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Husky Football Blog

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

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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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