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

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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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