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Husky Football Blog

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

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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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August 6, 2008 3:23 PM

Practice report, day three

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies hit the field at about 2:30 p.m. today in what is a blistering heat by Seattle standards.

Well, about half of them, anyway.

This was the first of UW's split squad practices for fall camp, where the team essentially breaks into two groups, which coach Tyrone Willingham thinks allows for better work --- the thinking being that each group cam get more done working in smaller units. It usually works that the two groups meet together for about for about 30 minutes connecting the two sessions, usually to work on special teams.

The Huskies appear to have only four of those this year, however, two this week, down a little from previous years when they would usually do it every other day or so.

We got to watch the first 25 minutes of the first practice, which appeared to feature the starters and deep reserves.

The linebackers, for instance, featured the three starters --- Josh Gage, Donald Butler and Mason Foster --- as well as Chris Stevens and walk-ons Brandon Huppert, Riley Gervais and T.J. Poe.

The second practice will apparently feature the backups as well as most of the true freshmen though two true frosh I noticed were DLs Alameda Ta'amu and Everrette Thompson.

The team wore helmets, shoulder pads and shorts, indicating it would do some of its first hitting of the season.

Of note from practice:

--- Chris Polk was again working with the tailbacks with one knowledgable person telling me he expects Polk to stay there. "He's the best running back they have,'' the person said, saying Polk was the most electrifying RB UW has had since Napoleon Kaufman.

--- Juan Garcia was in uniform and working out with the line. During the conditioning drills he appeared to avoid anything that wasn't a straight-line run.

--- The Huskies will have their first full pads, full-contact practice on Friday after completing the NCAA-mandated acclimatization period.

All for now.


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August 6, 2008 1:38 PM

Fouch getting ready

Posted by Bob Condotta

Seemingly every year at this time, UW coach Tyrone Willingham lays out the possibility that the team could play more than one quarterback.

He did so again on Tuesday, which seems surprising in light of the obvious talent and value of starter Jake Locker.

But asked a question about backup Ronnie Fouch, Willingham said the Huskies may look for ways to get him into the game, saying it would "allow Jake to get some rest and put him (Fouch) in a more advantageous position'' for the future.

I'm not sure I'd hold my breath waiting for that to happen. It didn't happen either of the past two years when it seemed like it might have made more sense.

Still, Fouch said today the coaches have told him the same thing, holding out the carrot that if he performs well in camp, he could earn playing time that wouldn't be dependent solely on Locker's health.

"They've told me a little bit of that,'' Fouch said today. "They just want to see how camp goes, how ready I am, and take it from there.''

More likely, the Husky coaches want to give Fouch every motivation to get as ready as possible in case he is suddenly needed.

UW has had to give at least one start to its backup quarterback each of the last two seasons for health reasons, making the Huskies one of seven Pac-10 schools that had to dip into the well and give their backup at least one start last year.

The main thing Fouch may need to show UW coaches is improved accuracy after a spring filled with errant passes.

Fouch said he spent the summer working on quickening his release and making sure his feet were in the proper position.

"A lot of times I was taking too big a step when I throw, so it's just keeping my base and getting more power on my throws,'' he said. "I feel like it's helped me a lot. I'm throwing a lot better than I did during the spring.''

He also said he feels stronger. Still listed at 205, he said he added strength during the off-season, and a cursory glance at him appears to show that he's filled out quite a bit from when he arrived at UW prior to the spring in 2007.

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August 6, 2008 1:21 PM

Another night game for Huskies

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW has just announced that the Sept. 27 home game against Stanford will kick off at 7 p.m. so that it can be televised live on Fox Sports Northwest and Fox College Sports.

That gives UW at least five games this season that will kick off at 4 p.m. or later. The others are Oregon (7 p.m.), Oklahoma (4:45 p.m.), Oregon State (4 p.m.) and Notre Dame (5 p.m.).

Only two other times have been set --- BYU and Washington State, each at noon. That leaves five other games with kickoff times and TV situations still be announced, meaning more night games could still be on the horizon.

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August 6, 2008 12:52 PM

Wednesday afternoon update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Not a lot of real news today.

The team was in shorts again yesterday, so no injury news of note from Tyrone Willingham when he met the media before practice. Things will start to ramp up a bit today as the team puts on shoulder pads for the first time this camp and does a little bit of hitting. The Huskies will go into full pads for the first time Friday, and then hold its first two-a-day on Saturday.

No additions or substractions to the roster, either, though E.J. Savannah was again seen on-campus, talking to some players outside the team's lunch room. Not sure what to read into that, but certainly looks as if Savannah is keeping close to the program and attempting to do whatever is needed to get back on the roster.

Willingham talked again about the team's conditioning, saying it was good and that "we only had a few guys who didn't make the standard'' during the conditioning test on Monday. No word on who they are.

He mentioned Jake Locker, D'Andre Goodwin and Mesphin Forrester as those who have come back in paricularly good shape.

Willingham also said he "welcomes'' the heat that has hit Seattle the past few days, thinking it will be a good mental test for his players to battle through early in camp.

Willingham said it was too early to make any real assessment of the freshmen, saying "they are all swimming'' right now while trying to assimilate the playbook. "And the swimming doesn't really start yet,'' he added, noting things will only get more complicated down the road.

I talked a bit with Brandon Johnson, who said he is still not 100 percent after arthroscopic surgery after spring, but that he thinks he will be soon. He said he weighs 205 pounds but would like to get to about 210.

Also talked briefly with Alameda Ta'amu, who said he is still recovering from a foot injury suffered during the season last year at Rainier Beach but that he doesn't think it will be a big impediment to playing this season.

I'll try to have more on both of those conversations later.


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August 6, 2008 9:15 AM

Wednesday morning links

Posted by Bob Condotta

And on a day like this in Seattle, these are truly hot links:

--- For my main story today I wrote about UW walk-on receiver Chancellor Young and his long route to returning to the Huskies.

--- There was also this look at day two of camp.

--- The Eugene Register-Guard looks at Oregon's linebacking situation, which will be a key in the Ducks' attempts to contain Jake Locker come Aug. 30.

--- BYU may be without its starting center, Tom Sorenson, when it plays UW.

--- ESPN's Ted Miller has this look at Pac-10 coaches on the hot seat, listing Tyrone Willingham and Mike Stoops.

--- Miller also rates the coaches and has Willingham seventh, ahead of Jim Harbaugh, Stoops and Paul Wulff.

--- Jordan Reffett is in camp with the Steelers but missed practice Wednesday to be with his wife, who gave birth to the couple's second child.

--- JagNation.com says Khalif Barnes is in a tough battle for his starting job with Jacksonville and could be cut if he loses it.

--- More talk about the improvement of Isaiah Stanback in Dallas.

--- Dennis Dodd ranks all 42 of the BCS bowl games ever played and has the UW-Purdue Rose Bowl at No. 35.

--- The Wizard of Odds unleashes its annual rant about 40 times. A reminder to sometimes take those things with a grain of salt.

All for now.

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August 5, 2008 8:42 PM

Camp nightcap, day two

Posted by Bob Condotta

I've gotten a couple of comments that certain news and notes can get overlooked when buried in earlier posts. So what I'll try to do each day of camp is recap a few of the highlights, sometimes reprising info from earlier posts and sometimes throwing in stuff that never made it in the first place.

WHAT HAPPENED --- The Huskies held one practice today, going in helmets and shorts. This was their second practice of the fall.

THE BIG STORY --- After the flurry of the first day, there wasn't as much real hard news today. The only roster change was the addition of walk-on linebacker Fred Wiggs, an O'Dea grad who played in all 13 games last year on special teams, making eight tackles.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham said Wiggs had some unfinished academic business that led to him missing the first day. The addition of Wiggs gives UW 102 players on its roster --- the NCAA limit is 105 (85 of whom can be on scholarship). With five players currently attempting to get eligible and theoretically potentially able to come back this year, looks as if the coaches may know that some of those players may not make it back --- or maybe just assuming a few of them won't make it until school starts, when rosters can expand to 115.

THE BIG STORY, PART TWO --- Potentially of a lot more import were the statements of center Juan Garcia that he didn't think "I'd be this far ahead'' in his recovery from a foot injury. But while it all sounds good, coaches caution that his situation is still "tenuous'' and there's a long way to go yet to returning to the field.

Garcia will likely try to return to full-action sometime in the next week or two to determine exactly where he is in his recovery. Garcia will have to prove he can withstand the rigors of full-contact activity before coaches start penciling him into the lineup. You can read all of Garcia's comments here.

ROSTER SHUFFLE --- As discussed earlier, a few Huskies are getting tryouts at different positions than their regular spots, notably Ryan Tolar at center and Chris Polk at tailback.

Tolar said the move is just fine with him.

"It's a new challenge,'' he said, adding he has never played center before at any competitive level. He said he's happy to try whatever the team needs him to do.

Tolar also revealed that he played last season with a torn labrum, having suffered the injury in the spring of 2007. It was decided after the season he would have surgery. That caused him to miss spring of 2008, though he said he thinks he's getting back in the swing just fine.

INJURY REPORT --- The only new injury revealed today was a pre-exisiting foot injury to DL Alameda Ta'amu. He sat out part of Monday's practice, leaving the field, apparently having the foot examined. This could be a blow as it was hoped that Ta'amu might he able to play immediately to add depth to a rebuild defensive line. UW is already without two other frosh it hoped could help --- Craig Noble and Senio Kelemete --- for academic reasons. Willingham said the team will continue to be cautious with Ta'amu and that if he misses significant practice time, it will obviously impact his ability to contend for playing time.

QUOTABLE --- "You get a better understanding when you lose everything you thought you were supposed to have. You get a whole new perspective on things and coach Willingham could see that in me and he gave me an opportunity,'' --- walk-on WR Chancellor Young on his return to the Huskies. I'll have more on that tomorrow in the paper and on-line.

UP NEXT --- The Huskies will hold one practice and it will be the first split practice of camp, meaning half the players practice at one time, then the other half.


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August 5, 2008 6:03 PM

Polk still finding his way

Posted by Bob Condotta

I talked with a recruiting expert last winter after Chris Polk signed with UW and when I told him it sounded as if the Huskies planned to play Polk at receiver, the guy responded that he thought the Washington coaches were missing the boat.

Polk, the guy said, was the best high school running back on the West Coast last year.

Maybe Polk will end up there yet.

I actually had to miss the 25 minutes of open practice today for personal reasons, but I'm told Polk was again lined up at tailback in what could be about a 10-day tryout or so to see what his best position may be.

Polk isn't alone in that situation, said UW coach Tyrone Willingham.

"Our football staff will determine those roles for not only Chris Polk but the other guys on our team as we move forward that best allows them to have the most impact on the game and positively affect our football team,'' Willingham said. "We'll go through that process the next week-and-a-half with not just Chris Polk but other guys also.''

Polk, however, will be one of the most interesting to watch, gaining a lot of notice last winter after he initially committed to USC, then changed his mind, in part due to the prospect of immediate playing time at UW.

Polk said before practice today he doesn't consider this a permanent move just yet. "They just want me to play a little more running back and get used to it, get ready for it,'' he said.

Polk added that UW coaches told him heading into the summer to plan for more time at running back in camp and that he spent a lot of his time in voluntary drills this summer working out of the backfield.

He makes it sound like that's where he'd rather be, as well.

"I'll do receiver, but I'm more comfortable at running back,'' said Polk, who rushed for 2,561 yards last season at Redlands (Calif.) East Valley High. "I only played receiver two years in my whole life, so I'm more comfortable at running back. But I'll play wherever I'm needed.''

He also sounds as if he's better built to handle the punishment at running back now, as well. Listed at 5-11, 200 pounds, he said he now weighs 210 pounds.

He said he hit the weights with a vengeance this summer after learning a valuable lesson during spring ball --- he participated after graduating early from high school.

"I'm not the fastest person on the field anymore,'' he said. "I just can't outrun people like I did.''

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August 5, 2008 3:07 PM

Notes from Willingham

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham just met with the media for his daily session and there wasn't much earth-shattering. But I'll pass along a few quick notes:

--- In what might be the most newsworthy item, he said incoming DL Alameda Ta'amu is continuing to recover from a foot injury suffered in high school and will be monitored closely. Ta'amu sat out some of practice Monday with what was likely something related to that injury. He said that could impact the ability of Ta'amu to play this season by restricting his practice time but that it was too early to tell.

--- He said TE Chris Izbicki will be punished "within the structure'' of the team but otherwise wouldn't elaborate.

--- He said De'Shon Matthews is up to about 275 pounds and could still end up at either tackle or end. As with some other players, he said fall camp will tell a lot about sorting that out.

--- Chris Polk told reporters today he prefers TB, the spot he spent most of his time at in practice Monday (I'll have more from Polk on this later). Willingham said he expects that Polk would prefer running back since that it the position he has the most experience, but that he will continue to get looked at both RB and WR with camp determining where he ends up the most.

--- He said he is pleased by the progress of Juan Garcia, saying "everything we've seen so far indicates good things ahead.''

--- Walk-on LB Fred Wiggs is back on the roster after getting some academic issues cleared up.

More later.

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August 5, 2008 1:26 PM

Denbrock happy with O-line condition

Posted by Bob Condotta

What is an annual question early in fall camp --- the condition of the offensive linemen --- appears to have a good answer for the Huskies.

UW offensive line coach Mike Denbrock, who is one who doesn't usually skirt the truth, said "we did a nice job on the conditioning test'' on Monday and that the overall shape of his troops appears to be good.

"I'm really happy with what we did over the summer time,'' he said. "We seem to be well ahead of where we were a year ago at this time. With guys this big, you are always watching their weight and making sure they are in the realm of what's acceptable and what's not, and we are pretty close.''

That's good news for the Huskies as the O-line looms as a key for UW this year as potentially the biggest strength on the team aside from quarterback. At least three starters return --- left tackle Ben Ossai and guards Casey Bulyca and Ryan Tolar --- and it could be four if center Juan Garcia can make it back. The one new starter, right tackle Cody Habben, got significant experience last year, including three starts.

Garcia, recovering from a Lisfranc injury to his left foot, told reporters earlier in the day that he has it in the back of his mind that he could be back for the Oregon game, and is definitely hopeful of returning in time for the BYU or Oklahoma games.

Denbrock remains more cautious on that front, however, knowing that any setback for Garcia could cause a significant delay in his return.

"We all understand what a tenuous situation that is and we are going to progress really cautiously and see how that progresses,'' Denbrock said.

The uncertainty over Garcia is why the team has Tolar now also working at center --- he will apparently rotate between center and guard with Denbrock saying he envisions a four-man rotation in the middle of Tolar, Bulyca, center Matt Sedillo and guard Jordan White-Frisbee (and obviously five if Garcia makes it back).

Playing Tolar at center "gives us a chance to get a little more deeper up front and just make us better in the long run overall, no matter what, in case something happens during the season where we need more guys in there. ... Especially early on we'll just keep rotating guys in there and getting them as much work as we can.''

Denbrock said there were a few bad snaps yesterday with Tolar but that "some of that stuff is going to happen in there, particularly the first day.''

The tackle spots are more set with Ossai and Habben. Ossai, long touted as one of the most talented UW linemen, is one who has been criticized for his conditioning in the past. But Denbrock said he appears to have had a good summer.

"'He's growing up,'' Denbrock said. "Some guys progress faster than others. He's progressing in that. Definitely I'd like to snap my fingers and say 'hey, here's that All-American I promised you.' But little by little, I think he is making progress in that direction and I like the direction he has gone, particularly last spring and headed into fall camp. He has himself headed to being the type of player we need him to be on the left-hand side, so we are happy where he is at right now.''

Denbrock said Mark Armelin is the backup at left tackle with Skyler Fancher the backup at right tackle --- each is a redshirt freshmen. Nick Scott, the walk-on transfer from Drake, could also work himself into the depth at tackle, Denbrock said.

"He's an experienced guy who will hopefully those guys along and maybe work his way into the depth, as well,'' Denbrock said.

Morgan Rosborough also remains in the conversation as a backup at right guard, with Denbrock noting the Huskies have more depth up front than any time during his tenure.

"We've got 17 bodies out there, which is more than we've had in the past,'' he said. "And it's kind of nice.''

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August 5, 2008 12:38 PM

Garcia: "I didn't think I would be this far ahead''

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW center Juan Garcia just met with reporters here a little while ago and said he is ecstatic with the progress he has made so far while pointing out that his recovery is still a day-to-day process with no guarantees.

Garcia took part in a few warmup drills on Monday and said "I didn't think I would be this far ahead.''

He said in the back of his mind he's hoping he can return in time for the opener against Oregon though he thinks a more realistic goal is the second game against BYU.

"This week we are taking it to see where I'm at,'' he said. "Everyday I'll do a little more stuff and next week I'll get in for a drill or too if my leg holds up. I'm taking it day-by-day rihgt now, but I'm happy where I'm at. I didn't expect to be at this point. I thought by the time I'd be out there doing a drill it would be sometime after camp.''

Garcia said the real test will come when he decides to go full-go in full-contact drills. He said coaches want him to be patient with that but he's not sure how long he will be able to wait.

"I was talking with coach (Mike) Denbrock and it was like 'man, one of these days I might just have to go full-speed and either I'm going to be able to go or that's the end of that,''' he said. "I'm tired of seeing my guys out there and I'm not with them.''

Denbrock described Garcia's sitation as still being "tenuous'' and wouldn't guess when Garcia might be able to return this year.

Garcia said the foot hasn't healed completely but has gotten a lot stronger. "It's coming along,'' he said. "They didn't expect me to be at this point and everybody says the best thing you did was not getting surgery. It might be a miracle, I don't know, but I'm happy.''

Asked if he could make it back for the Oregon game, Garcia said "it's not even there right now. I'm hoping in the back of my mind. But I don't know. I'm just hoping, before it was like mid-season. Then it was like 'you might be ready for Oklahoma.' I'm just thinking BYU right now. If I can do good this week and next week it might be the opener.''

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August 5, 2008 8:39 AM

Tuesday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few Husky-related links to start your day:

--- Times columnist Jerry Brewer chipped in with a column today saying this is a "Do or die season'' for UW coach Tyrone Willingham, with Willingham saying the key will be to get the team to "play older'' than its listed years.

--- Here's my wrapup of the events of the day.

--- And here's my daily "camp glance'' which will be a fixture throughout training camp. It will include news and notes that don't make it into the main story of the day.

--- ESPN's Ted Miller has his weekly power ratings with UW seventh.

--- Miller also has this roundup of Pac-10 news, including a story that one Oregon's quarterbacks, Chris Harper, is continuing to battle a shoulder injury.

--- ESPN's Bruce Feldman has this list of the top 10 secrets in college football, leading off with one UW will face on Aug. 30.

--- Here's a nice story on Isaiah Stanback's transition to receiver, appearing to be more of a success every day.

--- Marcel Reece has been moved from tight end to a "fullback-like role'' according to the San Jose Mercury News.

--- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a note on Roy Lewis, calling him "one of the rookie standouts in training camp.'' Lewis is attempting to make the team as an undrafted free agent.

--- The Bleacher Report lists the top 25 most intriguing non-conference games of the season, with UW involved all three of them --- and obviously, that's all three of their non-conference games.

All for now.

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August 4, 2008 10:41 PM

More thoughts on Savannah

Posted by Bob Condotta

Seemed like a real whirlwind there for a while today with lots of personnel news left and right, as is often the case on the first day of practice.

Assuming all of the high school guys become eligible eventually --- and that we already knew about Craig Noble, the one of that quartet who was probably being counted on the most this year --- the biggest news could end up being that involving E.J. Savannah.

We knew he was a longshot to be ready for the start of the season due to injury. What became clearer today is that the issues that dogged him last year in terms of academics and other more unspecified stuff are still there, meaning it's hard to know right now what his future is as a Husky.

And make no mistake, he figured to have quite a role in the Husky defense this season after leading the team with 111 tackles last year. After his standout performance in the spring game, coaches raved about him and he raved about the new system (read this story here if you need a refresher).

It was the return of Savannah, as well as a handful of other experienced LBs, that had a lot of people speculating UW might go with a 3-4 defense at times this season, in part to make up for the lack of experience up front. The Huskies still might, though they were only in a 4-3 today (though I wouldn't have expected anything else given that they knew this practice was open to the media, which could be the only one).

But obviously having Savannah around would make a 3-4 easier to implement, and maybe more effective.

I asked UW defensive coordinator Ed Donatell today if not having Savannah will change his plans. He admitted it could, while adding he has no idea how long Savannah will be out.

"We always like to look at the strongest players we have in a system and feature them and bring out their strengths because it's more mental pressure to the opponent,'' he said. "But since I've been coaching we've had setbacks all the time. Right now, it's like he's sprained his ankle and he can't play.''

And Donatell said not having Savannah for however long may simply open the door for someone else to become a defensive leader.

"Don James used to talk about a guy they had at Kent State named Bob Bender,'' Donatell said recalling James' early-70s stint as head coach at Kent State before coming to UW in 1975. "Everybody thought he was the greatest thing they'd ever had. Then he decided not to play football and they said 'oh no, we can't line up without this guy' And they had this tall skinny guy take his place, 208 pounds. His name was Jack Lambert. The rest is history. Sometimes there are guys like that, you just don't know.

"So we are looking at it as an opportunity to develop depth and if he makes it back, we will have those things ready for him. If not, we will go another direction.''

I hadn't heard the Bender-Lambert story --- and yes, it's kind of ironic that it's the same name as the former UW hoops coach --- but it's corroborated in this article on Lambert from Sports Illustrated in 1984.

So maybe Josh Gage becomes the next Jack Lambert. Hey, on the first day of practice, anything seems possible. Certainly, you wouldn't expect the coaches to view it any other way.

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August 4, 2008 7:17 PM

First-day wrapup

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few more notes and thoughts as we wrap up the first day of practice:

--- Jake Locker looked really good throwing the ball today. Just about every pass seemed on the money and he gave every reason to believe his statements that he thinks a year of maturity and comfort in the offense will improve his accuracy quite a bit. He appeared to have more touch on his passes, putting more air under them. Obviously, it doesn't count until Aug. 30, but this was a good first day for him.

--- To make clear what Juan Garcia did today, he took part in the early warm-up sessions, then stayed to the side for the rest of practice, often working on conditioning on his own. In other words, he didn't do a lot and shouldn't in any way be penciled in as back in the lineup or anything. That seemed clear with Ryan Tolar taking a lot of snaps at center with the No. 2 unit, making it obvious the coaches are working on plans in case Garcia can't make it back.

--- The best of the true freshmen WRs today was Cody Bruns, who made several nice catches, including one near the sideline on a 25-yard-or-so fade route from Ronnie Fouch. Fouch, by the way. wasn't as accurate as I'm sure he would have liked, looking like he was still struggling a little bit with his accuracy issues of the spring. Locker and Fouch took almost every snap at QB.

--- Jermaine Kearse also had one nice play, beating Mesphin Forrester for a TD in a goal-line drill on a pass from Fouch. Kearse, however, also had a couple of drops.

--- The best WR of the day otherwise might have been walk-on senior Charles Hawkins, who a bunch of nice catches, including about a 40-yarder from Fouch.

--- The most noticable of the new RBs was David Freeman, who looked really quick running through traffic. But again, this was a no pads, no contact day.

--- Incoming OL Mykenna Ikehara appeared to be playing at center, and drew a lot of oohs and ahs for a standoff with Cameron Elisara in a one-on-one drill.

--- The coaches were already in mid-season form intensity-wise. At one point, when Anthony Boyles didn't run the right route, Tim Lappano yelled "14 yards'' loud enough to be heard in the upper reaches of Husky Stadium. At another point, OL coach Mike Denbrock got on his unit for not hustling to the line fast enough and yelled "if you're scared, go home. If not, line your ($%^) up and get ready to play.''

--- Brandon Johnson looked just fine, working with the No. 1 unit throughout and making some nice cuts. Brandon Yakaboski was the No. 2 TB followed by Willie Griffin and Chris Polk. But that could be a real interchangeable spot this year as coach Tyrone Willingham said earlier at the press luncheon he would have no problem going with a committee. Polk spent the entire day at TB and we'll have to ask tomorrow if that means a switch in his position, or just getting him work there. He's still listed as a slotback.

--- UW has to find a new holder with Carl Bonnell gone. Candidates today appeared to be Fouch and Jared Ballman with Ryan Perkins also appearing to practice it once or twice.

--- Among those taking punt returns were Byron Davonport, D'Andre Goodwin, Johri Fogerson, Devin Aguilar, Matt Mosley and Vonzell McDowell.

--- Several of you have asked about Tripper Johnson, the walk-on from Newport who played eight years of minor league baseball. He worked today as the No. 2 free safety, splitting time with Jason Wells, who is being worked back into the lineup after his knee injury last season.

--- Among the new walk-ons are two sons of coaches --- Taylor Lappano, a defensive back from Eastlake, and Riley Gervais, a linebacker from Skyline.

--- We'll be back to our usual 25 minutes of practice access tomorrow, so there won't be as much info to report. But check back during the day as I'll update with notes and quotes from interview sessions, and whatever else transpires.

All for now.

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August 4, 2008 6:44 PM

Update on commits

Posted by Bob Condotta

Practice here has just ended and I'm finishing up stories and other duties and will have a little wrapup later for the blog.

In the meantime, Craig Smith of our staff got ahold of the newest Husky commit, Aaron Grymes, and filed this story:


Aaron Grymes of West Seattle High School has accepted a University of Washington scholarship offer and said the Huskies envision him as a cornerback.

Grymes became the second cornerback to commit to the Huskies Monday as Kenneth Pinkard of South Oak Cliff High School in Dallas also committed.

Grymes, who played safety, wide receiver, running back and even quarterback last season as a junior, said being a Husky "has been my dream since I was little.''

Grymes, 5 feet 11, 160 pounds, said the Huskies extended the scholarship offer Saturday and he accepted Monday. He said Boise State, Oregon and Idaho had shown interest in him but hadn’t offered.

"Since coming to the games as a little kid, I've wanted to play here,'' Grymes said.

The Huskies will be getting a capable student in the fall of 2009 as Grymes has a 3.5 grade point. He said he has passed the SAT.

"He’s got a real love for the game,'' said West Seattle coach Davis Lura. "He works hard and he’s also a good student.''

Pinkard is 6 feet, 180 pounds. Like Grymes, he was offered a scholarship Saturday in Seattle and accepted Monday.

Pinkard and Grymes are the second and third players to commit to the UW as part of the 2009 recruiting class. The first was quarterback Keith Price of St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif.

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August 4, 2008 5:11 PM

Practice update three

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's what appeared to be the defensive lineups when the Huskies went into full-squad work:

The defensive line was Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Cameron Elisara, De'Shon Matthews andn Darrion Jones. The second line was Kalani Aldrich, Tyrone Duncan (ends) Nick Wood and Johnie Kirton.

The starting LBs were Josh Gage, Mason Foster and Donald Butler with Matt Houston, Trenton Tuiasosopo and Cort Dennison.

The starting CBs were Mesphin Forrester and Quinton Richardson with Byron Davenport and Vonzell McDowell workins as the twos.

The safeties were Victor Aiyewa and Nate Williams with Tripper Johnson and Darin Harris as the bacakups. Jason Wells worked with the third team.

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August 4, 2008 4:41 PM

Practice update

Posted by Bob Condotta

We're about an hour into the first practice and here are a few more notes and observtaions:

--- Once the Huskies broke into the full team part of practice, Juan Garcia stepped aside and did some conditioning work on his own. He seems to be limping a bit and looks to be aways away from participating in a full practice still.

--- Ryan Tolar is staking snaps at center, working with the second team behind Matt Sedillo. That had Jordan White-Frisbee working at left guard with the first team. Greg Christine was the No. 3 cfenter. So Tolar-to-center is definitely the move being made here to account for the Garcia situation.

--- Chris Polk is working out exclusivvely with the running backs so far, and was thte fourth tailback to take a handoff during the team drills behind Brandon Johnson, Brandon Yakaboski and Willie Griffin, in that order.

--- The starting WRs were D'Andre Goodwin and Alvin Logan and the backups were Curtis Shaw and Devin Aguilar.Anthony Boyles still looks pretty skinny.

--- UW has five QBs here with the addition of freshman Luther Leonard and walk-on Justin Gunn of Renton High to go with the three retuners.

More later.

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August 4, 2008 3:56 PM

Quick practice update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are a few quick notes from the opening moments of practice:

--- E.J. Savannah is here, but not in uniform. standing on the sideline and watching. He is not wearing a cast. That he is here would lead to the obvious belief that he could be on the team again this season. He shook hands with players as the linebackers came out for drills and is wearing a Husky shirt.

--- Juan Garcia is taking part in practice --- this is a no-pads practice with players in helmts, jerseys and shorts. But as has been said by others, there's a difference in his recovvery from just running aroundd to doing actual full-contact work, so while a lot looks good, nothing is as yet certain.

--- Chris Izabicki is here and participating.

I'll check back in with more from practice later.


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August 4, 2008 3:11 PM

A few more notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Headed out to practice here soon, but here are a few more notes and quotes from today's press briefing:

--- Lots of personnel news today, including reports of UW's second and third commitments of the year, which could get lost in the shuffle on a day like this. Scout.com and RealDawg. com are each reporting a commitment from cornerback Kenneth Pinkard of Texas while RealDawg is also reporting one from cornerback Aaron Grymes of West Seattle. Grymes was the offensive MVP of the Metro League last season.

--- Jake Locker said he worked as a counselor this summer at the Air 7 Camp with Steve Clarkson this summer. He said he worked a little on his footwork but as he has said earlier, his main thing has been learning the playbook so he can gain more confidence in where he is going with the ball, which he thinks will lead to more accuracy.

--- E.J. Savannah has been seen outside the media work room area having a discussion with UW coach Tyrone Willingham. Senio Kelemete has also been seen on campus today. As Willingham said earlier, these things could change in a day, so we'll see. But as Willingham noted, Savannah has multiple issues, academic, injury and otherwise, to make it back.

--- The Huskies look to be tighter than ever with media access this year. Three practices will be closed completely to the media this year --- all within the last nine days before the Oregon game --- without even the usual first 25 minutes of availability. At the moment, there is also just one practice open to the media, that coming today. The rest will be limited to 25 minutes.

More later.

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August 4, 2008 1:54 PM

Media day notes, Savannah academically ineligible

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham met with the media for about 30 minutes or so today, then players also met with reporters for a while as the team kicked off the beginning of the season. The first practice will begin at 3:45 p.m. and will be open to the media.

Here are a few quick news and notes from the media session:

--- Willingham said that E.J. Savannah is academically ineligible but that there are also some other issues, saying that "when that is cured, we will at that time talk about his status with the team.'' Savannah is also still recovering from a broken humerus bone, and Willingham said he wouldn't be able to play right now, anyway. Willingham said he wouldn't give specifics on the other issues with Savannah but that "the parties involved know what they are.'' He labeled Savannah's suspension as "indefinite'' and that there is no timetable for his return. "Sometimes these things can change over night and sometimes they may be forever,'' he said. Willingham said the team's three starting LBs heading into practice are Donald Butler, Mason Foster and Josh Gage.

--- Willingham did not go into detail on any of the freshmen but said all are academic-related. Interestingly, the team has 101 players right now and can have no more than 105 this season. There are currently five players facing academic issues still apparently trying to get onto the roster for this season, meaning UW coaches may already be counting one of them out. Besides Savannah, the other four are freshmen Craig Noble, Demitrius Bronson, Senio Kelemete and Vince Taylor.

--- Willingham said the the recovery for Juan Garcia has gone as well as hoped so far but that it now takes on a different level with the start of practice. He said he didn't know when Garcia would be able to return to practice or when he might be able to play, saying the team would be "cautious'' with him.

--- He said Brandon Johnson and Jason Wells are recovered and ready to go, as is Ryan Tolar.

--- Chancellor Young returns with just one year of eligibility left. Offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said he thought Young could help immediately on special teams but that he would need to see more of him in camp to get a read on how much he would be able to help at receiver. Willingham said Young faced some academic issues, as well as some other unspecified issues, during his absence from the team ---- he was last with the team during the spring of 2006.

--- Asked if he expected the Huskies to play in a bowl game this season, Willingham simply said "yes'' and then took the next question. Some will likely make a big deal out of that, but I don't know what else he could say. He certainly can't say no.

--- Jake Locker also met with the media and said his goal for the season is to complete 65 percent of his passes. That would be a hefty increase from last year's 47 percent.

More later.


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August 4, 2008 1:36 PM

Izbicki faces two misdemeanor charges

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW redshirt freshman tight end Chris Izbicki was charged with two misdemeanor crimes today and will be arrainged in King County District Court in Burien on Aug. 14.

Izbicki was charged with criminal trespass in the second degree and minor in possession of liquor after an incident on July 20. Both took place while Izbicki was attending a concert --- the KUBE Summer Jam --- at the White River Amphiteater.

News of this leaked today after UW coach Tyrone Willingham held his press conference on campus so it is uncertain if Izbicki faces any punishment from the team. A graduate of Lake Washington High, he is contending for a backup spot behind starter Michael Gottlieb.

According to a police report, Izbicki was charged with criminal trespass for attempting to get into a restricted VIP area and failing to leave after being asked to do so twice. He was then given a breathalyzer test and recorded a reading of .241, resulting in the second charge.

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August 4, 2008 11:26 AM

Savannah, Taylor, Kelemete not on current roster

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW has released a new roster with the opening of camp today and among the names not on the roster are a few surprises --- LB E.J. Savannah as well as freshmen Senio Kelemete and Vince Taylor. Kelemete is a DL and Taylor a DB .

There is also one surprise addition --- WR Chancellor Young, who is listed as a senior walk-on.

We reported here a few weeks ago that there were other issues with Savannah aside from just his injury. We'll see if we get more details today, such as whether this is a permanent deletion or temporary.

It is assumed that Taylor and Kelemete have academic issues. Also not on the roster are the freshmen already known to have issues --- Craig Noble, Dominique Blackman and Demitrius Bronson.

More later.

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August 4, 2008 8:30 AM

Monday A.M. links

Posted by Bob Condotta

The official start of the season has almost arrived, and we'll have coverage here all day long.

We'll start by passing along a few links:

--- I wrote today about the bright spotlight that figures to shine on UW's incoming freshmen class. As UW coach Tim Lappano points out in the story, a key for the Husky coaches will be figuring out the best way to get those players ready for the season without overloading them.

--- ESPN's Ted Miller has a state-of-the-conference primer with camps kicking off everywhere today.

--- The Bellingham Herald had an interesting story yesterday on the thirst for Jake Locker memorabilia in that area. Among the hottest items is this FernDawg T-shirt.

--- A couple of you wanted to know more about the five-day acclimatization period all teams must undergo before putting on pads, so here are the details from the NCAA manual.

--- Here's an update on the beginning of camp from GoHuskies.com, including details on Picture Day Saturday. Picture Day is designed as a day for fans to come to the stadium and meet and greet players and coaches and get pictures and autographs.

All for now.

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August 3, 2008 6:34 PM

Freshmen getting ready

Posted by Bob Condotta

For tomorrow's paper, I wrote about Monday being the official debut for one of the more celebrated freshmen classes in recent UW history.

There should be 21 freshmen making their debuts as three apparently won't be eligible right now and two enrolled last winter or spring (Kurt Mangum and Chris Polk).

I talked to a few of the freshmen recently and they said they know there will be quite a spotlight on them.

"I think this class is prepared,'' said receiver Jermaine Kearse. "We are very focused. We want to come out there and make a statement.''

The best statement they could make is that they are ready to play immediately as many figure to be called on to help out this season, Kearse among them.

UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said "four or five'' of the incoming frosh could play on the offense this year, though he said that's not a set-in-stone number and could change in either direction.

Still, he said needs at certain spots almost dictate that some will have to play.

"Starting with our tailback position, we only have one guy that's played and that's Brandon Johnson, so obviously we are going to be counting on probably a couple of freshmen in that tailback group that are going to end up playing as true freshmen,'' Lappano said. "I don't think there's going to be any way around that right now. I think that's a legitimate possibility.''

Lappano said the three incoming tailbacks --- Johri Fogerson, Terrance Dailey and David Freeman (with Demitrius Bronson unable to enroll at the moment) --- start off equally on the depth chart.

"Right now, there is really no 1-2-3,'' he said. "We've get them all slashed (as either/or). They all do some really good things and in the next couple of weeks we've got to find out what they do best, how big a difference there is (in readiness to play) and let them compete and see how that thing unfolds. But there is some speed and talent there so it will be exciting to watch those guys.''

Receiver is also a spot where some true freshmen will play, especially if you consider Anthony Boyles and Devin Aguilar as true freshmen, which they are, just simply a little more experienced.

"The only guy that's played is D'Andre Goodwin and Curtis Shaw has played a little bit toward the end there and did some good thigns, so that's another spot where when we go into our spread stuff with four wide receivers, definitely a couple of those kids are going to be battling to play,'' Lappano said. "Even Aguilar and Boyles, they are like incoming freshmen in my opinion, so you could have three-four of those kids playing.'' There are growing expectations that Kearse and Cody Bruns could each play this season.

Lappano coached Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh at Oregon State and says the current group of receivers could eventually rival that set as the best he has coached.

"As high school kids, this is really a talented group,'' he said. "Maybe by the time they are juniors and seniors they will be pretty good. They are young but they are talented.''

Tight end is also spot where a true freshmen is likely to play as Kavario Middleton figures to battle for a spot in the rotation.

"Kavario, we have to look and see where he's at,'' Lappano said.

Lappano says he doesn't expect any of the true freshmen offensive linemen or quartebacks (which now numbers just one, in Luther Leonard) to play this season.

With Dominique Blackman out of the picture until January, UW isn't deep at QB, but Lappano says he isn't worried about the depth there saying "three will be all right.''

With the opener against Oregon looming in less than four weeks, the Huskies have little margin for error in getting the freshmen ready to play. Lappano said it helped that the team usually went 11-on-11 in its voluntary team sessions this summer instead of 7-on-7, saying that should help get the freshmen more acclimated to the speed of the game.

"It's absolutely critical that we don't waste a day of practice with this many kids we are counting on to play for us,'' he said. "We have just a certain amount of practice before we go down to play Oregon and the learning curve is going to be night and day for all of these freshmen compared to what it's been in high school.''

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August 3, 2008 5:54 PM

Interesting news out of Arizona

Posted by Bob Condotta

A couple of interesting stories today out of both the Arizona schools:

--- First, Arizona State has taken a a big hit to an offensive line that already loomed as the team's biggest question mark for this season. Ted Miller reports that starting tackle Richard Tuitu'u has quit the team. He started one game at LT last season and was the projected right tackle heading into this year. Miller also reports that JC transfer defensive end Eugene Germany won't be enrolling as he has not met requirements set forth by the school.

--- Second, Arizona president Robert Shelton told the Arizona Daily Star that it is essentially bowl-game-or-else for coach Mike Stoops this season. Shelton says in the Q-and-A that he fully expects the Wildcats to make a bowl game this season and that if they don't "we have to really examine our program and what we're doing.'' Shelton also has some interesting thoughts on scheduling, saying the Wildcats won't be making any more trips to LSU "and playing that pro team in LSU in their home stadium.'' That's something the Huskies have agreed to do in 2012.

All for now.

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August 3, 2008 1:14 PM

It all starts Monday

Posted by Bob Condotta

So it all starts tomorrow, with the Huskies finally hitting the field for their first practice of the season in the afternoon.

First, however, UW coach Tyrone Willingham and about 10-12 players with meet with the media at noon. The portions featuring Willingham and UW QB Jake Locker will be available on GoHuskies.com.

The first practice begins at 3:45 p.m. and we have been told it will be open to the media in its entirety. So check back here for reports from the press conference, and then from practice. It will be a no-pads practice as all teams must go through a five-day acclimatization period before getting into full contact work.

As a reminder, Picture Day is Saturday from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Husky Stadium.

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August 3, 2008 8:52 AM

Camp preview story

Posted by Bob Condotta

We kicked off our coverage of the beginning of UW's training camp today with this story looking at some of the biggest questions facing the Huskies this season.

It also includes a look at the schedule.


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August 2, 2008 10:05 PM

More on new Husky

Posted by Bob Condotta

A new addition to the UW roster, offensive lineman Nick Scott, will apparently be a walk-on, according to an article on Scout.com this evening.

In the article (which is subscription-only), Scott is quoted as saying that "I don't have a scholarship or the promise of one, but they said if I have a good camp and they have one available for me, that I have a good chance of getting one.''

Scott transferred from Drake, a Football Championship Subdivision school where he spent the last three seasons --- redshirting his first year and playing the other two. After last season, he moved to Seattle to be close to family members after an illness in the family. For those reasons, he has apparently received a waiver making him eligible to play this season.

In the Scout.com story, Scott says he is 6-5 and about 337 and played last season at left tackle. He figures to join in the depth at that spot behind two-year returning starter Ben Ossai and backup redshirt freshman Mark Armelin.

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August 2, 2008 3:20 PM

Saturday news and notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says. ...

--- The Huskies may have a new offensive lineman, according to RealDawg.com. The website is reporting that Nick Scott, a 6-5, 311-pound offensive tackle from Drake, is transferring to UW. From what I can tell, he has already used two years of eligibility plus a redshirt season and would have just two to play two. Here's his bio from the Drake media guide last year, showing he redshirted in 2005 and then played as a reserve in 2006. The school's stats show he was a starter last season. My understanding is that players have to sit out a year transferring up a division --- Drake is a member of the Pioneer Football League, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision. But maybe there is something different about his case making him eligible immediately. Drake went 6-5 last season overall, 3-4 in Pioneer League play.

--- Dashon Goldson continues to impress at safety for the 49ers, and in this story, he credits his move to cornerback for his senior year at UW as helping him understand better how to play at safety.

--- Louis Rankin is doing "all the right things'' according to this story in the San Francisco Chronicle, even if he remains a longshot to make the roster of the Raiders.

--- Speaking of the Raiders, this story on Andrew Walter's troublesome career to date indicates the backup QB job is going to Marques Tuiasosopo.

--- IrishEyes ranks UW's offensive line second of all of those Notre Dame will face this season.

--- Ted Miller has lots of good notes from around the Pac-10.

--- Sounds like Oregon has added a linebacker who could play immediately and help fill in for the suspended Kevin Garrett.

All for now.

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August 2, 2008 8:49 AM

Clutch performers Husky-style

Posted by Bob Condotta

ESPN's Ted Miller had a fun idea the other day, rating the most clutch performers in Pac-10 history.

Good enough that I thought I'd copy it with a UW-only version.

Problem was, how to define the parameters? I really don't know enough about the entire history of UW football to start trying to name guys from the 1910s. So for the purposes of this list, I'm going with the Don James era and beyond:

1, Marques Tuiasosopo, QB --- Maybe the most clutch player in UW history if you go with Miller's definition of making big plays at big moments in winning efforts. That sentence just about defines his career. The Huskies won five games in 2000 in which they trailed in the fourth quarter, with Tuiasosopo having a big hand in all five. Miller mentions the Stanford game, and that probably is tops of the wins. A forgotten fourth-quarter comeback in my eyes came in the lone loss of that season. UW was being dominated through three quarter at Oregon, trailing 23-3, before Tuiasosopo led two long scoring drives to get UW back in the game. UW lost 23-16, but a lot of coaches later looked at that game as a turning point, saying the team could have easily given up and lost 30-3. Instead, it was a battle to the end, just as was every game Tuiasosopo quarterbacked.

2, Chuck Nelson, PK --- Yes, Chuck Nelson, he of the most-famous missed kick in Apple Cup history, a 33-yarder late in the fourth quarter that would have put the Huskies ahead. A win in that game would have given UW three straight Rose Bowl appearances. Easy to forget now that they likely wouldn't have made either of the first two without Nelson's clutchness. He hit a 25-yarder on the final play of the game to give UW a 27-24 win at Stanford in 1980 --- the Cardinal, with John Elway in his sophomore season, was ranked No. 20 at the time --- a key early-season victory on the way to the Pac-10 title. He also hit a 46-yarder with 2:19 left to put UW ahead of USC in a 1981 game at Husky Stadium, a contest played in what many who were there regard as some of the worst conditions ever, with wind and swirling rain. That was the Marcus Allen-USC team that UW went on to beat 13-3 --- scoring a TD on a fumbled kickoff following Nelson's field goal, which obviously doesn't happen if Nelson doesn't make the FG in the first play --- the decisive win in giving the Huskies the Pac-10 title that season. You just don't make 30 field goals in a row without a number of them being clutch.

3, Orlando McKay, WR --- One problem with picking a "clutch'' performer off the 90-91 juggernauts is those teams just killed everyone and it's hard to single out too many individual plays as key. But if there was one defining moment of the 1991 season, it might have been a catch by McKay against Nebraska. Simply looking at the score these days --- UW 36, Nebraska 21 --- doesn't do justice to what a precarious state the Huskies were in for a while during that game. Nebraska, in fact, led 21-9 late in the third quarter. A Billy Joe Hobert to McKay TD pass was then nullified due to a hold, and UW faced a fourth-and-eight at the Nebraska 30. Don James, sensing it was a now-or-never moment, said "go for it'' and Hobert again hit McKay, this time for 15 yards and a first down. Beno Bryant followed with a 15-yard TD to turn the momentum UW's way. McKay then scored the go-ahead TD on a pass from Hobert early in the fourth quarter, and the rout was on --- as was the march to the national title.

4, Steve Pelluer, QB --- Pelluer led one of the greatest last-minute drives in UW history in 1983, guiding the Huskies 80 yards in the final 3:40 to score a TD that brought the Huskies within 24-23. James then decided to go for two and Pelluer hit tight end Larry Michael to convert the two-point play and give the Huskies a 25-24 victory over Michigan. He was 27-33 in that game, still the third-best single-game passing percentage in UW history (81.8).

5, Reggie Williams, WR --- The effervescent receiver seemed to always be at his best in big games. such as the dominating performances on the road against Oregon and WSU in 2002. He also basically won a game against Arizona in 2002 by himself when he turned a little slant pass into an 80-yard touchdown with just over two minutes to go in a 32-28 Husky win.

Obviously, there are lots more --- clutchness is also something of an eye-of-the-beholder deal --- so go ahead and give me yours in the comments section below.


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August 1, 2008 5:38 PM

Oregon starting LB definitely out for UW game

Posted by Bob Condotta

Kevin Garrett, projected to be Oregon's starting weakside linebacker, will definitely miss at least the Washington game after being suspended for a recent DUI arrest, Ducks coach Mike Bellotti said today.

That news is included in this blog post from Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard, recapping a conference call Bellotti held with reporters today.

Garrett made 21 tackles last season and won the starting job in the spring. His backup is listed as sophomore Spencer Paysinger, who made four tackles last season.

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August 1, 2008 4:58 PM

Blackman won't enroll until January

Posted by Bob Condotta

Official confirmation came today of what we reported here a couple of times recently was likely to happen --- incoming QB recruit Dominique Blackman will not be able to enroll until January.

Blackman said today he was denied admission to UW after he had tried to retake two classes on-line to raise his GPA high enough to combine with his test score to make him eligible.

Blackman said he was told that since he wasn't able to finish those classes in time to enroll and complete UW's summer bridge program that he would not be allowed to enroll until January.

"It's good and bad,'' he said. "The bad is I'm not able to come up there now and compete. The good is that my clock doesn't start until January so that gives me a chance to get an extra spring ball under my belt. That could really help me out in the future.''

Blackman's situation is essentially the same as that of receivers Anthony Boyles and Devin Aguilar a year ago. Both were denied admission in the fall but enrolled in January and participated in spring ball, and now enter the 2008 season with five years to play four.

While Blackman said he hoped to compete for playing time this season, reality is he was almost certain to redshirt unless injuries hit the position as UW has Jake Locker entrenched as the starter and redshirt freshman Ronnie Fouch, who has gone through two spring balls, as the backup.

UW also has Luther Leonard of Evergreen High coming in this fall to add depth.

Blackman is one of three members of the Class of 2008 who may have to delay their enrollment, and won't be available when practice begins Monday. Also still attempting to complete academic requirements are RB Demitrius Bronson and DT Craig Noble. Neither is expected to be present when practices begin and both may have to delay enrollment until January, something UW coach Tyrone Willingham told the Times last week at Pac-10 media day.

Blackman said he hopes to come to Seattle this fall so he can be close to the program, possibly living with linebacker Kurt Mangum. If not, he said he will stay home and get a job.

"I tried to hustle to finish my classes,'' he said. "But things didn't go as planned. But I guarantee you when I get up there that I'll make some plays.''

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August 1, 2008 8:41 AM

Friday morning links

Posted by Bob Condotta

The I'd-really-better-mow-my-lawn-at-some-point-today edition:

--- The pre-season USA Today Coaches poll is out and while seven Pac-10 teams received at least one vote, the Huskies were shut out (also not getting any votes were Stanford and Washington State). Once again, Tyrone Willingham is a member of the panel as is Rick Neuheisel, neither of whom obviously voted for the Huskies. Five UW opponents are rankned --- USC (2), Oklahoma (4), Arizona State (16), BYU (17) and Oregon (20). Another five at least got one vote --- all but WSU and Stanford.

--- The Arizona Republic has a season preview of Washington today with the headline "Turmoil hangs over Washington proram.'' I'm not sure that's quite accurate. I'd say it's uncertainty, and not turmoil, which hangs over the UW program, which to me are different things. I'd also disagree that the UCLA game is the most important of the season. I think the first three will tell so much about where the season that they have to be considered more pivotal. An awful lot figures to already be known by the time UCLA comes to town.

--- This Oakland Raiders update features the news that Marques Tuiasosopo hit Marcel Reece on a touchdown pass in practice the other day.

--- Speaking of ex-Husky QBs, Isaiah Stanback is apparently playing a lot better since his talk with Michael Irvin the other day.

--- Kind of a funny anecdote about Greyson Gunheim not being where he was supposed to be in this story on Raiders training camp.

--- Irish Eyes ranks all of Notre Dame's opponents in terms of their strength at running back and receiver and puts UW 11th in each, which is to be expected.

All for now as the lawn awaits, taunting me with its growth (though maybe I'll again get bailed out by the rain).

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