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

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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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