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

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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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