) Allioti wanted to put pressure on them and make them throw the ball and I think we did that."

QB Chris Harper

On the game: "It was like a dream when I came out of the tunnel. I've been doing this since I was seven, so I knew what I was going to do when I got out there. I wasn't nervous, just anxious to get out there and play."

DE Nick Reed

On strategy against UW: "Shutting down Locker was our goal. We that he was their big threat and he was. He did well but the defense just did better. We contained him and flew around and played fast like we're suppose to. It was a great game.''

Has Locker improved?: "I don't know. He didn't get as many yards this time I don't think, but I saw him making passes I don't think he would have made last year.''

"We would've liked to hold them to zero, but (10) is not too bad.''

DT Cole Linehan

On Locker: "He still made some yards on broken plays, but when you're as talented as he is that is going to happen. He creates things. He makes something out of nothing. He's a great player."

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August 30, 2008 11:52 PM

Oregon post-game

Posted by Bob Condotta

As you might expect, a pretty somber UW contingent in the aftermath of this one.

Players and coaches alike said varying versions of "we didn't see this coming,'' --- offensive coordinator Tim Lappano saying exactly that. If this wasn't the worst possible scenario leaving here, it's pretty close, the only real silver lining being that the Huskies appeared to escape relatively unscathed physically.

But this was pretty ugly from start to finish other than the second quarter, which UW won 10-0. Even the long drive in that quarter, however, was mostly the result of Jake Locker improvising and not the result of anything established consistently.

Coaches and players said their biggest disappointment was that the team couldn't run the ball, something it figured would be a given this year with that veteran offensive line.

"We just couldn't run the football,'' said UW coach Tyrone Willingham.

UW rushed for just 95 yards on 43 carries, an average of 2.2 yards per carry worse than anything UW had a year ago. The Huskies were held under 100 yards rushing only once last season when they got 85 on 31 at Oregon State. Maybe the Huskies will miss Louis Rankin more than everyone thought. Or maybe the line just had an off day. But this wasn't thought to be an incredibly stellar Oregon defensive front, especially at the tackle spots, so there's nothing encouraging about that.

Defensively, UW played well for a while, though the score could have been worse at the half had Oregon not made a few self-inflicted errors (missing a short FG, for instance).

But eventually, the Huskies caved, and while Oregon scored a garbage TD late, I think the score's fairly indicative of how the game went --- the Ducks outgained UW 496-242 gaining more yards on the ground (256) than the Huskies had total. The total offense was lower than UW had at any point last year other than being held to 190 by USC, a better defense than this one.

Here are some quick grades on the game:

QUARTERBACK --- Jake Locker had a tough day statistically (12-28 for 103 yards and 57 yards rushing on 16 carries) but he also had zero help and despite what everyone is saying, can't be 100 percent considering the amount of time he missed during fall practice. So the view here is Locker deserves huge benefits of the doubt when it comes to judging his performance --- he didn't have time to throw, and didn't have a lot of open receivers to throw to. Ronnie Fouch looked good going 5-7 for 44 yards, but while that's encouraging, it has to be considered that Oregon wasn't exactly firing all its bullets at that point. GRADE --- B.

RUNNING BACKS --- Chris Polk's numbers look really bad --- 19 yards on 14 carries. But he also had little help, Lappano admitting that "it didn't look like there was anywhere to go.'' Lappano said the playbook was kept simple for Polk given that it was his first start, and on the road in a tough setting, one reason he mostly just got the ball up the middle. Given all of that, it's really hard to judge Polk a lot when he basically got hit the minute he got the ball every time. Brandon Johnson had nowhere to go, either, and the fullbacks were pretty much a non-factor other than short-yardage plays. Paul Homer dropped a pass in a key situation early. GRADE --- C-minus.

RECEIVERS --- What was feared might come to pass, did. The young receivers had trouble getting open against Oregon's veteran secondary and also dropped a few passes at inopportune times. This is one spot where judgment should maybe be tempered by the fact that it was probably unrealistic to expect any of these guys were going to turn in Reggie Williams-style debuts. The brightest spot was Kavario Middleton's 4-35, maybe the only thing in this game that was a positive for the offense. GRADE --- C-minus.

OFFENSIVE LINE --- The biggest disappointment in the game. The Huskies are hanging much of their hopes for this season on the veteran offensive line. But those vets looked overmatched today. "We thought we'd be able to knock them off the ball and run the football,'' Lappano said. Instead, UW never could do anything running, and the Ducks were also able to get pressure on Locker when he dropped into the pocket. GRADE --- D.

DEFENSIVE LINE --- Another spot where the Huskies figured to have issues heading into the game going with so much youth and inexperience. Again, grading some of these guys is like grading fifth-graders on a high school test. Alameda Ta'amu appeared to have the best night of the young guys with four tackles and Johnie Kirton, who didn't play much until the end, had three tackles and one for a loss, one of just three tackles for a loss for the Huskies. He also made a TD-saving tackle on the long punt return. GRADE --- C.

LINEBACKERS --- Mason Foster had a team-high 10 tackles and Donald Butler was next with six, but neither seemed to make much of an impact on the game, nor did any of the others. This unit needs to do a better job keeping relatively small gains from turning into bigger ones. GRADE --- C-minus.

SECONDARY --- The Huskies opened with a 3-3-5 look to begin the game, going with three safeties. It seemed to work a little bit but like the rest of the defense, the secondary eventually broke down. Quinton Richardson had the best day statistically with an interception that momentarily gave UW some momentum, and two pass breakups. But given Oregon's QB situation --- two guys playing the second half who were making their college debuts --- the defensive lapses look that much worse. GRADE --- D.

SPECIAL TEAMS --- Not a good day here, either, with a couple of shaky punts and some porous coverage and no returns of any note. GRADE --- D.

COACHING --- A 34-point loss to a team's biggest rival in the opening game of the season when the other team is playing the second half with a true freshman and a JC transfer QB pretty much speaks for itself. GRADE --- D.

MORE POST-GAME

--- Here's the game story with details.

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August 30, 2008 6:31 PM

Oregon game thread

Posted by Bob Condotta

GETTING UGLY NOW --- Well, it's another rout at Autzen, and a distressing beginning for the Huskies, who have little time to wallow pity with BYU and Oklahoma up next. The most disheartening aspect of the game may be the inability to run the ball with any consistency other than Locker just improvising. The defense also couldn't hold on in the second half with Oregon playing two QBs who were buried deep on the roster when the year began.

I'll have more after the game.

GETTING AWAY NOW --- Oregon has a 30-10 lead and again has the ball. If my math is right, Oregon has outgained UW 137-56 in the second half as I type this, and outscored UW 16-0.

UW 41 YARDS IN THIRD QUARTER --- Tough offensive sledding for UW in the third quarter.

HUSKIES BARELY HANGING IN IT AS THIRD QUARTER ENDS --- Not a good third quarter for the Huskies, but as it ends, UW is still in it, trailing 21-10, though Oregon is again driving. Huskies are mixing up the personnel a little with Victor Aiyewa now in at safety. UW unofficially has 166 yards of offense, averaging 2.8 yards per play.

GARCIA PLAYING WHOLE GAME --- One bright spot so far is that Juan Garcia has played the entirie game at center.

KIRTON IN AT DT --- Johnie Kirton played that last series at DT.

DUCKS PLAY THREE QBS --- Oregon has now played three QBs --- Roper, Massoli and Harper.

DUCKS WAKE UP --- Oregon scored in a hurry and now with the muffed kickoff the Huskies are back up against it. It's 21-10 Oregon and again UW is in dangerous territory.

REALLY SLEEPY IN HERE RIGHT NOW --- With Oregon forced to punt after its first drive it is real quiet in there right now, as quiet as I remember hearing it here. A good opportunity for UW right now to take control of this game. Especially if Roper is out for the rest of the game, as may be the case. We aren't getting any official word in the press box about that.

LOCKER NUMBERS --- Locker is 7-15 for 66 yards but was seven of his last nine after starting 0-6.

SOME HALFTIME NUMBERS --- The official stats show Oregon with 252 yards to UW's 133. Oregon has 107 yards rushing on 15 carries andd has thrown for 145 while UW has 67 yards rushing on 27 carries and has thrown for 66. Locker is UW's leading rusher with 37 yards on 10 carries, though he has gained 56 yards, losing 19 on a couple sacks. Polk has 15 yards on nine carries. UW has held the ball for 17:58 to Oregon's 12:02.

WILLINGHAM COMMENTS --- Willingham said in his radio comments that the biggest problem early was adjusting to "the pave of play. It's very difficult to simulate that in a practice session so i think getting up to the pace of play both offensively and defensively was important for us.'' He also said the line at first wasn't protecting "the way we need to protect'' and that he thinks UW is "still deficient in the run game.''

He said UW has to find a way to eliminate the "drop-down guy'' in the Oregon defense who is making a lot of the tackles on the inside runs.

And asked about the young defensive line he said "they are just getting up to speed right now. They are not there yet but they are working.''

Also worth nothing that all 24 points in the game have been scored with the win in this game.

IT'S A GAME AT THE HALF --- After the 14-0 start, UW is within 14-10 at the break. I'll have some stats in a minute.

HUSKIES CLAWING BACK --- UW has crawled within 14-10 with 3:17 left, using the arms and legs of Jake Locker to finally get on the scoreboard. UW used three fullbacks on the second-and-goal play, Homer, Kravitz andn Austin Sylvester.

FRESHMEN DTS TOGETHER --- For part of that last drive UW had both of its true frosh DTs on the field --- Kelemete and Ta'amu.

FIRST-QUARTER STATS --- Oregon had 152 yards to 30 for UW in the first quarter. UW had 15 rushing yards on 13 carries while Oregon had 55 on 6. Locker was 2-8 for 15 yards, Roper 6-9 for 97 and one TD.

14-0 END FIRST QUARTER --- And it could have been worse Oregon's offense has mostly stopped only due to its own mistakes. UW's offense is showing some signs of life but needs a first down here.

HUSKIES DODGE BULLET --- Oregon is making some mistakes to keep UW in this one, dropping a pass and missing an FG on that last drive to keep it a 14-0 game.

OREGON TAKES 14-0 LEAD --- The game is getting into a dangerous area already as Oregon has taken a 14-0 lead. The defense was a more normal 4-3 that time with Kelemete in the game.

NEW DEFENSE STAYS ON FIELD --- The Huskies stayed in the 3-3-5 for their second defensive series. What we'll need to figure out later is whether this is an Oregon thing or an all-season thing.

WRS HAVING TROUBLE GETTING OPEN --- The Huskies tried three pass plays on their second drive, but the UW receivers are struggling to get open at the moment and it's another punt.

NEW-LOOK DEFENSE --- Well, we saw what UW wanted to keep secret, a new-look defense with three down linemen and three safeties. Essentially, it was was Tripper Johnson at safety and out was Senio Kelemete up front in a 3-3-5 look. Unfortunately, it didn't work early as Oregon drove easily for the touchdown.

--- Temperature at kickoff is 67 with winds at 13 MPH out of the north, with gusts up to 18.

--- The captains for UW are Jake Locker, Juan Garcia, Donald Butler and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim.

--- The teams are coming on the field, and it's getting loud in here as Oregon just celebrated a tradition here, the playing of the Kenny Wheaton pick in 1994 against UW on the big screen. Oregon is 9-4 in this series since then, almost a quarter of their 37 total wins against UW.

--- There's 30 minutes left to kickoff and we'll start the game thread with the news that Kavario Middleton will apparently get the start at tight end.

Middleton is working with the first-team offense as it goes through its pre-game warmups. Starter Michael Gottlieb is not on the trip with a hamstring injury and while Walt Winter is listed as the backup, Uw coach Tyrone Willingham had said Thursday that Middleton could get "his share of the lion's share'' of the playing time.

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August 30, 2008 5:17 PM

Travel roster released

Posted by Bob Condotta

With game time nearing, UW's travel roster has finally been released.

Most noteworty of those not on it --- it's limited to 64 since it's a Pac-10 game --- are receivers Anthony Boyles and Chancellor Young and running back Johri Fogerson, all of whom had been thought to be in varying degrees of contending for playing time.

The Huskies have a full complement of 64 players on the travel roster. Of those, 24 are freshmen, obviously playing their first game tonight, which seems like a really high number, though I'll admt it's not something I've kept track of every year so I don't have a comparison.

Of those, nine are members of the Class of 2008 --- Chris Polk, Cody Bruns, Jermaine Kearse, David Freeman, Alameda Ta'amu, Kavario Middleton, Jordan Polk, Everrette Thompson and Senio Kelemete.

So for those wondering who will redshirt this year and won won't, there's a good early list, though coaches have said players not making this trip could see time later in the year, especially if injuries hit.

Also on the trip is Devin Agiular, a de facto Class of 2008 member after enrolling late, so technically there are 10 true freshmen here tonight.

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August 30, 2008 4:41 PM

At Autzen

Posted by Bob Condotta

About two-and-a-half hours to kickoff and we've arrived at Autzen, where it's getting raucous outside, but still quiet inside, no one allowed in yet but administrators and media.

Still fairly sunny, but it's getting windy, a pretty stiff breeze from West to East. With the field in a bowl, however, not sure how much that will impact the players ---- we feel it quite a bit up here in the press box, which is at the very top of the stadium.

The referee for the game is Jay Stricherz, a veteran Pac-10 official who most recently did the UW-Cal game last season.

I'll check back in with more later and my plan is to have the running game thread once kickoff begins.

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August 30, 2008 10:30 AM

Good morning from Eugene

Posted by Bob Condotta

It's a sunny morning with just a few clouds dotting the sky as I type this, looking like perfect weather for the game tonight.

And a clear view for us to finally see the great mystery that is this Washington Husky team. With so much youth and new players, it's really just hard to know for sure how it will all unfold on the field until we see it.

A few links in the meantime:

--- For those looking for a complete view of who has lost what during fall camp, here's a good roundup of the entire Pac-10 from Ted Miller's blog.

--- The Eugene Register-Guard's main story today focuses on Oregon's special teams. That raises the thought that another area cloaked in some mystery for the Huskies are the special teams with new coach Brian White. Here's a story I wrote on White and the special teams during spring ball where he talked about wanting to "create the crowd'' from the first play of the game. We'll see how the Huskies do on that today.

--- The Guard also has this on containing Jake Locker.

--- ESPN presents this preview from Scouts Inc. in its Insider package. This one is a little more detailed than the one linked the other day and in its position-by-position matchups gives UW the edge at QB and Oregon the edge at every other position, including coach. This preview makes the same mistake as the other, however, with awarding UW just two returning starters on the O-line, using that stat as evidence that the Ducks will have a huge edge in both trenches. Don't think I agree with that. Its projected score is 35-17, Oregon.

--- This is NFL cutdown day and a number of former Huskies will be waiting anxiously for the call, one way or the other. Here's a good place to keep up-to-date on the transactions.

All for now.

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August 30, 2008 1:29 AM

Saturday update

Posted by Bob Condotta

The IT'S FINALLY GAME DAY edition:

--- First, here's my preview story on today's game, focusing on the rebuilt UW defense. Of all the intrigue in today's game, finally seeing what the UW defense under new DC Ed Donatell has to offer may be at the top. And here's the preview box featuring a few nuts and bolts items about the game.

--- The big story in Eugene is the suspension of Oregon left tackle Fenuki Tupou. Here's the report from the Register Guard; and from the Oregonian. Rumblings in Eugene are that the Ducks may have known about this for a little while and may have prepared knowing this might happen, possibly mitigating the impact of this a little bit. Still, this could lessen what figured to be one of Oregon's biggest advantages in this game, its veteran O-line against UW's young defensive line. Tupou started 12 of 13 games last season for the Ducks.

---- Ken Woody produces his offensive keys to the game for the Ducks.

--- Marques Tuiasosopo threw a 25-yard TD pass to Marcel Reece at Qwest Field Friday night but the Seahawks won 23-16.

--- NFL teams begin cutting today but sounds as if Roy Lewis has a chance to make it with the Steelers.

--- Dan Howell's chances of making the Bengals haven't been helped by a foot injury.

--- J.R. Hasty and Jordan Murchison have earned starting jobs at Central Washington, where former ASU OL Eugene Germany is also now playing.

All for now.


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August 29, 2008 8:38 PM

Ducks tackle suspended

Posted by Jon Fisch

The University of Oregon sent out a news release Friday night stating senior offensive tackle Fenuki Tupou has been suspended for Saturday's game against the Huskies. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound lineman started 12 games last season for the Ducks.

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August 29, 2008 7:06 PM

UW reaches agreement for new shuttle service

Posted by Bob Condotta

The University of Washington announced today it has reached a one-year agreement with Starline Luxury Coaches and King Country Metro to continue a free service started more than 20 years ago that provides fans attending Husky football games with transportation to the team’s seven home games this season.

Here's the official release with all of the details.

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August 29, 2008 3:28 PM

The pick --- Ducks

Posted by Bob Condotta

Okay, so I'm going with the Ducks.

But before you start aiming your slings and arrows my way, I'll point out that I have this one as a closer game than a lot of other people out there.

I think the Huskies will be able to move the ball, especially running between the tackles behind their veteran and stout O-line.

And I think that the defense, having had so much time to prepare for the game, and having the surprise factor with a new coordinator, some new players and what figure to be some new schemes --- and going against what was Oregon's backup quarterback about 10 days ago --- should be able to slow the Ducks down better than a year ago.

But before getting into my conclusion, first let's look at how I broke the game down by position:

QB -- Washington. The Huskies could have a substantial edge here assuming Jake Locker is as back-to-health as we have been told. If not, this could be a lot closer matchup as there are some in Eugene who thought Justin Roper was actually the better choice than Nate Costa, and in case you've forgotten, Roper did throw four TDs in the Sun Bowl last year. And even if Locker is basically 100 percent, it doesn't sound as if he's had a whole lot of live activity this year, so he may not exactly be in mid-season form. But again, assuming he's basically healthy, the Huskies get the edge at the game's most important position. This will be the first test of whether Locker really has improved on his passing accuracy, which as others have noted, will be a real key in this game as UW's receivers could have trouble getting open and the Huskies will have to take advantage of every opportunity.

RB -- Oregon. There's a lot of excitement out there about Chris Polk, and understandably so. Still, true freshman generally take a little while to completey find their game. And after Polk is Brandon Johnson, still not likely 100 percent, and other freshmen. Tim Lappano said he doesn't envision any of the backs getting more than 12-15 carries, so this will be a by-committee approach. Oregon, with senior Jeremiah Johnson leading the way, is deeper and more experienced here.

WR -- Oregon. This looms as a fairly substantial edge for the Ducks, especially if you factor in 6-5 TE Ed Dickson. Combine him with 6-5 WR Jaison Williams and the Ducks have two big targets. The Huskies, as has been well-documented, have no real experience at this spot and will be without starting TE Michael Gottlieb. That injury will open up more time for Kavario Middleton, and it will be intriguing to see what he can do, But again, the concern here is youth as the Huskies won't have anybody at TE who has ever seen substantial time in a game, and only D'Andre Goodwin of WRs who has ever seen any playing time for the Huskies.

OL -- Washington One of the better position battles. Oregon might have gotten the edge here 10 days ago. But with Juan Garcia making it back and apparently ready to resume his starting spot at center, the Huskies now get the arrow with an interior line that is the best UW has had since 2000. These loom as two of the best three or four OLs in the conference, and the game may well be decided by which one has the best day.

DL -- Oregon. A fairly big edge for the Ducks here as despite this being a spot of some concern (primarily the tackles) the Ducks will throw out four starters who have combined for 111 games played in their careers. UW's projected four starters have played in a combined 47. Each team has a premier DE --- Daniel Te'o-Nesheim for UW and Nick Reed for Oregon. But the Ducks have a lot more experience at a spot where that's usually pretty critical.

LB --- Washington. Another tight call, but giving a slight edge to the Huskies on the assumption that Donald Butler and Mason Foster will make significant improvement from a year ago, that Josh Gage can make a quick transition to starter, and that we see Trenton Tuiasosopo and Chris Stevens in a lot of varied roles that they can handle. Oregon's MLB John Bacon is a good one but the other two LBs aren't quite to the same caliber.

DB --- Oregon. A pretty big edge for the Ducks here as Oregon possesses what many are calling one of the top five secondaries in the country. UW fans have expressed skepticism about that, remembering how the Huskies hit several big plays for touchdowns last year. The Oregon side counters that those were mostly the result of busted assigments and that the more telling number was Locker's 12-31 passing, indicating that the Ducks were usually getting the better of the battle. Ed Donatell's speciality at the NFL level was the secondary and he's spent a lot of time in this area and made a lot of changes --- moving Mesphin Forrester and Quinton Richardson from safety to corner --- so this will be a real interesting position to watch tomorrow.

Special teams --- Oregon. A fairly close battle here, but again, Oregon has a lot more experience overall (namely, the returner positions) and the Ducks tend to play a lot better in this area when at home.

So that's 5-3 in position edges for the Ducks, and granting that a few of the arrows pointing Oregon's way are stronger than most of those pointing toward UW, you can see where the oddsmakers came up with that two-touchdown line.

But I think this one will be a little closer than that due in part to Roper's inexperience and what could be an Oregon offense still finding its way a little bit, and as noted before, a UW offense that should have one dependable thing to bank on --- running behind the center of that big and veteran line.

The Huskies have to keep this one close early, however --- they can't fall down 14-0 in the first quarter like last year. And a real hard-to-read factor is how all that inexperience will manifest itself. As Jim Lambright said on KJR today, a real worry with young skill players is turnovers. If the Huskies start dropping the ball all over the place, it could get ugly quickly.

But the Huskies have invested a lot in this game --- they likely won't ever as big an edge in pulling some surprises on a team, both in terms of unseen personnel and schemes --- and that could allow them to get some easy yards and points.

Ultimately, however, I think the difference will be UW's defensive front wearing down and allowing the Ducks to take enough control late to hold on, 38-31.

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August 29, 2008 11:08 AM

Pac-10 picks

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just wrapping up listening to Petros Papadakis on KJR-AM as I start this and all I can say is Husky fans better hope he's wrong --- he painted a pretty bleak picture for tomorrow and the season and even brought up that he thinks Jake Locker might leave after this season (for what it's worth, he is eligible, being a third-year player).

So look forward to that broadcast tomorrow night.

Anyway, on with the picks (and we'll tally them both straight-up and against the spread this year):

OKLAHOMA STATE VS. WASHINGTON STATE --- The Cowboys opened as a five-point favorite and now are at seven, and might be at eight or nine by the time kickoff arrives --- assuming the Cougars have enough players left to field a team. It's been a tough week for WSU losing four players on its depth chart for various reasons. The Cougars still have Brandon Gibson, so they should be able to move the ball at times, and the defense could be a lot better than it was a year ago. But Oklahoma State figures to have just a little too much. OSU 35, WSU 24.

USC AT VIRGINIA --- Trojans have gone from 17-points favorites to 19-and-a-half, which starts to be a lot to lay on the road, especially with USC's quarterback position still seeming like far from a sure thing. But not sure the Trojans will have to generate a lot of offense to win this one big. USC's defense figures to suffocate the Cavaliers, and may even score a few points on its own. USC 28, Virginia 3.

MICHIGAN STATE AT CAL --- The line in this one has gone down from five-and-a-half to four-and-a-half in favor of the Bears. I'd jump on giving that as I'm one who's a believer that the second-half fade for the Bears last year was something of a fluke and that Cal will be right back to being a top-shelf team this year. The Bears also always seem to start the season well. The youth at the skill spots is a concern, but Jeff Tedford really seems to think the talent is just fine to make a smooth transition there, and for now, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. CAL 31, MSU 21.

IDAHO AT ARIZONA --- Wildcats are a 28-points favorite. And that line is the only thing making this one interesting. Key will be whether Arizona's rebuild defense can hold down Idaho enough to cover that spread. In a first game, Idaho may have a surprise or two that will allow it to score a few points, just enough to cover. ARIZONA 45, IDAHO 21.

NORTHERN ARIZONA AT ARIZONA STATE --- ASU is a 33-and-a-half point favorite in this one, again the only thing that figures to make the game interesting. NAU doesn't figure to have enough to exploit ASU's biggest weakness, its offensive line, so the Sun Devils should score at will. ASU 49, NAU 10.

As always, I'll unveil my pick on the UW game later in a separate post.

WAYS TO SEE, HEAR, VIEW THE GAME --- For those who have asked about alternate ways to see the game, GoHuskies.com has all the information right here.

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August 29, 2008 8:56 AM

Friday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Stanford-could-be-a-tougher-team-than-thought edition:

--- As many of you discussed on here, Stanford pulled the first upset of the season (admittedly minor) in beating Oregon State last night. Here's the San Francisco Chronicle's coverage of the game. We'll really know a lot more about Stanford next week when it plays at Arizona State. Staford, in fact, has four of its next five games on the road, including a Sept. 27 visit to Husky Stadium.

--- Our coverage today included this look at the Ducks, and this notebook leading off with the news that Michael Gottlieb apparently won't make the trip. Some of you asked when the 64-man travel roster will be revealed. UW coach Tyrone Willingham said players are not told until after practice Thursday so he didn't want to release it. We may be able to get some of that today.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller has a good breakdown of the UW-Oregon game. ESPN Insider has this scouting report of the game (available only if you have access to the Insider stuff). One of its main points is that Jake Locker may have to throw the ball into a lot of tight spots Saturday if UW's young receivers struggles to get separation against Oregon's more experienced DBs, putting an even greater premium on him having improved accuracy.

--- ESPN's Ivan Maisel has this column including a look at what he calls one of the key "hidden stats'' for success in college football --- combined starts for a team's offensive line. He says "somewhere around 75'' is the magic number for success. If so, UW should be right on the cusp as the Huskies have 72 (or 80 if you throw in Jordan White-Frisbee's eight starts on defense). Oregon has 62.

--- The Eugene Register-Guard has a nice story on the reunion this weekend of former high school teammates Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Oregon center Max Unger. Both were coached by former Husky Bern Brostek.

--- The Harmon Forecast picks Oregon 35-21, but he's already 0-1 on his Pac-10 selections this year.

Back later with Pac-10 picks.

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August 28, 2008 6:55 PM

Thursday night links

Posted by Bob Condotta

So far, so good on that pick of Stanford as I type this, with the Cardinal leading 7-3. Simply great to see college football again.

I'll pass along a few links to read in-between commercials:

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller has a nice look at the road Juan Garcia has taken to get back to where he is expected to start on Saturday. Still hard to believe given what we were writing about him in April.

--- The Oregonian presents four players to watch in Saturday's game (and we'll add that Kelemete is more accurately weighing 295).

--- The Eugene Register-Guard has its season preview, and given that the Ducks are the opponent Saturday, seems worth passing along.

--- Speaking of the RG, Oregon beat writer Rob Moseley picks Oregon to win 30-20, a lot closer than a lot of other predictions I've seen. He also provides some good insight into what to expect from the Ducks.

--- The Oregonian notes that while Oregon won the game last year, the Ducks players almost remember it as a loss for the way UW moved the ball.

All for now.

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August 28, 2008 3:41 PM

Willingham notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham has concluded his daily meeting with the media. The biggest news is that tight end Michael Gottlieb almost certainly won't make the trip to Eugene while still recovering from a hamstring injury suffered Aug. 11.

"He will not make it at this time,'' Willingham said before heading out to practice, a status that seems unlikely to change. That leaves the TE spot in the hands of Walt Winter, Kavario Middleton and Chris Izbicki, though Willingham said it could open up even more time for Middleton, the most-heralded recruit in UW's Class of 2008.

"He could be one of those guys who begins to share the lion's share of the time,'' Willingham said.

Also crossed off the 64-man travel roster for this game is safety Jason Wells, who has been limited throughout camp while attempting to recover from a knee injury suffered last year against USC. "He won't make this trip,'' Willingham said.

In other notes:

--- Willingham was asked about Johnie Kirton's progress to defensive tackle and said that while he may not see a lot of action immediately "he's done a decent job of it and I think he'll be fine by the time the season is over.''

--- Willingham said not to necessarily read a lot into the 64-man travel roster as to who will redshirt and who won't. He said "battles will be ongoing throughout the year'' and that there are players who won't be on that travel roser who "could be in contention for a starting spot'' by the time the year is over.''

--- Willingham said Josh Gage and Nick Scott have each been awarded scholarships for this season as walk-ons. Gage was reportedly put on scholarship a while ago and is essentially considered as a scholarship by now. Scott is the OT from Drake who is now the backup at left tackle.

--- Asked about the team busing to Oregon, Willingham pointed out that the Huskies also bused to Oregon State last year and "the next week we played one of our best games of the year'' referring to the victory over Cal.

--- Asked about Justin Roper, Willingham said he thinks the Huskies "will not see just one quarterback'' but could see several, and that Oregon might also unveil some lineups "that do not even involve a QB.''

All for now.

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August 28, 2008 1:46 PM

Does this rivalry need a name?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Got an e-mail from a Husky fan today who said he was "tired of the pathetic excuse of a rivalry that is the Apple Cup'' and that he's one UW fan who would rather beat Oregon than any other team on the schedule.

His main point for writing, however, was that he felt that the one thing the rivalry lacks is a name. So he suggested a few and asked that I solicit more ideas from readers. We always attempt to please here, within reason, so I'm indeed passing it along.

Here are some of his ideas:

The Battle of Cascadia
The Fracas in The Forest
The Fight for the Forest
The Cascadian Conflict
The Rumble in the Ruffage
The War in the Wilderness
War of the Woodlands
War of the Woods
The Mayhem in the Mist
The Tussle in the Tempest
The Riot in the Rain

Another suggestion I heard, given the stereotypes of the student bodies of the two schools, is Freaks vs. Geeks, but not sure that would pass muster with the powers-that-be. So go ahead and suggest away.

EDIT --- I noticed someone wrote that it does have a name, "The Border War.'' I have heard that, but never heard anyone really officially call it that. I don't notice it in the Oregon game notes as I write this, for instance.Maybe someone with a longer history of following this game than I have can tell me whether it's ever had any kind of name.


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August 28, 2008 11:41 AM

Husky Warm Ups on tap

Posted by Bob Condotta

And I'm betting that's not the only thing on tap at these things.

Anyway, with the season obviously just about ready to start, thought I would pass this along from the UW Alumni Association on the Washington Warm Ups, the pre-game parties that precede all Husky road games.

A release from the alumni association states that the warm ups will feature performances by the Husky Marching Band and Cheer Squad, Husky Hall-of-Famer Greg Lewis as your emcee and plenty of UW alumni and fans. The Husky Team Shop will also be selling gear at each stop.

The 2008 Washington Warm Ups schedule:

--- Oregon: Saturday, Aug. 30
--- Arizona: Saturday, Oct. 4
--- USC: Saturday, Nov. 1
--- Washington State:
Friday, Nov. 21: Husky Happy Hour in Spokane
Saturday, Nov. 22: Husky Express Bus from Spokane to the game
--- California: Saturday, Dec. 6

Washington Warm Ups begin three hours before kickoff. Admission entitles you to one drink ticket for beer, wine or a soft drink; a collectible souvenir button and fun giveaway; and plenty of Husky spirit. Food and additional beverages are available for purchase inside the party.

Tickets cost $10 for UWAA members who register in advance at UWalum.com and $15 for non-members.

For more information or to register, visit UWalum.com or call the UWAA at 206-543-0540 or 1-800-AUW-ALUM.

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August 28, 2008 10:01 AM

Tonight's pick

Posted by Bob Condotta

We have actual real, live Pac-10 football tonight, and it's an intriguing matchup --- Oregon State at Stanford.

For my Pac-10 picks this year, I will calculate them both straight up (meaning simply if I got the winner right) and against the spread (did I also win when taking into account the Las Vegas line?)

The Beavers are three-point favorites tonight over the Cardinal in Palo Alto, and I always love home underdogs when I think there's a reason.

And I think there are some reasons tonight.

For one thing, OSU is always a slow starting team --- it has lost its road opener straight up each of the last five years, or the entire portion of Mike Riley's second tenure with the team.

For another, the Beavers are missing two key players tonight --- guard Jeremy Perry and safety Al Afalava (the guy who leveled Jake Locker last year). Here's a scouting report and injury report on the game, noting that Stanford also has a couple guys out, though I think OSU's losses are greater in nature.

Stanford also has more experience, including nine starters back on defense and 16 overall, to just 10 for the Beavers (nine if you throw out Afalava --- Perry missed most of last season with injury, as well).

Maybe we make too much of returning starters, but early in the season, it's a good place to begin an evaluation of a team, and the experience edge definitely favors the Cardinal in this one. As I've written before, I think Stanford's defense could be one of the most improved units in the Pac-10 this season, and with OSU having to find some new answers on offense, I think the Cardinal should be able to stay in this one. The key will be whether Stanford's offense can make enough plays. Here's betting that the home field advantage helps in that quest and the Cardinal starts off 1-0 for the first time since 2005.

STANFORD 24, OREGON STATE 20.

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August 28, 2008 8:36 AM

Thursday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

The IT'S-JUST-TWO-DAYS-AWAY edition:

--- Our coverage today consisted of Jerry Brewer's column on the great unknown that is Saturday's game; my look at Josh Gage stepping in at the LB spot; and a notebook with a lead item on Senio Kelemete.

--- ESPN's Ted Miller makes his pick and takes the Ducks.

--- Miller also has his usual links to about five zillion other Pac-10 stories.

--- Jake Curtis of the San Francisco Chronicle picks UW ninth.

--- Mr. Pac-10 picks UW to at least beat the spread and says they have a better chance than you think to win the game.

--- Former coach Ken Woody has some good insight into how Oregon may try to defend Jake Locker Saturday.

--- John Hunt, who covers Oregon for the Oregonian, picks the Ducks to win 41-17.

--- Former Times reporter Bob Sherwin weighs in on Tyrone Willingham's future in this column for the Seattle Sports Examiner.

--- The Oakland Raiders and their four ex-Huskies are in Seattle tomorrow night to finish off the pre-season against the Seahawks. Here's a look at who has to do what to make the roster (I hadn't realized Marques Tuiasosopo may be in danger of not making the team).

All for now.

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August 27, 2008 8:57 PM

Wednesday night links

Posted by Bob Condotta

The by-this-time-tomorrow-night-there-will-be-actual-real-live-Pac-10-football-to-talk-about edition:

--- Here's the latest on Oregon's injury situation from the Eugene Register-Guard as well as a note that Patrick Chung will wear No. 29 Saturday night to honor deceased player Todd Doxey. Certainly, Saturday figures to be quite an emotional game for both sides.

--- Also in the Guard is this blog from former football coach Ken Woody, who worked at UW, WSU and Oregon during his career. He has an interesting observation about how Oregon may simplify its defense for the Huskies this year to avoid the big plays that happened last season.

--- Here's a good scouting report on the Ducks in the words of the team's two coordinators from the Portland Tribune.

--- Here's a site I could get hooked on pretty quickly, showing the changing movements in the betting lines for all college football games. (The UW-Oregon game is incorrectly listed as a 3:30 p.m. start, unfortunately). it shows that 63 percent of people who have bet on the game have taken Oregon and given the points, meaning 37 percent have taken UW and the points. It features an even cooler breakdown of betting activity over the last six days, showing again that the betting public likes the Ducks.

--- SI. com rates UW No. 70 in its pre-season poll. That's better than Sportsline.com, which rates UW No. 76.

--- John Tamanaha of MSNBC.com picks the Ducks to win 41-23.

--- In case you missed it, some guys at USC had a little fun with the Rick Neuheisel ad that ran in LA papers this week.

All for now.

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August 27, 2008 7:00 PM

Where to find the game in Hi Def

Posted by Bob Condotta

Gotten a lot of questions on where to find the game in high definition, and hopefully this will answer them.

This is straight from the PR department at Fox Sports and includes the listings for the entire Northwest area.

Here they are, and hope you find the one that is in your area:

Bend Broadband 620

Broadstripe 737

Broadstripe (Port Townsend) 733

Canby Telephone Association 729

Charter 774

Click! 537

Comcast-OR 788

Comcast-WA 664

Crestview 626

DirecTV 687

DISH Network 426

GCI 658

Hood Canal 130

LocalTel 554

Minet 710

Northland 453

Rainier 510

Time Warner 726 or 799

WAVE:

South System (Port Orchard) 130

North System (LaConner) 246

West System (Port Angeles) 125

My understanding is this should apply for all games that are FSN national games.


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August 27, 2008 4:04 PM

Donatell notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

First-year UW defensive coordinator Ed Donatell is a busy man this week with the opener against Oregon three days away. But as is the general custom for defensive coordinators here on Wednesdays, he stopped by the media room for a few minutes today.

The highlight might have been when Donatell was asked if there were going to be some surprises on Saturday with the debut of his new-look defense. "We're going to play them the one vanilla look the whole game,'' Donatell said to much laughter. It was indicative of the light-hearted side of Donatell that a lot of players have talked about in recent days, something of a contrast to Kent Baer, who tended to put up a more stern front.

Here's some of the rest of what he said:

On Senio Kelemete starting: I'm very pleased with Senio and he has just come in and had a heck of a, whatever it is, 10 days now. He was a little bit behind coming in here, but very pleaed with this guy. He brings an unusual quality of power and strength to our defense and he should be a real good Husky for a long time.''

On whether he has been surprised by Kelemete's play: "We thought this was a really good class. I am a little bit surprised, pleased, very pleased, that he's that good. Very pleased to know that you've got a guy who can anchor it. He's bright. He understands. I don't see anything that could keep him back fom being a good player.''

On how the young defensive line matches up with Oregon's veteran O-line: "This is a very quality line. I haven't seen all the (offensive lines in the Pac-10) but I would think this rates toward the top. They have been together, very quick, a smaller line than we've seen in practice, so it will be a little bit of a tempo thing when they see this group.''

On how to slow Oregon's offense: "It's fundamentals. When you look up and say we won the game, you'll say they tackled, this team leveraged well. Those two things will come up. Those are the key ingredients. Are total intention is getting the job done.''

On whether he has seen any surprises in the defense so far: "The biggest thing is it's very helpful to have a couple of veteran leaders, guys like Donald (Butler) and Daniel (Te'o-Nesheim) and then have this good of an incoming class to work with. But we know we are racing to get everybody ready. We know that. We know that breaking in a new system, all those things that go along with it. But this group is willing. When a group is willing, a lot of good things can happen. When guys are willing and excited about what's going on, good things can happen.''

On the challenge of facing Oregon's offense: "These guys really well-coached, this is a good scheme, a really good scheme. The numbers prove that, what they have done the last few years. Yes, we've got our work cut out for us, but our guys are up for the challenge. We intend to play very well and that's where we are. The power of team is a very, very powerful thing and I've got a good feeling about these guys.''

On Johnie Kirton: "I like his attitude about coming in. He's got one quarter of his whole career ahead of him and all the way through (the last year) he has made the steps. ... He'll see some playing time in the game, yeah.''

On whether he still plans on playing 10 defensive line: "I don't know if it will be quite that many (against Oregon) but we would like to, yes.''

More on Oregon: "We intend to block well, play with good leverage. They move around a lot and they challenge that. There's a lot of got-to-find-the-ball against these guys, and they are fast.''

On last year being a motivating force: "I believe that, when we came here, that there are people who really want to have the image of a Husky defense being stronger. No question people aren’t happy with the year they had last year and they want to do something about it.''

On how much he has watched the film of last year's game: "I don't know. Some people have gone through that. It's such a complex thing. I'm not really thinking so much about that game --- that was a close game for a while and it popped late in the game. But it's really been a distant thing. I could tell you a couple of elements of it, but nothing significant.''

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August 27, 2008 3:41 PM

Willingham notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham has concluded his daily session with the media.

Of most note is that it is sounding increasingly as if tight end Michael Gottlieb may not be able to make the trip to Oregon. Gottlieb has been limited with a hamstring injury since Aug. 11.

"He's probably more questionable than he was yesterday,'' Willingham said.

If Gottlieb can't play, the tight end spot will be handled by Walt Winter, Kavario Middleton, Chris Izbicki, and maybe walk-on Romeo Savant, whom Willingham said could make the trip.

"We'll use all of those tight ends and that whole group may get some time,'' he said.

Willingham also revealed that redshirt freshman OT Mark Armelin has suffered a foot injury, which may help to explain why junior transfer Nick Scott has been listed as the backup at LT. Willingham said Armelin could be out "probably a little while'' at least one or two weeks.

Willingham said that RB Brandon Johnson had a good practice Tuesday night, saying the rest he has gotten of late appears to be paying off and that he is now doing more "of the things he is accustomed to doing.''

Willingham was also asked about Senio Kelemete and said that "as we learn more about him personally I would say that no, we're not surprised at what he has given us.'' Willingham said the commitment Kelemete showed in attempting to resolve his academic issues when he was briefly not allowed to enroll indicated the type of person he is.

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August 27, 2008 1:23 PM

Defensive players talk

Posted by Bob Condotta

Wednesday is the traditional day for defensive players and coaches to talk to the media. Here are a few notes and quotes to pass along:

--- Senio Kelemete said his listed weight of 260 is definitely wrong. "That was high school,'' he said. "I'm 295 now.'' Kelemete was a popular interview topic today based on his rapid ascension to a starting spot. He said he was "pretty shocked'' to see his name at the top of the depth chart, and actually didn't want to look at it at first, letting some family members peruse it and tell him what it says. He said coaches had told him only that "you're going to have a big role'' and he figured that meant he would be a backup. Instead, he's scheduled to start.

--- Alameda Ta'amu likewise will have a big role in his first college game, listed as a backup at one defensive tackle spot, though Ta'amu said his official role is nose tackle (a statement that obviously can let the mind wonder what we might see Saturday. Coaches won't say, however, so it's best to assume we'll see some different looks and wait for Saturday to analyze exactly what is different). "I think I'm going to play a lot because there are only three nose tackles and I'm number two on the depth chart so they want to keep rotating so people get rested,'' he said. Ta'amu has had to take some practices off during camp to rest his foot --- he suffered a streess fracture in his fourth metatarsel last year. But he said the foot feels good and that an X-ray Monday indicated the bone is healing as planned. "it's healthy,'' he said. "Way better than it was when I first got here.''

--- Victor Aiywea, listed as a backup to Darin Harris at strong safety, said he's not upset with his roster designation, understanding that it is in part because he's been bothered by a groin injury and not able to participate in every practice. "I feel the coaches probably feel more comfortable with Darin because he's 100 percent and you don't want to put a guy out there who is 85 to 90 percent when you have a guy who can give you 100 percent,'' he said. "I feel comfortable because I know I will have my chance to show what I can do and just continue to progess as the season goes. I'm really not upset, just down on myself because I'm not 100 percent healthy. But I know i can perform up to any safety in the conference, I feel I'm the best at whatever I do. So this has set me back but I feel there will be a major comeback soon when I get healthy.''

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August 27, 2008 11:48 AM

A couple answers

Posted by Bob Condotta

You've had a couple questions, I hopefully have a couple answers:

Q: Will the game Saturday be televised in high definition?

A: Yes. Saturday's game is an FSN national game and as this release last June says, the entire slate of FSN national games will be televised in high definition. Now if it's on your individual cable system I guess could be another issue. But if you have an FSN high def channel, I assume the UW game will be on in high def.

Q: Kirk Herbstreit lists UW as a place he would like to get to for ESPN Gameday. Any chance of that happening this year?

A: Not sure yet. Those things tend to be picked week-by-week based on where the big game of the week is, so the Huskies would have to win a few games to make it happen. Last year there was some buzz about it because ESPN sent a crew out during the summer to scout possible locations at UW --- thought was they were considering coming out for the Ohio State or USC games. That didn't happen, obviously. But I would imagine the preparation they did last year would still be good so they would know what they need to know if they decided to come out here. Certainly, UW has the schedule to make it happen if the Huskies can win a few games. If UW wins its first two games, you could see the Oklahoma game being a possibility. The Notre Dame game would also be a natural if each team is having a rebound year --- or even if maybe just the Huskies are.


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August 27, 2008 8:32 AM

Season preview: Spotlight on quarterbacks

Posted by Bob Condotta

We published our extended Washington season preview today, and the focus was on quarterbacks past and present.

The highlight of the package is this story breaking down the top 10 quarterbacks in UW history as selected by a 13-member panel of former and current UW coaches, media and administrators, including Don James and Jim Lambright.

Here's the final list, with Warren Moon getting the most points, followed by Bob Schloredt, Marques Tuiasosopo, Mark Brunell, Don Henrich, Billy Joe Hobert, Sonny Sixkiller, Chris Chandler, Steve Pelluer and Tom Flick. As further proof of the dominance of the James era, six of the 10 QBs on the list played for the Huskies while he was there, James also recruiting all six to UW.

Also as part of the package is this look at Jake Locker, assessing what he has to do to someday make such a list, with some comments on Locker from some former UW quarterbacks.

We also had this piece on Chris Polk winning the tailback job, along with a few other notes; my five keys to the season; a look at the schedule; and a fans' guide with all the info you need about season tickets, gameday, etc.

Finally, Jerry Brewer has this column on what Juan Garcia's return means to the UW offensive line.

Hopefully some good stuff to get you primed for the season, now just three days away.

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August 26, 2008 8:08 PM

Tuesday night links and notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few notes and quotes to pass along on a gloomy Seattle night that never felt more like football season arriving:

--- For those who have asked who the announcers are for Saturday night, here you go: Barry Tompkins on play-by-play, Petros Papadakis on, uh, analysis, and Bill MacDonald on the sidelines. I'd go with mute and Rondeau and Nelson, unless the latter is named UW AD by then.

--- Rivals.com predicts the Huskies to make it to the Hawaii Bowl and play the host Warriors (hey, us beat writers could ask for a lot worse). Obviously, that would give UW a chance to avenge one of its most bitter defeats, the regular-season finale last year. Somebody posted this earlier and asked what I thought. Why not? I haven't made any real won-loss picks for the season, but there's no reason to think UW can't win enough games to get to the Hawaii Bowl, which has the No. 6 pick from the Pac-10. But the potential stumbling block for UW in that regard is the non-conference schedule, which simply doesn't afford any easy wins.

--- Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard has this short item on the Oregon player who is spending the week emulating Jake Locker.

--- The Ducks suspended a backup WR for the Husky game today for violating team rules.

--- The Oregonian has this feature on Jake Locker, the first of many you're likely to see this week.

--- The Oregonian also has these capsules of Pac-10 teams as well as a prediction of the Huskies to finish ninth.

--- In case you missed this earlier, Rick Neuheisel is making a lot of promises in Los Angeles.

--- UW practiced tonight at 7:30 and I didn't make it, so I don't have anything to report from that, though my understanding is everybody was fully accounted for.

All for now.

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August 26, 2008 4:51 PM

Lappano: Locker "really, really close to 100 percent''

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano just met the media here for his weekly session and said that quarterback Jake Locker is improving rapidly and that he is "really, really close to 100 percent.

"I think he's really good,'' Lappano said. "He's lost all the bleeding in the back of his leg. That's all gone.''

While the team hasn't practiced since Saturday, Lappano said Locker has had "two good days'' in workouts.

"He worked on it today on the treadmill and he's feeling pretty fine,'' Lappano said. "Attitude-wise, you can tell he's pretty confident in it.''

During the team's most recent practices, Lappano said Locker "pushed it a little bit, more than I wanted. I tried to blow the whistle butt he wouldn't stop on the damn thing. I blow the whistle so fast and he just keeps going a little bit. But I think he's pretty good.''

Asked if Locker would have a normal week of practice, Lappano said, "I think this week is back to normal. Full speed ahead, let's go.''

In a few other notes from Lappano:

--- Lappano reiterated how well Ronnie Fouch played in Locker's absence and when asked if there was a chance Fouch could play this season, he said "there could.'' He then noted the 12-game schedule spread over 15 weeks and how taxing that could be and said "you could see some Ronnie Fouch.''

--- Asked about WR Jordan Polk, Lappano praised his "instant quickness'' and "instant acceleration'' and said "we call him lightning in a bottle because he's done some really good things in this camp.'' Lappano said Polk has shown an ability to make defenders miss in tight space.

--- Asked about the TB position, Lappano said that the team will have a rotation of three on Saturday night. Chris Polk is obviously one of them and so likely is Brandon Johnson, likely leaving David Freeman and Willie Griffin as one of the other two. But Lappano said that was still uncertain. He said he didn't want to rotate more than three tailbacks, thinking none of them would get enough carries with a larger rotation. He added that he doesn't forsee any of UW tailbacks getting 25 carries in a game anytime soon since coaches want to avoid getting anyone beat up early.

--- While just three TBs may get carries against Oregon, Lappano said there could be "six or seven'' tailbacks that get carries before the year is out, so doesn't sound as if concrete redshirt decisions will be made on any of the tailbacks anytime soon.

-- Asked about Chris Polk's blocking, something the player has admitted needs work, Lappano said "I like him because he's willing. He's willing to put his face on you.'' He said all the team's tailbacks "are willing and that's a start.''

--- Lappano said he envisions six receivers getting playing time against Oregon, the four listed on the depth chart plus two others (one of whom figures to be Jordan Polk).

--- Lappano said the offensive line "is better than we were a year ago'' one of the reasons he said he has a quiet confidence about this team. "That, along with Jake Locker, is the strength of this team.''

--- Lappano said junior transfer Nick Scott from Drake (who got a waiver to be immediately eligible due to a family situation) has lost 20 pounds since camp began and has played really well the last week to earn the backup spot at left tackle. "We were a little thin there so that's been a nice addition,'' he said.

--- Asked about the matchup against Oregon's highly-touted secondary, Lappano said the one thing it will do is indicate where the Husky receiving corps is in its progress. Saying that Oregon's secondary is one of the best in the nation, he added that "obviously if we have success against them, we're pretty good.''

--- Finally, he said that while there is a lot of youth in key spots, he thinks those players will be up to the task Saturday. Lappano said he has seen the young players play well in scrimmages and practice so "there is no reason they shouldn't be able to do it with the lights on.''


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August 26, 2008 2:25 PM

Assorted player notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Now that we're in the regular season, the media schedule for the week is a little more structured than normal. What that means is today is the day we can talk with offensive players and coaches, with Wednesday left for the defense.

A few items gleaned from talking with a few of the offensive players:

--- Center Juan Garcia said his plan is to play the entire game Saturday, something he may have to convince the coaches of, who plan to monitor him carefully. Said Garcia: "I'm playing the whole game, there's no doubt in my mind. I've been working out hard and unless I completely go out there and choke and blow it our get blown off the ball, which ain't happening, I'm playing the first play to the last.''

--- Garcia said he thinks he's in good enough shape to handle it. "I've been going pretty hard in practice and I think I'm in better shape than I was last year, and last year I was in decent shape. Maybe just the whole comeback thing (is why he's in better shape this year). I actually wanted to come back and help the team out.'' Garcia said he weighs 320 pounds but hopes to get to 315, the weight he played at last year. He's listed at 305.

--- Garcia said he won't celebrate his recovery until the game ends Saturday. “I think about (taking the field) and it gives me chills,’’ he said. "I can't believe I didn't quit on myself and kept pushing. … But at the same time, I'm not going to celebrate or nothing until the game is over and if we win and go back to the locker room, that's when I'll say 'I did it, I finally came back.'''

--- One depth chart listing that got a little overlooked yesterday was Ryan Perkins apparently holding on to the placekicking job. Perkins, however, said coaches haven't officially told him that yet. "It feels good but we've still got another three days to go before the game,'' he said. "We'll just carry on what we are doing in camp this week and look forward to Oregon.''

--- Perkins said he hasn't had to miss any practices this camp due to his knee injury and that he thinks his range as the same as it has always been --- "probably 50 and in. The thing that is different from last year is the height on the ball.''

--- Tight end Michael Gottlieb, maybe the most questionable of any of the players on UW's depth chart due to injury (hamstring) said he hoped to test the hamstring in practice Tuesday to get a progress report. "I took these last couple days off hoping that rest is going to kick it into gear and get it healthy,'' he said. "I'm going to try it again today and hopefully keep progressing throughout the week.''

--- Gottlieb said he has spent a lot of time in the pool of late to keep in shape while rehabbing the injury. It's something the Huskies have done with increasing regularity the last few years. Gottlieb said one day, he swam 3,200 meters. "That's a lot for guys who aren't swimmers,'' he said. And some of the guys, he said, are definitely not Phelpsian. "It can get pretty hilarious,'' he said. "I won't name names, but you can definitely tell some guys are having a little bit of trouble in the water.''

All for now.

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August 26, 2008 12:58 PM

A few notes from Mike Denbrock

Posted by Bob Condotta

Offensive line coach Mike Denbrock met with a few members of the media here a liltle while ago, Here's some of what he said:

On the return of Juan Garcia and what it means to the team: "I think it helps to see that all things are possible. None of us would have stood here in the spring after his injury and said this is maybe even a possibility or conceivable. And things have kind of fallen together and he's worked his tail off in rehab and the doctors and our training staff have done an outstanding job helping him come along. Just the sheer inspiration from seeing someone struggle with what could be a career-ending injury and go through the rehab process and get himself back in a position to start is remarkable in itself.

"I care way more about Juan Garcia the person than Juan Garcia the football player and I'm pretty fond of him as a football player, so that tells you a little of what he means to me. What's unique about it is I don't think there is a guy on the team who feels any differently about him than I do. He has a way of rubbing off on you that he's a guy you love to be around.''

On how much Garcia can play Saturday: "We're going to keep a real close eye on him. I don't really know the answer to that until we get into it and get into the heat of battle because things happen a lot faster on game day than you can simulate in practice. So we're going to have to keep a close eye on him, especially early in the game to see how it goes. ... When the lights come on we'll just kind of have to see how it goes. The more snaps he can play, the better it is for us, I think, but we'll have to gauge that by what's goinig on in the football game and how he feels.''

On Ryan Tolar not being a starter: "I consider Ryan Tolar our sixth starter, if you can have such a thing. You can only list five guys as starters on the depth chart. I know there has been some peope ask me about that already, but Ryan Tolar is a starter in my mind and in his mind. I want to make it clear to him that he's going to play a very significant role in what we do, even though he's not listed necessarily as one of the first five guys that he's right in the mix with any of the other guys.''

On whether that's a happy problem to have essentially an extra starter: "It's a happy problem, but it needs to be managed, too. It's just making sure yo have the lines of communication open and they know where you stand and where they stand. ... They all realize they are all talented and they all deserve to play to play and while they may not like it or agree with it in the heat of the moment, maybe they all understand it.''

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August 26, 2008 11:41 AM

Willingham notes from Pac-10 conference call

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham just concluded his segment on the Pac-10 conference call. Here are some highlights:

On Oregon's quarterback situation: "I think we will see a couple of quarterbacks and not just the one kid, Costa, but it does clarify things a little bit.''

On Oregon's running backs: "They are going to be talented at back. What we have to figure out a way to is (read) their scheme and be in the right position at t the right time, and any time you are reading the option game, the sweep game and the read game at the same time it's very difficult. No other way we can do it expect being very sound in all the defensive principles.''

On Chris Polk: "The thing I've said that what I've seen from Chris is kind of that "wow' factor that you stand there as a coach and watch some of the plays he makes as a coach and you stand there and go 'wow.' It's a wonderful sensation to have as a coach when you have a player who does that, so it's exciting and we are eager to get that combination (of Polk and Jake Locker) on the field.''

On what he will tell his many young players about playing at Autzen Stadium: "The thing we will educate them about it is that it is going to be noisy, it is going to be hostile. We are playing a super football team and we have to focus and not get distracted by all the things outside the football field. That's the message you give to not only your freshmen but to your upper classmen, and hopefully they are giving them (the young players) the confidence and comfort to go in and prepare.''

On the defense: "First of all, there is a level of communication going on that I think we stepped up on in terms of understanding our package and our system. ... that had to happen. I think our guys will play with some passion and some energy and hopefully we will improve a couple of techniques and some other things that will make us better as an overall defense.''

On facing the Oregon secondary: "...They are a very, very strong group. The thing they will do well is play their package and disguise their package. That will be the tough thing for a young receiver to pick up is their disguises because if they are able to do that very well it usually slows down a young receiver, and we need our young receivers to play very fast and that's what coach Baggett and our other coaches are trying to do a wonderful job of speeding up their learning ability to pick up the nuances of that (defense). ... No question we will be playing one of the best secondaries in the Pac-10.''

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August 26, 2008 11:02 AM

Phil Steele breaks down the game

Posted by Bob Condotta

Phil Steele has his weekly Top 25 picks up, which includes a preview of the UW-Oregon game.

Steele doesn't see a happy night for the Huskies in Eugene, picking the Ducks to win 37-17. And in his breakdown of the yardage totals, he views it as pretty much a rout, calling for Oregon to gain 520 yards to UW's 305.

But as I just heard UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel say on the Pac-10 coaches conference call, it's the team and players "who get to write the epitath'' on the season, and not the prognosticators. So this is admittedly all just fodder for discussion until Saturday. It's in that vein I pass these things along.

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August 26, 2008 10:21 AM

Bellotti on the Huskies and the game

Posted by Bob Condotta

Oregon coach Mike Bellotti just had his turn on the Pac-10 coaches conference call. Here's some of what he said:

On Justin Roper and whether the offense is different with him there as opposed to Nate Costa: "Basically he and Nate Costa have been working out with the ones, splitting time the last week and a half to two weeks. Really, we run the same offense. The basic plays of the offense you must run regardless of who the quarterback is. .... Somem of the secondary or tertiary plays may be more of a fit to Justin now.''

On how the QB fits into the system and facing the Huskies: "We're trying to spread the field, create the play, create the matchups, and our QB has to be mobile enough to make some yardage, make some plays on his own. I think every year is a new year and you have to prepare your team. I think you look at what happened in the past you are really wasting your time. It's about right now. This Oregon Duck football team and the Washington team we are going to play Saturday.''

On opening with a Pac-10 team: "It wasn't my idea to be honest with you. Generally those things happen for a reason, probably beause of TV or an adjustment of the schedule that both teams seem to favor. In some respects it is good .... it's got our players' attention that we are opening up with a league game against Washington. We start with a rival and we end with a rival so there is a great chance for us to be very excited from the get-go and certainly to put our best foot forward.''

On trying to replace Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart: "The realty is I don’t know that you replace either one of those guys. They were both tremendous athletes. Dennis did some magic in our offense and it was a perfect fit for him. I think certainly we have some really good quarterbacks and they are going to need some help from the people around them. ...I do think Jeremiah Johnson and LaGarrette Blount ease the pain of (Stewart's) loss. Jeremiah is a complete football player, he can run, block and catch the ball. LaGarrette is a more physical, big back, 238, 240 pounds and as such, he brings it and those two complement each other very well. ... Our offensive line is solid, we've got an improved Jaison Williams on the flank, an improved Ed Dickson on the inside as the tight end, and that's going to help whoever is the QB is, and that's Justin Roper right now.''

On backup QB Jeremiah Masoli: "He's a little older than the normal JC transfer because he sat out a year out of high school, redshirted at City College of San Francisco. He has probably as good an arm as anybody I have seen. As quick a release and as good an arm as anybody I have had the pleasure to coach. He has all the attributes to run this offense and I'm really excited, and he's healthy. He came to camp not quite healthy, dealing with a wrist injury from last season. But he's healthy now and he has a real knack for football. He's going to push Justin Roper and that's good. He's a very viable number two who has three years of eiligibility.''

On trying to devise a plan to defend Jake Locker: "I'm glad we've had the entire fall camp to do it. Jake Locker is a tremendous athlete and a tremendous quarterback and he's going to be that much better this year with a year of experience under his belt. He's probably in my opinion the biggest, fastest and most dangerous weapon in Division-I football,l and I'm sure that this year they are going to put some things around him in terms of plays and schemes that highlight that ability. You just have to try to slow him down, keep him in the pocket and force him into obvious passing situations, the same thing we would do with any great quarterback. But the reality is he can beat you with his feet, so we have to be very alert, very vigilant and play with great intensity.''

Will Patrick Chung be the guy keying on Locker? "Well, everybody has a responisbility to keep an eye on Jake Locker. He's a very competitive young man, a great competitor, and so is Patrick Chung. So I think that Patrick will take it personally. Obviously, every single person on our defense has to be aware of Jake Locker. It's 11 guys making sure about that one guy.''

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August 26, 2008 8:17 AM

Tuesday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few items to point your way today:

--- First is our coverage today, with a lead item on the seniors hoping not to go through their UW careers without beating Oregon at least once.

--- Bud Withers columnized today on the pressure facing Tyrone Willingham this season.

--- Bud also has this look at Oregon's Patrick Chung, who has been a Husky killer the past few fews, returning a punt for a touchdown two years ago and blocking one last year.

--- The Eugene Register-Guard has this story on Oregon's challenge in trying to defend Jake Locker Saturday.

--- The pre-season All-Pac-10 team includes Juan Garcia.">Portland Tribune says the Ducks will turn to the ground game with Nate Costa out, with a quote from TE Ed Dickson that "we're not going to let them stop us.''

--- Here's a quick glance at the Ducks from the Statesman-Journal.

--- The Oregonian presents this look at Oregon's two-deep.

--- The Oregonian also explores how Oregon will handle the loss of Nate Costa.

--- Ted Miller's pre-season All-Pac-10 team includes Juan Garcia.

--- Mr. Pac-10 has this look at the Huskies and Cougars.

--- Isaiah Stanback is expected to miss the start of the regular season with a separated shoulder.

All for now.

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August 25, 2008 8:17 PM

Monday evening notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few notes and thoughts to pass along:

--- As one poster noted, the Huskies are indeed busing to Eugene for the game this weekend. It's part of a new agreement between UW, Oregon and Oregon State to bus to games against each other in all sports whenever it is feasible. The agreement was reached recently largely as a reaction to the rising costs of air travel. WSU is not included in the agreement since schools want the option to fly to Pullman given the sometimes dicey travel conditions to the Palouse.

--- UW coach Tyrone Willingham was a guest on KJR-AM tonight and addressed the E.J. Savannah situation in more depth than he had previously. Willingham said that "I don't think it's a mysterious situation at all. We're just playing out the circumstances.'' He said the "door is always open'' for a return but that at the moment "that is still up in the air'' whether Savannah will return this year. He said "there are some things that have taken place that are very promising'' but that more steps must be taken before Savannah could return. He did not detail what those steps might be other than saying they involved academic and other issues. FWIW, Savannah isn't on the roster UW distributed today but he hasn't been on the roster all fall camp.

--- One depth chart move I overlooked earlier was walk-on Nick Scott moving into the backup role at left tackle. Scott is a transfer from Drake who joined the team shortly before camp began. He has moved ahead of redshirt freshman Mark Armelin, who was the backup heading into camp. O-line coach Mike Denbrock said early in camp that establishing some depth at tackle was critical since there is no experience at that spot after the two starters, Cody Habben on the right side and Ben Ossai on the left. That Scott arrived and apparently done well enough to earn a backup's role indicates some added depth at that spot.

--- Another interesting depth chart move I neglected earlier is Quinton Richardson listed as one of the two kickoff returners alongside Jordan Polk. The thought was Chris Polk would have one of those jobs, as well, but maybe it was decided that with Polk winning the tailback job that he had enough on his plate. That will be a question to ask this week.

--- I mentioned earlier that there are nine true freshmen on the depth chart. But it's possible more than that will play. Johri Fogerson, for instance, isn't listed on the depth chart but I think he's still in the running for playing time at running back. With so much youth at so many spots, I think a lot of roles are far from set in stone with the possibility of a lot of variation from week-to-week at some positions based on game performance.

--- Several of you have asked when the last time a true freshman started at tailback for UW. Rich Alexis started four games in 2000 and Willie Hurst seven games in 1998. Neither was a starter at the beginning of the season, however, unlike Polk. I'll need to do some more research to find out if that has ever happened before. Interestingly enough, Jacque Robinson never started a game as a true frosh in 1981 despite his success of that season, coming off the bench.

--- Somebody asked if Cameron Elisara isn't living up to expectations. Maybe it was overlooked in the talk today of Senio Kelemete winning a DT job that Elisara is the starter on the other side. I think that indicates he has had a good camp and is ready now to become a fixture in the starting lineup. As for De'Shon Matthews, who readers also asked about, he has been moved back and forth from DT to DE and now appears set back at DE now that some of the younger DTs are in camp. Again, the plan is to rotate liberally up front so I think all of those players will get ample chances to show what they can do. Those who perform in games will get more time.

--- Ronnie Fouch won the job as holder after the team experimented using the other kickers at that spot.

All for now.


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August 25, 2008 5:30 PM

Tyrone Willingham notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here is a partial transcript of Tyrone Willingham's meeting with the media today:

Thoughts on training camp: Our camp has been a good camp. It's been a very consistent camp. We've not had the ups and downs that I've had in most camps. It's been pretty consistent. The effort, the enthusiasm, the intensity, have been pretty consistent throughout all of camp. That's been a very strong positive for me.

On the health of the team: As we start this week we believe we're pretty healthy for the most part. That most of our guys will be in position to play, quarterback especially. Tight end, probably a question mark right now. We're eager to get started with what we think is a real challenge, not just in the location but the caliber of the team and the coaching staff that we'll face. It should be an exciting week for us.

On Juan Garcia: Juan obviously has had an amazing recovery. I think it's a testament to him and a testament to our medical and training staff that they have done just an excellent job with him. So far everything has gone extremely well with that. There was one minor setback in there, but really that was more scar tissue than anything else. He's done very well, and we're eager to have him back in the lineup.

Will he start? We anticipate that he will start.

Thoughts on opening with Oregon, is that something you're exciting about? I think it goes back, and I think both teams would probably say this, it goes back farther than just fall camp. I think it went back to your winter conditioning when you knew you had a conference opponent to open the season. It kind of changes the entire focus, there's no margin for error. We've got to get out of the box pretty quick.

How do you prepare young guys to Autzen right off the bat? Obviously, anytime you play an important ballgame you do have some butterflies, and the backdrop for this one is kind of special. It is one of our major rivals, and their stadium does come with a lot of noise, it is extremely close player-fan contact, and there really is no real way to prepare those guys for that kind of environment. But hopefully these guys are young men that expect to exceed in any and everything do. So therefore, their mentality will be a little different than maybe a guy with some lesser skills. I think they will be primed and eager to play and play well in this environment.

On that young enthusiasm, were there any moments that stood out during camp? We had one of our kickoff drills, and one of the young men performing in the drill, Jordan Polk, he has a very neat ability to make people miss. Our team kind of cornered him, then our whole team applauded because they'd seen him escape enough times that they recognized the energy and the skill sets that he brings. That kind of pulling together of the team from an enthusiasm standpoint kind of helps everything grow.

Thoughts on Senio Kelemete's rise to the top of the depth chart: The nice thing about Senio is, when we looked at him coming out of high school, we thought that of all of our defensive players, this young man might have shown himself as one of the better ones in terms of his overall play, ability to hold the point, get to the football. His late arrival has made things quite interesting and quite exciting the last week or so, but he's come in, and we've given a fair opportunity to all, and he has shown himself to be able to do some things just a little bit different than some of the other guys. We'll involve all of the guys in what we think are their roles and their strengths.

What does Garcia's return mean to team? First of all to the football team, it tells them how important Juan thinks the team is and the game is. I think in this day and age that's something that's always in question is how important and how much value does something really carry to the individual next to you. And when you can really see a graphic example of that, it just has to impress you. And it's not just the players, it also works on coaches too. For a young man to make that kind of sacrifice and put himself back in a position to play is what the game is all about. It is a game of courage, it is a game of commitment, and a game of sacrifice. When you see that it is truly enriching to everyone.

How much did Jordan White-Frisbee come on during camp, and did Ryan Tolar hurt himself by taking one for the team by playing center? I think that's an interesting way to put it. I think first you can look at Ryan Tolar and say in our offensive line, that could be our most valuable player. Even though we speak very highly of Juan and what he’s doing and the sacrifice and commitment that he's made, but for Ryan to play all three positions and do it very well and be a contender to start at all three positions speaks well for him. Not just that he took one for the team, but I think he's also developing himself in the long run to be a very strong player in our system. Jordan has done a wonderful job. This has been an opportunity for White-Frisbee to really step forward in his career and I think he's taken full advantage of it and really worked himself to be hopefully a very powerful component of our offensive line.

Thoughts on defending Oregon's spread offense: Their offense is working very well. You look over the years that they've been in that offense, and it has been amazingly productive. When it's at its height, it's very difficult to put a handle on. You have all phases of the option running with the ability to throw the football, and when you've got everything going, that's a very difficult task to handle. So what we've got to do from a fundamental position is first of all, identify what are their key plays. We believe that they like to run the sweep as they did last year with Stewart, then we've got to be able to defend the option, and that means you've got to have somebody for a dive, somebody for the quarterback, and somebody for the pitch, and doing that and trying to master the passing game is especially difficult. From a fundamental standpoint, those are the kinds of things that you have to start with, but they don't allow you to rest just on the fundamental things. All of a sudden you see what looks like the option, but yet it's one of those bubble pass screen type plays where now the receiver is isolated one-on-one out there and it makes it very difficult.

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August 25, 2008 3:44 PM

Update on the bus situation

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few of you have asked about the situation regarding bus service to UW games this season.

The following is the official response from the University of Washington:

"Thank you for inquiring about options for transportation to Husky football games. We are working to finalize the plans for continuing free Husky bus service for fans attending games this season. Detailed schedule and service information will soon be announced publicly to the local press and will be posted to the internet at GoHuskies.com as soon as it is available. Thank you for your patience. Go Huskies!"

Two other points to consider: UW is legally required to provide a free service to fans as part of the transportation management plan put in place after the expansion of Husky Stadium in 1987; and UW spends about half-a-million dollars a year on transportation. It is expected something will be finalized this week with the first home game arriving on Sept. 6 against BYU.


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August 25, 2008 1:51 PM

Costa out 8-10 weeks

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's the latest on Oregon QB Nate Costa, who will be out 8-10 weeks with damaged cartilage, according to the Eugene Register-guard.

This means Justin Roper will start at QB for Oregon Saturday against the Huskies.

Here's what UW coach Tyrone Willingham said about the Oregon QB situation when asked earlier today at his press conference: "I think the things he (Roper) brings to the table will give us a clearer insight, we can focus on just one guy. Before with them having their quarterback derby a question mark, you're not sure who that starter is going to be. But we think that regardless of who they put in their system, this is a very formidable offense. They have some obvious strengths in the line. Even though they’re missing Jonathan Stewart at running back, I think there are still some very strong runners that they have there, especially with the new junior college transfer that seems to offer a little different dimension. Maybe not quite as fast, but has more of a power element to him. They're going to be very formidable. I think their question mark is just how well their receivers come along, some of the new guys they've got, and how well they can mix them in."

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August 25, 2008 12:45 PM

Jake Locker Q-and-A

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a transcript of the interview Jake Locker held with the media today:

How does your hamstring feel? It feels pretty good. It's still kind of a day to day thing and we'll see how it feels on Saturday.

Can you talk about this being your first time coming to Autzen Stadium? It won't be my first time. I came my freshman year. I didn't play but I was on the sidelines. It's actually my second trip that I've made. It was fun last time.I enjoyed it. A good atmosphere so I'm looking forward to it.

How much can you tell us about how much you learned from playing all those games last year,if you'll throw more and run less? We have some plays designed for me to run and then certain times it's just me doing what I feel is best.But it's like I've always said --- I'll do whatever I feel gives our team the best chance to win and gives our team the best chance to have success. If that's running the ball as much as I did, so be it. If not, I feel comfortable standing in the pocket and throwing the ball.

Thoughts on both teams defense having chance to practice against a mobile quarterback the last month: I think we do run pretty similar offenses so I do think that does give the defense an advantage to see that and practice against that for a month, to get familiar with it and understand it, and hopefully that will carry over to the game on Saturday.

Can you talk for a minute about whether there is any difference at all in you and the team playing a first game at night a late game as far as preparation: I don't think it's any different. It's just the time. It's just going to feel a little bit later. You are kind of sitting around all day but you have a chance to get focused and get youd mind on the game and get ready to go. I love playing under the lights and I know a lot of the guys do, so we're looking forward to it.

How often do you get the better of the defense in practice and how often do they get the better of you? There are certain periods within the practice for our defense and certain ones for our offense. Our defense is doing a lot of good tings and we look forward to seeing what they do on Saturday. You win some and you lose some and it's kind of gone back and forth all camp.

Will the defense surprise some people? They are a good defense and yeah, they will surprise people from the outside I think.

How frustrating has the injury been and do you feel like you are in any way behind? No, I don’'t feel like I'm behind at all. It was frustrating to have to sit out and watch and not do anything, but in that time I was able to kind of stand back and watch things and help guys out, and I think sometimes learning something, the best way is to teach it, and was I able to spend some time with the younger guys and talk to them about what they were looking at and seeing and I got to see things from a different perspective and I really think that helped me out

How confident are you that you will play? I'm fully confident that I will be fine.

What percent do you think you are? I don't know how people come up with that. I have no idea what percent I am right now, but if feels good and I'll be ready to go.

How's the rest of body feel? It feels great. I'vve had two weeks off now so it better.

How do feel about the fact this is such a young team and you being the focus of the team and being the guy who gets recognized all over Seattle? It's great. It's an honor, but it takes all 11 of us on the field to have success and get to where we want to be. Being recognized around Seatle is not one of my goals, never been one of my goals. I want to win football games and that's what we are focused on. With some of those guys you are talking about, once we start doing that they will become more nationally known and that's fun and exciting.

How long will it take offense to get settled in? I feel like we've done pretty well throughout the camp understanding what we are doing and really kind of coming together throughout camp. I'm excited about it. I don't think we should have any adjustment time. I think we should be ready to go on Saturday and coach told us the first day of camp we needed to play older and I think guys have and hopefully that will show on Saturday.

What does Juan’s return mean to you guys? He's obvioulsy a leader on this team and he chose to come back for this year. He's a guy who probably has a chance to play at the next level and he showed us how much he cares about this team and what he thought we could bring to the table. To be able to have him out there with us is exciting. We gained a leader, someone people can look to. Just having his experience, you can't match that on the field.

On Chris Polk: He's an explosive back, he's a guy sometimes when things don’t look like they are there he can make a big play and that's always exciting any time you give the ball to somebody and he has a chance to score every time he touches it, that's fun. You like playing with guys like that. So I'm looking forward to seeing what he will be able to do. He's worked hard. It will be exciting to watch him.

Thoughts on playing with a lot of young skill guys: I had to take more of a leadership role, and that's made me be a little bit more vocal to let them know what they need to do and where they need to be. I've really had to understand what I'm doing so I can understand to what their jobs and assignments and be able to help them out when they need it. I've really enjoyed it. What I like about those guys is that they are eager to learn. It's not lke I'm forcing it on them. They come to me and ask me and it's something where they want to get better and what to understand it and it's fun when you work with guys like that.

How good can the young guys be? I think we all know they are talented. They all have talent or they wouldn't be here. It's just having confidence in what they are doing. I think they have really worked hard at being able to gain that and it should show by gametime.

On last year's game: It was last year: It's in the past. It's a new team, we have a new team so we have to stay focused on what our game plan is this year and go out and execute it to the best of our ability.

Thoughts on being an underdog in this game? I don't think we go into any game expecting to lose. We go down there expecting to win and just play a good game. Go out and execute what we are supposed to. Be in the right spots and capitalize on big plays when they make mistakes and we have a chance to score and benefit from that.

Do you feel any different heading into this opener compared to last year against Syracuse? I didn't know what to expect last year. I'd never played at this level. Wasn't sure what it would be like, what the speed would be like. Now having played for a year, having that experience and knowledge, I'll be a little more relaxed goinig into the game, feel a little more comfortable with what we are doing and what I need to do.

Are you a different person than then? I don't think I'm a different person. I don't approach the game any differently than I did, but you gain knowledge. Any time you can knowledge you are able to perform better and do things better than did in the past.

Can you talk about the fourth-quarter issues last year and what is different this year, whether the offense can sustain drives in the fourth quarter? I think it was just that second half, we didn't play well last year in a lot of areas. It's just the confidence we have in ourselves, knowing that it wasn't a fluke that we had played with those teams in the first half, that we were good enough to and we needed to continue to play like we did in the first half. I think that confidence and that attitude is something that will make the difference. I don't think it's any kind of conditioning or anything like that, just our mental toughenss to say 'you know what? We are good enough to be here. We shouldn't be surprised to be here. We should expect to be in this situation and take advantage of it.'''

Can you talk about the improved speed of the offense?We do have a lot of speed in a lot of places. Any time you are able to put that on the field it puts stress on the defense and you are able to do a lot of different things. It's exciting and something that as a quarterback is fun to have those guys around you --- put the ball in their hands and let them make the highlight reel. So I'm looking forward to it.


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August 25, 2008 11:05 AM

Press conference notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

The press conference is over on Montlake and here are a few notes and thoughts:

--- The depth chart lists nine true freshmen on the depth chart, all of whom figure to play. As noted yesterday, that would tie the 2000 team what is generally regarded as the record for a Husky team. The most surprising true frosh not on the two-deep is WR Anthony Boyles, who arrived last winter to a lot of fanfare, but has been surpassed by Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar. Boyles has admitted he had some early struggles picking up the playbook.

--- UW coach Tyrone Willingham said that the team is pretty healthy with the only real question mark of a key player revolving around tight end Michael Gottlieb, still battling with a hamstring. CB Byron Davenport and S Jason Wells are also not on the depth chart while still battling injuries, as well.

--- QB Jake Locker met with the media and said his hamstring "feels pretty good. It's still kind of a day-to-day thing and we'll see how it feels on Saturday.'' Locker laughingly declined to put a percent on his hamstring saying he's never really understood how people arrive at that. But he said that "I'm fully confident I'll be fine.''

--- Willingham said Senio Kelemete earned his starting spot through his play in fall camp but reiterated that the team plans to rotate a lot of players there, including the other true freshmen. "We'll involve all those guys in what we think are their roles and their strengths,'' he said. Kelemete is listed at 260 by the Huskies but his high school coach recently said he's closer to 290.

--- Ryan Tolar is listed as a backup at guard and center but Willingham said that shouldn't indicate any lessening of his value to the team. In fact, Willingham said he "could be our most valued player'' on the line due to his ability to play all three spots up front.

--- Darin Harris is the starter at strong safety and Willingham said that is partially due to his play as well as the injury that has slowed Victor Aiyewa. Willingham noted he recently re-watched last year's game against Oregon and saw Harris made on Jonathan Stewart, sending him backwards on a tackle. "He has done an excellent job,'' Willingham said.

--- Tripper Johnson is listed as the backup free safety and is also listed as a sophomore after previously being listed as a junior. Willingham said the school is still attempting to sort out Johnson's eligibility but the hope is that he will have three years.

--- The Ducks will go with Justin Roper as the starter and Willingham said now knowing who the starter will be helps UW clear up its defensive gameplan. "We think regardless of who they put into their system that is a formidable offense,'' he said.

--- Willingham said punter Jared Ballman missed two practices over the weekend due to a death in the family.

All for now.


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August 25, 2008 9:51 AM

Depth chart out

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just a quick note that UW's first official depth chart of the season is out.

You can find it here.

Among the noteworthy items:

--- In the biggest surprise, Senio Kelemete is listed as a starting DT.

--- Chris Polk is the starting RB with David Freeman listed as a co-backup along with Brandon Johnson.

--- Jermaine Kearse is listed as a backup WR.

--- Everrette Thompson is listed as a backup DE.

--- Ryan Perkins is listed as the starting PK.

--- Jordan White-Frisbee is listed as a starting guard with Ryan Tolar a backup at guard and center.

More on the depth chart later.

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August 24, 2008 4:39 PM

Camp recap

Posted by Bob Condotta

Before we get into the heart of gameweek, a brief look back at training camp seems in order:

THE BIG STORY --- Jake Locker's hamstring injury dominated the news during camp and while he appears on track for a good recovery, the fact that he sat out Thursday's scrimmage indicates he's not all the way there yet. The big questions now are whether he will be 100 percent by Saturday, and then can he avoid re-injuring it in that game and the rest of the season (and whether missing 10 days of practice will have stunted the development of the passing game). None can start to be answered until Saturday.

MOST INTRIGUING DEVELOPMENT --- The move of Chris Polk to running back, which looks to be pretty permanent. Not to say he won't be doing his fair share of receiving --- remember, UW coaches said last spring they envisioned a Reggie Bush-like role for him. But he spent what we saw of the entire camp at running back despite still being listed as a slot back on the official roster. Best guess is Polk is the starting tailback come Saturday, with Brandon Johnson likely No. 2 followed by one of Johri Fogerson and David Freeman (the official depth chart comes out tomorrow and I'm betting there could be a lot of either/ors on it).

SURPRISE PLAYERS --- Freeman might be at the top of the list. Going by the Scout.com rankings of last year's class, he was the lowest-rated guy the Huskies signed. But he impressed from the start with his speed and quickness and also appears to have done a nice job picking things up. Another is true freshman center Mykenna Ikehara, who has earned massive praise from coaches who say he could legitimately play this year if needed. Since he may not be now that Juan Garcia appears to be back for good, Ikehara is likely to redshirt. But it looks as if the Huskies don't have any long-term concerns at that spot. For a third, we'll go with WR Jordan Polk. Everyone knew he was fast coming in. But it sounds as if he has turned that speed into production and a definite role on the team this year.

MOST PLEASANT DEVELOPMENT --- The return of Garcia, which if he can really start against Oregon and make it through will rank as one of the more miraculous recoveries from injury by a UW player in years. His return gives UW its deepest interior O-line since the 2000 season.

TRUE FRESHMEN WHO LOOK LIKE THEY MAY PLAY --- Best guess here is both Polks, Freeman, Fogerson, Kavario Middleton, Devin Aguilar, Anthony Boyles, Jermaine Kearse, Cody Bruns and possibly all three of the DLs in camp, Everrette Thompson, Senio Kelemete and Alameda Ta'amu (though health remains a concern with the latter). That's potentially 12 (noting that three came in last winter or spring and two --- Boyles and Aguilar --- don't count as part of this class). The UW school record for true freshman has been listed as nine in 2000.

POSITION THAT IS STILL THE HARDEST TO READ --- The defensive line. New DC Ed Donatell says he wants to rotate liberally there and that starting designations won't be overly important, and that he's mostly concerned about getting enough players up to a level where they can contribute rather than assigning roles. But I think it's still hard to tell what exactly UW has here until we see the Huskies in action, and the first test is obviously a stiff one with Oregon boasting a strong and veteran O-line. RB and WR also have some uncertainty, but given what we've seen and know about some of the players there, I think there are legitimate reasons for feeling a little more comfortable about what the team actually has at those spots.

RATING THE POSITIONS --- By this I mean, how the individual spots for the Huskies rank in comparison with each other:

1, O-line
2, QB
3, LB
4, RB
5, Special teams
6, Secondary
7, WR
8, D-line

Receiver may seem too low to some of you, but I think the lack of experience --- exacerbated by the loss of Curtis Shaw during camp --- remains a concern until proven otherwise. RB, while almost as young, is an easier position to make that transition. I put QB behind O-line as a statement to the depth on the line now with the return of Garcia and the doubt that still remains about Locker's health (though the position appeared to get better during the fall with the work Ronnie Fouch got while Locker was out).

All for now.


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August 24, 2008 8:46 AM

Sunday A.M. links --- Costa doubtful

Posted by Bob Condotta

A week from today we'll be discussing an actual football game. Until then. ....

--- Maybe the biggest news out there is that Oregon QB Nate Costa was officially listed as "doubtful'' to play against the Huskies, according to the Eugene Register-Guard. More here from the Oregonian.

--- For my main story today, I wrote about Tripper Johnson and his journey from minor league baseball to UW walk-on. It's even more noteworthy now that it appears he has a chance to get on the field this season.

--- Also in our paper today, in the Pacific magazine section, is this in-depth look at the Tuiasosopo family, focusing on the role faith has played along the way.

--- The Arizona Republic has its college football preview today including this column by Paola Boivin saying the conference does non-conference scheduling right. There's also this conference breakdown and a prediction of the Huskies as eighth.

--- Not a great day for any of the four ex-Huskies playing for the Raiders last night as Arizona beat Oakland 24-0. Marques Tuiasosopo didn't play, Louis Rankin had one kickoff return for 22 yards and Greyson Gunheim wasn't credited with any tackles. The best game might have been had by Marcel Reece, who had two catches for 17 yards and also may move up the depth chart due to an injury to another fullback.

--- Reggie Williams returned for Jacksonville and had one catch for seven yards.

--- Unfortunate news for Isaiah Stanback, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in Dallas' game Friday. Unclear yet how long he may be out.

--- The Steelers beat the Vikings 12-10 last night in a rematch of Super Bowl IV, but I don't see the names of Roy Lewis or Jordan Reffett in the stats.

All for now.

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August 23, 2008 11:47 AM

Saturday practice report

Posted by Bob Condotta

A beautiful morning at Husky Stadium as the team hit the field in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.

And as one observer noted looking out over the players "looks like a pretty healthy team.''

Indeed, three players weren't there --- TE Michael Gottlieb (hamstring) and S Jason Wells (knee), each surely getting treatment for their injuries --- and punter Jared Ballman, who was also apparently absent on Friday, as well. It's uncertain what Ballman's situation is. (One other guy also still nursing an injury worth mentioning is Byron Davenport, who didn't appear ready to go today, either).

But the rest of the team appeared ready to go, with no red jerseys in sight and everyone else accounted for (CB Quinton Richardson rode a bike during the early warm-up period, but returned for the beginning individual drills).

With training camp now essentially over --- this figures to be a light workout today, the team is then off Sunday and then begins gameweek preparation Monday --- it appears as if the Huskies have made it through camp pretty unscathed. The biggest concern was Jake Locker, and it's probably not ideal that he sat out Thursday's scrimmage, meaning he will have gone through camp without taking part in any live scrimmaging (that we know of, anyway). But he'll be there Saturday as it looks as if the team will hit the starting line pretty intact.

Speaking of Locker, during the early warmup period, he took snaps from center Juan Garcia, and worked with a backfield featuring fullback Paul Homer and running backs Chris Polk and Brandon Johnson, a possible indication of how the depth chart sits at those positions. If Garcia really starts at Oregon, it will cap an amazing recovery from his injury of last spring (something detailed in our main UW story today).

Country music blared over loudspeakers during the early warm-up period, the first time this fall I remember hearing music, something that has actually been fairly commonplace in recent years. One person said that the music was probably the selection of Locker and guard Casey Bulyca, each acknowledged as leaders of the team and each apparently fans of the genre..

There is no coach or player availability today so this is likely it in terms of news from Montlake. As mentioned above, the team is off tomorrow but will kick off game week on Monday, which includes a press conference Monday morning and the kickoff luncheon Monday afternoon.

The Huskies will practice Tuesday night at 7 p.m., apparently to replicate the conditions they could get Saturday night in Eugene, and then again on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons before heading to Eugene on Friday.

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August 22, 2008 8:21 PM

Friday night links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Back from a day away to find lots of interesting reading out there, so I'll pass some along:

--- No official word yet on Oregon QB Nate Costa, according to the Oregonian, but coach Mike Bellotti reported that the swelling wasn't as bad as it could have been, hinting at the possibility of good news. The link also includes a report on Oregon's final scrimmage today.

--- Here's more on Oregon's scrimmage today from the Eugene Register-Guard, which reports that it was dominated by JC transfer RB LeGarrette Blount. if Costa is really out for the UW game, Oregon's running attack, led by Blount and Jeremiah Johnson, figures to become an even bigger factor.

--- The Oregonian also has this interesting look at ticket prices for all BCS college teams. If I'm reading it correctly, it seems to report that Washington has the second-lowest prices in the Pac-10. But according to this list of prices from GoHuskies.com, I'm not sure the Oregonian got it right. (Maybe they got UW and WSU mixed up). Whatever the case, a worthy effort.

--- Sporting News released its pre-season All-Pac-10 team which doesn't include any Huskies.

--- ESPN's Ted Miller highlights "one big issue'' for each Pac-10 team, and zones in on the defense for UW.

--- Rob Moseley of the Register-Guard comes up with an interesting way to predict the season, basing it on how many times out of 10 he thinks the Ducks would beat a given opponent. He figures Oregon would beat UW seven out of 10 times.

--- The New York Times picks BYU, UW's second opponent, No. 10 in the nation and says the Cougars will run the table this season.

All for now.


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August 22, 2008 5:12 PM

Friday afternoon practice update

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

What happened: The Huskies held two practices, going in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts for both.

THE BIG STORY: Juan Garcia should be ready for the opener, said offensive coordinator Tim Lappano.

"I'm sure he's going to play,'' Lappano said. "I see him playing. I think he'll get on that field, definitely. We just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope it holds up''

Garcia's left foot, recovering from a Lisfranc fracture, held up Thursday in one of Garcia's most promising developments yet. Garcia estimated he took part in 80 percent of Thursday's scrimmage, the most involved he has been in all of preseason camp.

"The whole time in camp, every day I'm thinking I'm not even supposed to be doing this," Garcia said. "Just to be able to show up in camp and do the stuff I've done, it's pretty good.”

I'll have more on this in Saturday's paper.

RUNNING BACKS: No one was quite ready to name a starter at running back Friday, even after the final scrimmage of preseason camp. But Lappano at least reduced the number of players that will be involved in the Huskies' "running back by committee'' approach.

"We're going to play probably three running backs," Lappano said. "I don't believe in playing more than three. I'm not positive who that is yet; I'm not ready to say that."

Freshman Chris Polk, when asked where he fits in the rotation, began to answer before he shook his head and smiled, stopping himself before he got in trouble.

"I don't want to say that,'' he said, grinning.

The other running backs who could fit in that three-back rotation are sophomore Brandon Johnson and freshmen David Freeman, Johri Fogerson, Brandon Yakaboski and Willie Griffin, who sat out Friday's practices with a minor back injury.

"He got dinged up a little bit,'' running backs coach Steve Gervais said. "We're resting him right now.''

INJURY REPORT: S Jason Wells missed the afternoon practice due to his long-standing knee injury. CB Byron Davenport remains sidelined by an ankle injury. LB T.J. Poe and CB Anthony Gobern remain the only Huskies who have been eliminated for the opener.

NEXT: The Huskies practice once Saturday at 11:15 a.m.

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August 22, 2008 12:52 PM

Notes from Thursday's scrimmage

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Thursday scrimmage was the last before the team starts preparing for Oregon on Monday, and QB Jake Locker watched from the sideline. OC Tim Lappano said there was no sense in having him scrimmage and risk him re-injuring his left hamstring. So he warmed up and then let Ronnie Fouch take over.

Also, RB Chris Polk said his left shoulder hurt a bit, so he didn't take as many reps as he normally would (and if you're looking for insight on who the starting RB will be, no one gave it up on Friday. Lappano said there will be a three-running back rotation, but only went that far.) Brandon Johnson said he felt good during the scrimmage. Willie Griffin hurt his back and sat out practice this morning, but in talking to RB coach Steve Gervais it didn't seem serious.

DC Ed Donatell said he was initially disappointed with the line play in the scrimmage, but when he looked at it on video, left thinking the line did "fine." He reiterated that several players will be in the mix on the line, not just the starting four.

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August 22, 2008 12:25 PM

Garcia moving towards Oregon

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

C Juan Garcia said he was involved in about 80 percent of the plays yesterday, but he said the best part was when he woke up today with no pain in his left foot. It appears that the center, who once just hoped to play one down this season before his college days ended, will now be ready for the opener next week against Oregon.

"I'm sure he's going to play," offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said. "I see him playing. I think he'll get on that field, definitely. We just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope it holds up."

Thursday was Garcia's most involved scrimmage to date.

"I was wondering how it was going to be, just for me to do a series with the guys, just rest and go back in there," Garcia said.

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August 22, 2008 6:45 AM

Friday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few links to start the final non-college-football-playing weekend of the season:

--- My main story today focused on guard Jordan White-Frisbee, who is poised for his best season as a Husky, finally healthy while also finally entrenched in a position he is beginning to understand. As noted in the story, NFL scouts are keeping a close eye on White-Frisbee.

--- Also today is the camp glance with the latest "Getting to Know'' installment featuring Quinton Richardson, whose future may entail media work someday.

--- Here's the latest on the Nate Costa situation at Oregon from the Eugene Register-Guard. Sounds like nothing will really be known until Monday.

--- A few Pac-10 picks from the Portland Tribune.

--- Some guy named Dr. Saturday offers up these literary themes to the Pac-10 season, starting off with Jake Locker.

--- The AP offers up this look at new Husky defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.

--- Missed this when it first game out, but a Bleacher Report author has a look at the top father-son combos in college football history with a well-known Husky included.

Finally, a programming note. I'll be tied up most of the day with a family matter so Tom Wyrwich will fill in on the blog, and I may have something up later tonight.

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August 21, 2008 9:41 PM

Husky nightcap, Day 18

Posted by Bob Condotta

A recap of the day that was:

WHAT HAPPENED: The Huskies held one practice in the afternoon. The practice, expected to be a scrimmage with officials, was closed entirely to the media so we have nothing to report on it.

THE BIG STORY: Coaches said they hoped to begin making some final determinations on the depth chart after Thursday's practice.

"It's our last-look practice,'' said offensive coordinator Tim Lappano.

Of most intrigue on offense is running back, where freshman Chris Polk has appeared to jump to the forefront ahead of sophomore Brandon Johnson, who has struggled with injuries, with David Freeman and Johri Fogerson battling for time, as well.

But Lappano said that no matter who wins the job "it'll still be a little bit by committee.''

That's what Johnson said he anticipates as well, though he hoped to make a statement today.

"I want to show up and show that I'm still the same person, just a little bit better than last year and a little smarter,'' Johnson said.

Competition is also keen at receiver, where coaches continue to say that almost all the listed players at the spot have a chance at playing time this season (one exception could be true freshman Vince Taylor, who arrived late and looks to be headed to a redshirt season).

The defensive line, other than DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, also remains somewhat unsettled, but that's partly by design. New defensive coordinator Ed Donatell plans to rotate players up front more than former DC Kent Baer did, and he said as many as 10 could see regular action.

Also still unsettled is the placekicking job, which remains a three-man battle between incumbent Ryan Perkins, punter Jared Ballman and redshirt freshman Erik Folk.

Lappano said he hoped to have some definitive word on some of the spots Friday, but some could leek into next week, and possibly be uncertain until game day.

The linebacker and secondary spots seem a little more set, barring injuries, as does the O-line, where the biggest question remains the status of center Juan Garcia.

Speaking of which. ....

GARCIA TO TEST IT: C Juan Garcia planned to use Thursday's practice as a final test of his foot.

"Today I'm going to push it a lot,'' he said before practice, saying he hoped to play for 4-5 plays in a row instead of just one or two. "I'm going to go through it and see if it holds,'' he said.

If it does, then he says he can envision himself playing a big role in UW's opener at Oregon Aug. 30.
"Matt Sedillo (listed as the starting center with Garcia out) and I can tag team the first game or something,'' he said.

And if it holds from there, then maybe Garcia will be completely back in the fold, with the only question then being how the Huskies enough time for all the hogs in the middle.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Huskies scheduled for two practices today, their final two-a-day of camp. They are skedded for one practice Saturday, then an off day Sunday, then onto a normal gameweek in preparation for the Ducks.

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August 21, 2008 7:13 PM

Weather looking good

Posted by Bob Condotta

If the 10-day forecast can be believed, looks like weather shouldn't be an issue when the Huskies travel to Eugene on Aug,. 30.

The forecast calls for partly sunny skies with a high of 75 and a low of 48 on Aug. 30. The game itself will reach into the low sides of that as kickoff is 7 p.m.

I've been to six (I think) UW-Oregon games in Eugene and not sure I've ever seen the sun there. But this will also be the first one that's not in the heart of fall.

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August 21, 2008 4:20 PM

Garcia on watch list for Rimington Trophy

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW center Juan Garcia, in the midst of a miraculous recovery from a Lisfranc injury in the spring, is on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, given each year to the top center in the country.

Here's a link to the official release.

In all, there are 43 players on the list with the Pac-10 leading the way with seven including Oregon's Max Unger, Washington's first opponent next week.

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August 21, 2008 1:58 PM

Oregon QB Costa injured? UPDATED

Posted by Bob Condotta

Web sites and message boards in Oregon have been buzzing today with the news that Ducks sophomore quarterback Nate Costa may have suffered a serious knee injury.

At the moment, however, it looks like the Ducks may have dodged a big bullet, though that won't really be known for a few more days.

Here's the latest from the Oregonian with coach Mike Bellotti indicating Costa could be back as soon as Friday. The Register-Guard reports the same thing here.

Costa was projected to be Oregon's starter, but as detailed in this story by our Bud Withers on Sunday, he didn't play well in the team's scrimmage on Saturday and had yet to be named the starter for the opener against UW Aug. 30. Justin Roper, a sophomore who threw four touchdown passes in leading Oregon's 56-21 win over South Florida in the Sun Bowl, was closing ground on Costa for the starting job and would likely take over if Costa is indeed seriously hurt.

Costa is generally regarded as a better fit for Oregon's spread option offense than Roper.

However, this story in the Oregonian today noted that freshman Chris Harper is also still in the running.

I'll keep watching this and post more once there is definitive news.

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August 21, 2008 12:46 PM

Afternoon notes --- Garcia to test himself today

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies hadn't done anything on the field since the last time UW coach Tyrone Willingham met with the media, so there wasn't a lot of news, per se, from his session today.

Maybe more interesting was a quick interview Juan Garcia held with some reporters. The team is scheduled to hold a scrimmage today, including officials, and Garcia said he plans to test his foot as much as he can.

"Today I'm going to push it a lot,'' he said. Garcia said to date he has run no more than a play or two at a time. But today he said he plans to do "4-5 plays'' in a row. "I'm going to go through it and see if it holds,'' he said.

If it does, then he says he can envision himself playing a big role in UW's opener at Oregon Aug. 30.

"Matt Sedillo and I can tag team the first game or something,'' he said.

Asked if he was surprised at his quick recovery from what some said at the time was a 10-month injury, at best, he said "I'm stunned. I can't believe it.'' He said "I'd like to say I knew, but that's not the case.''

He remembered that five doctors last spring recommended he have surgery because they didn't think it would heal but that he held steady to his plan to try to let it heal on its own. "I believed in God,'' he said. "I wasn't going with surgery.''

Garcia said he did have a scare in practice on Tuesday when teammate Jordan White-Frisbee fell on his ankle. He said he initially heard "a pop'' and worried that the worst had happened. But he said he thinks it was just scar tissue tearing and that "it might have been a good thing'' to get that over with. He was held out of the rest of practice that day but said now he is fine.

OTHER NOTES:

--- Willingham's most interesting observation today might have come when he was asked about surprises during camp. He listed Garcia's recovery, the leadership of Casey Bulyca, the play of the freshmen running backs, receivers and defensive line, the overall play of the linebackers, and the competition at defensive back. Willingham said that "it was reasonable to say'' that all of the freshman WRs have a chance to play this year with the probable exception of Vince Taylor, who arrived late.

--- Willingham said there was still no winner at the place kicking spot, a position that could be up for grabs heading into next week, though one would imagine that the scrimmage today could tell a lot about that, as well.

--- Asked what he needed to see out of Brandon Johnson today, Willingham said that "the first thing he needs is to get well.'' Johnson is expected to participate in the scrimmage today. His injury problems have dropped him behind some of the other RBs. specifically Chris Polk.

--- Willingham was asked about some of the new rules changes and said that the team has been working on them in practice, particularly the new timing rules (read about those here). He said the change to a 15-yard penalty for all face masks is still hard to read because it's hard to know exactly how it will be enforced.

--- Just as a way of explaining, all of practice today is closed so I won't have any report from it later.

All for now.


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August 21, 2008 8:51 AM

A look at the secondary

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few of us caught up the other day with secondary coach J.D. Williams. Here's some of what he said:

On Tripper Johnson and having more experience in the secondary: "Tripper hasn't played, but just the life experience he brings, he's been in front of a crowd before, so compared to last year when Jason Wells had played a little bit but we didn't have anyone else who had played, it's good to come into a season with experience.

More on Johnson: "You think that this kid has been a pro baseball player, a pro athlete, so he came in this spring and did some good tings and just let his natural ability flow. He has some ability. Now it's just a matter of picking up the defense and everything. He's a smart kid, so I'm pleased with his progress right now.''

On the battle at safety: "They are all in the mix. I don't think there is anyone on the outside looking in. Everything is based on performance and everybody gets equal reps. It's how you perform in those reps. Everything they do is graded, so we're being fair to each and every one of them."

On the recent injuries at safety: It means opportunity. As a coach you always hate to see a person get injured, but for the next person to step up and not miss a beat, that's a great thing for a coach to build some depth. As for Jason, one thing he does have is that he's got a sharp mind back there. Now it's just a matter of getting his leg back right. I think Jason, being 10 months off the injury and back practicing, is doing a great job. But I think once he gets the confidence with his knee and everything --- it's just like riding a bike, he'll be back on it."

On who would start at cornerback right now: Quinton (Richardson) and Mesphin (Forrester) right now. Byron (Davenport) has been injured, but Matt Moseley is playing well, Vonzell (McDowell) is playing well. Guys are competing. That's what I like to see out there.

On Davenport battling injuries again: "The kid is kind of snakebitten right now. Nobody is more frustrated than he is. He knows he can play better than what he has shown.

On the improvement in the overall secondary: "It's experience. The guys feel more confident. They are playing with confidence and they believe they can get it done. So any time a person believes they can get it done they are apt to work that much harder.''

On where the freshmen fit in: "Greg Walker's at safety, Adam Long is at corner and he's one of the fastest guys on the team. But right now those guys are a little behind. Justin Glenn is at corner, he's probably a person who could step in and play, but you want to hold them as much as you can.

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August 21, 2008 8:03 AM

Thursday links --- Locker ahead of schedule?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Another rainy-day edition:

--- Sadly, a player feature I wrote for today's paper didn't make it in due to lack of space, with coverage of the Olympics and all taking precedence. It'll run another day and I'll link it then. What we did have today was our camp highlight box and our "Getting to know'' feature on Paul Homer.

--- Cut from the item headlined "Locker ahead of schedule'' was a quote from UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano where he says just that about the return of QB Jake Locker. "He's doing pretty good right now,'' Lappano said. "He's throwing it pretty good right now and he's moving around pretty good. He seems to be doing good, ahead of schedule.''

--- The AP ran this season preview of the Huskies today.

--- This story from the Bellevue Reporter details a couple of local players who are attending East Coast prep schools but have hopes of eventually becoming Huskies.

--- Here's the matchup box on the UW-Oregon game from USA Today showing the Ducks remain as 14-point favorites.

--- Here are Ted Miller's morning links from around the conference.

--- The Oregonian ponders if the Ducks may go with three QBs this season.

--- Here's more on Oregon heading into gameweek-mode.

--- CoachesHotSeat.com sees a bleak season ahead for the Ducks and predicts that Mike Bellotti won't be back in 2009.

All for now.

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August 20, 2008 7:17 PM

Ducks heading into bunker

Posted by Bob Condotta

With just 10 days left until kickoff, Oregon is joining the Huskies in the cloak of secrecy, beginning to close off practices to the media and public.

Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard reports on the news of Oregon's scrimmage tomorrow being closed. The Oregon sports information department also explains the closures in this blog post here.

Posting this will lead to inevitable questions about open and closed practices at UW, some of which I've already gotten in recent days, so I'll address the topic here.

What Oregon is doing is actually what I think most of us who cover UW would like the Huskies to do --- be open, or pretty close to open, during spring practice and the beginning of fall camp, when there is really very little gameplanning going on, but maybe get more restrictive once the season nears.

As a reporter, I would always like more openness, and I could always point out that USC is essentially open all year to everybody and that hasn't seemed to hurt them a whole lot the last few years.

But given the reality that some closure is to be expected by most programs anymore, I think what most of us who cover the Huskies would like is simply a few more opportunities during the spring and early camp to watch the team, especially the new players who may not see the field for a few years and who you'll never see otherwise until then. UW has been pretty much closed the past year, opening up a couple of practices in the spring and only one during fall camp --- the first day, which by rule has to be a no-pads practice and by nature features little other than basic drills.

The Huskies are also closing things down as game time nears more than they have in past years, closing all of tomorrow's practice (not even opening up for 25 minutes) as well as next Wednesday and Thursday. I think all of us who cover the team understand the importance of the opening game and maybe that's all this is --- a reaction to the importance of the first game.

All those of us in the media really want is a little better understanding of the team to pass along to fans, though I get it that a lot of fans may see us as simply wanting to spill all the team's secrets.

There's a famous story out there about Don James closing practice after a reporter went against his wishes in disclosing an injury to QB Cary Conklin in 1989 (I'm not sure it's really ever been accurately portrayed, but that's for another day). Left untold are a lot of other times reporters went along with wishes of Husky coaches of past (including Jim Lambright and Rick Neuheisel during times I covered the team) and didn't write about things we saw that might have affected the game plan.

Receiver Charles Frederick, for instance, practiced at cornerback the entire week before the 2002 game at Arizona State when Roc Alexander was suddenly lost for the season. Neuheisel, who had met with the regular beat guys before taking over to discuss his media policies, pointed out that we wouldn't have seen it if practice hadn't been open and asked if we could just leave that out until after the game had been played. We all did, though it didn't matter much as Arizona State beat UW 27-16 and Neuheisel ultimately turned to another young player --- some guy named Nate Robinson --- to fill in for Alexander, with Frederick never seeing the field on defense that night and never again trying his hand at defense. It ended up being a tiny note in this story here on the day after the game.

Obviously, the nature of the beast has changed, as Moseley points out in his post, and you really can't compare eras due to the advances in technology which have altered the ways all of us communicate. Still, seems like there's a happy medium that can be reached, and it's worth noting that every other school in the Pac-10 has at least some spring or fall practices open to the public and media.

UW's increasingly closed-down ways of the last few years have led to some questions of comparisons between Husky teams past and present. Having not been around for the James era, I don't have any personal experience to bring to that topic.

I do have many Husky media guides dating back to the '70s and I can say that James' home number was included in the media guide as late as 1988, as were the home numbers for every other coach on the staff and virtually every other member of the athletic department, with the media apparently invited to call whenever they needed. And as far as I know, until the Conklin incident in 1989, most everything the team did was essentially open. Even at that, the 1991 media guide gives the times for all practices throughout the season and a method for media to obtain passes to watch practice as well as noting that players would be available before and after practice from Monday-to-Thursday for interviews. The 1991 media guide also states that James had one hour of every weekday set aside for interviews by appointment. I doubt he did that many, but he was apparently available as needed during that time.

I can state that Neuheisel was mostly open, as well, during his UW tenure, and while Keith Gilbertson closed things down a little more during his reign (initially saying that he thought the 2003 team needed some privacy given the controversy of that summer) the team's practices then were mostly open during the spring and fall camp, closing after the first 30 minutes once the season began.

As for Oregon and UW this year, sounds as if each hopes the other finds out as little about the other as possible. I still have a feeling the Ducks are probably preparing for Jake Locker at quarterback and the Huskies are probably thinking the Ducks may run a few plays out of the spread.

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August 20, 2008 3:08 PM

Alumni update

Posted by Bob Condotta

With the Huskies taking the afternoon off, time to catch up on a few former players:

--- Roy Lewis continues to impress in the Steelers' camp, witness this story headlined "Lewis is turning corner as a safety.''

--- Reggie Williams returned to practice with Jacksonville today for the first time since knee surgery a few weeks ago (the link also apparently includes video of Williams).

--- A Raiders blogger wonders when Louis Rankin will get a chance to return kicks.

--- More ex-Husky kick return stories, this one on Isaiah Stanback, saying the job isn't really that complicated.

--- Finally, an injury to Miles Austin could mean more reps for Stanback in his attempt to win a job as a receiver for the Cowboys.

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August 20, 2008 12:36 PM

Afternoon notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies had been scheduled for two practices today but instead cancelled the afternoon workout after going hard this morning.

Coaches explained that they felt it was time to give the players a little break after a long camp.

"You can tell, as long as most of us have done this, when to let up a little bit,'' said UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano adding that he had "noticed a little lack of overall speed'' from some of the players in recent days.

The afternoon practice was apparently scheduled to be more of a walk-through, or what coach Tyrone Willingham termed "a mock game for the coaches'' to prepare them for game-like conditions. Willingham said an additional practice could be added later --- teams are allowed 29 in the pre-season --- but that probably not one specifically replacing what was to take place today. "No, I think we are fine there,'' he said.

Willingham added that he expects both coordinators --- Lappano and Ed Donatell --- to work down on the field this year. Kent Baer spent part of last season upstairs before moving to the field.

As for personnel updates, Willingham said center Juan Garcia missed practice this morning due to a death in the family but could be back tomorrow, when the team is expected to hold its final pre-season scrimmage. Lappano said Garcia had a little scare with his foot in practice on Tuesday but that it was simply that --- "more of a scare than anything. He's fine.'' Asked if Garcia could start against Oregon, Willingham said that would be the preference but that "it's still too early to say.''

He said S Nate Williams sat out practice with "a bruise'' that "just caught up to him a little bit.''

In other notes:

--- Willingham said that QB Jake Locker "has been fine'' with Lappano adding that Locker has had two good days throwing the ball the last two days and doesn't think he really lost much in that area during his time off.

--- Willingham said the running back situation still remains a little uncertain and that "it was nice'' to see Brandon Johnson back out there, adding another body to the mix. Lappano said decisions on the depth chart will begin to be made Friday.

--- Both Willingham and Lappano praised the play of true freshman center Mykenna Ikehara, who has been one of the freshman standouts of camp. Lappano said it was too early to say whether Ikehara will play this season and the preference would be to redshirt him, but that he could be "on red alert'' this year to play if needed.

--- Willingham said the defensive line is "still shaky'' in terms of personnel asserting itself.

--- Willingham said he was glad to see the return of TE Michael Gottlieb and that he is "fairly confident'' Gottlieb will be able to start against Oregon after missing more than a week with a hamstring injury.

--- Willingham said the team is still sorting out the return game, as well, saying "if we could fine a couple of return guys to give us a spark, we could have an above-average return game.'' He said Jordan Polk could handle some of those responsibilities but that "we haven't made any decisions.''

With practice done for the day there doesn't figure to be any more news from Montlake, but I may add a post or two later.


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August 20, 2008 9:37 AM

Wednesday A.M practice report

Posted by Bob Condotta

With the weather being unpredictable and fall-like, the Huskies moved indoors this morning for the first time during camp.

Players were in full pads, and there was an increasing number of them with a few guys returning, most notably TE Michael Gottlieb, who had been out since last Monday with a hamstring strain.

Gottlieb ran onto the field late after stretching had already begun to a hearty cry of "Hey Gotti'' from one teammate.

Also back were DT Cameron Elisara, out the last two days while tending to an academic issue, and WRs Devin Aguilar and Charles Hawkins, limited of late with injuries.

And also back was RB Brandon Johnson, who had been out on Tuesday afternoon for an unknown reason after saying during the lunch media period that he had made it through Monday's practice just fine.

The Huskies had their full complement of running backs for one of the few times in the last week or so with Brandon Yakaboski also back.

The only players not there appeared to be C Juan Garcia (who has said he is sitting out one practice on days there are two), safeties Nate Williams and Jason Wells and CB Byron Davenport. Wells and Davenport are each battling lingering injuries while Williams appeared to be a little slowed during Tuesday's practice. We may get more detailed word on his issue later.

With Wells and Williams out and Victor Aiyewa in uniform but still apparently limited, the starting safeties when the team went into a defensive drill to begin practice were Darin Harris and Tripper Johnson. New defensive coordinator Ed Donatell was quite animated as he ran the players through the drill (essentially, teaching them a formation that I won't go into here), further evidence of his hands-on coaching ability that players and observers alike since his arrival.

MORNING LINKS

--- My story for the paper today focused on Jake Locker's return.

--- Also in our paper today was this look at UCLA from Bud Withers as he continues his preview of the Pac-10.

--- Ted Miller has his usual array of links from around the conference. Included is this updated ranking of the Pac-10 from Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, who sees a gloomy season ahead for the Huskies.

All for now.


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August 19, 2008 7:01 PM

Husky nightcap, Day 16

Posted by Bob Condotta

A recap of the day that was:

WHAT HAPPENED --- UW held one full-pads practice in the afternoon.

THE BIG STORY --- Jake Locker took part in his second day of practices, meeting with the media before hand to say he had made it through two practices on Monday without suffering any setbacks.

It's a definite step in the right direction that he is back, but also too early to say he will be 100 percent for the Oregon game. Locker and UW coaches say they are being as cautious as can be with Locker, which likely means he's not doing a lot of running in practice.

"I don't want to do anything that's going to possibly re-injure it or push me back any,'' Locker said. "So when I feel comfortable with it, I will (go full speed). If that's Saturday the 30th, then that's what it will be.''

Also an issue is Locker regaining the passing rhythm he had early in camp., UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said Locker had had three really good days before getting hurt. It would only be normal if it took him some time to get that back.

The Huskies now have just 10 practices left before the opener at Oregon, so time is of the essence.

INJURY REPORT --- DT Cameron Elisara was not at practice the last two days while dealing with what coach Tyrone Willingham said were academic issues. Willingham said before Tuesday's practice he expected Elisara back, but he wasn't there during the portion open to the media.

Also missing Tuesday were RBs Brandon Johnson and Brandon Yakaboski, TE Michael Gottlieb, WR Charles Hawkins and CB Byron Davenport. Johnson returned to practice Monday and said he felt fine, so it's uncertain what his situation was Tuesday.

Among those in full pads was C Matt Sedillo, who had been limited since suffering a minor concussion a week ago.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY --- I got a few today, so will answer them here:

Q: Any update on Craig Noble?

A: I actually talked with his high school coach, Matt Kerstetter, today and he said they are still in a wait-and-see mode on that test. "We should get some word by the end of this week,'' he said. "But as of this morning, we haven't heard anything.''

Q: Is Senio Kelemete in pads yet and can he get in the rotation by Aug. 30, especially if Alameda Ta'amu can't play?

A: He is in pads, having passed the five-day acclimatization period, and D-line coach Randy Hart continues to say that all available bodies could be in the rotation this season. Aug. 30 may be early for Kelemete, but as Hart points out, there are three byes this year making it a 15-week season --- and lots of extra time for practice for the young guys --- so he's not ruling anybody out for playing this season. Obviously, any injuries move everybody up.

Q: Have they given you an indication of who the two freshmen RBs are who are looking good?

A: All depends on your definition of freshmen, I guess. There is no doubt Chris Polk is in the running to be the starter. And David Freeman and Johri Fogerson have each earned a lot of praise for their play. My hunch right now is that the RB depth chart reads Polk, Willie Griffin, Fogerson and Freeman (with Johnson behind due to the injury).

Q: Is Victor Aiywea practicing at all yet since this groin pull?

A: Yes, he was back today and looked all right. Only problem now is Nate Williams looked a little slow today --- he appeared to have some ice on his leg the other day but we'll have to check what his issue is.

Q: Is Byron Davenport practicing? If so, any idea where he projects right now in depth? What was the injury he was dealing with again this summer?

A: No. He's dealing with a high ankle sprain and has been out about a week. Right now, he projects low on the depth chart because of that, but once healthy, he'd rise quickly as he was playing well before he got hurt.

WHAT'S NEXT --- Huskies are scheduled for two practices today, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.

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August 19, 2008 4:05 PM

Afternoon practice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

A little breezy as the Huskies hit the field this afternoon, with some prominent boosters and former players in attendance, many there as part of a group being solicited to help finance a renovation.

The team was in full pads and appeared ready for an intense day of work.

Other notes:

--- DT Cameron Elisara was not present, apparently still dealing with academic issues that also caused him to miss Monday's practice.

--- RB Brandon Johnson was also not there, seen later walking through the halls in street clothes. Unsure what the situation is there. Johnson said at lunchtime he made it through Monday's practice pretty good healthwise.

--- TE Michael Gottlieb, still dealing with a hamstring issue, was also not present, and also not there were CB Byron Davenport and RB Brandon Yakaboski, all also still dealing with injuries. Everybody else appeared present and accounted for.

--- Among those in full pads were OLs Juan Garcia, Casey Bulyca and Jordan White-Frisbee, all back to regular work after being limited much of last week. Also in full pads and not wearing red was C Matt Sedillo, apparently recovered from the minor concussion suffered last week.

--- S Victor Aiyewa was also again in full pads and seemed pretty full-go during a tackling drill, at one point making a nice spin move when working as a ballcarrier in the drill (players were wrapping up but not taking each other down).

--- Among the former players in attendance were Jabari Issa, Jason Chorak and Mike Ewaliko, all of mid-to-late-90s vintage.

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August 19, 2008 1:37 PM

A few more afternoon notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says. ...

--- UW coach Tyrone Willingham said DT Cameron Elisara missed practice yesterday while "tending to some academic issues.'' He said the "probability'' is that Elisara will be back today.

--- Asked how Jake Locker looked on Monday, Willingham said: "He's still limited and again we've said we will be daya to day with him. Very cautious about what we do. We know hamstrings can take some time. But we said all along it would be day-to-day steady progress with him and I thought for what he did yesterday he did pretty good.''

--- While Willingham on Monday seemed to single out the true freshmen RBs for praise in Saturday's scrimmage, he said redshirt frosh Willie Griffin also shouldn't be forgotten. "He's doing very well,'' the coach said. "He had a good scrimmage the other day. Was very solid for us.''

--- Asked about the fact that Alameda Ta'amu remains limited with a foot injury, Willingham said it isn't any different "than what we anticipated. Again, his sitaiutoin is very similar to Juan (Garcia's) in my mind. Those are big men with injuries that I'm not sure we are ready to say precisely what their timetables are because when you are that size not sure the world has graduated to an indepth understanding of what injuries mean to a man that size. So we kind of anticipated that we came in very cautious with them and we are pretty much on schedule.''

--- Locker said he did not feel any pain yesterday. "I haven't had any pain,'' he said. "They want me to do everything I'm doing to be pain free and that was the case yesterday. I'm not really allowed to open up and really spring yet. We'll see day to day when I'm able to do that. But besides that, I feel really good.'' But Locker said he feels he could run full-out if needed. "I feel like I could, but it's not necessary at this point,'' he said.

--- Asked about being cautious the next two weeks, he said "I don't want to do anything that's going to possibly re-injure it or push me back any, so when I feel comfortable with it, I will (push it all out.) If that's Saturday the 30th, then that's what it will be.''

--- A few of us talked with secondary coach J.D. Williams and I'll try to have more of that conversation later. But two interesting things he said is that if the season began today, Darrin Harris would be the starting strong safety alongside Nate Williams, due in part to the recent injury that has slowed Victor Aiyewa. He said the starting CBs remain Mesphin Forrester and Quinton Richardson He also said that at the moment, he doesn't see any of the true freshmen --- CB Justin Glenn, CB Adam Long or S Greg Walker --- in the mix for playing time at the start of the season.

More later.


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August 19, 2008 12:44 PM

Locker expects to be 100 percent for Oregon

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW quarterback Jake Locker met the media here today in his first comments since returning to the field on Monday.

He said that while he is not yet 100 percent, he has no doubt he will be by Aug. 30, when the Huskies open the season against Oregon.

"I don't expect to be anything less,'' he said.

Locker said he has not had any setbacks in his rehab, heeding the advice of coaches and trainers to be as cautious as possible.

He said the biggest limitation placed on him right now is that he is not yet "opening it up and sprinting.'' He said he doesn't know when that will happen but said he gets closer every day.

Locker pointed out that he did begin doing a lot of throwing late last week and doesn't think he fell behind on timing with receiverse.

Locker said "it was hard'' having to sit and watch for 10 days after injuring his left hamstring but that he also felt "I was able to take a lot from it'' in terms of watching practices and reading the defenses.

As for where he goes from here, he said "I'll be able to work more and more in as the week goes on.''

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August 19, 2008 9:11 AM

Tuesday a.m. links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Nastia-was-robbed editiion:

--- Here's our coverage for the day --- the story and the glance.

--- Here are notes on Oregon's practice from the Eugene Register-Guard showing 13 players in varying states of availability --- similar to UW's total of late --- and that Nate Costa remains the No. 1 QB.

--- RealFootball365 says Oregon needs to worry about Jake Locker's legs (hope they don't expect a lot of money for that kind of analysis).

--- Dennis Dodd of Sportsline.com offers up this Pac-10 preview though he seems to have a more dire prognosis for Locker than most.

--- Ted Miller concentrates on quarterbacks in his daily Pac-10 links.

--- Reggie Williams is getting closer to returning to the lineup in Jacksonville.

--- This Raiders notebook includes the news that Marcel Reece is playing solely fullback now.

--- One former Husky I've neglected to mention earlier is Stanely Daniels, who is currently the No. 4 left guard for the New York Jets. That's putting him real close to Brett Favre.

ON DEPTH CHARTS --- Several of you have asked when UW will pubish an official depth chart. The first one typically comes on the Monday before the first game, so that would be next Monday.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham will meet the media around noon and the team will practice in the afternoon so we'll have more later.

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August 18, 2008 7:15 PM

Husky nightcap, day 15

Posted by Bob Condotta

Those of you who pay close attention to the by-lines on here may realize I wasn't around today. Had to take a long-scheduled day off for the family. But am at the keyboards now, and have talked to some people who were up there today, so will try to fulfill the daily wrapup duty.

WHAT HAPPENED --- Two practices, full pads in the morning and lighter in the afternoon.

THE BIG STORY --- Obviously, it's the return of Jake Locker, giving him two full practice weeks to get back in shape, and get the timing and rhythm down with all of the new receivers. Whether it's enough time won't be known until Aug. 30, as is the case with about a dozen other questions about this team. Doesn't sound like he's back to 100 percent by any means, but that he's back at all speaks to the apparent fact that he is recovering and hasn't had any setbacks, both obviously good news.

And reports are that Locker didn't appeared hobbled in any way doing the pre-practice drills that reporters got to see, additional good news with the season now just 12 days away.

THE BIG STORY, No. 2 --- Bud Withers was kind enough to fill in today with a recap of Mark Emmert's interview on KJR. The most interesting aspect of that interview might have been Emmert saying a permanent AD could be in place by the beginning of school, basically agreeing with the assessment of acting AD Scott Woodward, who said a week ago he hopes a new one is in place by the time football season begins.

That is leading a number of people to conclude that the AD is either going to be Woodward or former UW kicker Chuck Nelson, who is now the executive director of the Boeing Classic golf tournament but has several times stated his interest in the job, and has maintained that interest to this point. The Boeing Classic is this week, so some are surmising that Nelson could finish up his duties there and then be named as the new AD next week --- Nelson hasn't said much on this topic of late. There have been few other rumors lately concerning the job, which is still listed as open on Executive Parker Search but this has been a pretty secretive process, so who knows if there may be a mystery candidate lurking out there somewhere.

PLAYER UPDATES --- Various reports have Cameron Elisara not being visible at the afternoon practice today. We'll have to see tomorrow what that may be about. Am also told that Tyrone Willingham was asked today about the status of E.J. Savannah and intimated that the fact that he isn't at practice is all one needs to know. Sounds also as if he either didn't like the subject matter, or being asked about it. May not bode well for a quick return by Savannah. Obviously, it's getting pretty late in the game now to think he could be ready for the beginning of the season.

Otherwise, sounds as if the injury news was pretty good with a number of players back in uniform, notably RBs Brandon Johnson and Brandon Yakaboski and S Victor Aiyewa. The RBs, in particular, were said to be losing valuable time in their fight for playing time at a spot that is hotly competitive this season.

A COUPLE LINKS --- A few links I found while catching up:

--- ESPN.com unveiled its Pac-10 preview today, including this piece from Ivan Maisel predicting bad news for the Huskies this year. You can also find links to the rest of the stories there.

--- Recruiting expert Greg Biggins of ESPN.com has this look at UW's recruiting to date, saying the Huskies are off to a nice start after taking a while to get going.

--- Here's another rehash of Willingham's recruiting at Notre Dame, but since the Huskies play UND this year, I figure these are still worth passing along.

--- A good way to keep up to date on UW's first opponent, Oregon, is through the Ducks' blog at the Eugene Register-Guard.

WHAT'S NEXT --- UW is scheduled for one practice tomorrow afternoon.


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August 18, 2008 12:37 PM

Emmert speaks

Posted by Bud Withers

Washington president Mark Emmert was interviewed this morning by Dave Mahler on KJR radio, addressing a variety of topics from the athletic-director vacancy to the status of football coach Tyrone Willingham.

Regarding Willingham, Emmert said, "You certainly don'tsit and say, 'Well, you've got to have X number of wins. What I want to see is what every fan and coach Willingham want to see: I want to see significant improvement in the way they play, along with the improvement we're seeing off the field. We're just going to let all this work out.

"Ty is a fabulous guy, and I'm fully supportive of him ... the fans need to be good Husky fans. They need to say, 'I'm pulling for him.' Imagine if he rips off a couple of wins early. It could be a very special year. [But] you support your people, that's what you have to do.''

Emmert said the AD search slowed somewhat with the start of summer and end of the school year.

Said Emmert, "I'd really hoped and anticipated it would be filled sooner than this ... I hope we can get it wrapped up before the school year starts. That's my goal now''

Emmert didn't rule out that the choice could be Scott Woodward, the interim athletic director.

"It's a question of whether I want to cut off my right or my left hand'' Emmert said, referring to Woodward's skills in UW external affairs. "Right now -- and my preference all along -- is to let Scott stay in the role he's extraordinary at. [But] Scott's a team player. We'll see where that winds up''

Does that mean it's possible Woodward could get the job full-time, but more likely he'll return to his old job?

"I think that's probably fair.'' Emmert said. "He's done a great job [as interim AD]. I've been asking him to do an awful lot for us. Where this winds up is an open question."

As for obtaining state funds to help with a proposed renovation of Husky Stadium, Emmert said, "I don't doubt for a minute this is an uphill slog, no question about it.''

Emmert argues that the implementation of the hotel and restaurant taxes that have helped other stadiums in Seattle would be well-suited to helping the UW's stadium effort, saying, "A Husky football game has a bigger impact on the economy, on the hotels and restaurants, than does a Seahawks game. NFL fans don't travel to games. College fans do. We think it makes some sense to have some of the tax stream to support this project''

Emmert talked about a "$250 million to $300 millio'' renovation project, and said only about half that could be supported by traditional, donor-based athletic sources.

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August 18, 2008 12:14 PM

QB Locker back, limited

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

As you might imagine, UW coach Tyrone Willingham did not get into too many specifics today about the return of quarterback Jake Locker to practice.

"No concerns there," Willingham said.

He said Locker fits into a group along with C Juan Garcia and G Casey Bulyca where "we'll be very cautious with them and limit what they can do. They will do some things, and other things they will not do."

When asked what he and doctors saw in Locker, Willingham said, "Jake. That's what we saw: Jake. Jake's eager, anxious and ready to get involved.

"There's no question, what we have to do is definitely put limits on him. Because he wants to be back, and he wants to be going. We have to be very careful, because he's what I call an instinctive player. His instincts take over, and he just goes."

As noted in the last post, Locker wasn't the only player back today.

"We said our injuries would be day-to-day for the most part, and that's exactly what it was," he said. "We had some come back today, and some that were limited in what they could do."

The team scrimmaged for an hour and 50 minutes on Saturday, and Willingham said he was most impressed with the running backs. He, as you might imagine, would not single out just one.

"They showed pretty deep that they can run the football," Willingham said. "Had a lot of broken tackles, and that's what you look for: how can you gain the extra yards."

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August 18, 2008 9:41 AM

QB Jake Locker back at practice

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Reports from morning practice Monday have it that QB Jake Locker has returned after missing 11 days and 12 practice sessions with a strained hamstring.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham speaks today at 11:15 a.m., so we'll pass on anything we hear from that about Locker.

The team, was in full pads and Locker appeared to be taking part in all activities visible to the media during the 25-minute session.

UW coaches had said they felt it was imperative that Locker make it back by game week. He now will have two full weeks to prepare for the opener against Oregon.

Dawgman.com also reported that a number of players who were out over the weekend had returned, The only players who still appeared to be out were WR Devin Aguilar, TE Michael Gottlieb, WR Charles Hawkins, DT Alameda Ta'amu and CB Byron Davenport.

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August 17, 2008 9:39 AM

Sunday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are off today, so there won't be any news from Montlake. In the meantime, some links to hopefully fill the appetite a bit:

--- I tried today to break down the positions at the halfway point of camp. Maybe not a lot new there for the hardcore fans but more of a read for a general audience. But hopefully worth a look.

--- Times columnist Jerry Brewer writes today that despite all the dire predictions, the Huskies are a complete unknown, which makes the entry to the season especially exciting.

--- While we had no access to UW's apparent scrimmage yesterday, Times reporter Bud Withers was in attendance for the one the Ducks held in Eugene and files this report.

--- Withers also begins his Pac-10 previews with this look at Arizona State.

--- ESPN's Ted Miller has his daily links, with lots of notes about scrimmages around the conference. Sounds like most offenses look pretty sluggish, maybe proving the old coaching maxim that defenses tend to be ahead this time of year --- and that it's hard to fool your own defense after awhile.

--- The Yakima Herald-Republic has this story on J.R. Hasty and Jordan Murchison beginning their careers at Central Washington. Story kind of makes it sound as if they left by choice though I don't really think that was the case.

--- A writer for NBCSports.com projects UW to play Air Force in the Poinsettia Bowl but implies that that may not be enough to save Tyrone Willingham. That remains the question hanging over this team --- how much will be enough?

--- Isaiah Stanback had one catch for nine yards last night as Dallas lost to Denver, but also had a kickoff return for 35 yards, helping his case as a special teamer.

--- An Oakland Raiders blogger looks at who should stay and go and hopes that Louis Rankin makes the cut while noting that Greyson Gunheim has also done some good things, with two sacks in two games.

--- A Pittsburgh columnist predicts the Steelers' final roster and sees good things for Roy Lewis, not so much for Jordan Reffett.

--- A Bleacher Report columnist ponders which Pac-10 QB will provide the best leadership this year.

All for now.

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August 16, 2008 4:07 PM

Scrimmage? Maybe. Definitely no Locker

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just back from the 25-minute session of practice open to the media, and the team appeared to be prepping for a scrimmage, though we got no confirmation of that.

Whatever took place after we left, Jake Locker was not a part of it as he was again on the sidelines. Unlike yesterday, when we saw him do some throwing and running, today we didn't see him do much of anything. With a day off tomorrow, maybe he was just taking it easy to give two days of rest before practice resumes Monday.

We counted 14 players as not in full pads --- Locker, RBs Brandon Yakaboski and Brandon Johnson, OLs Matt Sedillo, Juan Garcia, Jordan White-Frisbee and Casey Bulyca, TE Michael Gottlieb, WR Devin Aguilar, CB Byron Davenport, S Victor Aiyewa, DB Desmond Davis, LB T.J. Poe and CB Anthony Gobern. Only the latter two have serious injuries, however.

We're not sure what the situation is with Garcia since we didn't even see him out there --- the rest of the players were in various stages of uniform, some running the steps, others on bikes.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham said earlier in the day that there were only two more players on the injured list today than at the same point last year. Several of us looked up our stories from a year ago and actually counted that the difference would be six --- 14 this year opposed to eight last year. Of course, some of the 14 missing today are certainly for precautionary reasons, so maybe Willingham doesn't count them as injured.

Willingham also said earlier in the day that only Poe (and surely Gobern, though he didn't mention him) were out for the Oregon game, with everyone else expected ready by then.

And sorry to focus just on injuries, but frankly, that's all I've really got as all we saw was conditioning and some drills, and the injured guys standing around, so that's pretty much what there is to report.

OTHER NOTES

--- Former Husky Olin Kreutz, in town with the Bears to play the Seahawks tonight, was on campus earlier in the day. Not sure if he met with UW players or not. DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, who like Kreutz is a native of Hawaii, said he saw Kreutz but didn't get a chance to meet him --- that was at lunch, and maybe they met later. "I just saw him and thought 'gosh, I wish I would have known that was him,''' Te'o-Nesheim said.

--- A UW official said the school should have a reponse next week to the news this week of the change in the Metro shuttle service.

--- J.P. Giglio, the one AP voter who cast a vote for the Huskies, offers his reasoning here.

All for now.

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August 16, 2008 12:20 PM

Saturday notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Tyrone Willingham began his daily media briefing by telling us that he had compared the list of those who are injured today with the team's injury list at a similar point last season and found there isn't much difference.

Without giving exact numbers, Willingham said UW has two more injured players this year than it had last year at this time. He acknowledged that the fact that Jake Locker is one of them is one reason there may be more of a spotlight on the injuries this year. But he said in general, he doesn't see any real difference between this and other camps.

"The numbers are very comparable,'' he said. "It's just the stuff that happens.''

Willingham said that only one player will miss the Oregon game due to an injury suffered so far in camp --- walk-on linebacker T.J. Poe, who suffered a clavicle injury and is out an extended period.

Every other injured player, he said, could be ready to go for Oregon.

Still, the team is getting some more bumps and bruises. Safety Nate Williams suffered what Willingham called "a little owie'' during practice on Friday. Williams appeared to have his knee wrapped in ice. But Willingham said he should be back today.

Willingham also revealed that WR Charles Hawkins is out with a groin pull and that WR Cody Bruns has been limited with a muscle spasm suffered when he took a helmet to the back.

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August 16, 2008 9:37 AM

Huskies get one vote in AP poll, other notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

The AP pre-season college football poll is out and it features five teams the Huskies will play this season --- USC (3), Oklahoma (4), Arizona State (15), BYU (16) and Oregon (21).

The Huskies got one vote in the poll, from Joe Giglio of the Raleigh News and Observer.

Giglio is the same guy who was the last voter to have UW in his poll a year ago, ranking the Huskies No. 24 as late as the first week of October after Washington fell to 2-3 following a loss to USC.

ALSO TODAY:

--- My story in Saturday's paper was about how opening against Oregon, while admittedly a tough way to enter the season, also may present some advantages.

--- Ted Miller has his usual Pac-10 links, including the note that there look to be a lot of scrimmages today.

--- Among the teams scrimmaging today is Oregon, holding its final open scrimmage of the pre-season, with all eyes on QB Nate Costa.

--- Here's a story on Louis Rankin's battle to make the Raiders' roster. Rankin had 29 yards on six carries in Oakland's loss last night to Tennessee and also caught a pass for six yards. Greyson Gunheim had one tackle. Marcel Reeceand Marques Tuiasosopo don't show up in the stats.

--- Here's a picture of Roy Lewis in action for the Steelers the other night. While this story doesn't mention it, everything I've heard is that Lewis is doing well in Pittsburgh.

All for now.

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August 15, 2008 6:18 PM

Husky nightcap, Friday edition

Posted by Bob Condotta

A quick look back at the day that was:

WHAT HAPPENED --- The Huskies held two practices, going in full pads in the morning and helmets, shoulder pads and shorts in the afternoon.

THE BIG STORY --- Until the day he comes back in full, Jake Locker may be the biggest story. He seemed to take another step forward by putting on a helmet and throwing some passes in the early part of the afternoon practice, then running the steps at Husky Stadium. Still, he has now missed eight days of practice, and 11 practices overall including two-a-days, since he injured his hamstring.

UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said Friday the real danger will come if Locker is not back in a week or so.

"I hope Monday of game week he's ready to go just for the timing purposes with the receivers,'' Lappano said. "He's throwing the ball right now but he needs game week. He needs to be able to get in there with the first receiving group, whoever that is going to be, and make sure the timing stuff is down.''

THE BIG STORY, PART TWO --- A number of players missed parts or all of both practices today for health-related reasons. Most appear to be precautionary so it's hard to get a sense of whether it's worrisome that at least seven projected or possible starters (not including guys who are gone for good at the moment like E.J. Savannah, who I wouldn't expect back anytime soon) were not practicing today.

The new addition today was SS Victor Aiyewa, whom Willingham said his bothered by a groin injury of some sort. Aiyewa has been running as the starter at that spot.

Interestingly, Willingham said today that the team has yet to do any full-scale live scrimmaging, bringing in officials and practicing in game-like situations, and as he is with a lot of things, he was vague about when it may happen. That is something that usually happens the second weekend of fall camp and Willingham gave no hint of when it will occur.

However, at the last minute today we received word that Saturday's practice had been moved back an hour, which may mean it won't be a split practice, as is on our schedule, and could indeed be a scrimmage. The Saturday two weeks before the game, and before a day off, is a usual time to have a scrimmage --- it always was back in the days when we got told about these things ahead of time --- so it would make sense if that is what the team plans to do tomorrow. However, you'd also assume that a lot of the more-injured guys, such as Locker and TE Michael Gottlieb, might not be asked to participate in a scrimmage on their first day back.

So maybe a lot of guys were being held out today so they can participate in a scrimmage Saturday. As for whether all the injuries are a big deal, like a lot of things surrounding this team, we may not really know until Aug. 30.

GAMETIME NEARING --- As I'm sure you're all aware, tomorrow marks two weeks until the first game. And no one on Montlake needs any reminding of who that first game is against. For my story tomorrow I touch on some of the factors surrounding the opener against Oregon, including defensive coordinator Ed Donatell saying it could be an advantage for the Huskies to have more time to prepare for the Ducks' intricate offense.

Lappano said it could help his unit, as well.

"They do a number of different things up front, play some three-down fronts, a nice little blitz package, that we can spend some time on, which is good because there were a couple of them late in the game that gave us a bit of a problem,'' he said. "From that aspect, it will be good to get some extra work on it.''

But Lappano also said that the fact that first opponent is Oregon, a team the Huskies play every year, mitigates the preparation advantage for either team a little bit.

"They know us,'' he said. "We know them.''

WHAT'S NEXT --- As mentioned earlier, the Huskies are scheduled for a split-squad practice, though the late time change indicates maybe it'lljust be one full-squad practice.

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August 15, 2008 4:33 PM

Afternoon practice report

Posted by Bob Condotta

Another hot afternoon at Husky Stadium, another practice without Jake Locker for the Huskies today.

Locker, however, appeared to take another step toward returning, putting on a helmet and throwing passes during early drills, the most active he has been in that part of practice since being injured a week ago Thursday.

Once practice began, he took off the helmet --- the team was in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts --- and began running the steps of Husky Stadium. His leg is now covered in what look like sleeves, rather than the heavy wraps of earlier in the week.

Still, it was the eighth day of practice, and the 11th practice overall, that he has missed since being injured.

None of the other previously injured players --- meaning, all the players who missed the morning workout --- were back in uniform. A number of them were elsewhere getting treatement, as was the case this morning, and weren't visible on the field.

Among those not practicing this afternoon were guard Casey Bulyca, apparently out for precautionary reasons though exactly why isn't known, and WRs Charles Hawkins and Cody Bruns, again apparently precautionary though the reason isn't known.

As the team began practice, what appeared to be the No. 1 offense ran the first play of a skeleton drill.

With a number of players out, the first unit consisted of QB Ronnie Fouch, TB Chris Polk, FB Paul Homer, WRs Alvin Logan and D'Andre Goodwin, TE Walt Winter, tackles Ben Ossai and Cody Habben, guards Morgan Rosborough and Ryan Tolar (with JWF and Bulyca each getting treatment) and Greg Christine at Center (with Juan Garcia was off apparently getting treatment adhereing to the earlier plan of taking part in just one practice on days there are two and Matt Sedillo still out with a "minor concussion.'').

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August 15, 2008 1:22 PM

A few notes from Lappano

Posted by Bob Condotta

Quarterback Jake Locker was again sidelined when the Huskies practiced this morning, and while we don't know for sure what will happen this afternoon, expectations are he's probably not there for that one, either.

UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said today the real key will be to get Locker back by Aug. 25, when the Huskies begin gameweek preparation for the opener against Oregon.

"I hope Monday of game week he's ready to go just for the timing purpopses with the receivers, all that kind of stuff,'' Lappano said. "He's throwing the ball right now but he needs game week. He needs to be able to get in there with the first receiving group, whoever that is going to be, and make sure the timing stuff is. I don't worry about the running part at all, just concerned about the timing aspect of our passing game.''

Asked later about Locker, Lappano said. "I'm not sure when he's going to be back full speed, but he's doing a lot of things. He's just a warrior out there. Watching him yesterday, (running) the stadium stairs, the hash and foot drills strengthening that thing. He's a machine on all that stuff. Then he comes in and throws seven-on-seven. So who knows when he's going to heal up, but nobody is working harder at it than he is. That's the positive thing, seeing him out there working.''

Lappano later elaborated on why working with the receivers is important. "The biggest concern I have with that is the timing with the new kids,'' he said. "We only have one veteran receiver (D'Andre Goodwin) and it's not like he played 100 snaps last year. So that's the biggest thing that he gets to know some of those guys. But he's back there watching, and throwing seven-on-seven with some of them.''

Lappano also said it's still too soon to tell whether Juan Garcia will be ready for the Oregon game.

"Who knows?,'' he said. "He's in and out of there. We pick and choose his spots. We'll have to wait and see.''

Asked if Garcia makes it back for Oregon if that means he's all the way back, Lappano said: "Probably depends on how he feels. If he does play against Oregon, how does he feel after the game.Does he make it? I mean, who knows? I don't think any of us know what's going to happen until he gets out there and does it.''

Lappano also said that the receiving position jobs could begin to get some clarity soon, though he said one happy complication is that all of the freshmen appear to be doing well.

"All three of those new kids (Jermaine Kearse, Cody Bruns, Jordan Polk) plus Kavario (Middleton) probably have as good as hands as anyone,'' Lappano said. "(Middleton) has got big mitts. His hands are huge and they are soft. He's really made some spectacular catches. He's a big target and has a large wingspan to reach those off throws. Big targets like that make a quarterback's accuracy easier. It's been nice to have a big target around that intermediate range. He can cover a lot of area.''

Lappano also said RBs David Freeman and Johri Fogerson have been impressive with Brandon Johnson and Brandon Yakaboski out.

"They are getting a lot of reps they weren't supposed to get and it's helping them,'' Lappano said. "You can see some of them getting better and better and better. And the guys not getting the reps, it's hurting them.''


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August 15, 2008 12:37 PM

Willingham update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Tyrone Willingham's daily session with the media here is over and the biggest news may be that Victor Aiyewa, who had been running No. 1 at strong safety, is slowed by a groin pull.

Aiyewa was not in pads for the morning practice today. Willingham did not give a long-term prognosis. The safeties are fairly interchangeable in UW's system, but Darin Harris and Tripper Johnson are each likely getting more time at SS with Aiyewa out.

Willingham said Jake Locker remains, in a refrain we've all gotten to know well, day-to-day, a status now entering its eighth day.

He also said true freshman cornerback Anthony Gobern recently had shoulder surgery and while Willingham didn't say so, that would seem to indicate he's probably headed to a redshirt season. Gobern was hurt early on.

Willingham said the players we saw missing in the morning practice were indeed doing rehab in the pool, something he said is no different than past years and something that he said for a number of players was pretty much just precautionary.

He said the team has not had any live scrimmages yet, and was vague about when any would be held, though he said a few would be in the coming week or so.

Asked about the scholarship status of Josh Gage and Charles Hawkins he said he was confident Gage would be put back on but did not indicate the status of Hawkins.


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August 15, 2008 9:29 AM

Friday practice report

Posted by Bob Condotta

It was lovely outside as the Huskies began practice this morning, but a number of players were apparently inside doing rehab and conditioning work, including QB Jake Locker, who was again not in uniform.

Locker was one of a handful of players not evident on the field when practice began, with some of them apparently doing rehab work in the pool --- Locker apparently one of them. The Huskies began doing some regular pool work a few years ago as a way to get in some low-impact conditioning, so this wouldn't necessarily be all that unusual.

Others who weren't on the field when practice began included RBs Brandon Johnson, Brandon Yakaboski and Terrance Dailey, OLs Jordan White-Frisbee and Casey Bulyca, TE Michael Gottlieb, WR Cody Bruns, seen getting stretched out the other day, and CB Byron Davenport. Or essentially, most of the guys known to have some sort of ailment. C Juan Garcia was in full pads and taking part in practice.

This marks the eighth day that Locker has missed a practice --- UW also practices this afternoon --- and the 10th practice Locker has missed. He participated in four days of practice --- all one-a-day --- before his injury, which came to light a week ago today.

The only two players who were at practice but not taking part were C Matt Sedillo, who suffered a minor concussion earlier in the week, and S Victor Aiyewa, whose situation is unknown. He missed a practice earlier this week for what UW coach Tyrone Willingham said was "pre-camp testing.''

As for practice itself, the Huskies mostly did routine drills and conditioning during the time we were allowed to see, so not much to report from that.

Former Husky LB Mark Stewart, now the head coach at Meadowdale High, was there with a few of his players.

More later.


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August 15, 2008 8:23 AM

Friday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

TGIF-style

--- It's an especially happy morning for UW recruiting fans as the Huskies have landed the top recruit in the state. Here's our story which also puts into perspective what this means for the Huskies.

--- Also today is this look at UW's special teams with an emphasis on PK Ryan Perkins, who is attempting to keep his job while also battling chronic knee troubles.

--- Completing our coverage today is the camp glance which includes a short profile of Ben Ossai.

--- ESPN's Ted Miller has this "best case-worst case'' look at UW's season.

--- Miller also has this look around the Pac-10 with the news that Kevin Riley may be winning the QB job at Cal and that Oregon State's offense looks much improved from a year ago.

--- Jordan Reffett was one of two Steelers wearing No. 64 for Pittsburgh's game last night against Buffalo, which earns mention in this story.

All for now.


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August 14, 2008 8:29 PM

Coleman commits to UW

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Big news for the Huskies tonight as the Times has gotten the word Garfield coach Anthony Allen that defensive tackle Deandre Coleman, widely considered the state's top recruit, has committed to the UW. Coleman had -- or I guess still has -- offers from LSU, California and Oregon, among others.

"I talked it over with my family, and I felt it was the best place for me," Coleman said. "I like coach Willingham. I have a good relationship with the coaches. I feel I have a good chance to play early. This is the right place for me."

This gives UW five commits for the Class of 2009 --- two today --- and is by far the most significant. UW had been the last Pac-10 school to get a commit amid rumblings that maybe the uncertainty over the status of head coach Tyrone Willingham was giving them pause.

Coleman had been one who had said that uncertainty was not a factor for him, however, though he had indicated that he might wait until taking all of his trips to make a decision --- Cal had been thought to be his other, most serious, pursuer.

Instead, Coleman decided today to give the word to UW, something Allen --- a former UW receiver who has been at UW practices a few times of late --- told the Times today.

"He’s a good coach and I like him," Coleman said about Willingham. "I feel he should be here."

Coleman is rated the top recruit in the state by Rivals.com and recently rated the No. 13 player on the Northwest Hot 100 list by Scout.com.

We'll have more in tomorrow's paper.

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August 14, 2008 4:04 PM

Afternoon practice notes --- Locker getting closer?

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies hit the field in the heat this afternoon for a full pads workout.

Jake Locker was still on the sidelines, but as the media portion of practice ended, he was doing some pretty serious running drills that indicated his return may be imminent.

Locker spent a few minutes doing some stopping and starting, backpedaling and then changing direction, under the guidance of a trainer. He appeared to be going about two-thirds speed or so. He then did some sprinting, again probably going about two-thirds speed, doing some 40-yard dash type runs, testing the strained left hamstring suffered a week ago.

Today marked the ninth practice Locker has missed of 29 UW will hold prior to the Oregon game. UW coach Tyrone Willingham did not mention Locker when talking about injured players in his press briefing earlier in the day.

Also out today were C Matt Sedillo (concussion) and TE Michael Gottlieb (hamstring) while RB Brandon Yakaboski (hip flexor) was in helmet and shoulder pads and shorts, obviously sitting out full-contact drills. And reporters couldn't find RB Brandon Johnson, who has been sidelined with a calf injury. He may have been elsewhere getting treatment.

Practice began with three sessions of the Husky drill --- a mano-a-mano contest between two players ringed by everyone else --- though it was hard to see who the participants were.

Then there was a quick round of kicking with each of the place kickers taking one turn --- Ryan Perkins appeared to make his from about 34 yards, Jared Ballman appeared to miss from about 39, and Erik Folk was right down the middle from about 44 yards. Ronnie Fouch handled the holds but coaches are also experimenting with having the kickers do some holding, as well. Carl Bonnell handled that task for the Huskies the last two years.

As noted up top, this was one of the hotter practices of the year for the Huskies. C Juan Garcia noted reporters and a few UW officials sitting under an easy-up, put in place for Picture Day last weekend, and asked jokingly "you guys just going to stand in the tent?'' Well, for 25 minutes anyway.

PROGRAMMING NOTE --- Given that we had no player access today, we won't be publishing the usual Husky Nightcap later tonight. UW will hold two practices tomorrow.


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August 14, 2008 3:13 PM

Huskies get fourth commit

Posted by Bob Condotta

As some of you have already noted, there are reports out there that UW has received its fourth commitment for the recruiting Class of 2009 from safety Nathan Fellner of Clovis West High in Fresno, Calif.

Here's his Scout.com profile, showing he also had offers from Stanford and Washington State.

UW has now picked up four commits since the last week of July.

The Scouts Inc. profile through ESPN.com calls Fellner "one of the most talented and versatile athletes in the 2009 class. A tough and agile player that has a motor that doesn't quit.'' It also refers to him as "quicker than he is fast.''

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August 14, 2008 12:32 PM

No real news today

Posted by Bob Condotta

There was very little of note from the press briefing from UW coach Tyrone Willingham today.

Willingham had no real updates on any of the injured players other than noting that walk-on LB T.J. Poe suffered a broken clavicle and could be out "an extended period of time.''

Some of the players sidelined in the afternoon yesterday, such as RB Terrance Dailey, could be back today.

Willingham also said G Jordan White-Frisbee was limited yesterday for "precautionary reasons.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,'' he said, a reference to JWF's long-standing foot issues that make it smart to get him off his feet every once in a while.

The team was hosting its annual 101 Club lunch today so no players were available to the media, so there may not be much else coming from Montlake this afternoon.

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August 14, 2008 11:24 AM

Izbicki pleads not guilty

Posted by Bob Condotta

Tight end Chris Izbicki has entered a not guilty plea to two misdemeanor charges he faces in connection with an incident last month at the White River Ampitheater, according to a spokesman for King County court.

Izbicki was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in King County District Court in Burien on the two charges --- one for criminal trespass in the second degree, the other for minor in possession --- but waived his appearance and entered the not guilty plea.

His next scheduled court appearance is a pre-trail hearing Sept. 15.

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August 14, 2008 10:13 AM

More on Kelemete's arrival

Posted by Bob Condotta

The good news yesterday was that freshman defensive tackle Senio Kelemete finally arrived at Washington's camp.

The bad news is that it sounds now as if he never needed to be delayed in his arrival in the first place.

Kelemete's high school coach at Evergreen, Shaun Tarantola, said yesterday that just as Kelemete was completing his final test for an on-line class to complete his final core course, the NCAA Clearinghouse determined it had initially erred, and Kelemete had everything he needed all along.

"He took the test (Tuesday) night and we're assuming he passed,'' he said. "But we just found out that the Clearinghouse cleared him and that it was a mistake on their part. All of that was basically for nothing, so Senio missed a week-and-a-half of practice for a Clearinghouse mistake.

"It's too bad for him, but it makes him a little more hungry to get in the mix.''

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August 14, 2008 8:44 AM

Don James speaks

Posted by Bob Condotta

For those of you who wanted to know what Don James thought after watching practice Wednesday, here you go.

I was able to catch up with the former Husky coach after practice and as you can see, he doesn't think much of the schedule the Huskies have to play this season.

"We played good teams,'' he said. "But the non-conference schedule should have one or two a year in his (Tyrone Willingham's) favor. Because the league schedule is so tough. You've got nine league games now. If you go into (conference play) with three teams that are as good or better than you, you could have a long season.''

James doesn't like the fact that there are three byes, either, saying "I sure wouldn't want to be playing after Thanksgiving.'' That's kind of just a changing-nature-of-college-football-type thing there, however.

As I wrote in the story, James mentioned the schedule a few times when asked his assessment of the season.

"They've got a tough early schedule and they've got to stay healthy,'' he said. "You get a couple of guys dinged up. ...''

One player he mentioned standing out that I wasn't able to get in the article was true freshman WR Jordan Polk.

"He's a quick little guy,'' James said. "He's not very big, but he looked good on the kick returns.''

In the story itself, James offers other thoughts on the program and Willingham.

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August 13, 2008 8:00 PM

Husky nightcap, day 10

Posted by Bob Condotta

A recap of the day that was:

WHAT HAPPENED --- The Huskies held two practices, going in full pads in the morning and helmets, shells and shorts in the afternoon.

THE BIG STORY --- The Huskies received a welcome addition Wednesday afternoon as defensive tackle Senio Kelemete of Evergreen High joined the team. Kelemete, said to now be pushing 290 pounds, missed the first eight days of camp while finishing up a class to complete his core-course requirements.

UW coaches have said Kelemete will immediately join the fight for playing time up front.

UW now has all but three players from the Class of 2008 in camp. One other, defensive tackle Craig Noble of Taft High School in Los Angeles, is still awaiting a score on the California High School Exit Exam and could enrolled in a week or two. The others are RB Demitrius Bronson of Kentwood, whose enrollment this year is uncertain, and QB Dominique Blackman of Los Angeles, who said he won’t enroll until January.

INJURY REPORT --- UW’s injury list, seemingly growing every day, added another body as starting center Matt Sedillo sat out after suffering what UW coach Tyrone Willingham called ''a minor concussion.'' Willingham said he didn’t think it would result in a long-term absence.

Among other Huskies who also sat out Wednesday were QB Jake Locker (hamstring), TE Michael Gottlieb (hamstring), RBs Brandon Johnson (calf) and Brandon Yakaboski (hip flexor) and CBs Anthony Gobern (leg) and Byron Davenport (ankle).

None, however, are considered serious and Willingham said that with two-and-a-half weeks until the first game Aug. 30 at Oregon, he isn’t yet panicking.

"I don't think it's any more injuries (than usual) in terms of your starters,'' he said. "Any injury is a concern. But I'm not overly concerned right now. These things happen. … I think we will be okay come gametime.''

JOHNSON CLEARS UP INJURY --- Reporters were under the impression that Johnson, the projected starting running back heading into camp, was sidelined while dealing with complications from off-season knee surgery.

Instead, RB coach Steve Gervais and Johnson each said he is ailing with a new injury in his calf area and that the knee isn’t really an issue right now. Johnson said a muscle in his lower-leg ''just pretty much knotted up on me'' late last week and began to swell. He said he thinks he could be back soon, saying "it's nothing major."

Johnson is sidelined at a time when UW coaches say they need to begin whittling down the competition at tailback.

But Johnson said he isn't that concerned.

"I understand we are going to rotate and I'm fine with that,'' he said. "But as far as my starting job being taken, I'm not worried about that.''

QUESTION OF THE DAY --- Where is Chris Izbicki fitting in and looking right now, with Gottlieb hurt?

A: Sounds as if Izbicki is third on the depth chart now behind Walt Winter and Kavario Middleton. TE coach Brian White said today that Middleton would be the backup to Winter with Gottlieb out. He said Izbicki is doing fine. Instead, I think this is a case of Middleton really coming on and offering something the other TEs don't --- a big target who could be a big-play threat immediately.

Speaking of Winter, he's becoming one of the more interesting stories in camp, appearing to finally be in position to play regularly. Coaches say his blocking has finally gotten to a point where he can make an impact at TE, the position where he moved two years ago from defensive end.

"It's though because blocking is a lot different than defense,'' Winter said. "You're trying to push instead of trying to get off blocks --- you have to control the man rather than get away from him. But I'm working on my feet and knowing where to go and where you want the man to go and moving him in that direction.''

Winter says he loves the position now.

"I love playing tight end,'' he said. "Any way to get on the field is what I want, but if I could play any position it would be tight end. I like blocking, I like catching. It's a good spot for me.''

WHAT'S NEXT --- The Huskies will practice once today.

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August 13, 2008 4:31 PM

Afternoon practice update --- Kelemete in

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just back from the media access to afternoon practice and there was indeed a new Husky onboard --- defensive tackle Senio Kelemete, wearing No. 93.

It had been reported here last week he would be in this week pending completion of an on-line course to fullfill a core-course requirement, and he obviously got the work done.

Kelemete will have to go through a five-day acclimatization period before he can do full-contact work. But that will still give him a good week of practice before the Huskies hit game-week preparation against Oregon, and coaches have said he'll have the opportunity to work his way into the rotation on a young defensive line.

Other notes:

--- After a full-pads workout this morning the team was going light this afternoon wearing helmets, shells and shorts.

--- All of the players who missed the morning workout were still sidelined, including Jake Locker. Added to the list of injured were LB Cort Dennison, RB Terrance Dailey, WR Vince Taylor and DT Alameda Ta'amu. Ta'amu was likely resting his foot, while it's uncertain what the issue was with the others, though none appeared to be serious --- given the fact that it was a light workout, it's possible these were all just precautionary. C Juan Garcia was also taking the practice off, having previously said he will go just once a day.As promised, S Victor Aiyewa was back.

--- The centers spent a lot of time practicing shotgun snaps before hand. a group that included Ryan Tolar.

--- Former UW QB Johnny DuRocher was a visitor at practice as was Zach Fogerson, the younger brother of Johri Fogerson.

All for now.

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August 13, 2008 12:47 PM

Afternoon update

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few notes from Montlake this afternoon:

--- Tyrone Willingham said during his daily meeting with the media that center Matt Sedillo suffered a "minor concussion'' and that "I don't believe it is anything major.'' He wouldn't put an ETA on a return for Sedillo saying that they will be extra careful with any head injury. But again, it sounds as if it's nothing long-term.

--- RB coach Steve Gervais said the injury sidelining Brandon Johnson right now is actually not related to his off-season knee surgery but is instead a new injury to his lower calf. Gervais said the knee "isn't the issue right now.'' Johnson said he thinks he'll be back in a few days. "I'll be all right,'' he said. "It's nothing major.''

--- Gervais also said that Brandon Yakaboski has been slowed since last week with a hip flexor and that "we're a few days off from seeing either of the Brandons.'' That could impact the running back battle as the team hopes to begin whittling down the field there to a workable number to get ready for a game by next week.

--- Willingham noted that Garcia was one of the players used at center today with Sedillo out but said it's still to early to say he'll be back for the Oregon game. "We just keep going day-to-day with Juan,'' he said.

--- Willingham said Jake Locker continues to get better but wouldn't say when he will return to the field. Asked about the seeming mounting number of injuries, Willingham said he isn't yet concerned. "I think we'll be okay come game time,'' he said.

--- Special teams/tight ends coach Brian White said the place kicking job remains wide open but that there is beginning to be some clarity to the return jobs. D'Andre Goodwin is emerging as the leader at the punt return position while Chris Polk and Jordan Polk, he said, have done some good things returning kickoffs. That obviously is a big indicator that Jordan Polk is among the freshman who will see the field this season.

--- White also said that with Michael Gottlieb still out, the starting TE is Walt Winter and the backup would be Kavario Middleton. Willingham was asked if that indicates that Chris Izbicki has fallen back in the pack. Willingham said that Izbicki is improving but that the entire position has gotten better. "We upped our talent level with Kavario,'' he said.

--- Willingham said he spoke a while with Don James, who watched practice today, but would keep private what was said. James did not speak to the team. "I think he just wanted to watch and see what's going on and get that football feeling again,'' he said.

--- Willingham said there was nothing new on E.J. Savannah.

The team will take the field for another practice this afternoon so we'll have more later.

UPDATE --- Forgot to throw in there that Willingham said there will be an addition to the roster this afternoon. The early money is on Senio Kelemete, whose coach said last week he could be done finishing up an on-line course this week. Reportedly, Kelemete took his last test Tuesday. We'll know for sure this afternoon.

Also, Victor Aiyewa missed the morning workout for what Willingham called "pre-camp tests'' but will be back this afternoon.


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August 13, 2008 11:05 AM

Youth movement at receiver

Posted by Bob Condotta

That was the headline to my main Husky story today, which you can find here.

One thing the story attempted to dissect is why the Huskies are so young at receiver.

One reason is the coaching change from Keith Gilbertson to Tyrone Willingham after the 2004 season that resulted in a truncated recruiting class in 2005.

Another is the famous "seven-receiver'' class of 2003, which meant that the Huskies felt they were deep at the spot for a few years and didn't need to hit it heavily in recruiting.

The upshot is that UW didn't sign any receivers in 2004 (Gilbertson's lone full class) and just one in 2005 (JC transfer Marlon Wood). UW also brought in transfer Chancellor Young in 2005 but he was declared academically ineligible the following summer and didn't return until this year.

The Huskies signed two in 2006, but again one was a JC transfer (Marcel Reece). So the end result is that UW has just one recruited receiver on its current roster from the classes of 2004 to 2006 --- D'Andre Goodwin.

UW has signed seven the past two years, attempting to make up for the void, and tried to bring in a JC transfer this year, Carl Moore, who instead signed at Florida. Moore is apparently doing pretty well there, cited in this story as one of the three most improved players on the team by coach Urban Meyer.

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August 13, 2008 9:32 AM

Wednesday A.M. practice update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Or the 10 minutes or so I got to see of it, anyway, thanks to what KJR-AM's Tracy Taylor kept telling me was a "stalled vehicle'' causing the huge backup that made me about 30 minutes behind schedule this morning.

Really? A stalled vehicle causes all that mess? Couldn't it at least have been a police manhunt of a prison escapee or something? And if you've got a car that may stall, an 89 Hyundai or something, can you just stay home in the future, especially on beautiful Seattle days like this?

Rant over, on to what I was able to glean in the little time I had:

--- Looks like another player added to the injured list as center Matt Sedillo was not practicing (the rest of the team was in full pads). We'll have to wait until Tyrone Willingham meets with us later to see if that's serious or not --- he was walking around just fine with no visible wraps or anything.

--- Everybody else that was out the day before appeared to still be out, a list that includes Jake Locker. Locker, however, jogged heartily out of the tunnel and onto the field, appearing to move the best he has since he was injured last Thursday --- which brings up the point that he has had five full days of rehab now. His leg didn't appear to be as heavily wrapped as in the past and he seemed eager to get back at it.

--- Brandon Johnson, Brandon Yakaboski and Byron Davenport all were still sidelined (the defense was already over on the other side of the field by the time I got there and with my time limited, I concentrated on the offense, so I didn't really get a good look at the defense).

--- The offense ran through a few plays and with Sedillo out, the first-team center was none other than Juan Garcia (these were no-contact plays running into end zone). The first team line appeared to feature Garcia, Jordan White-Frisbee and Casey Bulyca at guards and Ben Ossai and Cody Habben at tackle. This is just that much more evidence that Garcia may indeed make it back for the Oregon game, though I think he still has some hurdles to pass before he's penciled in --- and even once back, he figures to platoon a bit.

--- Greg Christine snapped to the second unit and Ryan Tolar to the third.

--- The receivers with the first unit were D'Andre Goodwin and Alvin Logan with Chris Polk as the tailback, Walt Winter as the tight end and Ronnie Fouch --- said to have been playing really well the last few days -- as the QB.

--- The second-team WRs on the first run through were Cody Bruns and Jermaine Kearse, though they appeared to be rotating there so not sure how much to read into that.

--- The offense had run a couple of plays when coordinator Tim Lappano decided he didn't like the intensity he was seeing. "Get into the end zone,'' he yelled loud enough to be heard in Marysville. "We compete. We go hard.''

--- Among the visitors this morning was former Husky coach Don James, who usually takes in one practice this time of camp, usually speaking to the team at lunch.

--- As I drove here today, noticed that the big banner hanging on the street side of the stadium that last year featured Willingham now features a montage of player action photos. One is of Locker while another, somewhat oddly, is of Kenny James in action at Notre Dame in 2004.

All for now.


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August 12, 2008 8:40 PM

Husky nightcap, day nine

Posted by Bob Condotta

A recap of the day that was:

WHAT HAPPENED --- The Huskies held one practice, going in full pads in the afternoon.

THE BIG STORY --- Another day, another injury. this one to tight end Michael Gottlieb, who suffered a hamstring injury on Monday.

Interestingly, Gottlieb described the injury this way: "It's similar to Jake's (Locker). I just tweaked my hamstring a little bit, but not as severe. I should be back in a couple of days.'' UW coach Tyrone Willingham, meanwhile, hinted that Gottlieb's was worse than Locker's while saying that Locker could be back any day.

Either way, that meant that the Huskies practiced today without three projected offensive starters heading into the year --- Gottlieb, Locker and Brandon Johnson --- with Juan Garcia also still not 100 percent (though admittedly way ahead of where anyone thought). Throw in the depature of Curtis Shaw and the loss of E.J. Savannah, and that's six potential starters in varying states of unavailablity at the moment.

Considering that all but Shaw and Savannah could be back or healthy soon, it's too soon to panic. But this is a team with little margin for error, and with each day lost to injury for a key player, that margin gets a little slimmer.

Also out today were Brandon Yakaboski (hip flexor), DB Anthony Gobern (leg) and CB Byron Davenport (ankle).

THE BIG STORY, NO. 2 --- The apparently temporary loss of Gottlieb means a new starter at TE for a little while, and Willingham said that as of today, that would be fifth-year senior Walt Winter. Winter was one of the more highly-rated recruits of the Class of 2004 but has struggled to find his niche, starting out on defense, then moving to tight end.

But Willingham said the wait may finally be paying off for Winter.

"Walt has been a very good receiver the entire time he has been (a tight end),'' Willingham said. "Now he's starting to show some signs at being better at all the other responsibilities at tight end, and that comes with experience. He's starting to know things and understand things. He still has some growing to do, but I like where he is going.''

The injury to Gottlieb could also open the door for Kavario Middleton to get into the mix. Willingham said Middleton is having a good camp. "He has not disappointed,’’ Willingham said.

BACK IN THE SWING --- Talked to Chancellor Young for a little while today seeing how his return to football has been going. With Shaw leaving, there is even a greater chance for Young to see the field as a receiver.

Young said he thinks it's going well, something WR coach Charlie Baggett also said, saying Young has had some good moments. He's playing both inside and outside at WR and his size (6-0, 220 pounds) makes him one of UW's biggest receivers.

"I'm just trying to get the rust off,'' he said. "But it's not too bad. I've got the feeling now like I know what to expect.''

I asked him if he'd taken a big hit yet to get reacquainted with that feeling and he said no.

"We haven't really been like 'just let it go' yet because we're trying to keep everybody up,'' he said. "The banging hasn't been too bad.''

QUESTION OF THE DAY --- A reader asked today "Is it just me, or have the Huskies had an abnormally large amount of personnel issues so far with ineligibility and injuries compared to other teams and past years?''

A: That's a little hard to answer since I don't follow other teams as closely to really know how many personnel issues they have. I know USC and UCLA have also had QB issues, WSU just lost one of its best receivers for up to two months, OSU had a safety leave the team shortly before the season, etc. In other words, every team has issues, they can just often seem magnified when they happen to your team. That said, as mentioned above, this is an unusually young team without a lot of experience that needs all the practice time together it can get. And obviously losing playmakers like Savannah and Shaw hurts a team with this many personnel issues. As for the injuries, we basically need to see what team lines up on Aug. 30 before we answer that.

WHAT'S NEXT ---The Huskies are scheduled for two practices today, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.

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August 12, 2008 4:24 PM

On those duplicate tickets

Posted by Bob Condotta

I've received a few e-mails from fans saying that they received two sets of season tickets when they got their package in the mail this week.

UW officials say about 2,000 to 2,500 season-ticket holders received duplicate tickets due to an error in printing. The thought is that there was an initial printing run begun that then got corrupted. When it started over, some were printed again, resulting in two sets of ticketes.

UW officials say that all duplicate tickets were sent to the same ticket-holders, meaning two ticket holders did not not receive the same tickets. Some ticket holders simply received two copies of the same tickets.

UW officials are asking that fans who received duplicate tickets destroy the extras or send them back.


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August 12, 2008 4:01 PM

Afternoon practice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just back from the media availability portion of practice today and here's what we saw:

--- The Huskies were in full pads looking ready for some heavy work.

--- The list of those not in full pads was: QB Jake Locker (hamstring), RBs Brandon Johnson (knee) and Brandon Yakaboski (hip flexor), DB Anthony Gobern (leg), CB Byron Davenport (ankle) and TE Michael Gottlieb (hamstring). All have previously disclosed injuries and are apparently all "day-to-day.''

--- Among the visitors to practice was two of the top recruits in the state --- Prosser WR Kirby Moore and Skyline WR Gino Simone. Locker talked to the pair for five minutes or so while the rest of the team was warming up.

--- Locker looked like he tried to jog for a second after being called to the practice field but resorted to a fast walk, instead. His leg was still heavily taped.

--- There were no apparent position changes.


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August 12, 2008 12:20 PM

Willingham afternoon notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham just addressed the media here and revealed that starting tight end Michael Gottlieb has suffered a hamstring injury.

Gottlieb, however, said he doesn't think the injury is serious and anticipates being back in a few days. Gottlieb said he suffered the injury in Monday afternoon's practice and that it initially seemed pretty bad but that it seems to be healing quickly.

With Gottlieb out for a little while, Willingham said fifth-year senior Walt Winter will move up to No. 1 on the depth chart at tight end. After that is a trio of redshirt or true freshmen, including heralded recruit Kavario Middleton. Willingham said Middleton is right in the mix for playing time saying "he hasn't disappointed.''

In other news:

--- Willingham said he expects WR Curtis Shaw, who left the team yesterday for personal reasons, to come back someday. "At some point, yes,'' Willingham said. But when that would be, he said, he doesn't know,

--- Despite the loss of Shaw, Willingham said he thinks the team has enough depth at WR and won't be moving any players to that spot. "There's no reason to make adjustments there,'' he said.

--- Willingham said QB Jake Locker "is still day-to-day'' and wouldn't give a timetable for when he will return. "All of his focus is still rehab,'' Willingham said. When asked about a date for a return, he said "no, there isn't. We'll let him and the doctors determine it.'' Pressed further, Willingham said "we're pleased with where he's at and he's day-to-day.''

--- Willingham echoed the comments of DC Ed Donatell yesterday in saying that he expects a heavy rotation on the defensive line. "I anticipate we will see a lot of guys play there,'' he said. One of those could be Alameda Ta'amu, whom Willingham said hasn't been bothered much by a pre-existing foot injury. "It hasn't been (a problem) since camp,'' Willingham said. "He's a massive man,'' Willingham said. "He brings that to the table and that's a great start.''

--- OL coach Mike Denbrock said that incoming frosh Allen Carroll had some minor off-season knee surgery that has resulted in him not being in optimum shape. It is not expected that any of the true freshmen OLs will play this season.

All for now.

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August 12, 2008 11:43 AM

More on new potential Seattle bowl game

Posted by Bob Condotta

I talked this morning with Ralph Morton, the executive director of the Seattle Sports Commission, who confirmed that his group is putting together a proposal for a new Seattle Bowl football game that would begin in 2010.

Morton said the process is "in the early stages'' but that the feedback so far has been good and he thinks t here is a chance it could happen.

Morton updated Pac-10 athletic directors on the proposal on Monday with the ADs in town for their annual late-summer meeting. Morton hopes to secure a commitment from the Pac-10 to send a team to the bowl, which would be played at Qwest Field.

Morton said commission is putting together a business plan, attempting to secure some sponsorships, before deciding whether to apply for certification with the NCAA, which can't happen until the spring of 2009.

"We're just taking this one step at a time,'' he said. "We still have a long ways to go.''

Morton said the bowl would be a fundraiser for Children's Hospital in Seattle with the hope that the game would also attract attention to that organization's efforts.

There was a previous Seattle Bowl played at Qwest Field in 2001 and 2002, but this group is not connected with that effort, which was run by a private promoter. Pac-10 teams played in each of those games --- Stanford losing to Georgia Tech in 2001 in what was Tyrone Willingham's final game with the Cardinal before leaving for Notre Dame; and Oregon losing to Wake Forest in 2002.

The Pac-10 currently has seven bowl contracts, but many are short-term deals and Morton said there would be an opportunity to get into the mix by 2010 if the bowl can secure the needed funding.

Morton said he thinks "there is strong interest'' from the Pac-10. "They are very interested in the proposal where it's about a cause, about a lot more than just trying to make money,'' he said.

Morton said the goal would be to create a bowl that would be among the upper tier of the games not affiliated with the BCS.

"We want to make sure that if we are going to do this that it will be a major event for Seattle,'' he said. "Otherwise, we won't pursue it. We're setting the bar high, in other words.''

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August 12, 2008 8:30 AM

Tuesday a.m. links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Olympic-sized edition:

--- For our main story today I wrote about Ronnie Fouch and how he is filling in as the starting QB with Jake Locker out. Assuming Locker is really back in a day or so, this could turn out to be a long-term good thing, in a way, by giving Fouch a lot of seat time with the offense. One of the biggest questions about this team is what happens if Locker goes down for any extended period. This, at least, is giving Fouch some preparation if that happens.

--- ESPN's Bruce Feldman calls Locker one of the most indispenaible players in the country.

--- The Tucson Citizen looks at backup QB issues around the conference, with a spotlight on Arizona.

--- ESPN's Ted Miller has his daily look around the Pac-10. Of most note in there may be that it sounds as if OSU isn't having much of a QB competition and the starting job is Lyle Moevao's.

--- While UW has closed practices and we really don't know much of what the Huskies are doing, Oregon's are open, so here's a report from the Eugene Register-Guard on what the Ducks did Monday. We'll see if all the secrecy helps the Huskies come Aug. 30.

--- Here's a look at some Raiders' depth chart issues with a note on Louis Rankin.

--- I'd wondered if the Locker situation had impacted the Vegas odds any. But it doesn't appear to have much as the Huskies are still listed as 13- or 13.5 point underdogs in the opener at Oregon, actually a point or so better than the opening line.

All for now.

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August 11, 2008 7:05 PM

Husky nightcap, Aug. 11 edition

Posted by Bob Condotta

A recap of the day that was:

WHAT HAPPENED --- The Huskies held two practices, going in full pads in the morning and helmets, shoulder pads and shorts in the afternoon.

THE BIG STORY --- Unfortunately for the Huskies, not great news today as Curtis Shaw decided to leave the team for personal reasons. Read the story here.

With Shaw gone and Chris Polk playing tailback for now, this is how UW's receiving situation looks:

Scholarship receivers:
D'Andre Goodwin, sophomore
Alvin Logan, redshirt freshman
Anthony Boyles, true freshman
Devin Aguilar, true freshman
Cody Bruns, true freshman
Jermaine Kearse, true freshman
Jordan Polk, true freshman
Vince Taylor, true freshman

Walk-on receivers
Chancellor Young, senior,
Charles Hawkins, senior
Tony Chidiac, sophomore
Vicente Cordova, freshman

That's 12 receivers, eight on scholarship, six of whom are true freshman (acknowledging that Aguilar and Boyles each have at least a little more experience with the spring practice).

And that's eight career catches --- six by Goodwin last year, two by Young at Duke in 2004. Interestingly, offensive coordinator Tim Lappano had said before the news of Shaw became known that this was a key week for whittling the skill positions down to workable numbers to get players ready for the Oregon game.

"We're still trying to identify those young guys and letting them roll,'' Lappano said. "We'll do that a couple of more days and around Friday we'll have to say that we are looking for seven receivers and four running backs and the rest of them, that's just the way it is. They are going to have to watch for now. We're still installing some offense, still rotating in a lot of kids. But in a couple of more days we'll have to make a decision.''

Asked how the young receivers are doing, Lappano said some of them are struggling a bit with the transition to learning a college playbook.

"Some of them are doing pretty good, some of them are struggling a little bit,'' he said. "But this happens every year. So they make plays when they know what they are doing. Some of them make some really nice plays that make you go 'wow, they are pretty good.'''

Lappano also likes that they have shown no fear with the team now in daily full-contact work.

"Nobody's scared,'' he said. "I asked them if anyone was scared and wanted to go home today and they said no. Everybody looks good in their laundry (meaning, before pads are on) but they seem not to shy away from (contact).''

GARCIA PROGRESSING --- Good news on the injury front continues to come from center Juan Garcia, who is practicing more and more and says his foot --- he suffered a Lisfranc injury in the spring --- is passing every test so far. Garcia says he has a few times gone head-to-head with linemen, putting pressure on the foot, and is also beginning to do sideline-to-sideline drills. But Garcia said he has yet to really go all-out for a sustained period, which is the test he must pass before coaches start feeling comfortable about making plans for his return. Ryan Tolar continues to take snaps at center in case he’s needed to help fill in the depth at center. Matt Sedillo remains the starter there.

OL coach Mike Denbrock said Garcia will be held to one practice this week on days when there are two scheduled.

"We just need to make sure that thing is as stable as it needs to be before we step on the gas,'' he said. "We don't want to go too far, too fast. We still have three weeks before we have to play football.''

And Denbrock said Garcia will have to continue to show progress to work his way back into the lineup.

"Before that decision gets made he's going to have to show me that he can go full speed and not limp around or not have any soreness,'' Denbrock said. "Because the last thing we are going to do is put him in jeopardy or re-injuring that. That may be something that happens regardless of if we put him in jeopardy or not, but we are not going to risk it until we are sure he is fully healthy, and we've got all of our fingers crossed that that is going to happen.''

INJURY REPORT --- Besides Jake Locker, other Huskies who sat out Monday were RB Brandon Johnson (knee), CB Byron Davenport (ankle) and LB Josh Gage (viral infection). RB Brandon Yakaboski is also limited while dealing with a hip flexor injury dating to his days at Mt. Si High.

WHAT'S NEXT --- Huskies are scheduled for one practice tomorrow.

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August 11, 2008 5:04 PM

Another Seattle Bowl in the offing?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Rumor is that the Pac-10 athletic directors are holding their regular late-summer meetings in Seattle and on the agenda is hearing a presentation from a group that would like to bring another bowl game to this city.

A new Seattle Bowl is apparently being propsed by the Seattle Sports Commission, with the group reportedly wanting to get some assurance it would have the support of the Pac-10.

The Pac-10 currently has contracts with seven bowls, a list you can find here.

The Seattle Bowl was held for two years, in 2001 and 2002, before disbanding for financial reasons.

One complication will be getting approval from the NCAA as there will be 34 bowl games this season, and with 119 teams, simply finding enough eligible teams to play may quickly become an issue.

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August 11, 2008 4:44 PM

Afternoon practice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies hit the field this afternoon in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts and with one fewer player after the departure of Curtis Shaw, seen heading up a road with a pair of duffel bags as practice was due to start.

A few more notes:

--- All of the players out this morning were still sidelined, with Jake Locker watching early warm-ups with his leg wrapped and arms crossed (though I'm told he did some three-step drops during the morning workout and looked pretty good pushing off the leg). Also out were Brandon Johnson, Josh Gage and Byron Davenport.

--- Juan Garcia was in pads but not taking part in any work, running steps instead.

--- Also sitting out early drills was RB Brandon Yakaboski, who had said earlier in the day he was still bothered by a hip flexor.

--- While the loss of Shaw leaves the team one receiver shorter than it was a few hours ago, there was no apparent move to add a player to that spot. Chris Polk remained working with the RBs. The RB depth chart appeared to read Polk, Willie Griffin, David Freeman and Johri Fogerson, in that order, with Johnson and Yakaboski out.

All for now.


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August 11, 2008 3:08 PM

Curtis Shaw leaving team for personal reasons

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW has just released a statement saying that receiver Curtis Shaw has left the team.

Here is the release:

Washington sophomore wide receiver Curtis Shaw has left the Husky football team for family reasons, head coach Tyrone Willingham announced today.

Shaw, from Stockton, Calif., played in all 13 games as a true freshman last season, serving as a tailback, wide receiver and kickoff returner for the Huskies.

"The opportunity will be here for him to return once his family issues have been resolved,” said Willingham. “For the time being, that needs to be his focus.”

--- To add futher comment, we have been assured that Shaw is not in legal trouble or anything like that. And that while the door is being left open for him to return at a later date, we are told this is a "long term'' situation and he is not expected back any time soon.

Shaw was at practice this morning and visible in the lunch area today during our regular media session as this is apparently something that just occurred.

Shaw was the second-leading returning WR for the Huskies with five catches last season for 47 yards, with a long of 23. He was expected to be a key contributor for the Huskies this year as they seek to replace five graduating WRs from last year's squad.

Shaw was one of seven true freshmen to play last season, initially coming to UW as a running back before switching to WR at mid-season. He had four receptions for 46 yards against Oregon State late in the season. He was regarded as one of the fastest players on the team, running a 10.54-second 100 meters as a high school senior.

His departure means the only UW receiver with any playing experience is sophomore D'Andre Goodwin, who had six catches for 29 yards last season. The Huskies will otherwise depend on true or redshirt freshmen at the spot, or walk-ons.


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August 11, 2008 2:24 PM

Donatell hoping to rotate D-line more

Posted by Bob Condotta

What's a common, and obvious, question for this Washington camp is who will emerge as starters on the defensive line.

But new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell says it's one that may never really have an answer in the conventional sense.

Donatell says his goal is to have enough linemen ready to go that he can rotate liberally up front --- as many as 10 guys at a time if that many show they deserve to play.

"The first thing is, we don't have strings (meaning a first string or second string) on the defensive line,'' he said. "It's how many guys can we get up to the level of playing the game to play. If 10 guys get to that line, then 10 are playing. They are really not competing against anybody. If we can get a guy to come in and take six snaps for you and go 100 percent, then he's playing. I've always felt if you involve more people, it's more fun. They stay stimulated, and then if a guy gets hurt, he's already played. So if he gets up to that line, then he gets to play.''

That doesn't mean there won't be guys who play more than others. Donatell said it's obvious that DE Daniel Te'o-Neshiem, the lone returner with any real experience, will be on the field a lot this year.

But Donatell said he'd even like to rotate there, giving Te'o-Nesheim more rest than he had last season.

"If I could take 10 snaps from him, it would be a wonderful thing,'' Donatell said. "My goal would be to (rest) him more this year, then he'll be more effective because he plays so hard. The key is to get another guy in there who can play a couple of snaps so he can get over there and get rested and then win a third down. That's my (wish) and my intentions.''

And while he'd like to rotate more everywhere on defense, Donatell said it's especially critical up front, meaning the designation of starters is more meaningful in the back seven, where the first unit will stay on the field longer than up front.

"Nothing takes more enegy than rushing the passer,'' he said. "It's a relentless fight that the guys go through. That's why those guys need a break. When you lose your tank, it's empty. If it's empty, it's empty. So you try to forecast (how long) they last.''


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August 11, 2008 12:53 PM

Afternoon update

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few news and notes from Husky camp today:

--- UW coach Tyrone Willingham said LB Josh Gage missed practice today with a "viral illness'' and will likely be back to practice this afternoon. Matt Houston remains the No. 2 behind Gage at the strongside LB spot (which is actually the position Dan Howell played last year with Mason Foster filling the weakside spot where E.J. Savannah played last season in what is kind of a subtle shift that has been a little overlooked).

--- He said QB Jake Locker remains "day-to-day'' and when asked whether his injury should be considered "a major concern'' said no.

--- Willingham said Brandon Johnson and Byron Davenport remain day-to-day.

--- A few other injuries came to light in talks with coaches and players. UW defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said one reason LB Chris Stevens is sometimes not on the field as much is that he is recovering from an off-season surgery, apparently involving a hernia (Stevens had his upper-leg section wrapped in ice after practice today). Donatell said Stevens is running with the second-team at weakside linebacker. RB Brandon Yakaboski, meanwhile, said he is still bothered by a hip flexor that dates to high school that is limiting his practice time, though he said he doesn't consider it major and shouldn't impact his ability to play this season.

--- The injury news remains good for C Juan Garcia, who took part in the full pads morning practice. Willingham said that right now the odds are good that Garcia "will be where we want him to be'' when the season begins. OL coach Mike Denbrock said he still thinks Garcia has to pass a few more hurdles before penciling him back into the lineup but is also encouraged. Garcia is still not taking part in much scrimmage-type action but is gradually increasing his activity, including doing more side-to-side exercises. Garcia said everything has gone as well as hoped so far. He will sit out this afternoon's practice as he is likely to take part in just one practice on days when UW goes twice.

--- OC Tim Lappano praised the play of guard Casey Bulyca, who has come to camp lighter than he has in years. Bulyca said he weighs about 335 pounds, down from the 345-350 he played at last year and the 370 he played at during spring ball in 2007.

--- Bulyca said his quick tussle this morning with DT Johnie Kirton was just one of those things that happens during two-a-days. "Me and Johnie have been friends since we were in high school,'' he said. "And we're still friends. That's just the way it is.''

--- Lappano said coaches went to the Husky Drill that culminated in the tussle to wake the team up after a day off. He said the running the team right after was not punishment, but just another thing to make sure the team was on full alert. It all apparently worked as Willingham said "there was a lot of good energy going around.''

--- Lappano said this will be a critical week for narrowing the field at RB and WR to those who are likely to play this season. He said that number will likely be four tailbacks and seven WRs.

--- All have praised the play of Ronnie Fouch, who is running the offense with Locker out. Lappano said Fouch is getting about 90 percent of the snaps and that he has to be careful to make sure Fouch doesn't get a sore arm. Fouch admitted he hasn't worked this much since high school but said his arm is fine.

--- Lappano said walk-on Taylor Bean would be the No. 3 QB right now behind Locker and Fouch.

All for now.


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August 11, 2008 11:19 AM

Remember Cory Nicol?

Posted by Bob Condotta

A year ago at this time, Cory Nicol loomed to be a starter at cornerback for the Washington Huskies.

Then the Woodinville High grad suffered a groin injury that resulted in him leaving the team just before the season started.

Nicol, however, has landed on his feet, transferring to Montana State University where he will be immediately eligible. As this story indicates, Nicol attended classes at UW last year and word is that he talked with Husky coaches about returning to the Washington roster but that it didn't work out. So Nicol is now at MSU instead.


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August 11, 2008 9:16 AM

Monday A.M. practice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

No morning links today as I got up early to catch the beginning of Washington's first of two practices today, which officially began at 8:45 a.m., though most players were on the field by 8:30 or so for informal work beforehand.

It loomed to be a pretty intense affair as the team was in full pads, and after the stretching and other warmup drills, began practice with a quick session of the "Husky drill,'' in which a defender and an offensive player line up against each other and go mano-a-mano in what is essentially a test of strength.

The first matchup --- between Casey Bulyca and Johnie Kirton --- ended a little testily. Bulyca appeared to get the better of Kirton, who as it ended, gave Bulyca a little shove from behind as he headed back to his group. Bulyca responded with his own shove and pretty soon players on both sides got into the fray. But it was quickly broken up and order restored, and it's the kind of thing that happens all the time in a football practice, particularly during the dog days of training camp. It's worth noting mostly as an indicator that this was likely to be a pretty iintense workout this morning after the team had Sunday off.

A few other practice notes:

--- Those not practicing were QB Jake Locker, CB Byron Davenport and RB Brandon Johnson, all with previously disclosed injuries, and LB Josh Gage, who must have suffered some sort of injury on Saturday. Hopefully we'll find out more about that later. Gage was on the sidelines wearing his jersey. Any long-term injury to Gage, slated as a starter, would obviously be a big blow with E.J. Savannah continuing to be off the team with no set timetable for a return.

--- Locker threw a few passes but otherwise didn't do anything other than a few dozen pushups while the rest of the team was doing conditioning. Johnson and Davenport rode stationary bikes during that time. Locker didn't ride the bike, surely not wanting to test the leg any yet, but didn't seem to limp as much as previously.

--- Chris Polk is still working with the tailbacks, and appeared to be working with tthe first unit during the warmup period, taking handoffs from Ronnie Fouch, who was in turn taking snaps from Matt Sedillo.

--- Ryan Tolar continues to work at center.

--- Juan Garcia was in full pads, indicating that he made it through Saturday's two-a-day practices just fine. He continues to skip some conditioning drills, such as those that involve a lot of lateral movement. But he also appears to be doing more and more with each day.

--- True freshman Jordan Polk spent a lot of the warmup period practicing receiving punts.

Players and coaches will meet the media around lunchtime, and the Huskies will have another practice this afternoon, so check back later for more.


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August 10, 2008 6:00 PM

A couple more predictions

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies had the day off --- and as a reminder, they will be off the next two Sundays, as well --- allowing me to catch up on a little reading.

One item on the book shelf was the 2008 Pro Football Prospectus, but together by the guys at FootballOutsiders.com.

Though about 98 percent of the book is devoted to a mathematical analysis of the NFL, there are also a few college football articles, including one in which an author uses several mathematical formulas to predict the season.

It's a complicated formula that essentially takes into account returning starters, QB experience, head coach experience, conference strength, and schedule. The author says the formula has proven to have a 64 percent accuracy rate. UW had better hope to be in that other 36 percent this year as the author predicts that UW will go 3-6 in Pac-10 play and 3-9 overall, the fewest wins of any Pac-10 team.

Their projected standings are as follows:

1, USC, 8-1, 10-2
2, Oregon, 6-3, 9-3
3, Cal 6-3, 8-4
4, ASU 5-4, 7-4
5, Oregon State 4-5, 6-6
UCLA 4-5, 5-7
Arizona 4-5, 6-6
8, UW 3-6, 3-9
WSU 3-6 5-7
10, Stanford 2-7, 4-8

Like every other prediction out there, these could easily turn out to be wrong, given injuries, momentum, and a host of other factors that will inevitably influence the season.

One of the most interesting things to me about it was that a mathematical formula basically came up with the same projections as most of the other pre-season magazines, as well as the Pac-10 media poll.

Also out this week is Sports Illustrated's annual season preview. It's all available on-line, as well, including the ranking of every team in the nation, which is again dire for UW. SI has the Huskies at No. 70 overall ahead of only Stanford and WsU.

SI picks the Huskies to go 3-6 in Pac-10 play and 4-8 overall, beating Notre Dame in non-conference play (as the mag calls for BYU and Oklahoma to each lose only one game, each in conference play).

SI's Pac-10 preview doesn't say much about the Huskies other than listing Jake Locker as one of five Players to Watch.

UW NOT ALONE ON QB INJURY WATCH --- As some of you have pointed out, UW is hardly alone in worrying about the health of its QB. UCLA learned today that Ben Olson will be out roughly eight weeks after breaking his foot in a non-contact drill Saturday.

ESPN's Ted Miller reviews the Pac-10 QB news of the weekend here.

All for now.

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August 10, 2008 8:49 AM

New AD coming soon?

Posted by Bob Condotta

The second item in our UW story for today's paper was a note on Scott Woodward saying he thinks a permanent athletic director could be named by the end of the month --- or before the start of the football season.

And Woodward, who has been the acting AD since Jan. 31, didn't rule out that it could still be him, saying that while he's not a candidate at the moment, that doesn't mean he's saying that if a new AD is hired soon that it won't be him.

He cautioned that when he said he "guesses'' a new AD will be named soon that he wasn't speaking for president Mark Emmert or the search committee. But it was as definitive as anyone up there has been in a while about when a new AD could be named.

When asked if there is a sense of urgency to get a hire done before the football season, Woodward said "I think there is. Personally, it's time for me to do one job full-time.''

Woodward is also the school's vice president for external relations and said that with the start of a new school year on the horizon, he needs to concentrate his efforts in one place.

He also said that having an AD in place by the start of the football season is also important, given the obvious questions hanging over that program.

"I think that's a big factor,'' he said.

In the story, he also defended the length of the search, saying the fact that the UW is a public school that must adhere to certain hiring guidelines makes such hires more complicated.

"I just think the president is being very methodical and very cautious in how he goes about this process,'' he said.

Interestingly, a couple of sources in the AD community have told the Times recently that the conventional wisdom out there is that UW is doing very little in terms of talking to people on the outside about the job.

The job remains listed on the web site of Parker Executive Search, the firm to which UW paid $75,000 to help in the process.

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August 9, 2008 5:18 PM

Husky nightcap, day six

Posted by Bob Condotta

A wrapup of the day that was:

WHAT HAPPENED --- The Huskies held two practices, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon --- going in full pads in the morning --- sandwiching the team’s annual Picture Day.

THE BIG STORY --- As detailed in the two posts below, it was eventually revealed today by Jake Locker's father, Scott, that the UW quarterback has a slght strain, or tear, of his left hamstring. His comments came after UW coach Tyrone Willingham met with the media and said he had up update because he hadn't seen the MRI yet because he "it's not a big concern to me.'' Willingham seemed to be implying it wasn't a big concern because he's not that worried about it, indicating again that he doesn't expect Locker to be out long. Whatever the case, Scott Locker's comments lended some clarity to the situation that indeed seems to indicate Jake Locker will be ready to go come Aug. 30.

THE BIG STORY, NO. 2 --- Also learned today is that RB Brandon Johnson is still struggling to get past his off-season knee surgery to fix PCL and meniscus injuries. Willingham had said earlier that Johnson was still not 100 percent, and today said there are some "complications'' which today forced Johnson to sit out. It's starting to sound like Johnson could need more time than originally thought to round back into shape, which will further muddy the waters at tailback --- he was the projected starter heading into camp and the only Husky who has ever carried the ball in a game. However, with Chris Polk playing there for the time being, and maybe permanently, it's not as if UW lacks options at that spot with six tailbacks besides Johnson in camp.

SIGN HERE, PLEASE --- Picture Day meant the annual lengthy line greeting Locker. A UW official said there were more than 300 people waiting for autographs and pictures of Locker when the event began, and the line was cut off shortly after due to a shortage of time to get everyone through. Willingham had the second-longest line. Polk appeared to have the next-longest line of any player. UW officials estimated there were at least 2,000 people at the event.

WHAT'S NEXT --- The Huskies will take Sunday off before returning with two practices on Monday.

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August 9, 2008 1:31 PM

Locker's father: "He'll be on the field at Oregon''

Posted by Bob Condotta

While UW coach Tyrone Willingham said he didn't know the results of Jake Locker's MRI, Locker's father Scott Locker told reporters today that they revealed "a minor strain (of the hamstring) on the outside of his left leg.''

But Scott Locker said his son could be back practicing soon and that he doesn't expect it to impact his status for the Oregon game Aug. 30.

"I have little doubt he'll be on the field at Oregon,'' Scott Locker said with a smile.

Scott Locker said the location of the injury added to the optimism that Jake Locker won't be out long.

"It wasn't to the backside, it was more to the side,'' he said. "And they said that would be something that would be a quicker heal for him. They said if it was going to have to happen, that would be one of the better places for it.''

Scott Locker told KJR-AM in a separate interview Saturday that Jake had suffered "a slight tear.'' He later told a few reporters that the trainer told him the definitions are interchangeable in the instance of this injury.

Scott Locker said trainers were not yet able to give an estimate for when Jake will be able to return to practice, saying "it's a wait and see type of deal.''

"They can't really give a time frame because it dependns on how they heal,'' Scott Locker said. "But he said he didn't think it would be too long and he would be back to ready to go.''

Jake Locker won't practice today and Scott Locker said it could still be a few days before he is able to return.

"It will be at least a few days that they will keep him out and keep watching it,'' Scott Locker said

Jake Locker has appeared to move slowly when seen walking the last few days.

But Scott Locker says that is in part due to how the injury is being treated.

"He says it's not all that painful,'' Scott Locker said. "But he's got it wrapped so tight because they want to keep it immobilized.''


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August 9, 2008 12:21 PM

No official word on Locker

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham had no update to pass along today on QB Jake Locker because he said he hadn't seen the results of the MRI yet.

Willingham said the results are in, he just hadn't seen them yete.

"It's not a big concern for me,'' he said, adding that he didn't think it a big deal because he's confident Locker will return to action fairly quickly.

"He'll be well when he's well,'' Willingham said. "He'll be ready to go.''

Pressed on that, Willingham said: "We said it'd be day by day. He'll be ready pretty soon and away we go.''

And pressed further, Willingham said "Our medical staff knows that (the results of the MRI). I haven't asked them about that.''

Willingham was slightly more forthcoming about other injuries, saying that RB Brandon Johnson is still struggling to recover from off-season knee surgery and CB Byron Davenport is ailing with an ankle injury suffered Friday.

"Brandon was a little slower today than we thought but he'll be okay,'' Willingham said. "It's just some complications with it.''

In better injury news, Willingham said center Juan Garcia said has been able to gradually increase his work in practice without suffering any re-injury of any kind.

"None that he's spoken of,'' Willingham said, adding that Garcis is "just slowly'' progressing back into action.

On other matters:

--- Willingham said the team is "starting to get into the rhythm of camp. Yesterday picked it up, today had wonderful energy and enthusiasm so they are starting to get into a rhythm.''

--- Asked about the receivers, Willingham said "I've been pleased. There's not a disappointment in the group.''

--- Willingham praised the play of Ronnie Fouch and said he is getting "the lion's share'' of the reps that Locker would normally have gotten.

--- Reporters saw WR D'Andre Goodwin walk by with ice wrapped around his shoulder. Willingham didn't mention anything about that during his session.


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August 9, 2008 11:23 AM

Saturday morning notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

I actually was unable to attend practice this morning but I am here for Tyrone Willingham's press briefing, when we may get an update on Jake Locker.

But a few notes to pass along:

--- Am told that RB Brandon Johnson and CB Byron Davenport were each not practicing this morning. We'll have to find out exactly what the situation is there. Should add that Locker was also not practicing, as was to be expected regardless of what the MRI may have shown.

--- Jordan Murchison has also landed at Central Washington University, along with J.R. Hasty. Here's CWU's complete roster.

--- Former Husky Louis Rankin had a good night for the Raiders last night against the 49ers, ripping off a 72-yard run and finishing with 91 overall. Here are the complete stats showing that Greyson Gunheim made a tackle, and Marques Tuiasosopo also had a 31-yard run.

--- Roy Lewis made four tackles and Jordan Reffett two for the Steelers last night.

More later.

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August 8, 2008 5:07 PM

Husky nightcap, day five

Posted by Bob Condotta

A recap of the day that was on Montlake:

THE BIG STORY --- In case you haven't heard, it was revealed today that Jake Locker suffered a strained left hamstring in practice on Thursday. Here's our latest report with the details.

While there is still some vagueness to this, especially with the MRI results still not in, all indications are that this is probably a fairly minor deal. One source said there is growing relief due in part because the injury is apparently one in which there is a relatively small risk of re-injury (not being a doctor and all, I can't really explain it better than that, but that's what I was told). So the thought is apparently that once it heals, Locker will be good to go instead of it potentially turning into a lingering thing.

As the story indicates, UW coach Tyrone Willingham didn't seem to think Locker will be out long. The biggest issue of this may mostly be whether Locker misses enough practices that it impacts the preparation for Oregon, Obviously with a lot of young skill players, the more practice the better. As Willingham said, you wouldn't practice at all if practice didn't matter, so obviously it's not optimum missing any this time of year. But if he's back in a few days, this may be much ado about nothing.

We will hopefully have a more definitive picture tomorrow as Willingham may announce the results of the MRI when he meets the press at 11:15 a.m.

You can watch the press conference yourself here.

PRACTICE REPORT --- With the news about the Nike deal breaking, I didn't get to the practice report, so I'll just put it here.

The team practice in split squads again today, going in full pads.

The media got to see the first 25 minutes of the practice featuring what was mostly the deep reserves with a few starters sprinkled in, apparently to help teach the young players. Josh Gage was with the linebackers, for instance, and Brandon Johnson the running backs.

After warmups, the practice featured about 10 minutes of a live two-minute drill.

Luther Leonard quarterbacked one team and walk-on Justin Gunn the other.

Leonard's first drive ended on the second play in an interception by Tripper Johnson on a pass that fluttered when Leonard's arm appeared to be hit as he threw the ball. For Johnson, it likely brought back his baseball days as he pretty much just settled under a pop fly and caught it. The first play was a short completion to Cody Bruns.

Gunn QB'd the second drive and hit Chancellor Young with two quick completions on short and intermediate routes, though coaches got on Young for not getting out of bounds and stopping the clock. Gunn then hit RB Willie Griffin on a short pass over the middle. With the clock running out, Gunn then threw incomplete deep to walk-on WR Vicente Cordova to end the drive.

Leonard came back and hit Jermaine Kearse for about 20 yards or so on the first play of the next drive. Gunn was then sacked by Trenton Tuiasosopo, and then on the next play by Nick Wood. His next pass was batted down at the line, indicating that Leonard may need to work on raising his release point a bit (it was either Wood or Kalani Aldrich who got the deflection). The drive then ended with a deep overthrow of an open Bruns down the sideline.

The drill ended there, as did the media's time to watch practice.

SEEN AND HEARD --- Among the visitors at practice today was former Husky head coach Jim Lambright.

QUOTABLE --- "Warren Sapp,'' Johnie Kirton when giving his name while checking in for lunch.

UP NEXT --- UW will hold two practices today, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, In between the team will hold its annual Picture Day from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Details on that are here.


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August 8, 2008 3:54 PM

More on Nike deal

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW acting athletic director Scott Woodward said today that while he knows some Husky fans aren't thrilled with the prospect of the school doing business with a company widely associated with one of the team's greatest rivals, it's ultimately the best move for the school to renew its association with NIKE.

"The last I saw, the fans and citizens of Oregon fly on Boeing planes, they shop at Costco, and they buy Windows and Microsoft products,'' Woodward said, referring to three iconic Seattle-area companies.

Woodward said the deal offered by NIKE was simply too good to pass up as UW agreed to a new footwear, apparel and equipment contract with the company worth $39 million over 10 years. UW's previous five-year deal with NIKE was worth roughly $1.3 million a year.

UW's deal with NIKE was due to run out next July 1. UW recently sent out requests for proposals for new contracts and Woodward said NIKE exercised its right of first refusal. The two sides then came to an agreement for a new contract that Woodward said is a big step in the right direction for the school.

"It puts us up with the elite BCS schools and we are very happy to be there because I think that's our rightful place,'' he said. "It's not the top of the top in the elite, but obviously three times better (than the previous deal) is significant.''

Woodward said UW will still have "sole discretion'' for designing its uniforms, though he said there are no current discussions about doing anything with the football helmets and uniforms. He said there has been a gradual phasing-out of the Dawg logo and that that will likely continue, with the block W taking over as the school's main mark.

Woodward said UW coaches were in favor of the deal.

Nine of the 10 Pac-10 schools have deals with NIKE. The lone exception is UCLA which is with Adidas.

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August 8, 2008 3:06 PM

Huskies re-up with Nike

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies have just announced a new contract with NIKE for the company to be the team's exclusive footward, apparel and equipment provider.

The new deal is worth approximately $39 million over 10 years and becomes effective July 1, 2009. That is worth three times more than the previous deal UW had with NIKE.

Here's the official release from GoHuskies.com.

UW acting AD Scott Woodward is scheduled to address the media shortly.

There had been rumors UW was considering other compaines with the contract with Nike due to run out next year but the Huskies ultimately decided to stick with NIKE. UW has had contracts with the company since 1997.

The new deal runs through June 30, 2019.

As detailed in this post last month, UW received approximately $1.3 million a year in cash and product under its old agreement. It now will get a guaranteed $3.5 million a year with incentives pushing it to $3.9 million per year.

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August 8, 2008 1:43 PM

Locker story updated

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's our updated story on the Jake Locker injury.

I'll let you read that for the details.

A quick take is that this still seems a little hard-to-read. The MRI isn't in yet, so there isn't any conclusive word on severity of the injury. And hamstrings are notoriously tricky anyway. They are not just a play-through-pain kind of thing.

A Locker injury of any kind is undoubtedly the worst fear of this program right now, so despite the efforts of all involved here today, I don't know how this can really be spun as a good thing in anyway. There may be no player more valuable to his team in all of college football.

On the other hand, UW coach Tyrone Willingham said he thought Locker would be able to play against Oregon, so the bigger question may be how much will he be impacted by missing practice, especially with trying to get timing down with all of those young receivers.

So for now, we reallly just have to wait-and-see.

As for a few other notes:

--- Willingham said OG Scott Shugert missed the last two days with a stomach illness. Shugert was back in the lunch room today.

--- CB Anthony Gobern is in red and while Willingham didn't specify the nature of the injury, Gobern was wearing tape on his knee.

--- UW is scheduled to holds its first full pads practice this afternoon.

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August 8, 2008 11:53 AM

Locker update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington quarterback Jake Locker suffered what UW coach Tyrone Willingham called today a left hamstring strain during practice on Thursday.

Locker had an MRI this morning but the results are not back yet.

Willingham said he could not guess how long Locker could be out until the results of the MRI are back, calling his status ''day-to-day'' at the moment.

"The degree we don’t know,'' he said. “We’ll be monitoring it as we go. Our thought process it to be very cautious and move forward day-to-day.’’

A visibly downcast Locker said he was injured while turning upfield to run a read option play and was not touched.

"I just kept a read zone and was running around the outside and went to turn up and just couldn't do what I normally do,'' he said. “It’s just a little bit sore. Nothing too bad.’’

Locker said he didn’t go down on the play, just took “a little hop and a skip.’’

Without Locker, redshirt freshman Ronnie Fouch will take over as the No. 1 QB in practice. The only other scholarship QB is true freshman Luther Leonard. Walk-on Taylor Bean, a redshirt freshman, is also battling for the No. 3 position.

No other QB on the roster has taken a snap in a game besides Locker, who last year rushed for 986 yards and threw for 2,062 and 14 touchdowns.

The Huskies open the season on Aug. 30 at Oregon, and it’s a season that looms as make-or-break for Willingham, who is 11-25 in three seasons at UW.

That game starts a brutal stretch for the Huskies, who then host BYU and Oklahoma.

Locker walked into an interview room with a wrap on his left hamstring and limping a little bit.

Willingham called Locker “a fast healer’’ in saying why he thinks Locker will be able to play against Oregon.
Locker said he would not guess at his prognosis.

“I’ll just leave it up to the trainers,’’ he said. “We all trust those guys. They will do what’s best for me to get back as fast as possible without risking injury again.’’


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August 8, 2008 10:37 AM

Locker injury?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Well even Softy (from KJR-AM is talking about the rumor making the rounds that Jake Locker may have suffered some sort of hamstring injury in practice yesterday.

So just making a quick post here that we won't know anything official until Tyrone Willingham meets with the media, which is expected to happen at noon today, though that can sometimes be a moving target. But keep tuning in and we'll update as we get info.

UPDATE --- Softy is reporting an MRI taken after practice showed no major damage and he might be out 3-5 days or so.

UPDATE 12:15 p.m. --- Just a quick note to pass along that we are still waiting for word from both Locker and Willingham.

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August 8, 2008 9:02 AM

Friday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Olympic edition. ...

--- For my main story today, I wrote about the suddenly crowded tailback position. UW hasn't had this many tailbacks, who all have some pretty good credentials, in years, and it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

--- Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard reports that Oregon is doing the split-squad practice thing as well. It's something I'd never seen at UW until Tyrone Willingham got here and now I notice lots of teams doing it --- I read something about WSU doing it the other day, as well. But I think it's also a reaction to the inability to go two-a-days on consecutive days anymore, a rule put in place a few years ago.

--- Marques Tuiasosopo will be the third QB in the game for the Raiders tonight against the 49ers.

--- Here's an update on Louis Rankin from the Stockton Record.

--- Here's an interview with Roy Lewis from SteelCityInsider revealing that he is also playing some safety for Pittsburgh. (Lewis' interview is the third one down).

--- Dane Looker is again fighting for his job with the Rams. That he's still in the NFL at age 32 is really something.

--- Ted Miller does his usual stellar job covering all the Pac-10 bases.

All for now.

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August 7, 2008 10:32 PM

Husky nightcap, day four

Posted by Bob Condotta

Sorry for the lateness of the post. Had one last summer swim event to attend.

Anyway, on to the day that was:

WHAT HAPPENED --- UW held one full-squad practice in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts at Husky Stadium.

THE BIG STORY --- The biggest news today was that the academic picture for the incoming freshmen appears to be clearing up. Vince Taylor is in, and now playing receiver, while the road appeared to open for DT Senio Kelemete to join the team sometime next week (read the details here).

We also learned that DT Craig Noble is waiting another week or so for results of the California High School Exit Exam. If he passes it, he could enroll be in by mid-to-late-August, as well. Conventional wisdom is that RB Demitrius Bronson probably won't make it in this year while no one seems to know exactly what will happen with E.J. Savannah, who is on-campus daily, appearing to work on his issues.

WELCOME TO THE BIG TIME --- The last two days have seen the first hitting of any kind this season for the Huskies. While just in helmets and shoulder pads, the team can hit above the waist, but not wrap up. This has led to a few rude awakenings for some of the newcomers.

Freshman RB David Freeman said his came Wednesday when he reached to grab a pass on a flare route and was leveled by sophomore cornerback Matt Mosley.

"It was a little bit of a welcome to college football,'' Freeman said with a smile. "it was not like a high school hit. But you get up and do it all over.''

Freeman said he caught the pass, which he thinks impressed some of the vets.

"They were like 'way to get up' because I didn't stay down,'' he said. "I just got right back up and went to the huddle.''

WATCHING FAVRE FROM AFAR --- Husky defensive coordinator Ed Donatell has a unique perspective on the Brett Favre-to-New York move, having worked as an assistant with the Packers for four years and then with the Jets last season.

"It's kind of fresh because I've been on a team with him and then the Jets last year so I can kind of visualize that I think it will fit together pretty nicely,'' Donatell said. "I just know when he says he wants to play he's going to be very effective. They have a nice group of receivers there and they will welcome him with open arms and he'll mix in quickly.''

Donatell said he knew Favre might miss the game.

"He was one of the most natural people at what he does that I've seen,'' he said. "He always loved the locker room. The players. I just think when he really thought about it, he decided he wanted to keep playing.''

ROSTER REPORT --- Redshirt reshman OL Scott Shugert was not at practice today but my understanding is that he will likely be back tomorrow. CB Anthony Gobern was in red for an undisclosed injury.

QUOTABLE --- "He's a great guy. I'm a great guy. So we get along,'' UW running back Johri Fogerson on his relationship with RB coach Steve Gervais in light of the fact that it was Gervais' Skyline team that beat Fogerson's O'Dea team for the state title last year.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Let's just say that all 4 scholarship players are available to come back next week, will they ask a couple of walk ons to come back after the roster can expand?

A: My understanding is that they could do just that. However, as I detailed above, I think the general thought is that Bronson won't make it in and that if Savannah makes it in, it may not be until after that time. Willingham seemed pretty clear today that he didn't think that would be an issue. Of course, there could always be some attrition that would result in opening up another scholarship, as well.

ON TAP --- Huskies are scheduled for their first full pads workout Friday afternoon, again working in split squads.


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August 7, 2008 4:01 PM

Taylor to receiver, more practice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Our 25 minutes has elasped for the day, and the most noteworthy thing to come from practice was the sight of Vince Taylor playing receiver.

Taylor, taking part in his first practice after clearing up some academic issues, is listed as a safety in the UW media guide. As this wasn't noticed until after UW coach Tyrone Willingham spoke today, we'll have to wait until tomorrow to get the thought process on that.

Taylor was rated the No. 65 WR in the nation last yeara by Rivals.com.

Other notes from practice:

--- UW was again in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.

--- New defensive coordinator Ed Donatell continues to take a real hands-on approach with the cornerbacks, working specifically with that group during early warmups, with J.D. Williams working with the safeties.

--- Freshman cornerback Anthony Gobern was in red, the only player wearing red today, with an undisclosed injury. It didn't look serious, however, as he was running around taking part in drills.

--- Juan Garcia was among the OL groups hitting the blocking sled in what appeared to be some of his most serious work so far. He didn't appear to struggle in any way.

--- Chris Polk was still with the running backs, and as coaches said before practice, he will remain there for a week or so while coaches sort out where he could best help the team.

--- Among the visitors were Matt Elisara, father of Cameron Elisara; Jermaine Kearse's mom and his brother, Jamaal, who is a junior WR at Lakes and figures to be a major recruit for the Class of 2010; and Lakes High coach Dave Miller, who was warmly greeted by Willingham and WR coach Charlie Baggett.

--- And just to settle the issue, the QB wearing a yellow No. 7 jersey is walk-on Taylor Bean. No one's sure why he has switched numbers but it's not Cody Bruns wearing 7 and playing QB in any pictures you might have seen.

All for now.


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August 7, 2008 3:05 PM

Thursday Willingham notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham led off his meeting with the media today saying that Wednesday "was another good work day for us.'' It was particularly good, he said, because the team was able to split into two groups, getting a lot of work for younger players.

He also announced the addition of freshman DB Vince Taylor to the roster, which now gives the Huskies 103. Teams can have no more than 105.

Since UW has four scholarship players still attempting to get eligible, Willingham was asked if he was worried about going over that number. He said "we can't go over 105, it's just that simple'' and then added that "I anticipated that we will not go over 105.''

He said he left room for the currently ineligible players to make their way onto the roster if they get there. Sounds as if Willingham is anticipating that one or two of the currently ineligible players --- Craig Noble, E.J.Savannah, Senio Kelemete and Demitrius Bronson --- won't make it back (conventional wisdom around the program is that Bronson is pretty iffy to make it this year). The team can expand to 115 players after the first week of the season.

Willingham also touched on a few other items:

--- RB Brandon Johnson is still not 100 percent but is "getting a lot of good work.''

--- He said it's "tough right now'' to really assess any of the newcomers at running back because they aren't getting a ton of snaps at the moment.

--- He said Ryan Perkins appears to be doing fine with his chronically injured leg, but that the team will remain cautious in how it uses him.

--- He said the shift to bigger cornerbacks wasn't really a change in philosophy. Rather, UW finally had the players to make it work to have bigger players at cornerback.

--- Said Byron Davenport appears to be healthier than a year ago and also is more comfortable in his second year in the program.

--- He talked a little about the visit to Florida last spring and said that it's a common practice to exchange information. He said one thing UW looked at was how Florida has used two quarterbacks through the years. He said making personal visits can elicit more info than just looking at film. He also said again that the defensive staff visited Missouri to look at things the Tigers do on that side of the ball.

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August 7, 2008 2:08 PM

Locker-Tebow comparison "scary''

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano gave an early-camp update to reporters today, but what might have been most interesting was his discussion of the trip some coaches took last spring to Florida to look at the spread offense of the Gators.

Lappano said the coaches got to watch a couple of practices and most of the scrimmages. While Lappano said UW coaches wanted to study Florida's spread offense, he said another task was to look at Florida's personnel to see how it compared with Washington's.

That included studying Florida QB Tim Tebow, the reigning Heisman Trophy holder and a player often compared to UW's Jake Locker.

Lappano said the comparisons are accurate.

"I stood right behind him for two days,'' Lappano said. "I watched him throw every ball, every hand off, the whole thing. They are a lot alike. He's a great kid, class kid, polite, good-looking, sharp kid. A really good kid. They are a lot a like. It's scary almost how much (alike).''

Here are a few other notes from Lappano:

--- He said he's been impressed by the incoming freshmen. "I like the speed at receiver, the speed at running back. Jordan Polk can run. He can fly. Johri Fogerson can run. He had a good day yesterday. Cody Bruns can run. He had the second-fastest shuttle time. Everything we thought those young guys were (they are). David Freeman is explosive. He did some nice things yesterday. So all those kids can run, which is nice. ... And the big guy, Kavario (Middleton) is showing up. He's really athletic. He doesn't have it all figured out yet at the line of scrimmage and the run game and all, but he's a really athletic kid who has great hands, good ball skills and good body control. He's really talented.'''

--- UW suddenly has almost a glut at running back with seven players at tailback due to the fact that Chris Polk is currently playing there. "We're going to have to figure it out in the next couple of weeks where to plug them all in at,'' Lappano said.

--- Lappano said Jake Locker has looked good throwing the ball. "He was great the first day, okay the second day, and great yesterday. He just missed a couple of throws the second day, but he's playing pretty good right now. He hasn't had a bad day yet, and he's had two really good days.''

--- Backup Ronnie Fouch is also playing well, he said. "He's throwing accurately and doing a pretty good job,'' he said.


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August 7, 2008 11:52 AM

Noble shaken, but not daunted

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW freshman defensive lineman Craig Noble is stil hopeful of arriving at Husky camp sometime in the next few weeks, said his high school coach Matt Kerstetter.

Noble was unable to come to camp this week as initially planned because he hasn't yet passed the California High School Exit Exam, a requirement to receive a dipolma in the state.

Kerstetter, the coach at Taft High, said Noble took the test on July 29 --- the same day as the 5.4 earthquake that rocked Southern California.

"He was taking the test at the time and he had to walk out of the room,'' Kerstetter said. "He had a little extra pressure on him that day.''

But Kerstetter said Noble feels confident he passed and when he hears the results "he'll be on the next plane out of town.'' Kerstetter said Noble has fulfilled all other requirements. He had taken the Exit Exam one other time but didn't get the score he needed, Kerstetter said.

Kerstetter said Noble has been told it will take about three weeks to get the results of the test. That means it could take until around Aug. 19 or so. If Noble doesn't pass the test, he will need to take it again, and that could result in having to wait until January to enroll.

It's an unanticipated delay for a player the Huskies hoped could help out immediately this season.

But DL coach Randy Hart said Wednesday he still plans on having any of the freshmen who arrive this year play, noting the season runs until Dec. 6. "I'm not sure we can afford to redshirt any of them,'' Hart said.

This latest news begins to give more clarity to the picture surrounding UW's ineligible players. Vince Taylor is now officially on the roster, and Senio Kelemete could be in next week, according to his coach at Evergreen High, Shaun Tarantola. Dominique Blackman has said he won't enroll until January, and it is thought that RB Demitrius Bronson is retaking some classes on-line and may also have to delay his enrollment.

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August 7, 2008 10:08 AM

Kelemete could be in soon

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW freshmen defensive linemen Senio Kelemete is finishing up an on-line course needed to fulfill a final core class credit and could be officially joining the Huskies in a week or so, according to Shaun Tarantola, Kelemete's coach at Evergreen High School.

"It wouldn't surprise me if he's back by Monday or the middle of next week,'' Tarantola said. "He should be done (with the class) by Saturday.''

Kelemete took part in UW's summer bridge program as he was initially given academic clearance.

But Tarantola said there was a mixup at the last minute concerning a class Kelemete took last summer at a local community college. Tarantola said Kelemete took a class hoping to fulfill a needed core class credit. But he said that while the class had a different name, it was judged to be the same as another class Kelemete had already taken, so he was officially declared to be .25 credits short of the core class requirement of 16 (here's some background on that here).

"Everybody said he was good core credit wise the whole time and then all of a sudden once he completed the bridge program they said (the class at the CC last year) was the same class,'' Tarantola said. "It was a weird deal. It was a bad situation for him. But it's getting taken care of.''

Tarantola said Kelemete is working six hours a day to get the class completed on-line. The case will still have to be reviewed by UW admissions once Kelemete completes the class, but Tarantola said it is his understanding that shouldn't be a real issue.

While Kelemete is listed by the UW at 260 pounds, Tarantola said he weighs 295 now and will play tackle for the Huskies once he arrives.

"He was pretty upset about it,'' Tarantola said of the news of the core credit mixup. "But he's breezing through it now. He's getting it done.''

Another freshman, defensive back Vince Taylor, is joining the team today.

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August 7, 2008 10:05 AM

Hasty likely to begin at CWU today

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just a quick note that Central Washington begins practice today and J.R. Hasty is on the tentative depth chart there and is expected to participate when the Wildcats hit the field this afternoon.

There could be an official announcement of Hasty's joining the Wildcats later today.

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August 7, 2008 8:47 AM

Thursday morning links

Posted by Bob Condotta

But not quite as hot today. ...

--- For our main story today, I took a look at the challenge facing defensive line coach Randy Hart as he attempts to rebuild a defensive line returning only one player with any significant experience --- DE Daniel Te'o-Neshiem.

Among the things Hart said that didn't make the story:

He's been impressed with what he's seen of Alameda Ta'amu and Everrette Thompson. "They are what we thought they were,'' he said. "I'm excited for them, but we are not going to put pressure on them. But they are good people and they like to work and they appear very athletic. It's exciting to see those guys.''

Jovon O'Connor, listed at tackle during the spring, has slimmed down a little and is now playing end. Hart said he weighs in ithe 275-pound range.

Hart said he figures there will be more rotating of players this year than in recent seasons. "People are going to be saying at times 'who's that guy? Where'd he come from?' My idea is not to hold to a single line. You can't kill anybody.''

On to more links:

--- GoHuskies.com had this review of the day, as well as a Q-and-A with tight end Michael Gottlieb.

--- Here's a Bellingham Herald story on Jake Locker and his stated goal of completing 65 percent of his passes.

--- Here's a little feature on Brandon Johnson from the Los Angeles Wave.

--- The Seahawks signed former Husky Derrick Johnson on Wednesday, though unfortunately he was then injured in his first practice

--- Roy Lewis has apparently worked himself up to being a third team cornerback for the Steelers.


--- Here's Ted Miller's daily look around the Pac-10.

--- The AP has this preview of the Pac-10.

--- Former Oregon Duck Jordan Carey, the Seattle Times 4A Player of the Year in 2003 when he was at Capital High School, is now playing at Western Washington.

All for now.


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August 6, 2008 6:55 PM

Husky nightcap, day three

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's the latest installment of what will be our nightly wrapup of the day that was at Husky football camp:

WHAT HAPPENED --- The Huskies held the first of their split squad practices, with half the team beginning practice at about 2:30 p.m., the other half joining them at about 4 or so for a half-hour of work together (which usually includes special teams) and then the second half continuing by itself for another 90 minutes or so. This is one of four split-squad practices on the schedule this year.

THE BIG STORY --- Nothing new in terms of injuries or personnel moves came to light today. Of most potential impact, RB Brandon Johnson revealed that he had surgery in early May to correct the knee injury suffered during spring ball that resulted in a torn PCL and meniscus. He said the PCL injury dated to high school but that he never had it repaired. Johnson said the cold spring in Seattle prevented the injury from healing as quickly as he'd hoped and that he isn't 100 percent yet. "It's still bothering me a little bit, but it's improving,'' he said. If Johnson remains less than 100 percent for long, however, it could open the door for some other players to emerge as the starting tailback at what is a wide-open position.

THE BIG STORY, NO. 2 --- A couple of people have sent to me the post by former UW kicker John Anderson on Dawgman.com. It's titled "Why Ty is the wrong man'' which should tell you all you need to know about where it goes from there. It's on Dawgman's premium board so you can only read it with a subscription. But in a nutshell, Anderson says Willingham doesn't have a consistent track record of success to make one believe he will turn the program around, has alienated boosters and media and subsequently isn't drawing the money to the program that would come in otherwise, and has made football less fun for his players. I seriously debated whether to even mention this. Ultimately, I felt it worth it because: A, it's already out there and; B, it illustrates pretty clearly the unrest there is right now in Husky nation where a former player of Anderson's stature --- think what you want of a field goal kicker, but he has scored more points (363) than all but one other player in the history of the program (Jeff Jaeger) --- was willing to go at least semi-public (and surely knowing it would be picked up on from there to get a wider airing) with a scathing critique of the current coach. As we all know, the only thing that will quiet the debate is wins --- the question remains, how many is needed to do that.

INJURY REPORT: Other than the Johnson stuff detailed above, incoming DL Alameda Ta'amu said he suffered a hairline fracture of the fourth metatarsal last season at Rainier Beach and is still in the mode where he at least needs to be careful to make sure it doesn't act up too much. Ta'amu could be called on to play this season on a young D-line, with position coach Randy Hart telling me that all four of the freshmen --- including those who have yet to show up --- could be called upon before the season ends. "I'm not ruling anybody out,'' he said. I'll have more of my conversation with Hart in the paper and on-line tomorrow.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY: In what I hope to make a running feature of this section, I'll answer a couple of the more pertinent questions raised on the comments section during the day. Here are a couple from today:

Q: Is Chris Polk being considered for special teams, running back punts or kickoffs?

A: Definitely. He handled many kickoffs during the spring and seems a natural for that spot.

Q: Is Hawaii making a return trip to Seattle for the game UW played there last year?

A: Yes. My understanding is Hawaii will come here in 2011, though future schedules are always subject to change.

Q: What can you tell me about the status of the incoming freshmen who aren't here yet, particularly Craig Noble?

A: My understanding is that Noble needed to pass the California High School Exit Exam, kind of like the WASL in this state. He's reportedly still waiting on results. If he passes, he's said to be good to go otherwise. Dominique Blackman has already said he won't be able to enroll until January. The other three -- Demitrius Bronson, Vince Taylor and Senio Kelemete --- could theoretically be in at any time, given what we know. Bronson is said to be finishing up retaking a few classes while Taylor and Kelemete are thought to have issues with the NCAA Clearinghouse. Taylor and Kelemete were both in UW's summer bridge program, indicating that they had passed a certain level of muster with the school. One person told me that some of the procedures for processing transcripts at Evergreen (Kelemete's school) had changed recently and that that might be the hold up. UPDATE --- There are rumors tonight that Taylor may be in tomorrow (Thursday).

WHAT'S NEXT: UW is scheduled to hold one practice tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. The players will again be in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.

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