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

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August 31, 2011 7:58 PM

Video: Colin Tanigawa

Posted by Bob Condotta

Saturday marks the debut of Colin Tanigawa as Washington's starting left guard.

It also marks the redshirt freshman's debut to college football. The 6-3, 297-pounder talked to reporters for a few minutes after Wednesday's practice, and here's a little video:

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August 31, 2011 6:43 PM

Wednesday practice notes and Sarkisian video

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are off the field following their Wednesday practice, one in which injured Chris Polk, Johri Fogerson and Quinton Richardson all participated to varying degrees.

Polk put on the pads for the first time since his Aug. 18 arthroscopic knee surgery and got a few plays in the team session, wearing a red jersey throughout. Simply being back out on the field again seems an obvious step in the right direction for Polk, who realistically still seems a week or two away from being back 100 percent. UW coach Steve Sarkisian said it was still too early to know if he'll be able to play Saturday against Eastern Washington.

"I thought Chris looked good today,'' Sarkisian said. "We'll see how he responds tomorrow. We'll have to see how he responds tomorrow."

Richardson, who had done quite a bit on Tuesday, did less today. He took part in the one-on-one sessions but didn't do anything in the team periods, with Greg Ducre running with the starting unit, instead, a duty he appears likely to hold Saturday, as well.

"Quinton was a little sore today after what he did yesterday,'' Sarkisian said. "We'll see how he responds to it tomorrow after two days of it, but today he was a little sore."

Fogerson, battling a sore hip, was in full pads and got in a few plays during the team session and seemed back enough to being able to at least add depth on Saturday.

"Johri got back going today, it was good for him to get out and running the ball,'' Sarkisian said.

As they have throughout the week, Jesse Callier and Bishop Sankey took the bulk of the snaps at tailback.

You can see Sarkisian's comments yourself in the video below, with some more notes afterward:

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IN OTHER NEWS. ...

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August 31, 2011 2:25 PM

Pac-12 Power Ratings --- Pre-season edition

Posted by Bob Condotta

Time to unveil our first Pac-12 Power Ratings of the season --- or ever, I guess, since we've never done Pac-12 Power Ratings before.

I'll just do a 1-12 listing instead of separating them by divisions. And once the season begins, I may do these a little earlier in the week, depending on how things work out.

1, Oregon --- Oregon's had a rocky off-season. But for now, they are the top of the class until proven otherwise. Those who follow the team closely say this edition could be better than last year's. We'll find out quickly, however, just how much impact Oregon's losses up front may have --- as well as whether any of the off-season turmoil is taking a toll. You've got to figure that's the plan for LSU, to just try to bludgeon the Ducks up front. If Oregon can handle that, it may be ominous for the rest of the Pac-12.

2, Stanford --- The more I think about it, the more I think the David Shaw Era doesn't really begin until next season. This is simply the last year of the Andrew Luck Era, and I think his return largely mitigates, for this year, the coaching turnover. And the Cardinal gets a nice way to ease into the season with San Jose State this week and then Duke next week.

3, Arizona State --- I feel a lot less certain about the Sun Devils now than I did at the end of last season, when I was among those quickly jumping on the ASU train. But for now, I'm sticking with my pick of them as the South favorites. Still lots of defensive talent there as well as the entire OL and an emerging QB. And Dennis Erickson, at the college level, anyway, has always found a way when he's had to. No problems this week with UC-Davis.

4, USC --- None other than Steve Sarkisian said the other day that everyone may be overlooking USC. They may not be the USC of 2004, but still lots of talent here, and what could be a dynamic offense if Matt Barkley can find a little consistency. Should have a pretty easy time of it with Minnesota this week.

5, Utah --- One of the big unknowns about the conference race this season is how well the Utes adapt to playing Pac-12 teams week-in and week-out. But I was talking to someone at a UW practice the other day and asked them about Utah and the answer was "they are probably a lot better than we all may want to think.'' Should be a breeze this week with Montana State.

6, Washington --- Lots of legitimate reasons for optimism on Montlake. But as Sarkisian said Monday, there's also a lot of spots where you have to hedge the bet just a little until you see it proven on gameday. May take a few weeks to really know a lot about the Huskies, however.

7, Cal --- I may be alone in thinking that the Bears may be better than the predictions suggest. Jeff Tedford's rehiring of Jim Michalczik as OL coach and offensive coordinator may have been one of the more underrated moves of the off-season. And Zach Maynard may be the QB the team has lacked for a few years. The defense should be good, so with any offensive improvement, the Bears could surprise. One team we'll find out a little bit about this week with a dicey opener against Fresno State.

8, Arizona --- A really hard team to read. On the one hand, they have a proven QB in Nick Foles and a talented WR corps. On the other hand, major questions on the OL and a tough off-season in which a few good players have been lost to injury. We'll find out a lot next Thursday when UA plays at Oklahoma State after playing what should be a breather this week against NAU.

9, Colorado --- Another team I think I may be a little higher on than some people. Buffs should be able to run and if Tyler Hansen can do the job at QB, CU could pull a surprise or two. Interesting first-week game at Hawaii.

10, UCLA --- There's lots of undeniable talent here, but it seems hard to figure exactly what the plan is offensively and now that will all come together. UCLA has the biggest game of the first week of any conference team at Houston. Pretty obvious what this season means for Rick Neuheisel and an early defeat will only warm things up that much more.

11, Oregon State --- Beavers another team that have had a tough off-season, losing some key players (most recently, cornerback Brandon Hardin) to injury, and not yet getting back team leader and leading receiver James Rodgers. OSU should breeze against Sacramento State before a real test awaits next week at Wisconsin.

12, Washington State --- Unquestionably, the Cougars should be better this season. But until the lines on each side show substantial improvement, it's hard to move them up this ladder. Playing what's one of the worst programs in FCS this week won't prove anything, so any real sense of WSU's improvement will wait a few weeks.

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August 31, 2011 1:14 PM

Some notes from the Big Sky

Posted by Bob Condotta

You're not going to see that headline on here very often. But I hopped on the conference call for Big Sky coaches today and heard a few things worth passing along. ...

--- Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin was asked about the confidence being espoused by his quarterback, Bo Levi Mitchell, who when asked by KJR-AM's Dave "Softy'' Mahler this week to make a prediction on the game, predicted a win for the Eagles, saying: "EWU fans show up, they scream loud and they get to watch their boys another game.'' It's clip the station has taken to playing quite a bit the last few days.

As Baldwin said today, however, it's hard to expect his quarterback to say much of anything else, especially when asked specifically to make a prediction: "I would say that I certainly don't want a quarterback who gives a prediction that he thinks we are going to lose the game. That's the way I look at it. I've said that to people, too, and that's no disrespect to anyone. I think the Huskies are a tremendous football team and that coaching staff has done an amazing job --- the growth they made through the season says a lot about their character and their coaching and those guys. In terms of watching a whole season's worth of last year's film, the improvement was awesome and the effort level was awesome. So I say all that first.

"But in terms of my quarterback, I hope to God he thinks and he feels like we are going to win this ballgame. I wouldn't want anything different. Now sometimes you get caught in your quote, unquote choice of words, or people want to bait you into some questions. But the bottom line is, if he said we are just going over there to have some fun and play a football game, no, we are going over there with the mindset that we are going to win and that's what I want everyone on that bus thinking.''

--- Count Montana coach Robin Pflugrad as one who thinks the Eagles can pull it off. Asked on the call if there were any Big Sky teams he thought had a chance to win against a Pac-12 team this weekend, he said: "Oh yeah, Eastern Washington. I have some Cougar in me (he was an assistant at WSU under Mike Price and Bill Doba), as you know, and I know the Husky coaches real well, and I think they'll have a great season in Seattle. However, coach Baldwin is a tremendous coach, and I think they have a tremendous staff at Eastern. They have experience, an experienced quarterback who's been in big venues, and I do not count them out of that game at all." He also said that the "I know the other team (UW) doesn't have a very experienced quarterback, and that can be a big deal in the opening game." (He also mentioned Montana State as having a chance against Utah.)

--- Idaho State coach Mike Kramer was asked about the progress of former UW receiver Anthony Boyles, who is now a junior for the Bengals --- who open Saturday at Washington State. Said Kramer: "Anthony's been slowed, really. He was a storied receiver out of Los Angeles, went to the UW but grayshirted. When he went there in the spring, he really wasn't trained well. They didn't do a good job of training him as a wideout. They ended up moving him to corner, but his passion to play the sport was as a receiver . . . essentially, he's being trained for the first time as a college wideout." Kramer's reference was to Boyles' first spring at UW in 2008, under the coaching staff of Tyrone Willingham.

Asked to elaborate on that statement, he said: "He really didn't get a chance to play college receiver like a college receiver needs. They asked him to move to corner.'' He also mentioned that Boyles earned his degree at UW and was "academically way ahead" when he came to ISU.

--- Finally, Portland State coach Nigel Burton --- a former UW player from 1996-98 --- was asked about the progress of former Husky running back Willie Griffin. He said Griffin has been battlling some nagging injuries but that: "He's doing a nice job, he's just kind of been plagued by injuries since he's been here. He's a great kid who really busted his rump for us last year. He played through some stuff especially early in the season that caught up with him last season. We are definitely looking for him to bring a little power and maturity to our offense throughout the season."

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August 31, 2011 11:31 AM

Live chat with former UW coach Jim Lambright at noon

Posted by Bob Condotta


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August 31, 2011 9:10 AM

Wednesday morning links --- Special teams, Lambright chat, Pac-12 ticket options, and more

Posted by Bob Condotta

The season is moving ever closer.

And the first play of that season for the Huskies will be a special teams one -- a kickoff, or a kickoff return. That's an area the Huskies have really worked on throughout training camp to improve, something I spotlighted for my story for today's paper.

Said safety Justin Glenn of the issues of a year ago and what the team worked on in camp:

"It was just one or two guys not fitting the right way or going out of their lanes. It was the little things that made the big plays happen, and negatively for us. So that's what they want to do is make sure that each guy knows their assignments and knows what to do to eliminate those big plays that can have a huge impact on the outcome of the game.''

As detailed in the story, it won't take much for the UW special teams to be an improvement over last year. And in a season that looms as one filled with close games, it hardly needs to be stated how much some special teams improvement could play a role.

IN OTHER HUSKY NEWS. ...

--- Another reminder of our live chat today at noon with former UW coach Jim Lambright. You'll be able to access that chat on the blog.

--- We're also having a live chat tomorrow at noon with myself and Bud Withers to kick off his new Pac-12 Confidential blog.

--- Withers wrote today that UW and UCLA could be the surprises of the Pac-12.

--- Some Husky fans began receiving a letter from the Pac-12 yesterday detailing ticketing options for a possible conference title game at CenturyLink Field. Here it is: CenturyLink Field Pac-12 Championship Game Letter.pdf

--- The official site looks at Eastern's passing game and how the Huskies hope to combat it.

--- As part of his continuing high school preview package, Mason Kelley today profiled Mercer Island QB and UW commit Jeff Lindquist.

--- Kelley also profiles Skyline QB Max Browne.

--- UW has made it to the finals of the DailyAxe's Pac-12 uniform competition.

--- As far as I can tell, every former Husky on an NFL roster survived yesterday's cutdown to 80. The next one comes over the weekend when teams have to get down to 53.

--- Former UW standout Brent Wooten, who later became a head coach at Eastern, has passed away.

AROUND THE PAC-12/COLLEGE FOOTBALL. ...

--- Texas A&M is making it official that it is bailing on the Big 12. Hard to read yet if that will have any immediate impact on the Pac-12.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller says the Houston game Saturday is step one on Rick Neuheisel's redemption tour.

--- Here's a Pac-12 preview from the Salt Lake Tribune. They have UW sixth in the conference power ratings (I'll try to unveil mine later today).

--- The Arizona Daily Star examines what to watch for in the Pac-12 this weekend.

--- An LA Times columnist says USC's Matt Barkley deserves a good farewell tour.

--- Opposiing views looks at potential BCS bowl matchups.

--- Lots of Pac-12 links from Vince Grippi.

--- Lots of news and notes on Oregon.

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August 30, 2011 8:33 PM

Video: Alameda Ta'amu

Posted by Bob Condotta

I had a chance to catch up with Husky defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu after practice Tuesday to talk about playing with a broken bone in his hand, the depth on the defensive line, and facing Eastern Washington.

However, apologies ahead of time for the fact that my still-developing video ability means Ta'amu's moving in and out of the frame a little bit. Figured it was still worth posting.

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August 30, 2011 6:17 PM

Tuesday practice notes and Holt video

Posted by Bob Condotta

We're well into regular-season mode now, which means on Tuesday we get to talk to defensive players and coaches.

And that means our once chance this week with defensive coordinator Nick Holt, whose visit with the media you can see in the video below.

As for the news of the day, there remains nothing certain yet on the status of Chris Polk, Johri Fogerson and Quinton Richardson.

Polk and Fogerson were not in pads. Fogerson did some running of the stairs. Polk did some conditioning drills, as well.

Richardson was in full pads and worked mostly with the second unit but didn't appear 100 percent and his ankle was heavily taped.

Holt said afterward it was still unclear if Richardson will be able to play against Eastern Washington Saturday.

"Oh, I don't know,'' he said. "We'll have to wait and see. We've still got a couple more days. It looks like he's coming back pretty good but we don't know, will take a couple more days. It's only Tuesday. If he's ready to go, he'll play.''

Asked what he needs to see out of Richardson to play, he said: "If he can run full speed. I don't know if he can really run full speed and get out, I'm not sure about that. Just have to ask the trainers and see how he feels.''

If Richardson can't go, his starting spot will likely be filled by Greg Ducre, who again worked with the ones alongside Desmond Trufant. Holt said he's more than comfortable with Ducre starting.

"I'm confident,'' he said. "He's had a bunch of reps --- he's going to play. He's had a nice last couple of days of practice. He'll be ready to play. Whoever we throw out there will be ready to play.''

Holt said of Ducre that "he's a little heavier, he's stronger he knows what he's doing. He's a lot better than last year, a lot more experienced, and he's been around here for a year.'' (We do not get Steve Sarkisian on Tuesdays during the regular season so no chance to get an official update on Polk or Fogerson.)

Eastern's offensive strength is its passing attack, so Ducre could get tested pretty quickly if he has to play. Holt said one of challenges of facing Eastern is that its passing game is so quick.

"A lot of quick stuff,'' he said. "But hopefully we can generate some pass rush, but they do get it off quickly and they have a lot of screens and draws to offset your pass rush. But hopefully we can generate something that you might not get sacks but you can hurry some throws and be disruptive.''

Aside from the injury to Richardson, it has been a training camp full of good vibes about the defense, which hopes to translate the success of late last season into this year.

"I hope we pick up where we left off,'' Holt said. "We've got a lot of returners but we have a couple of young guys at a couple of positions that are key linebacker positions. But they've had good fall camps. We hope we just keep getting better like we have the last couple of years and hopefully it shows on Saturday.''

More notes following the video. ...

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August 30, 2011 2:10 PM

Eastern QB confident, and a few other afternoon notes and links

Posted by Bob Condotta

ewubo.jpg

Eastern Washington quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (pictured in an AP photo) conducted a round of interviews this morning, including one KJR-AM and another with the Times. And in each he portrayed a confidence that the Eagles can come into Husky Stadium Saturday and pull off the upset.

"Well, I think we have a reason to be confidient,'' said Mitchell, a senior who played his first two seasons at SMU before transferring to Eastern Washington prior to the 2010 season, in an interview with the Times. "I think we have a talented team with a good set of coaches and a good fan base that is going to follow us over there.

"One thing everybody always says is that when you play up that it's a win-win situation for you because if you lose you are expected to lose and if you win, hell, you just beat a D-I team. But we are trying not to look at it like that. We are trying to look at it that we are expecting ourselves to win this game. We have watched a lot of film on them, we are prepared for them, we know what they are going to give to us, so it's kind of just going out there and being successful, and we know we are good at that. Just have to go out there and play your own game and just do it.''

Mitchell said that his two years at SMU taught him that FBS teams tend not to take FCS teams quite as seriously as other opponents.

"They are picking this game for a reason,'' he said of UW scheduling Eastern. "They want to come in and get an easy win to start the season out, and I know how that is coming from SMU and playing two (FCS) teams --- you just prepare differently. And we are going to take full advantage of that and just try to come out and smack them in the mouth.''

I'll have more on Mitchell and Eastern later in the week.

In other news. ...

---- ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit unveiled his annual pre-season Herbie Awards today, and included Chris Polk on his list of Best-Kept Secrets and Best Running Backs, and Steve Sarkisian among the Top Offensive Minds. He also includes his eye-opening pick of UCLA to win the Pac-12 South (apparently, he has USC actually winning it but UCLA finishing second and representing the South in the title game before losing to Oregon).

--- Times sports editor Don Shelton rounds up a list of Seattle sports flops and includes Tyrone Willingham.

--- The Go2Guy writes that he's worried UW will win eight or nine games this year.

--- Rivals.com includes Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins on its list of true freshmen to watch this season.

--- KJR-AM is again holding a College Football Survivor Pool.

--- Here are Jon Wilner's updated Pac-12 rankings, with UW third in the North.

--- Lots of good stuff in the Arizona Daily Star's college football special section.

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August 30, 2011 12:10 PM

Sarkisian conference call and radio notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Steve Sarkisian made his first appearance this year on the weekly Pac-12 coaches conference call, as well as doing a segment on ESPN 710 Seattle. Here are a few notes from each:

--- Sarkisian said that he is "not going to rule out'' that Chris Polk and Johri Fogerson could play Saturday. He said each "looked good running yesterday and I'm excited to see them today.'' He reiterated that if a decision is made to play Bishop Sankey that he will then play substantially the rest of the season. "If we do that this Saturday you are going to see Bishop Sankey the rest of the year. You'll see him be a factor on this football team not just a one-hit wonder on Saturday.''

--- He said the emphasis on the 1-0 start "just felt like the logical thing to do. We had never been there before and when you're struggling through the dog days of training camp, it's something sitting out there that they can achieve.''

--- He said the biggest improvement on the team this year is "the depth factor, when for years now we have been so thin it's almost scary and all the sudden a couple of injuries here and there it affects you. I really feel like now what is right in front of us is a deep football team that will have the ability to rotate players and substitute players. ... the depth is something that is right in front of me that resonates with me that man we are a different team.''

--- He said what has helped Keith Price's progress is that he has "grown up in this system and hadn't known anything else before, so in some ways he's almost a little bit more comfortable in that aspect because he's never known anything different.''

--- He said despite the QB change that the offense this year is "not going to look that much drastically different but the tight end additioin is going to look like the biggest difference to everybody.''

--- He said the school "exhausted every avenue of potential redshirts and different things'' for the two punters but couldn't find any way to get either another year of eligibility. So he said again that each will be used this season.

--- Asked on the conference call to assess what he saw out of Price last year, he said: "I think two things really jumped out at me. One it's always tough to tell with a backup quarterback how well they are preparing thorughout the week but the few opportunities he had he was prepared mentally to execute the plays that were asked of him. And two, none of those moments were too big for him. ... those weren't easy games to step into, so I liked his mental preparation as well as the fact that those moments weren't too big for him. ... The guy he reminds me the most probably is Charlie Ward back at Florida State.'' He said like Ward, Price has a basketball player's court awareness of the field can make some unorthodox throws.

--- He repeated what he'd said earlier about Price's comfort in the system, saying "a lot of the audibles and nuances within this system are just second nature to him he reacts extremely quickly, he just doesn't know any different.. Sometimes that's the best thing for you.''

--- He said the offensive line "is as good as we've been from a nasty perspective. ... I think the nasty comes a little bit with experience, the confidence that you've played before, okay here now comes the nasty.''

--- Asked about Eastern, he said: "They are a good football team led by their quarterback (Bo Levi Mitchell) who can throw the ball all over the place. They provide a lot of issues to you offensively. ... they are an opportunistic team that plays with great effort. We expect them to come in here and play hard and be well-coached and give us everything we want.''

--- Asked what he likes most about his team, he said "how close we are, how tight-knit we are. This is the closest team we have had. It's very family-oriented. They are doing things together and are willing to stand up in front of each other and joke and laugh and willing to stand up in front of each other and demand things of each other. ... I'm excited probably more about that then anything.''

--- Asked about Hau'oli Jamora, Sarkisian praised him to the hilt, including his "unbelievable work ethic'' and said the time between the season and the Holiday Bowl really helped him in getting back to fundamentals after having played some during the year.


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August 30, 2011 8:55 AM

Tuesday links --- Huskies hoping for rare 1-0 start

Posted by Bob Condotta

The overwhelming theme of the Monday before the first game of the season was the desire to start out 1-0.

So that's what I wrote about for my main story for Tuesday's paper.

Obviously, the lean years of the mid-2000s lent themselves to lots of bad streaks that the Huskies have broken, or appear on the verge of breaking, now that the Steve Sarkisian era is entering year three.

As detailed in the story, UW's lackluster record in openers of late (2-7 since 2001) is due in part to playing a lot of heavyweights, often on the road.

Those included: 2002 loss at Michigan; 2003 loss at Ohio State; 2008 loss at Oregon; 2010 loss at BYU. Also in that mix was a 2009 loss at home to LSU.

This opener appears different, on paper. The goal now is to also make it different on the field.

IN HUSKY NEWS. ...

--- Times columnist Jerry Brewer writes about Keith Price, who will make his debut as the undisputed UW Husky start on Saturday.

--- Mason Kelley details the stacked group of offensive linemen in the state of Washington this year.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller takes a look at the first week of games in the Pac-12.

--- Here's the report from UW's official site on Monday's press conference. Cody Bruns, by the way, wore jersey No. 3 Monday, that of EWU's Greg Herd, part of his new duties on the scout team now that he is redshirting.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller calls UW-Oregon one of the biggeest games in the Pac-12 this year.

--- Here's Eastern Washington's official release on the game.

--- Here, again, is a link to the pointspread, showing UW favored by 18. You can also see just how many games there are between FBS and FCS teams this weekend.

--- Haven't seen any former Huskies on the Transactions list yet. You can keep tabs on it here.

--- A reminder that we will have a live chat Thursday at noon with myself and Bud Withers, who is starting up a new Pac-12 blog this season. I also may fit in one somewhere else focused just on the Huskies.

AROUND PAC-12/COLLEGE FOOTBALL

--- The San Jose Mercury News says the pressure is on Cal coach Jeff Tedford.

--- The LA Times has a preview of USC.

--- No Huskies, but a few Pac-12 guys on SI.com's pre-season All-America team.

--- The two Hawaii players involved in an altercation over the weekend have been suspended for the team's opener this week against Colorado, but it's unclear if they will play the following week at Washington.

--- Speaking of Hawaii, Jon Wilner picks the Warriors to win the WAC this season.

--- Oregon State could be without five starters this weekend.

--- They are getting pretty darn excited in Utah for the Pac-12 era to begin.

--- Arizona is going to be quite a bit younger this year.

--- Here's a preview of the team former Husky Nigel Burton is putting together at Portland State for this year. Portland State will play UW in 2012.

--- Lots of WSU notes and Pac-12 links from Vince Grippi.

--- The Cougars open against Idaho State and former UW WR Anthony Boyles, shown here making a catch in a recent scrimmage.

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August 29, 2011 10:47 PM

Video: Jermaine Kearse talks about Eastern Washington game

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a little video of UW receiver Jermaine Kearse talking about the matchup with Eastern Washington Saturday:

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August 29, 2011 6:16 PM

Video: A look at the outline of the new Husky Stadium

Posted by Bob Condotta

After having been away from here for a few days, it was hard not to notice the big, purple line circling the field at Husky Stadium now.

The line signifies where the stands of the new stadium will rest in relation to the field, a difference that is really telling in the end zones --- I'd probaby get winded sprinting from the line of the new stands to where the current seats sit.

Anyway, here's a little video attempting to show you how close the new seats will be to the field once the stadium is renovated:

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August 29, 2011 5:34 PM

Coach's show and practice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few more notes from Monday's practice and the first of UW coach Steve Sarkisian's radio shows. ...

--- Nick Holt (the player, not the coach) was out with an unspecified injury, though indications are it's not serious.

--- Chris Polk was not in pads today but did some running and cutting drills and Sarkisian said "he looked good today. Did a lot of cutting drills, and that's always the challenge, not just running straight ahead. He looked good doing it, we'll see how the knee responds tomorrow.'' But he said again that they won't make a decision until Wednesday and will likely error on the side of caution. "The reality is, I want to make sure I have a healthy Chris Polk for October, November.''

--- Quinton Richardson was in pads and did some practicing with the second team. He didn't look at full strength, though that might have been expected given that he has been out for 16 days. Sarkisian on his radio show said Richardson is about 80-85 percent but that today was a good one to get him back out on the field and see where he is and then see how the ankle responds tomorrow.

--- Sarkisian said he feels good about the tailback spot even if Polk can't play with Jesse Callier and Bishop Sankey taking over: "Quite honestly, I don't feel bad about that. I think those two kids can play. ... Bishop Sankey has done nothing to disappoint us this training camp. He's mentally tough and physically tough. ... If we go with Jesse and Bishop, I feel fine about it.''

--- Sarkisian said that one of Keith Price's better unnoticed attributes is his ability to audible at the line of scrimmage and get the Huskies out of bad plays. "He's a guy that gets us into a good football play,'' he said, adding that the Huskies have "maybe done more (audibiling) with Keith than Jake (Locker) because he's grown up in this system, he knows it so, so well that we don't run as many plays in the non-good looks.''

--- Sarkisian said again that they will not rotate quarterbacks in any manner this season or try to get Nick Montana a series here or there. "I've never believed in rotating those guys,'' he said. But he said that "Nick will get his chances, he knows that.''

--- Sarkisian elaborated a bit on the coach's show on the decision to use both punters. He hinted that Kiel Rasp would be the first to take the field though he said that "there could be another opportunity depending on where we are on the field, you are going to see Will Mahan.'' He said deciding on a starter has not been easy because both have done well and said again that "we'll find opportunities for both of them. ...Both have earned the right to participate on our team this fall.''

--- Sarkisian said his main worry isn't that the team won't be fired up or play but that the "challenge for us is to do things right and not have the false starts and illegal prodecures and pass interferences where we give them plays. So that's been a big focus for us today and will be throughout the week.''

--- He said they will rotate 10 defensive linemen in the game making the team as deep as it's been on the line since he's been here.

--- And he said again that Desmond Trufant was one of the MVPs of training camp.

UPDATE, 5:55 P.M. --- So far, no former Huskies have been cut by NFL teams. You can follow NFL transactions here.

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August 29, 2011 3:13 PM

Video: Everrette Thompson

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's some video of UW defensive lineman Everrette Thompson talking to the media at Monday's press luncheon:

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August 29, 2011 2:03 PM

Sark bites --- Pre-Eastern Washington edition

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are some of the unfiltered quotes from UW coach Steve Sarkisian's press conference today:

Opening statement: "OK, it's game week. This is why we do what we do to get to this point. I'm proud of what our kids have been able to accomplish for three weeks of training camp. I think we've evolved as a team. We've come together as a team which is vitally important. And now we are posed with a challenging schedule and season to kick it off against Eastern Washington. I congratulated Coach (Beau) Baldwin when he won a national championship at the end of the year, and I had to remind myself that we play them at the beginning of this year.

This is a football team that plyas extremely hard. They are very well coached. And because of that, they are opportunistic. I think we saw that in the playoffs, when you watch the games and look at the film. They make the plays at the most opportunistic times to really change games. You have to have good players in place to make that happen. Obviously on offense with the quarterback (Bo) Levi Mitchell, the offensive line returning four or five starters, the long rangy tall wide receivers they possess offensively, present challenges.

Defensively, up front with (Renard) Williams at defensive tackle and the Johnsons (Zach and Matt) at middle linebacker and safety, their defense is really anchored right down the middle, which is where you want to be anchored. That's where your defense has to begin. It's an exciting time for us, but yet one that we know is very a challenging. A team that's coming in here with a lot of confidence, that's won a lot of football games. More games than we've won the last two years that's for sure. It will pose a great threat for us that way.

As far as our football team, where we've come a long way, in my opinion, is just the depth. The simple fact that we are going to play more bodies than we ever have at wide receiver, at defensive line, at linebacker, at safety and play guys earlier in the ballgame, not waiting. You are going to see guys in the third series of the game. You are going to see a lot of different numbers. That's the beauty of creating depth on your roster and playing guys and giving them opportunities to play. I think you'll see that as a little different bit of a change of who we are and what we've been the last couple of years.

We do not yet know the status of (Chris) Polk, (Quinton) Richardson or (Johri) Fogerson. We'll assess them as the week goes on. We'd like to make some form of a decision, at least internally at least by Wednesday, but that remains to be seen, so we'll see where we go from there. As for the punter, (Kiel) Rasp and (Will) Mahan will both punt. Hopefully we don't punt too many times. You never like sending your punting unit out there. You'll see both those guys punting.

Some other notes ... The goal for us this year is to redshirt Cody Bruns for a lot of reason, some personal, some strategic on our part. It would be great to have a veteran leader, senior wide receiver next year as we graduate some seniors this year. Because of the depth at the position and some of the things in his personal life, we think that's the best thing for him and the best thing for us. We'll see how that goes.

As far as other redshirts on our roster, there's some really easier decisions to make. The Kasen Williams', the Austin Seferian-Jenkins', the Danny Shelton's, those guys are going to play. There's a lot of easier ones to make of guys that are ensuring of redshirts. And then we've got some gray areas on some guys that we are going to have to make some tough decisions on here throughout this week and then potentially into next week and the week after that as they develop. Some of those guys are obviously are a Bishop Sankey, a James Sample, a Marcus Peters, some guys that are on the cusp and kind of in and out of the two-deep and with injuries and what-not how that plays.

Continue reading this post ...


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August 29, 2011 1:02 PM

Monday press conference notes, and Sarkisian video

Posted by Bob Condotta

The first Monday press luncheon of the season is in the books.

Below you can see the video of Steve Sarkisian's opening statement, in which he touched on most of the key personnel questions facing the Huskies as they prepare for Saturday's opener against Eastern Washington.

Among the highlights:

--- Sarkisian said that senior WR Cody Bruns will redshirt this season due both to personal and strategic reasons. Bruns has missed a few practices to attend to details related to the death of his father last month. Also, since he has a redshirt year available, he can sit out this year and return next season to add some experience after the departures of Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar.

--- He said he will use both punters -- Kiel Rasp and Will Mahan.

--- He said that while there will be lots of rotating of players at certain spots, that will not happen at quarterback declaring a decisive "no'' when asked if there would be any thought of sharing time in any way at that position.

--- He said it was too early to know if either Chris Polk, Johri Fogerson or Quinton Richardson will play this week and that they hoped to make a decision "internally'' by Wednesday.

--- He said there will be some tough decisions regarding redshirting true freshmen but said there are some that will obviously play --- Kasen Williams, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, etc.

I'll have some more notes and quotes later.

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August 29, 2011 10:56 AM

Depth chart for Eastern released

Posted by Bob Condotta

The official game notes for the opener against Eastern are now out.

First, here's the official TV info straight from the release: The Washington-EWU game will air live to a regional audience on ROOT Sports television (formerly FSN Northwest) with Tom Glasgow, former Husky and Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon, Jason Stiles and Jen Mueller providing the commentary.

I'll provide the entire depth below, but first a few highlights:

--- Chris Polk and Quinton Richardson are listed, but I'd wait a few days before assuming they are going to play;

--- Again, a few either/ors at contested spots, namely punter and tight end;

--- True frosh listed on the depth chart are Kasen Williams, Bishop Sankey, Nick Holt, Dezden Petty, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, John Timu, Marcus Peters, Danny Shelton and James Sample. (And Derrick Brown as the No. 3 QB, though he is likely still in the plans to redshirt). All other scholarship true frosh are likely on the redshirt track;

--- No real surprises, though you'll note they have done away with the "rush end'' spot for now and simply now list Josh Shirley as a backup defensive end, and you'll note Nate Fellner the starter at free safety though I imagine both will play at that spot.

Here's the entire depth chart (and again, this is the official one, not mine, so forward any complaints to the school):

Continue reading this post ...


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August 29, 2011 8:31 AM

Monday links --- More signs that the season is here

Posted by Bob Condotta

It's the first Monday of a game week of the season, which means Steve Sarkisian's first Monday press conference.

You'll be able to watch it live on UWTV (or catch a replay at 6:30 p.m.) or listen live on KJR-AM. And as always, I'll have a full report on here later, as well.

Among the things that will happen today is the release of the first official depth chart of the season. Once that comes out I will post it here.

IN OTHER HUSKY NEWS. ...

--- I'm scheduled to be on KJR-AM with Ian Furness (filling in for Mitch) and Hugh Millen at 9 a.m.

--- And the first Steve Sarkisian Coach's Show is also today on KJR-AM at 4:30 p.m. Those are again at the Don James Center.

--- For my main story for today's paper, I examined UW's decision to play FCS teams such as Eastern Washington.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller has UW fifth in his week one Power Rankings.

--- Jon Wilner says UW is playing the sixth-toughest schedule in the conference this year.

--- The Kitsap Sun has a story on Eastern Washington defensive tackle Renard Williams, who will pose a challene for the Huskies Saturday.

--- Good stuff from The Oregonian breaking down ticket prices throughout the Pac-12.

--- The LA Times picks UW fourth in the Pac-12 North.

AROUND THE PAC-12/COLLEGE FOOTBALL

--- One LA columnist says Lane Kiffin is feeling as much pressure as Rick Neuheisel.

--- Here's a little preview of Indiana State, where former Husky Ronnie Fouch remains the starting QB.

--- The LA Times has a Q-and-A with Mark Emmert.

--- Two starters at Hawaii have been suspended indefinitely after being charged with assault over the weekend. Hawaii plays at UW Sept. 10.

--- Interesting look at how many people will have their hands in UCLA's offense this year.

--- All NFL teams must reduce their rosters from 90 to 75 by Tuesday, so obviously a lot of former Huskies hoping for the best. I'll update that news as quickly as I can.

--- Vince Grippi with some links around the Pac-12.

--- One-time UW commit Brendon Bigelow is reported to be likely to redshirt this year, which makes you wonder where he'd be in the mix at Washington right now had he come to Seattle, instead.

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August 28, 2011 5:34 PM

How many true freshmen will play in 2011?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Coaches will often tell you that a good sign of a developing program is being able to depend a little less on true freshmen, allowing them some time to mature before seeing the field.

And that could be exactly what is beginning to happen at Washington.

UW has played an astonishing 36 true freshmen over the last three seasons --- 12 in 2008, 10 in 2009 (when UW signed only 13 true freshmen) and 14 last season. The 12 in 2008 was a school record that was then broken last season.

But the Huskies may not match any of those totals this season based on what we have seen so far in training camp.

With the season now just six days away, six true freshmen seem certain to play this year with another couple appearing on the bubble.

Those who seem sure to play are: receiver Kasen Williams, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, defensive lineman Danny Shelton, fullback Nick Holt, linebacker John Timu (who, remember, is a true frosh since he delayed enrollment until January), and safety James Sample. All appear as at least backups at their spots, or on special teams.

Running back Bishop Sankey also seems sure to play now given the injury issues at tailback. And cornerback Marcus Peters appears on the cusp of playing, likely depending on how the injury situation develops at cornerback. Another who could see action is walk-on QB Thomas Vincent, whom UW coach Steve Sarkisian said could see time on some special teams.

Based on what we've seen so far, and heard from coaches, all of the rest (there are 21 scholarship true freshmen on the rostere) may be in line to redshirt this season.

Having said that, it's important to note there are no rules on when a decision has to be made. Redshirts simply happen after the fact once a player does not see action during the season.

Obviously, coaches usually make a decision early in the season and then attempt not to play the players they want to redshirt unless there are injuries or other extenuating circumstances forcing them to use a player. Generally, once three or four games pass, a player who hasn't played doesn't play. Once a player does see action, he can no longer redshirt unless he suffers an injury during the first 30 percent of the season that keeps him out for the rest of the year (here's a good primer on the general redshirt rules and another primer on the medical hardship rules. So you can't just throw a player in for a series or two to see how he does and then decide to redshirt him.

Again, how the season unfolds could force UW to play more. And maybe in the early weeks a player or two progresses enough that the coaches suddenly decide to play him. But at the moment, based on what we know, it appears the Huskies may not have to rely on true freshmen quite as much this season as the past few years.


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August 28, 2011 6:22 AM

Sunday links --- Times' season preview package, and lots more

Posted by Bob Condotta

Another sign that football is near is the Times' annual college football section.

It's included in Sunday's paper. Among the key items:

--- The theme of the overall section is the introduction of the new Pac-12, and Bud Withers has this guide to the new conference.

--- Included as part of that package is a comparison of football and athletic department budgets; a tour of each campus provided by a former player; a pick of an iconic player or coach from each school (probably not that hard to guess UW's); best- and worst-case scenarios for each team in 2011; and good places to visit at each school.

--- Columnist Steve Kelley takes a look inside the play-calling mind of Steve Sarkisian.

--- Here's my profile of UW QB Keith Price.

--- Columnist Jerry Brewer says this will be a season of transition as the Pac-12 debuts.

--- A look at UW's two-deep roster.

--- A fan's guide to UW football, including ticket prices.

--- UW's schedule with a comment on each game.

--- Withers also takes a look at the national scene.

--- Finally, here are the predictions by our staff.

IN OTHER UW NEWS

--- In our regular section today, I profiled the efforts of Jermaine Kearse to get past the issues with dropped passes he had last season and become more consistent.

--- Tom Dinehart of Rivals.com is the latest to wonder if UW can be a sleeper team in the Pac-12.

--- The official UW site has this report on the end of training camp.

HUSKIES IN THE NFL. ...

Here's a wrapup of how former UW players performed in NFL pre-season games last night. ...

--- Jake Locker didn't get a chance to do much for Tennessee, completing 2-4 passes for 13 yards and running twice for 14 yards.

--- Mason Foster had two tackles for Tampa Bay.

--- Donald Butler had a good night for the Chargers with a team-high five tackles against the Cardinals.

--- No stats for Dorson Boyce, Isaiah Stanback or D'Andre Goodwin in the Seahawks-Broncos game.

AROUND THE PAC-12/COLLEGE FOOTBALL

--- Looks like Texas A&M may really be leaving the Big 12, and who knows what that will lead to?

--- Eastern Washington, UW's first foe of 2011, held its final scrimmage of the fall Saturday. Here's a report from the Spokesman-Review and from the school.

--- The Sports Network has a preview of Hawaii, UW's second foe of 2011.

--- Nebraska's new offensive coordinator wants to speed things up.

--- The Arizona Republic offers a good profile of Dennis Erickson.

--- A Boulder Daily Camera thinks Colorado will win at UW on Oct. 15.

--- The New York Times has its college football preview section out today and you can find a lot of it here.

--- Here's an overall link to the Salt Lake Tribune's Pac-12 preview.

--- The LA Daily News interviews Gus Johnson, FOX's new Pac-12 announcer.

All for now.

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August 27, 2011 1:59 PM

Saturday practice notes --- Sankey one step closer to playing

Posted by Bob Condotta

I was not able to attend practice today, but have gathered a few notes and quotes with the help of some of those who were.

Sounds like the most significant happening is a "little strained hip'' sidelining Johri Fogerson that could leave the Huskies especially thin at tailback for the opener against Eastern Washington, with Chris Polk about a week-and-a-half removed from arthroscopic knee surgery.

UW coach Steve Sarkisian said it was too early to tell if either Polk or Fogerson will be able to play against the Eagles. If neither does, that would leave the Huskies with Jesse Callier and true frosh Bishop Sankey, who each got all the work with the ones in today's practice.

Sarkisian said he thinks Sankey is ready if needed, saying he's done what the coaches hoped so far.

"He's definitely not afraid of anything,'' he said. "He's a tough-minded kid. He's very serious. He prepares himself mentally and physically. I didn't place expectations on these guys, I think that's the last thing you want to do then you are always trying to gauge them to that expectation. I just want to let these guys come out and play and I think Bishop has done a nice job."

And he said he doesn't think Sankey would be in awe of having to play.

"Freshmen are a little naive to things,'' he said. "That's the beauty of being a freshman. You aren't as concerned about all the extraneous distractions and things that could be going on around you. You just line up and run the ball or catch the ball or block or do what you have to do. And Bishop has been doing that."

The injury is similar, if not the same, as the one that sidelined Fogerson for all but one game last season. He had appeared recovered and was having a good camp and looked ready to contribute this year.

In other personnel news. ...

Continue reading this post ...


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August 27, 2011 8:17 AM

Saturday links --- Gameweek getting started

Posted by Bob Condotta

Camp officially ends for the Huskies today, and gameweek preparation now begins for the opener against Eastern Washington.

For my story for Saturday's paper, I also turned the attention briefly to the Eagles, writing a little bit about former Husky running back Demitrius Bronson, who will make his debut for Eastern on Saturday against UW.

UW is set to take the field around 10:15 a.m. and practice --- a workout said to resemble a normal Monday practice --- then take Sunday off before resuming preparation on Monday.

In other news this morning. ...

--- Coach Sark's site also has pictures of the Friday scrimmage --- and for those with questions about what the base uniforms will look like this season, those are them.

--- Also, some pictures of Raise the Woof.

--- The Sports Network has a preview of the Huskies.

--- ESPN.com's Bruce Feldman says recruiting in southern California is changing, and cites UW's emergence as a key reason.

--- Jake Locker will be back in action tonight against the Bears, though Matt Hasselbeck is expected to play into the second half.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller throws in some Husky reminiscence in a look at Rick Neuheisel's battle to survive at UCLA.

--- The LA Times also examines Neuheisel's hot seat, comparing it to that of Arizona's Mike Stoops a few years ago, among others.

--- One last Neuheisel link --- promise --- he told ESPN.com the worst call of his coaching career was the time out late in the game against Michigan in 2002.

--- Cal coach Jeff Tedford reveals in his ESPN.com interview that he once tried to recruit Sarkisian.

--- And Mike Stoops says he wishes he hadn't called that pass against UW two years ago that Mason Foster picked off.

--- The Washington Post calls this the "Year of the Quarterback'' in the Pac-12.

--- Pre-Snap Read previews Nebraska.

All for now.

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August 26, 2011 3:08 PM

Friday poll: Are Huskies ready to take the next step?

Posted by Bob Condotta

The first kickoff of the season for the Huskies is now eight days away.

And with every hour that the opener draws nearer it seems that the optimism increases exponentially.

If it's not SI.com's Stewart Mandel saying the Huskies are a potential BCS sleeper this season, it's former Husky and current ESPN announcer Ed Cunningham (never one to just spout the company line) saying there's definitely a path where UW could win 10 games this season.

And then there's UW coach Steve Sarkisian, who over the course of the past 19 days has called this the deepest, most physical, most athletic, most explosive team he has had in three years at Washington. Sarkisian was similarly pretty optimistic heading into last season, if you recall, but has seemed increasingly confident as training camp has progressed.

The reality, of course, is that just about every college football team has something to feel good about this time of year. Even in wayward seasons like 2004 and 2008 there were people finding reasons to believe as the first kickoff neared for the Huskies.

UW fans, though, hope that the hope is more legitimate this time. And there's reason to think it just may be.

There are proven skill players such as Chris Polk and Jermaine Kearse. Exciting young playmakers such as Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. What appears to be a deeper and better pool of talent on both lines and in the secondary, led by the likes of Alameda Ta'amu and Desmond Trufant, each already drawing the eye of NFL scouts.

It could be argued that UW is better at every position than quarterback and linebacker, the two spots where the Huskies suffered significant losses to graduation.

The hesitation is that the Huskies remain young overall --- 11 of 22 position starters against Eastern Washington could be freshmen and sophomores.

The hope on Montlake is that the fondation is sturdy enough to make up for the inevitable growing pains of the kids.

Obviously, we won't really know if all the optimism is warranted until UW runs the gauntlet of Nebraska and Utah and Stanford and Oregon and USC and all of the rest.

But on this sunny August, hope reigns supreme.

And for our poll question heading into the weekend, we ask just how hopeful you really are. Is this truly the season that the Huskies announce their return to college football's elite? Or is true contention still a year or two away?



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August 26, 2011 11:15 AM

Video: DiAndre Campbell

Posted by Bob Condotta

In our latest video interview, we talk with redshirt freshman receiver DiAndre Campbell, who has been called by coaches one of the breakout players of training camp, likely earning himself a spot in the team's receiving rotation.

This player was created in August 2010 to take adavantage of smart player technology. It is used in all embedded video on The Seattle Times as well as outside sites..












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August 26, 2011 8:55 AM

Friday links --- Examining depth chart battles, and more

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington's football camp officially ends tomorrow, when the players leave their dorms, one of the final steps toward the beginning of the season in just --- believe it or not --- eight days.

When the Huskies began practice on Aug. 8, there were a few spots everyone thought would yield some stiff competition for the starting role. It wasn't necessarily thought that free safety would be one of them. But Justin Glenn's return to full health has enabled him to put up a spirited fight with Nate Fellner for that spot, as I wrote about for my story for today's paper.

As the Huskies prepare to enter gameweek mode tomorrow, most spots appear set.

It was thought heading into camp that the offensive line might have a battle or two. Instead, the same five have basically held the starting roles from day one --- left tackle Senio Kelemete, left guard Colin Tanigawa, center Drew Schaefer, right guard Colin Porter and right tackle Erik Kohler.

There's lots of competition at the WR spots, but since those positions rotate so much, in some ways it's a matter of semantics who actually starts --- whether the team begins in a two-receiver set, or three-receiver set, etc. More important is getting into that rotation. The top five seem pretty set --- Jermaine Kearse, Devin Aguilar, Kasen Williams. Kevin Smith, James Johnson, with DiAndre Campbell and Cody Bruns working in after that.

Tight end is similar in that Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Michael Hartvigson each figure to play a lot. Seferian-Jenkins is the likely No. 1 on the depth chart, but again, Hartvigson figures to play a lot, either as a second TE or rotating in, and Evan Hudson will also see the field. The backfield spots have been pretty set all along other than the disruption caused by Chris Polk's injury, which will likely have Jesse Callier listed at the top for the first week (with Jonathan Amosa appearing set since the beginning of camp as the starting fullback).

Defensively, the line is another spot where there will be lots of rotating and changing of alignments based on the scheme that week. Hau'oli Jamora at weakside end and Alameda Ta'amu at nose tackle are anchors at their spots, and Everrette Thompson will start somewhere, depending on alignment. Danny Shelton also has worked a lot with the ones of late, and guys like Talia Crichton, Lawrence Lagafuaina, Sione Potoa'e, Josh Shirley and Andrew Hudson will also see the field a lot.

It was thought the linebacker spots would have heavy competition, but it appeared to narrow down pretty quickly, with Princeton Fuimaono and John Timu moving into the first unit and mostly staying there. However, the two changed spots --- Timu to strongside and Fuimaono to weakside --- about midway through. And Garret Gilliland made a late move at the weakside spot and could rotate in there. Cort Dennison will be the MLB, with Thomas Tutogi having a nice camp to emerge as his backup.

Other than free safety, the secondary would have been set if not for an injury to Quinton Richardson, that now has Greg Ducre and Anthony Gobern battling to be his replacement for as long as he is out. Sean Parker grabbed the strong safety spot --- a position that seemed uncertain heading into camp --- and hasn't let it go (and Desmond Trufant is obviously the other corner).

Considering that all of the spots were there is still competition are those where both players could see time, the most intriguing decision left may be at punter, where Kiel Rasp and Will Mahan are battling. Coaches haven't indicated anything has happened yet to create separation and from what we've seen in practice and scrimmages, it's hard to tell who may be ahead. Remember, neither has a redshirt year left, so that's not an option.

Soon, the coaches will have to figure out something there --- unless they can become the first team in history to just never punt.

IN OTHER HUSKY NEWS. ...

--- UW is scheduled for a practice today that is closed to the media. It was termed a "mock game'' by Sarkisian. The players boarded buses after practice last night and spent the night in a hotel, resembling the procedure for the night before a real game. Today is slated to resemble a real gameday, from the team holding pre-game meetings to wearing their gameday uniforms and then having a scrimmage. The Huskies have done this the last two years, as well, and also have had it closed to the media.

--- Official word is that the Raise the Woof celebration tonight will indeed be broadcast on KJR-AM. It is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

--- CoachSark's site has some pictures of Thursday afternoon's practice that was closed to everyone.

--- I helped write a couple of paragraphs for thexlog.com's season preview of the Huskies.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller says to watch out for Cal or Washington as a sleeper team.

--- UW's official site features Trufant.

HUSKIES IN THE NFL. ...

--- Nate Williams made two tackles in Baltimore's 34-31 win over the Redskins.

--- Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, who has been battling a hamstring injury, was not credited with any stats for the Eagles Thursday night. This blogger projects that Te'o-Nesheim may not make the final roster.

--- Here's a picture of D'Andre Goodwin making a catch in Denver's practice Thursday.

AROUND THE PAC-12/COLLEGE FOOTBALL

--- Oregon State's Mike Riley says going for two last year at UW was the worst coaching decision he's ever made.

--- Oregon has already paid $60,000 in legal fees related to the Willie Lyles situation.

--- Arizona has lost starting cornerback Jonathan McKnight for the season, the latest in a rrash of injuries (and so far, consider UW lucky in that department).

--- Pre-Snap Read previews Oregon.

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August 25, 2011 6:12 PM

Thursday night notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

As detailed in the entry below, UW's practices today were both closed to the public and media, so nothing new to report from Husky camp.

Practice tomorrow is also closed, so there won't be anything new on Friday, either.

For now, a couple of notes and links. ...

--- Some not so good news for former Husky tight end Kavario Middleton, who was recently charged in Seattle Municial Court with driving under the influence in relation to an incident on June 6. He is scheduled for an arraignment on Sept. 3. Middleton is now playing at Montana and that's the same day the Grizzlies are scheduled to open the season at Tennessee. Middleton was dismissed by the Huskies in July, 2010 for what was described as a violation of team rules.

--- Seattle Times sports editor Don Shelton wrote today about the visit to the house of Don James on Thursday for the live chat in which he participated.

--- ESPN.com has an interesting Q-and-A with Steve Sarkisian that is part of a series of interviews with every coach in the Pac-12. Included in the interview, Sarkisian says the worst call he's made so far was throwing on third down late in the game at ASU in 2009, a sequence of events that led to the last-second TD pass that won the game for the Sun Devils.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller called UW winning the North "a longshot'' along with lots of other thoughts in a live chat he held today.

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August 25, 2011 3:43 PM

Practice closed today

Posted by Bob Condotta

I made it up to UW only to find out there was no need today as practice is closed to all --- media, public and otherwise.

So if you were likewise making plans to attend, don't. Sounds like there may have just been some miscommunication on whether today's practice was intended to be open. The upshot is that there will be no practice report today as there is also no availability with players or coaches. This was the practice that was described as a walk-through, basically the team practicing what it would do on the Friday before a game. Those are closed to the media during the season, so the plan all along apparently was that this practice would be closed to the media, as well.

There are now no more practices scheduled to be open to the general public as today marked what the school originally announced to be the official end of camp (here are the policies for who is now allowed to watch practice). Players, however, don't check out of their dorms until Saturday.

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August 25, 2011 1:33 PM

Defensive line leftovers, including Jamora video

Posted by Bob Condotta

In putting together the story for today's paper on UW's defensive line (which specifically focused on the players other than Alameda Ta'amu), I also spoke with line coach Johnny Nansen.

A lot of that didn't make the final cut, so I'll throw it on here, as well as a video below of Hau'oli Jamora from the other night, talking about his added weight, playing last year, and more.

As Jamora notes in the video, he weighs about 15 pounds more than he did last season, and Nansen says he thinks that's making a difference.

"Hau'oli has really bought in and is doing a great job developing,'' Nansen said. "He is going to be (used in) multiple (ways). There are a lot of things we do on defense, and he has to learn it and he is a fast learner, so I'm very prod of Hau'oli in that way. He's put on 15 pounds and done a great job and looks good. There's no doubt he's a lot stronger. He's more phsyical in the way he's playing and he's faster, also.''

Nansen heaps similar high praise on the play so far of Everrette Thompson.

"What a great kid,'' he said. "The kid is always working. You always know what you are getting out of Everrette. It helps being in the system for three years now. He's kind of our quarterback up front, and he's really been a good mentor to the young guys with their development, especially Hau'oli and Talia (Crichton) and all those guys that are playing.''

Thompson regularly lines up at end or tackle, depending on the alignment, and Nansen said that will continue.

"He's going to be used pretty similar to last year,'' he said. "He'll mainly be a three-technique (tackle) but with the option of moving outside and putting Danny (Shelton) and Lawrence (Lagafuaina) inside.''

The emergence of the latter two players the last week or so is giving the Huskies increased options.

Shelton's progress has been well-documented, but Nansen said Lagafuaina has also stood out.

"The last week he has been having an outstanding camp and we are counting on him to help us out this year,'' Nansen said.

Here's what he said about a few other players:

--- On Shelton: "Oh man, we are going to need Danny's help, and you see he is running with the ones on some snaps. He's a quick learner. He gets lined up and I think having the experience of (Alameda) and Talia up front is helping danny's development. Most definitely we are counting on him to play for us and play a major role.''

--- On Josh Shirley: "We would like for Josh to keep growing, and I think there are a couple of times he shows flashes of a guy that is exactly what we are looking for, and then there are a couple of times that we've got to look at what we can do to help Josh and eliminate some of the package that we have and find a role for him. Once we do that I think we are going to be in good shape.''

--- On Andrew Hudson: "He is going to be in the mix of things, a great kid a great motor plays hard.''


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August 25, 2011 11:24 AM

Huskies listed as 18-point favorites over Eagles

Posted by Bob Condotta

The first official betting line I've seen on the Washington-Eastern Washington game is out, listing the Huskies as 18-point favorites.

You can find it here from VegasInsider.com --- games are listed by Eastern time so scroll down a ways to find the UW game.

Using the trusty Phil Steele magazine as a reference, it looks like that would be the biggest spread in UW's favor since the Huskies were 24-point favorites in the 2009 Apple Cup, a game Washington won 30-0. UW was also a 20-point favorite that year against Idaho, a game it won 42-23, so getting the win but not the cover.

Other than those two games, you have to go back to the 2006 season opener against San Jose State to find another similar spread. That year, UW was a 20-point favorite against the Spartans but won just 35-29 as SJSU scored a few times late to make the game close.

A couple of months ago, I actually guessed that UW would open as a 19-point favorite against Eastern, so I can legitimately say the line is about what I expected.

I would also guess now that the line might go up in UW's favor as kickoff approaches as bettors might think that just a tad low for a Pac-12 team hosting a lower-division team.

And worth reiterating here that the lines are set essentially to try to get even action on each team --- to set a line that will entice basically half the people to bet on each side (that way, the book wins, guaranteed its take of the vigorish (defined here). If a lot of action comes in on one side or the other, the line is adjusted to try to get more action back on the other side.

In other Pac-12 openinig week lines:

--- Arizona is a 27.5-point favorite over visiting Northern Arizona;
--- Utah is a 28-point favorite over visiting Montana State;
--- Oregon State is a 27.5-point favorite over visiting Sacramento State;
--- WSU is also a 27.5-point favorite over Idaho State (the Pac-12 getting lots of chances to prove its superiority over the Big Sky);
--- Arizona State is a 35.5-point favorite over visiting UC-Davis;
--- Houston is a 3.5-point favorite over UCLA in a key game for Rick Neuheisel's hot seat;
--- USC is a 21-point favorite over a visiting Minnesota team starting over under new coach Jerry Kill;
--- Stanford is a 27.5-point favorite over San Jose State;
--- Cal is a 10-point favorite over Fresno State in a game at Candlestick Park;
--- Oregon is a 1-point favorite over LSU;
--- and finally, Hawaii is a 7-point favorite over visiting Colorado, an interesting clash of two teams UW will face in the first half of the season.

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August 25, 2011 9:39 AM

Thursday links --- Huskies a BCS sleeper?

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies will host their Raise the Woof kickoff celebration tomorrow night at 6 p.m.

And maybe if it's not too late they can get Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated to be the emcee --- outside of Dick Baird, no one may be higher on the Huskies right now than Mandel.

A month after saying that the Huskies could be a surprise team in the Pac-12, Mandel today wrote that UW is among the unranked teams that could be a BCS sleeper and that the Huskies could win 10 games this year.

Faithful readers of this blog know my general take --- I think the Huskies may still be a year away from really making that kind of leap due to the inexperience at the quarterback sport and a roster that remains on the young side overall. But hope spring eternal this time of year --- August being to college football what March is to baseball.

And if the Huskies pull it off, Mandel can say he saw it coming.

IN OTHER HUSKY NEWS. ...

--- One reason for increasing optimism on Montlake? The progress of the defensive line, which could be the best the school has had in a decade or so. I wrote about that for my story for today's paper, focusing on true freshman Danny Shelton.

--- The preview I wrote on UW for Lindy's pre-season magazine is now on-line, though remember, this was penned in April for a pre-season magazine so there's some stuff that is out of date.

--- In the best-case scenario for ESPN.com's Ted Miller, the Huskies will go 10-3. Worst case? You may not want to read it (but I think it adds up to 4-8).

--- Miller also says Hau'oli Jamora just missed his list of the top 25 players in the conference.

--- And Chris Polk is mentioned in Miller's wrapup of ESPN's list of the top draftable offensive players in the conference.

--- Lots of fun stuff in ESPN.com's survey of Pac-12 football coaches, including Steve Sarkisian's favorite hamburger place (hint: you can't find it anywhere around here, but those of us who have eaten there before won't disagree). And those who'd argue opposing coaches didn't think much of Jake Locker might disappointed.

--- I'll link again the podcast I did with Times columnist Jerry Brewer previewing the season.

--- Here's a rewind of our chat with Don James yesterday.

--- The College Football Zealots preview the Pac-12 and pick UW to finish tied for third in the North, and tab Keith Price as a possible breakout player.

--- Nate Williams (Ravens) and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (Eagles) will be in action tonight in an abbreviated NFL exhibition schedule. Te'o-Nesheim, however, has been battling a hamstring injury, which won't help his fight to make the team.

--- Here's the latest on Ochocino offering to pay Mason Foster's fine.

AROUND THE PAC-12/COLLEGE FOOTBALL

--- Longtime Pac-10/12 writer Jake Curtis has his annual picks and is doing a reverse-Mandel, picking UW fifth in the North.

--- Here's an Associated Press preview of Eastern Washington.

--- Oregon State suffered another injury to a key player yesterday.

--- Jon Wilner looks at the Pac-12's future expansion options.

--- Lots of Pac-12 links from Vince Grippi.

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August 24, 2011 10:57 PM

Video: UW QB Keith Price

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW QB Keith Price talked after practice today about listening to former Husky coach Don James and the impending end of training camp.

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August 24, 2011 7:10 PM

Video: UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt talks to the media after Wednesday's practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

With the football season now less than 10 days away, it was time to get a primer on the UW defense from coordinator Nick Holt.

Holt talked after practice today about the progress of Danny Shelton, how much better he thinks the defensive line will be this year, the ongoing battle at free safety, the progress of true freshmen James Sample and Marcus Peters, and the linebacker position.

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August 24, 2011 6:06 PM

Video: Sarkisian talks after Wednesday practice, and a few notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies got off the field a few minutes earlier than originally scheduled today, UW coach Steve Sarkisian sensing his team could use a little break with training camp nearing its end.

The Huskies will hold a last two-a-day tomorrow and officially break camp on Saturday.

But today was the 20th practice UW has held since Aug. 8, and the players are beginning to feel it.

"We had a great practice last night,'' said Sarkisian. "I loved our practice last night. It was physical, tough, grinding. But I look at our guys and we had a little reception over there at Conibear with our families and the guys coming in, they didn't have quite the same pep in their step as they did a couple of weeks ago, and understandably so. It's been a physical camp. And so we had one more segment planned for today, but as practice went on I said let's get fresh now. Let's get fresh as a football team.''

Today's practice was full pads, but no full tackling. There were no significant new injuries apparent, and no new significant personnel news.

You can see Sarkisian talk to the media after practice in the video below about the progress of Danny Shelton and how he has overcome the personal tragedy of the spring, his thoughts on the defensive line, and a few other items. And there's a few more notes below the video:

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There was lots of special situational work today, including at one point some fumble drills, the players being taught the proper way to jump on a loose ball, with another player then taught how to cover that player up from thieving opponents.

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August 24, 2011 1:48 PM

Podcast: Dynamic Duel interloper talks Husky football

Posted by Bob Condotta

I was finally allowed into the sacred territory that is the Dynamic Duel Studios in downtown Seattle Tuesday to join Jerry Brewer to talk about Husky football (Danny O'Neil was mysteriously absent).

Anyway, it's about a 58-minute discussion on UW football --- yes, longer even than some Rush songs, though hopefully more comprehensible --- as the two of us break down the team by position, give our season picks, talk about which game we think could prove to be the key, and lots more.

So if you've got the time, we've got the talk.

Here's a link to Brewer's blog where you can find its original home.

Here's a link that takes you straight to the mp3.

Or just click below:

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August 24, 2011 10:34 AM

Live chat with Don James at noon

Posted by Bob Condotta

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August 24, 2011 8:47 AM

Wednesday links --- James chat at noon, and WRs jockey for position

Posted by Bob Condotta

We'll start with a reminder of a special live chat that we'll have at noon today with former Husky coach Don James.

You can access it here.

IN OTHER HUSKY NEWS. ...

--- For our Husky story today, I wrote about the emerging depth at receiver, focusing on senior WR Devin Aguilar, who could lose some time on the field this year because of the newcomers but says it's all good.

--- CoachSark's site has some pictures of practice and of dessert night.

--- UW's official site featured John Timu.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller rates Chris Polk fourth among all Pac-12 players heading into the 2011 season.

--- He also lists a couple of Huskies in his look at impact true freshmen in the conference.

--- Washington is now facing Cal in the DailyAxe's uniform competition.

AROUND THE PAC-12/COLLEGE FOOTBALL

--- Miller previewed the Pac-12 in a podcast for the Solid Verbal.

--- Lots of links around the conference from Vince Grippi.

--- Two sons of former UW coaches/coordinators are now at WSU.

--- A good preview of Hawaii from USA Today.

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August 23, 2011 10:15 PM

Tuesday practice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington's last night practice of training camp also turned into something of a showcase for the team's receivers.

"I thought this was one of the offense's better days,'' Sarkisian said. "They were really efficient, not just running the ball but throwing the ball. I thought Jermaine Kearse had a nice night tonight. I thought Keith Price had a nice night tonight. Kevin Smith another nice night. So it was a nice night for the offense but as a team I appreciated our effort and energy and enthusiasm they brought tonight."

He didn't even mention Kasen Williams, who turned in one of the highlight plays of camp with a one-handed catch of a fade route in which he appeared to just catch the ball at the tip and then hang on as he dragged a foot in-bounds during a one-on-one drill.

That came just a few minutes after Kearse made a leaping catch of a deep pass in a one-on-one drill, and before Smith responded with a TD in the corner of a Nick Montana throw in a team session. Austin Seferian-Jenkins also threw in about a 30-yard TD grab from Price for good measure during a team session.

Saturday, when there were a handful of dropped passes, proved that the receiving corps has room to grow.

But nights like this also showed that this could be one of the deeper receiving corps UW has had in a while, something Sarkisian talked about afterward.

"It's a deep group and the beauty of that is them being deep,'' he said. "The challenge for us is finding ways and roles for us for all of these guys so that we can keep them fresh so that when they are in the ballgame they are still fresh and playing fast to create these big plays. That's what we are working through right now. But there are easily seven guys that can play and play well and make plays. Not just be a role player but make plays and create chunks of yards for our offense.''

Sarkisian said the receivers are emblematic of what he says is the fastest team UW has had in his three years here.

"Oh, without a doubt,'' he said. "This is far and away our fastest team, our most athletic team. It just shows when one side of the ball makes a mistake, the other side really makes them pay, and not just with 10 or 12 yard gains. These are chunks of yards that show up for the offense, or an interception for a touchdown for the defense. By far and away our fastest team, most athletic, flying around. I love watching them play.''

Also appearing ready for the season to begin was kicker Erik Folk, who hit 4-5 fairly long-range kicks, including a long of 53 that had room to spare. Sarkisian talked before camp about wanting to get Folk's confidence back. He said tonight that appears to have happened.

"I think he is grooving,'' Sarkisian said. "The last one was from 53 with ease, so I love what Erik is bringing.''

The Huskies obviously had issues on special teams last season, and getting Folk back on track was just one of the objectives. UW also is searching for better return and cover teams, and Sarkisian thinks that's happening.

"A huge effort (is being made on special teams in practice) and part of that is because we obviously want to get better at special teams and the other side of it is we've got a lot of young players and with young players comes lack of experience so we're trying to get them that experience in practice to get them prepared for the moments when they show up in games and so we've really put the time into special teams and I think we're starting to see the benefits of it,'' he said. "We're performing better."

Sarkisian also commented on the position battles he sees still in play.

"The corner spot with (Greg) Ducre and (Anthony) Gobern is a big one,'' he said. "The tight end thing is somewhat of a battle, but they're both on the field so much together I don't feel like that's too big of a battle that way; the defensive tackle spot between Sione (Potoa'e) and Danny (Shelton) I think is a big one. Danny has really pushed himself and had an opportunity to play with the ones quite a bit tonight and then at the (weakside) linebacker spot I think with Princeton (Fuimaono) and Garret Gilliland is a good one."

Ducre ran with the ones during the final team session as did Shelton and Fuimaono. And Justin Glenn and Nate Fellner appeared to basically trade off at the free safety spot, another position that appears still in play. The rest of the defense appered status quo.

There didn't appear to be any significant changes to the offensive lineups.

IN OTHER NEWS. ...

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August 23, 2011 9:28 PM

Video: Sarkisian talks after Tuesday practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are off the field following what is their last night practice of fall camp.

And the only significant personnel news isn't good as UW coach Steve Sarkisian announced that the NCAA Clearinghouse has denied receiver Marvin Hall of Los Angeles, who signed in February. Sarkisian, however, said UW will appeal that denial. No real timetable on that otherwise, it sounds like. UW last week found out that Kyle Lewis had also been denied but did not appeal that one. (And still nothing on Antavius Sims).

Hall was regarded as one of the fastest, if not the fastest, members of the Class of 2011, and some thought he could help immediately in the return game.

Otherwise, no new injuries of note.

You can hear Sarkisian talk about Hall, as well as give an update on Chris Polk, and assess what he saw out of practice tonight, in the video below:

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August 23, 2011 5:08 PM

Updated depth chart

Posted by Bob Condotta

As we wait for tonight's practice to start, here's our latest guess at what the depth chart looks like.

Again, this is not the official depth chart, just what it appears from our vantage point.

OFFENSE
QUARTERBACK
Keith Price, 6-1, 195, RSo.
Nick Montana, 6-3, 203, RFr.
Derrick Brown, 6-3, 236, Fr.

TAILBACK
Chris Polk, 5-11, 222, RJr. (injured)
Jesse Callier, 5-10, 200, So.
Johri Fogerson, 6-1, 205, Sr.
Bishop Sankey, 5-10, 193, Fr./OR
Willis Wilson, 5-9, 178 RFr.

FULLBACK
Jonathan Amosa, 5-11, 230, Jr.
Nick Holt, 5-11, 220, Fr.
Dezden Petty, 5-11, 214, Fr.

RECEIVER
Devin Aguilar, 6-0, 188, Sr.
James Johnson, 6-0, 201, Jr.
Cody Bruns, 5-11, 177, Sr.
William Chandler, 6-0, 184, Jr.

RECEIVER
Kevin Smith, 6-0, 197, So.
DiAndre Campbell, 6-1, 182, RFr.
Luther Leonard, 6-2, 195, Jr.

RECEIVER
Jermaine Kearse, 6-2, 205, Sr.
Kasen Williams, 6-2, 212, Fr.
Joshua Perkins, 6-3, 197, Fr.
Jamaal Jones, 6-2, 180, Fr.

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August 23, 2011 10:29 AM

Tuesday live chat at noon

Posted by Bob Condotta


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August 23, 2011 8:46 AM

Live chat at noon --- and Tuesday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Back at it after taking some time off yesterday. Continuing to take time off is the sun, which is in full Seattle football season mode, once again hiding behind the clouds.

Which makes it the perfect day to host a live chat at noon and talk about the impending end of camp and beginning of the season.

Filling in yesterday was Mason Kelley who wrote this story on Desmond Trufant, said by coaches to be having one of the best camps of any player.

IN OTHER UW NEWS. ...

--- Remember, the one open practice today is at 7 p.m.

--- In the latest of our series of chats with area newsmamers, we're hosting one Wednesday at noon with Don James.

--- A UW fan has put together a "Hype'' video for the 2011 season.

--- CoachSark's blog notes he was quoted in a New York Times story the other day on the troubles in college athletics.

--- UW's official site has a story on Sean Parker.

--- This is a couple weeks old, but here's a story noting that one-time UW signee Chris Young is changing positions this fall at Arizona Western, moving to linebacker (though no update included on his recruitment).

PAC-12/COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS. ...

--- Oregonian columnist John Canzano says the Ducks are going undefeated this year.

--- An update on Oregon State's position battles.

--- Jon Wilner reports that Stanford is selling a lot more tickets this year.

--- Here's an update on UW's first foe, Eastern Washington.

--- The National Football Post picks LSU No. 1.

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August 22, 2011 11:21 AM

A visit with Steve Emtman

Posted by Bob Condotta

emtman.jpg

We'll conclude our series of interviews conducted for the story on the 1991 team that ran in Sunday's paper with a Q-and-A with Steve Emtman. A defensive tackle from Cheney, Emtman was a two-time All-American and was the No. 1 pick in the 1992 NFL Draft, the only Husky ever so honored. Emtman (pictured in a 1991 game against Arizona in a Mark Harrison photo) is again living in Cheney working in real estate construction.

He talked in the interview about what he remembers about the 1991 season, his decision to attend UW, and his thoughts on the Huskies of today.

On what he remembers of the 1991 season: "Looking back, I try to look forward and not back much but obviously it was a great experience in life and now that you are out in the real world and moving on in life and everything else and the one thing I remember the best is just what a team it was and what a group of guys that would never have probably otherwise come together came together as such a tight-knit group and accomplished what we accomplished. We were a group of guys that were from all over and connected and had a common goal. A credit to the coaching staff that managed that thing so well and then the leadership we had that was always looking at you from every angle, from the coaches to the players.

I think that was the difference from other teams I'd been part of, the difference was not where the coaching stopped but where it didn't stop with the players and the leaders. I think there was never a letdown. The season before that when we came back we kind of made a team commitment on the flight back from the previous Rose Bowl that we weren't going to lose, we were going to do whatever it took at that point. There was kind of that commitment from everybody to not let things slip from that goal. Obviously we had some pretty good talent and some great coaches but it was just how everyone worked together the way they did. I've never seen that anywhere else in athletics, I don't think.''

On the defensive change after the 1989 season: "The defense at that time was something like Oregon's offense is now. The reason that Oregon was successful on offense last year is the same reason we were successful on defense, because people went into the game terrified at the prospect of something that was new. They didn't know that you weren't going to have success unless you attack that defense and you won't have success against that offense if you sit back on your heels. That was the same thing offenses were doing against our offense and part of the reason we had success is that people didn't know how to handle it. People were trying to defend our defense instead of trying to attack offensively.''

On if the defensive change altered his role: "Absolutely. The supporting cast I had around me and the scheme I had made me successful, there is no question. That was something that you are only as good as the people around you and that's why I had success, the scheme we were in that allowed me to have that attack approach where you didn't sit and read stuff --- you obviously read on the fly --- but you could attack a point or attack a gap. And other teams I played on tried the two-gap stuff and read and react and that's probably not the best for my ability, I guess.''

On how the 1990 UCLA loss motivated the team for 1991: "That was one thing that I've always looked back on that I remember the best, missing that tackle late in the game on that last drive and them going down --- you remember those things to make sure there won't be any other mistakes like that. That one game probably cost us a second national championship. I think we were ranked No. 2 and were 22-point favorites and to go out there and blow out. .. thanks for reminding me. Now I'm going to have a crappy day.''

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August 22, 2011 8:34 AM

Monday links --- Four more days of open practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

After taking yesterday off (from practicing on the field, anyway) the Huskies return with an open practice today at 3:15 p.m.

This week marks the official ending of camp and UW has just four practices left that are open to the public. After today, those are: Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 3:15 p.m., and Thursday at 4:15 p.m. Also, on Friday at 6 p.m. is the "Raise the Woof'' Celebration.

UW will then begin its regular-season gameweek mode with practices beginning on Saturday closed to the general public (but open to media, former players, families of players and Tyee Club members).

With the Huskies off on Sunday, not much out there on UW today.

The school has this photo gallery of Picture Day.

IN OTHER NEWS. ...

--- The Pac-12 this morning named Gary Stevenson as head of Pac-12 Enterprises. In that rule, he will oversee the new Pac-12 Networks, among many other duties.

--- Here's a clip-and-save --- Scout.com's updated ratings of the top recruits in the state of Washington this year.

--- A Tennessean columnist says Jake Locker needs more time.

--- Here are some thoughts on Locker's play from Titans coach Mike Munchak.

--- Vince Grippi has links around the conference.

(By the way, I won't be covering practice today. Mason Kelley will fill in instead and provide coverage here and in the paper).

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August 21, 2011 5:11 PM

A visit with Ed Cunningham

Posted by Bob Condotta

We'll continue with the interviews conducted the stories on the 1991 Huskies with this Q-and-A with Ed Cunningham.

Cunningham, now an announcer for ESPN, was the starting center and a team captain on that squad.

On looking back 20 years ago on that season: "The one thing that has been great to me over time and I've been around college football now other than the five years I spent in the NFL, I've been around college football as an announcer the exact same amount I played football from high school to college and to the NFL and now covering college football for 15 years. So 30 years of my life and have been on the sport and although I make my living in other ways, my main living has come from football the last 20 years, and the one thing that is nice about that is you can get pretty jaded in this business and all those things that can happen and look at it like a business, but I still have a lot of joy and love the game and despite all of its barnacles think it's a wonderful game. And for me what's nice is that I still look at that season as just an absolutely magical combination of timing and talent and hard work and people and dumb luck and all the things that (UW coach Don) James instilled. And a lot of that has to do with I really know now how hard it is to do what that team did. It really only happens about once a decade. It was us maybe early in the '90s and certainly Nebraska in the mid-90s and USC there in that 03-04-05 range, it just has become really clear that there is a difference. I remember the Oklahoma team with Jason White and I did the game where they beat Texas A&M 77-0 and that was a great team and I remember thinking that even they got knocked off and just how special 1991 was and all the things that go on. That's the beauty for me is it's not just the memories but the business at hand.''

Thoughts heading into the 1991 season and if they thought the national title was realistic: "I think we all had our foundation and confidence shaken pretty bad when Mark (Brunell) got hurt. No one really knew Billy (Joe Hobert). He was just a sophomore and frankly was never really very great in practice. And that position is the key position. You can talk about it shouldn't be that way or too much credit or too much blame is given to the QB. That's all true --- but it's also all true. And so we had a guy in Mark who was a tough, good team leader who fit the guys who made up that team for the most part, which was just a good hard-working tough person, and it just so happened that we had immensely talented people who were also those guys. So losing him I think was a big deal. We knew he was growing in the offense and they were going to work on some more run game stuff with him, and all the sudden in the middle of the spring when we knew we were going to be No. 2 or No. 3 he was hurt. And I think we opened at No. 7 or 8 in the polls and I think sometime in the fall when Billy had to go against the ones --- because we went against the ones a lot. Coach James really believed in best on best and high competition. That's when Mark got hurt. Not supposed to hit the quarterbacks but because we had a good O line and a good D line and when we went 11-on-11 it was war, it was really intense practice level that we worked on. And so I think we started seeing Billy in that camp where we thought, okay wait a minute, he has ability and he's tough and he will work when prodded. And we did a fair bit of internal prodding which was one of that team's greatest gifts. The people who told you to work hard were not your coaches, they were your teammates. And it was sometime around fall camp we thought 'okay, we're pretty good.' And then we saw this kid Napoleon Kaufman and thought 'Beno (Bryant) is great and he's going to return punts' but we've got depth at running back now and now all of those things started to shape up. I think we probably knew before the first game we had a real good shot.''

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August 21, 2011 12:17 PM

A visit with former UW coach Don James

Posted by Bob Condotta

donjames.jpg

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the season in which the Huskies went 12-0 and won a share of the national title, and we're going to recognize that accomplishment heere at the Times throughout the fall.

We kicked it off with a package today that included this main story on how the season came together.

The stories for this weekend's package were based primarily on interviews with three main characters in the 1991 season --- head coach Don James (pictured accepting the Rose Bowl trophy that year), center and team captain Ed Cunningham and defensive tackle Steve Emtman.

And as kind of an extra on the blog I thought I would put together a more complete version of some of those interviews --- as is often the case, there's a lot that doesn't make it into the print version.

So here are some of the more complete thoughts of James on that season, and a few other topics.

On having to share the national title: "I know it's a vote and so you have to rely on voters and I know after the Orange Bowl in 1985 we thought we were better then and we came in second, so now you've got two undefeated teams at the time, I just felt like it probably would have been a disservice to either team. There were two polls and we got the one we wanted, anyway. That's about all you can hope for, I guess.''

On thoughts on how a game against Miami might have unfolded: "We were pretty good. There are always good team but I just felt like we could compete with anybody that year and the teams that had won it years prior, I think teams get better a lot of times each year because kids get bigger and stronger and faster and we were better than some of the teams that won national titles before. It would have been a good contest, hotly contested.''

On the scheme changes in the late '80s: "I think it worked out well. We had been a one-back but when we were in one-back you pretty well knew we were going to throw the ball or run a draw. And we'd seen the things that the Redskins did with (John) Riggins, the counter tray, the Cougars did it pretty well and other teams had done it, and I wanted to have a running threat from the one-back to go with the passing attack and obviously one of the key guys was Keith Gilbertson, so I tried to hire him, and it worked. Gary Pinkel was the coordinator and said 'if you've got to give him the coordinator's job to get him then give it to him.' And that's kind of the way the staff was, it was just a bunch of good guys that wanted to do what was better. So we got Gilby and he got us into a passing attack that was a little quicker and we could do a little bit more and he got us into a running attack from the one-back so that helped. And then on defense we just got better. We'd known since I was coaching at Florida State in the '60s that if you can get pressure on the quarterback you can play man, and man-to-man is the easiest thing there is from the standpoint of mistakes --- at least you know who you are covering. You're looking right at the guy and you might get beat and you will get beat if you give the quarterback too much time. So we had gotten to a place where our secondary was better and we just had such great speed at our defensive ends and outside linebackers and then with Steve Emtman.''

On the change to the attack style defense in 1989 being a key: "We had begin putting pressure on and I've been given a lot of credit for a lot of things and so has Gilby and so has Jim Lambright, but still it's a staff deal, the offensive staff and the defensive staff, to put those things together and the key guys were Gilby and Lambright but there were just a lot of good coaching and good ideas, and the players give you the opportunity to do some of those things --- that helped too.''

On what the goals were heading into the season: "We knew how close we came in 1990. I did a pyramid of objectives every year and the National Championship was at the top of the list and 90 percent graduation and Pac-10 title and Rose Bowl, and you work your way down. But I had that in the playbook every year to kind of encourage them to set realistic goals --- if you were a beginner to make the travel squad and work your way up, etc., etc. So we had that and they picked out what they would focus on for personal objectives. But the biggest dilemma was the Mark Brunell injury and now we were going with a season that opened up at Stanford and at Nebraska with a rookie quarterback, and that's just hard to do.I had coached at Colorado and we never beat Nebraska --- almost nobody did.''

On the QB situation entering the season: "It helped a good bit that Billy Joe (Hobert) had the confidence that he could get the job done --- it wasn't bothering him as much as it was probably bothering the coaches. He was a guy who didn't want to dump off or throw short, he wanted to go intermediate and longs, and he would make the reads and he was making pretty good judgments most of the time. And plus with Orlando McKay and Mario Bailey we had just great, great receivers and Aaron Pierce and those guys at tight end, so we had guys who could catch it. He had a good supporting cast.''

On if there was a moment when he realized it would all work out with Hobert: "He started out a little slow (against Stanford) and then he just caught on and had a great game and it was like 'okay, we got this one out of the way' and now we have to go to Nebraska. I remember reading a newspaper article about one of the coaches that said teams that were in that offense that we were running, the one-back and the passing and all, could not be as successful continuously that they could have a good year but not have great success. So a little bit of a challenge was thrown out to us.''

On if he thought a national title was possible when he took over at UW: "Well it was interesting, as I have mentioned many times, as coaches you go to conventions and if you are an assistant you talk about what are the best jobs in the country and you rate leagues. And we always rated the Pac-8 as USC, UCLA and Washington and then when I got the job and talked to Jim Mora he said 'no, USC but you've got to put Washington number two.' And that was from a guy that was from the West Coast and coaching in the league. I just had the feeling with the stadium and the university and the lake and all the support that we got from the fans. We had to clean up (recruiting) the state and beat people recruiting up here before we could do all those wonderful things. And then we branched out --- that national championship team we had two captains from Virginia, so that was unheard of when I first got here for us.''

On putting emphasis on speed after the mid-80s: "We always had speed as a key factor, but we got slow. We either did a poor job of evaluating or something, but we got some guys that were supposed to be linebackers 4.6, 4.7 that came in and were 4.9, and those guys get you beat in a good league, and so I just got a little more strict with the coaches getting exact times, and tried to get guys in summer camps where you can time them legally and get true track times and we did more research on vertical jump. Through our research and the NFL stuff, we found out if you can't jump you can't run. And you could go to a high school and find a running back and put your hand up there and measure it and jump, takes you 10 seconds, and if they do 10-12 seconds they are not very fast. And you didn't worry too much about linemen, but we found out right away that guys that could jump could really run, and some of the high school coaches didn't have that date, so they knew if we were going to go in and recruit one of their receivers we are not going to take them if they tell us the truth, they know 4.6-4.5 is what we should be heating and then we get them up here and they are 4.8-4.9 --- it doesn't work.''

On the win at Nebraska being a key to the season: "That gave us the confidence. When you get that one under your belt, a good team like that on the road, you just have the feeling that you can play with people and we did. We beat some people really big scores and then of course the Cal game was the closest game we had down there. They were good and they played us great but Beno Bryant's long run late, but they could have still tied us at the end and we stopped them and they got an extra play. But Walter Bailey (who made the defensive play on the last pass) was a great athlete, he could jump and he could run but that was quite a game.''

On the Rose Bowl and having to set a standard to compare to Miami, which was playing that night: "I don't think you really go into a game you are playing and worry about someone else. It was just take care of our game and that will take care of itself. ... The illness to Steve Emtman where he spent a couple of nights with a virus sort of thing and he was being fed intravenously, that was a big concern. He said he was okay but you never know --- he was going to say that anyways. But he was not feeling well and had a temperature.''

On the 1990 loss to UCLA keeping the team from letting down in 1991 (and here's a recap of that game for background): "That game was at home and Homer Smith was their offensive coordinator and he did the quick series from the shotgun so our rush was ineffective, we couldn't get to the quarterback, and it was hard to pick those guys up that quick, throwing a three-step drop from under the center is different because you have a chance to get to him, or at least get in his face, whereas the three-step drop from a shotgun (is harder to get there). And they hit a fullback or tailback blast and you or I could have run it in, it was wide open. You learn something, and we did make some adjustments and didn't really get hurt by it in the quick series passing from the shotgun (in 1991). And we also learned that we can't take that weak safety out of there and go pick up for the strong safety just to get a strong safety blitz because he wasn't going to get there because then there wasn't a soul in the middle, not a soul. I can still see that play.''

On the 1990 team being as good as 1991: "That was a good team and in some respects we were better there at some positions with that team than we were the next year.''

On if he feels good about the direction of the UW program now: ''I don't think there is any question. The one main thing is staff continuity. (UW coach Steve Sarkisian) Sark hasn't lost a coach and you just think that you put a coach in an area and he's got to learn the talent and learn the 10th graders and 11th graders, and especially now they are doing so much more with younger players than we ever did, so the continuity really helps. Plus they are recognizing the highly recruited kids and are getting commits and doing a pretty good job putting a fence around the state which is what you want to do. We got into Oregon, which is hard to do now because of Oregon and Oregon State, but California still has a lot of good players.''

On the team playing now the way his teams did: "I don't care what level you are at unless you run the ball, if you can't run the ball you are really in trouble and if you can't play defense you are in more trouble, and their defense got better and they established the running attack and have an excellent tailback and Jake never did get the protection or have the receiving corps that some of the other quarterbacks but he was still a threat running the ball.''



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August 21, 2011 10:21 AM

Sunday links --- ESPN guys say Huskies headed to Vegas

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are taking the day off other than Picture Day from 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. at the stadium.

But that doesn't stop us from finding a few links to pass along. ...

--- ESPN's Mark Schlabach and Brad Edwards each project the Huskies to make it to the Vegas Bowl and play TCU --- that seems like a pretty agreeable setting and matchup. That game is Dec. 22.

--- Eastern Washington, UW's first opponent, also scrimmaged yesterday. Former Husky Demitrius Bronson scored a touchdown and had 34 yards on seven carries.

--- More thoughts on Mason Foster's progress in Tampa Bay. And if you missed it, Ochocino said he'd pay Foster's fine from the hit the other day, but the NFL won't allow it.

--- Some thoughts on Jake Locker's game last night in a notebook item from Titans.com.

--- Caleb Smith, a tight end from Kentridge who also had a UW offer, has committed to Oregon State.

--- The Go2Guy has a new website and apologizes for asking Steve Sarkisian the other day who his starting quarterback will be.

--- Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says no one cares enough about ASU football for that program to land in any real trouble.

--- George Schroeder with a nicely nuanced view of the Lache Seastrunk transfer.

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August 20, 2011 10:52 PM

Saturday night links --- Remembering '91, and Huskies in the NFL

Posted by Bob Condotta

It's been 20 years since Washington's 1991 national title team, and we decided to recognize that anniversary with a few stories in today's paper (and will continue to throughout the season).

The main story today examines how that team came together. A sidebar explores the feelings these two decades later on UW having to share the title with Miami.

I'll have some more from some of those interviews on the blog over the next day or so.

Also in Sunday's paper is my wrapup of Saturday's scrimmage.

HUSKIES IN THE NFL. ...

--- Jake Locker's second NFL pre-season game didn't go quite as well as his first. However, MusicCityMiracles says not to read much into his numbers, that he rarely had any time to throw.

--- Austin Sylvester had one carry for one yard for Denver (but no catches for D'Andre Goodwin).

--- Stats here for Louis Rankin, Marcel Reece and Dashon Goldson in the Raiders-49ers game.

--- And Dorson Boyce caught three passes for the Seahawks, or three more than he caught for UW in his two years with the Huskies.

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August 20, 2011 7:35 PM

A bit more on today's scrimmage --- Work to do, but Sarkisian likes where Huskies are

Posted by Bob Condotta

As detailed in the entry below, the Huskies were a little bit sloppy offensively today, a few too many penalties and dropped passes.

But while UW coach Steve Sarkisian echoed the mantra surely being heard in just about every college football camp this time of year that there's still lots of work to do, he also said he's happy enough with where the Huskies are, now having less than two weeks to kickoff of the first game.

"I wish we were 100 percent healthy first,'' he said. "You go through a scrimmage without Chris Polk, without Alameda Ta'amu, without Quinton Richardson, you know that's three potential all-Pac 10 guys for you. No, we're not where I wish we were, but I am pleased with where we're at. I think we've accomplished a lot in two weeks' time, I think we've established an identity of who we want to be and now something we can build upon. But we've got to get healthy and we've got to clean the little things up that I thought plagued us today. Obviously the line of scrimmage offensively, and defensively our ability to get off the field on third-down or fourth-down situations which is something I thought we got at at the end of the year , we just have to get back into that mode."

You can also hear some of Keith Price's comments in the video below, where he repeats what Sarkisian said about their being work to do, especially in cleaning up dropped passes and penalties.

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Here is Sarkisian's overall assessment of what happened today: "I thought it was a good physical scrimmage. Offensively, maybe a little anxious is the best word. Guys that hadn't been dropping balls all of the sudden today decided to drop far too many balls for our standards. Some formational things - illegal procedures, false starts. A couple holding penalties which we haven't had all camp. So that's my assessment offensively. I know we're better than that but we've gotta be able to play through those things when we get into these settings and we're on the field on our own. On the defensive side of things I thought it was a, physical day. It was good that we had to play extended drives - drives where it wasn't four or five plays. I think the first drive against the first defense might have been upwards near 12 plays, I'm not exactly sure what that number is and so it's good that they had to play through that and get into football shape. That'll be our goal as we move into next week is to get used to playing extended periods of time and utilizing our substitutions and our depth that we have so that we can be fresh. We can understand what it means to play eight or 10 plays in a row and then what we need to get done mentally so that we can play physically. I was pleased with the special teams stuff that we did, you know, we didn't emphasize a lot of it. We went with quality over quantity and I thought that really showed up. I thought Erik [Folk] kicked the ball extremely well on his kickoffs, right he needed to be. I love the return game there with Kevin Smith. It was blocked beautifully. It's good to see Kasen [Williams] catch a punt in a live setting and what that looked like. So, all in all, the special teams aspect of it I thought went well, but definitely we have plenty of room to grow from this and we will."

Smith had long return for a touchdown during the special teams setting, while Williams was one of two punt returners to get a shot --- Devin Aguilar was the other (Callier was also on the first-team KOR unit while Bishop Sankey and Desmond Trufant were the second-team returners).

The offensive starting unit appeared the same as it has throughout (Aguilar initially worked with the second unit with Williams working with the first, but there was lots of rotating as the day wore on.)

Defensively, Garret Gilliland and Princeton Fuimaono rotated at the weakside linebacker spot and Justin Glenn and Nate Fellner at safety. The rest of the defense appeared the same other than the spots where there are changes due to injury. Anthony Gobern ran with the one defense at cornerback in place of Richardson and Lawrence Lagafuiana ran with the one defense in place of Ta'amu with Shelton starting out with the second team.

As noted in the earlier post, the No. 2 units got the better of the starters for much of the day. The No. 2 defense stopped the No. 1 offense on two of three drives, and the No. 2 offense drove for a TD and a field goal in three attempts against the No. 1 defense.

Sarkisian said he thinks that's a sign of increasing depth for the Huskies.

"I think anytime the twos go against the ones there's always a little bit of that underlying motivation that they want to be with the ones, and that's how it should be,'' he said.. "They should compete and if the ones don't show up the twos should play really well. And I think that we've recruited well enough now that there shouldn't be that much disparity between the ones and the twos and I thought that showed today."

Asked if there was anything concerning about the way the ones played against the twos today he said: "No, not at all, that's how we were hoping we could get. Our goal is that scrimmages and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of game week are tougher for our guys than Saturdays are and we're getting closer to that. We've got a lot of playmakers, you know, and guys that are fighting for spots and guys that, if we were actually playing a game, guys that are on the twos would be playing with the ones - they'd be rotating in and playing and, in a lot of spots, you could flip a coin with some guys if they're a one or a two."

IN OTHER NOTES. ...

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August 20, 2011 6:19 PM

UW scrimmage over --- Quick notes and Sarkisian video

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are off the field after their Saturday scrimmage at Husky Stadium, which unofficially lasted 75 plays in about an hour-and-a-half.

No new injuries, which after the last week is the best news for UW after any practice.

The No. 1 offense was on the field for three drives and was stopped twice by the No. 2 defense before scoring on its third and final possession, moving 80 yards in 16 plays capped by a 10-yard run by Keith Price.

The No. 2 offense had three possessions against the No. 1 defense and scored on two, a 3-yard pass from Nick Montana to Evan Hudson to cap an eight-play 65-yard march, and a 27-yard field goal by Erik Folk.

That was it for the scoring, and the No. 1 units, with the rest of the scrimmage devoted to the No. 2's playing against each other, or the No. 3's going against each other.

Some quick unofficial stats:

PASSING
Keith Price 9-14-77, no TDs or interceptions
Nick Montana 13-25-134, 1 TD, no interceptions
Derrick Brown 3-11-21 no TDs or interceptions
RUSHING
Johri Fogerson 6-38
Bishop Sankey 7-31
Jesse Callier 7-25
Willis Wilson 5-19
Dezden Petty 6-20
Travon Brooks 3-7
Keith Price 1-10, 1 TD
Nick Montana 3-8
Derrick Brown 3-4
RECEIVING
Devin Aguilar 6-41
DiAndre Campbell 4-51
James Johnson 3-36
Kevin Smith 3-33
Kasen Williams 2-35
Jermaine Kearse 1-11
William Chandler 1-8
Austin Seferian-Jenkins 1-5
Jamaal Jones 1-8
Travon Brooks 1-4
Evan Hudson 1-3

There were no turnovers (fixed from earlier).
There were at least three sacks --- Josh Shirley, Connor Cree and Alec Kimble.

In two personnel notes --- Cody Bruns was absent to deal with family matters at home; and safety James Sample sat out due to a shoulder injury but could be back in a day or two.

Alameda Ta'amu did not play to rest his hand, and --- if it needs to be stated --- Chris Polk and Quinton Richardson remain out and didn't see action. Jordan Wallace is also out with a knee injury.

The general theme of UW coach Steve Sarkisian's quotes, which you can see below, is that he liked much of what he saw today but that the team needs to clean some things up, such as dropped passes (unofficially six) and penalties (unofficially seven for 55, including a holding penalty that wiped out a Price 21-yard TD to Austin Seferian-Jenkins).

You can see his comments in the video below. I'll have a few more notes and quotes later.

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August 20, 2011 1:08 PM

Afternoon links and notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

I've gotten a lot of questions about practice today. It is scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m. and feature extensive scrimmaging.

As UW coach Steve Sarkisian said this week, the scrimmage will mark something of a turning point in fall camp. After this week, the Huskies will begin to shift to more gameplanning and preparing for the season. Remaining personnel decisions will also begin to be made in earnest after the scrimmage today, though as I noted in my story for today's paper, a lot of spots already appear set.

Also a reminder that Picture Day is tomorrow (Sunday, Aug. 21) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

IN OTHER NEWS. ...

--- Lots of interesting stuff percolating around the Pac-12 today, including the news that Oregon RB Lache Seastrunk --- the player at the center of the "recruiting services'' investigation --- may be transferring.

--- There's also more controversy surrounding ASU LB Vontaze Burfict (and remember that UW and the Devils don't play this season or next season, so the Huskies won't face him again).

--- Jake Locker and the Titans will play at St. Louis tonight at 5 p.m.

--- The Rams, by the way, officially signed Cody Habben today. He was released by the Raiders earlier in camp. Locker and Habben were roommates for a time at UW, so they'll be reunited at least briefly tonight.

--- Nate Williams had two tackles and a pass defense last night for the Ravens.

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August 20, 2011 9:49 AM

AP Top 25 out --- Huskies get a vote

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Saturday before the Saturday before the season begins has become the annual date for the release of the AP Top 25 poll.

So it is again this year, as the poll was released this morning. Here it is, and as you can see, if you look all the way to the end of the teams receiving votes there is Washington, getting one vote (technically good for 45th place).

While I am again a voter in the poll (more on which in a minute) the vote for UW did not come from me (and obviously, I hope it's understood that just because I cover UW doesn't mean I'd be more compelled to vote for the Huskies than anyone else --- that's not the way these polls are supposed to work.)

Instead, the vote for UW came from Seth Emerson of the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph --- here's his poll.

The Huskies will play four teams that are in the poll --- Oregon (3), Stanford (7), Nebraska (10) and USC 25). Three other UW foes received votes --- Utah (30th), Hawaii (41st) and Arizona (43rd).

Now, here's my poll:
1, Oklahoma
2, Alabama
3, LSU
4, Oregon
5, Oklahoma State
6, Stanford
7, Florida State
8, Boise State
9, South Carolina
10, Arkansas
11, Virginia Tech
12, Nebraska
13, Wisconsin
14, Notre Dame
15, TCU
16, Texas A&M
17, Florida
18, Ohio State
19, Auburn
20, Missouri
21, Georgia
22, Mississippi State
23, Arizona State
24, West Virginia
25, USC

I know all the criticisms of pre-season polls. I've also always felt that if they (whoever "they'' are) did away with all pre-season polls, the first thing people would do is start up pre-season polls of their own. It's a natural curiosity of those who follow the sport to want to talk about and discuss which will be the best teams in any given year. And remember that the AP poll is now basically for show --- it has no official role in determining any bowl positioning, though obviously as the oldest of the polls, it holds a lot of symbolic value for the end-of-season winner.

As for how to put the poll together, I've always leaned toward having it be a reflection of where the teams are that week, not a projection of where they will finish at the end of the season. Inevitably, that creeps in to your thinking a little bit. But mostly, I've always viewed the polls as an overview of the Top 25 teams of that week (and for history's sake, that's one of the most value aspects of the poll, allowing fans to look back and chart the ebbs and flows of seasons).

Obviously, there's a lot of poking that can be done at the picks on my poll and in the official poll. And lots has happened in just the last few weeks to affect positioning --- I planned to have Arizona State a lot higher before some of their personnel losses of the off-season, for instance. As seems so often the case, there's not a lot on paper separating team No. 15 from team No. 35.

For now, consider the polls a helpful guide to the season. In two weeks, the teams --- thankfully --- get to start stating their own case.

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August 19, 2011 11:15 PM

Video: Washington linebacker John Timu

Posted by Bob Condotta

True freshman linebacker John Timu has been one of the fast risers of UW's fall camp, emerging as a starter. He's also undergone a position change, originally at the weakside spot held last year by Mason Foster and now moving to the strongside spot.

He talks about that position switch and how camp has gone in the video below:

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August 19, 2011 10:18 PM

Friday night pratice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

This weekend marks the halfway point of fall camp, the time when decisions start to be made and positions started to be defined.

And after Friday night's practice at Husky Stadium, UW coach Steve Sarkisian said the linebacking corps and offensive line are just about set. That's maybe seemed obvious for a little while, as there hasn't been much shuffling with the starting units there the past few days. But Sarkisian confirmed what has appeared evident in taking about both groups.

Of the linebacking corps, Sarkisian said that: "We've experimented a little with Garret Gilliland at the middle linebacker spot potentially if something could go astray there with Cort (Dennison) or Thomas (Tutogi) or Tim (Tucker), but outside of that, not a whole lot. Those guys have done it. I really think the top five would be the three starters - Johnny Timu (at strongside), Princeton Fuimaono (weakside) and Cort Dennison (middle) - and then Gilliland and Tutogi I think are doing some nice things as well. We've got five guys that can go in and play football and feel really good about what they've been doing."

Of the line, he said the Huskies have pretty much settled on the five that have started throughout camp --- left tackle Senio Kelemete, left guard Colin Tanigawa, center Drew Schaefer, right guard Colin Porter and right tackle Erik Kohler --- as the starters for the season.

"They have done a nice job,'' Sarkisian said. "I thought tonight was one of their better nights, as well. They did a nice job in the blitz pickup drill. They did a nice in some of our move-the-ball segment stuff. I think they are coming together. What I like about them the most is their communication. They are really communicating well with one another and they are really trusting one another. If someone is making a call they are believing in the call and they are doing it together and they are doing it aggressively and explosive and fast and physical. That's been the highlight for me so far.''

Sarkisian said he didn't really intend to settle on a starting five so early but it just made sense given the way the five were playing.

"It grew on me in the sense that they just keep playing well together,'' he said. "That wasn't the plan, by any means. But you adjust to things and we gave guys opportunities but it just felt right and then they played well and got better and better, and (Colin) Tanigawa was a real pleasant surprise. He came in physically prepared to compete and has shown to be worthy of the job.''

A key part of it, he said, was Schaefer getting more comfortable at center. "I think so,'' Sarkisian said. "He's not trying as hard to do everything, either. Sometimes a guy takes over at center and you feel like you are the center and you have to do so much --- I have to do this, do that, be the vocal leader. Well, let's play center and be really good at center and let the tackles be the tackles and the guards be the guards and I think it took him a year and he understands that and that comes from trust --- believing in Senio (Kelemete's) call, believing in (Erik) Kohler's call and understanding that Colin Porter knows what's coming and can give him information to help him. So all in all I think it's a trust factor and he is there.''

There was also the unfortunate news for UW tonight of the loss of running back Kyle Lewis, who did not get approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Sarkisian said the Huskies "are still waiting word on Marvin Hall and Antavius Sims to finish up his work at Ventura College.''

Lewis now becomes a recruitable athlete again, so as Sarkisian said "it's out of our hands at this point'' what Lewis does now.

"It's tough because you always want depth at running back,'' he said. "It's one of those positions where you feel like you never have enough, as we are finding out. You get an injury here or there and it can mount quickly. So it's disappointing, especially because we felt like what he had accomplished to get here, he had worked so hard to get here late. But we wil move on. We'll be okay.''

IN OTHER NEWS. ...

--- Sarkisian said CB Quinton Richardson may be ahead of schedule in his recovery from a high ankle sprain. "I think so. We don't really know exactly what ahead of schedule is, either. A high ankle sprain has all the degrees of severity of it; until someone has to start rehabbing it ... I don't think Quinton's was as bad as we had initially thought. He's out of the boot. But we won't attempt anything until next week. The rest and rehab of Friday, Saturday, Sunday, let's just see where he's at. And even then, we don't have to rush him back. I'm pleased with his progress at this point, but I'm not sure what ahead of schedule is because I'm not exactly sure what ahead of schedule is. And he feels good about it too."

Continue reading this post ...


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August 19, 2011 9:52 PM

Video: Steve Sarkisian after Friday's practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are off the field following their Friday night practice, which also concluded what is their second-to-last two-a-day of camp.

In the big personnel news, UW coach Steve Sarkisian announced that running back Kyle Lewis, will not be part of the team after not being cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Lewis was a late addition to the class, with UW coaches hoping he could add depth at tailback. That's been a hard-hit spot with the loss for the season to the injury of Deontae Cooper and, for a week or so, the loss of Chris Polk to a knee injury.

I'll have a bit more on practice later.

Here's video of Sarkisian's post-practice meeting with the media, including his comments on Lewis and an update on Polk:

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August 19, 2011 1:34 PM

Martin, Holt confident in secondary

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'd planned to write about the suddenly evolving secondary before we found out the news yesterday about Chris Polk.

The Polk news scrapped that story, so I'll try to get to some of it here.

The secondary appeared pretty set until the last few days, when first cornerback Quinton Richardson suffered a high ankle sprain that will have him out a few weeks, then Justin Glenn began to make a move at the free safety spot held by Nate Fellner. Sean Parker seems secure at strong safety and Desmond Trufant at the other cornerback spot.

The initial thought of many was that Greg Ducre would simply ascend to take over for Richardson as long as he's out.

But junior Anthony Gobern has spent most of the past two days running with the No. 1 unit there, Ducre.

Cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin said Wednesday that "It's open to competition, and it's kind of good, because competition gets everybody better. Greg Ducre, Tony Gobern - those guys are stepping up big-time and fighting for the position...one has a good day, and the next one has a better day, and the next one has a better day. Everybody keeps getting better."

Martin said the two would rotate with the starting unit so the coaches can evaluate each going against the starting offense.

"We want to see how it is when those guys are in there with the ones, the first d-line, that type of thing so we can see the different type of coverages and the different techniques they are
using,'' he said. "It will all end up equal time. At the end of the day, they'll both have equal reps with the ones and we'll assess it from there."

Defensive coordinator Nick Holt said he's confident in however the cornerback spot develops for the next few weeks.

"I'm not concerned about the guys that are out there, because they are playing really good,'' he said. "In the long run they are going to make us better. They are going to help our depth. Tony Gobern's done a really good job, he's really improved. He's always had a lot of quicks, good speed - now he's learning how to play football. Greg Ducre is good. We could not have to like to use some freshmen, but it's one of those things where we're getting thin and we might have to use Marcus Peters, or some of the other guys there. But they've been doing a good job, but it hasn't been affecting our defense whatsoever."

Indeed, true freshman Peters is a wildcard in this. Holt said on Thursday that two true frosh --- tackle Danny Shelton and safety James Sample --- seem certain of not redshirting.

"James Sample looks like he could play early because physically he's there,'' Holt said. "But the other kid - Travis Feeney - has a lot of ability. But we have a some depth at safety, so hopefully we don't have to use both of them. But it looks like James Sample and Danny Shelton might be the freshmen that play as true freshmen. We might not have the luxury of redshirting those guys. They are pretty good players."

But Peters could also join the ranks of those not redshirting depending on how he plays and how quickly Richardson returns.

"Marcus Peters is stepping up,'' Martin said. "He's a young guy, but he is very promising. I'm excited to see how fast he grows within the scheme; he's still swimming right now, as most of our freshman are - but athletically he can do it. It's just grabbing the scheme, and doing that type of stuff."

Martin had hoped to have a few more bodies to call on at cornerback, but JC transfer Antavius Sims has yet to make it into school, and Adam Long is recovering from a knee injury suffered during off-season conditioning.

"That's another guy I'm missing,'' Martin said of Long. "Can't wait until he gets back soon. I'm not one to go about how fast the rehab of the knee is, but he's rehabbing his butt off in California, and he's on his way back. He called me super-excited...as a matter of fact today (Wednesday)...'coach, I'm watching film and I'm seeing stuff the way I've never seen it before, I can't wait to get back'...so I'm excited for him to join the crew back again."

Martin said juggling bodies at the spot is a little challenging. "I can't say that it's not...juggling reps and watching guys, we feel like we do the most running on the football team, as far as special teams and all that stuff combined, it gets taxing on us. But it's football. You're only as strong as your weakest link, so whoever is quote unquote, the weakest link, gotta step up. ...you have to get back on the road recruiting. That's the only way we can fix it."

(By the way, Tre Watson, a transfer from Central, is not eligible this year, Martin said, due to transfer rules since he was on scholarship at CWU last year. Said Martin of Watson: He's going to be a good one...too bad he's got to sit out this year per the transfer rules...he has to redshirt, but he's a great pickup.")

As for the free safety spot, the intrigue there is mostly that Glenn --- a junior who is 100 percent after suffering a broken leg against Notre Dame in 2009 --- is simply playing so well that he is working his way into consideration. Odds are, both Glenn and Fellner see time at that spot this year.

"He's having a really solid camp, I'm really happy for him,'' Holt said. "...staying healthy and doing some really good things. Very coachable."

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August 19, 2011 9:53 AM

Live chat with Ed Cunningham Friday at 11 a.m.

Posted by Bob Condotta


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August 19, 2011 8:36 AM

Friday links --- FOX video, Foster's hit, and more

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are getting nearer to the finish line of camp, with today marking the second-to-last of their two-a-days. As has been the case, only the latter practice, at 7 p.m., is open to the public and media.

UW will obviously hope for no news today like that of yesterday concerning Chris Polk, though again, sounds as if this is a minor deal and he will be back soon. Still, Polk's important enough that the news about his knee was the focus of our story for today's paper.

IN OTHER HUSKY NEWS. ...

--- CoachSark's site has some pictures of some of the Plays of the Day. One I should have noted in the blog was a nice one-handed grab of a pass slighthly behind him by Devin Aguilar, who after missing some time a few days ago appears to be getting better.

--- Here's the coverage from UW's official site.

---- You can still enter UWTV's contest to be part of one of its Husky Stadium shows.

--- A gambler's view of the Dawgs.

--- Remember our live chat today at 11 a.m. with former UW center Ed Cunningham (which you'll be able to access through this blog, as well).

--- And here's some video from the appearance at practice the other day of the FOX broadcast team, including Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Tim Brewster along with Sarkisian:

HUSKIES IN THE NFL. ...

--- Mason Foster made the highlight reels with a hit on Ochocinco in the Bucs' loss to the Pats last night, drawing a flag in the process. You can see it here. He finished with one tackle and one quarterback hit.

--- Daniel Te'o-Nesheim had two tackles for the Eagles in their loss to the Steelers.

--- Dorson Boyce was re-signed by the Seahawks.

AROUND THE PAC-12/COLLEGE FOOTBALL. ...

--- For our Pac-12 preview series, I wrote today about Cal.

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August 18, 2011 8:47 PM

Thursday night practice notes --- Callier gets his shot

Posted by Bob Condotta

However long Chris Polk may be out figures to be too long for holding-their-breath Husky fans.

As noted in the post below, however, UW coach Steve Sarkisian doesn't seem to think Polk will be out long.

Still, while Polk is on the mend, the tailback job will shift to Jesse Callier, a sophomore who was one of the prize signees in the Class of 2010.

Callier enrolled in time for spring ball in 2010 and then had a solid freshman year with 433 yards on 77 carries, with a best of 107 yards on 10 carries against UCLA.

Callier talked with the media afterward and said he's confident he can fill the void for however long may be necessary:

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And as noted in the previous post, Sarkisian also said he feels comfortable with the trio of tailbacks that the Huskies will go with for the next few weeks.

Callier did much of his damage last year on the outside, including on fly sweeps. But Sarkisian said he can handle all the inside running that would be required.

"He was an in-between the tackle guy for his entire career of high school, really, and we do it quite a bit with him,'' Sarkisian said. "But it's hard on game day when you've got No. 1 (Polk) to justify not giving it to No. 1 when you are going in-between the tackles. But I do think Jesse has the capabaility of doing that and I thought he showed it today --- he had a couple of nice runs inside. ... He's a pretty physical kid, you know. Sometimes he comes across as a smiling happy-go-lucky kid but he is definitely a physical kid.''

Continue reading this post ...


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August 18, 2011 7:09 PM

Chris Polk update --- Meniscus surgery could mean he misses opener

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington running back Chris Polk sat out practice at Husky Stadium this afternoon, and afterward we found out why as UW coach Steve Sarkisian announced that the junior had arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus injury on Thursday morning.

That may inspire panic among UW fans, but Sarkisian cautioned that Polk could be back soon and that it was better to have the surgery now than later --- Polk was not on crutches and walked around the field under his own power.

Sarkisian said that Polk could be sidelined for "potentially a couple of weeks'' but that "I think he will be back in no time.''

Asked if Polk might miss the opener against Eastern Washington on Sept. 3 --- a game now just 16 days away --- Sarkisian said "potentially'' but that "we don't know. It depends on his body and how he recovers. But I think for the long haul of this thing it was the right thing to do.''

Sarkisian said Polk "tweaked'' his knee in practice on Wednesday night.

"We went in this morning just to clean up a little bit of a meniscis thing in there,'' Sarkisian said. "It's not serious but I just didn't want it to linger and I thought the doctors handled it really well, and let's just do it now so we are not dealing with this thing come October, November. It potentially could be a couple of weeks but I think he already feels good about it.''

Sarkisian said it was unclear when Polk was injured. "I don't know if it kind of lingered on him and it was one cut or not, but he knew near the end of practice that this just doesn't feel right, something isn't feeling right. So they put a sleeve on him, and he probably could have kept playing. But when we got done we said 'let's go in and take a look at this thing' and it (surgery) was the right thing to do.''

Sophomore Jesse Callier took the snaps at tailback with the No. 1 offense in Thursday's practice, with Johri Fogerson and true freshman Bishop Sankey next in line.

"Oh sure, we are going to miss him,'' Sarkisian said of Polk, who rushed for 1,415 yards last season. "We're talking about a tremendous player --- and his impact on practice, too. He's a tremendous practice player. But this is a great opportunity for Jesse and Johri and Bishop and those guys to get a few more carries so that we can gather more information on them.''

This might increase the chances that Sankey, a true freshman from Spokane, will play this season, but Sarkisian said it was too early to say yet.

He said he feels comfortable with the trio of backs behind Polk (and remember that Deontae Cooper is already out for the season with an ACL injury).

"They have done nothing to tell me I shouldn't feel comfortable with them,'' Sarkisian said.

He has been particularly effusive in praise the last few days of Fogerson.

"I think he has had a nice training camp,'' Sarkisian said. "He has done some things obviously not just running the ball but on special teams. I think his pass protection has gotten better and I think he has brought a real serious attitude to this training camp. I've appreciated what he has done.''

I'll have more from practice a little later.

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August 18, 2011 4:25 PM

Thursday afternoon notes --- UWTV fan promotion, SI's pick on the Huskies, and more

Posted by Bob Condotta

I've braved the freeway to make it to UW --- almost the toughest part of all of this anymore --- and waiting for Washington's practice this afternoon to begin. In the meantime, a few notes and links to pass along. ...

--- UWTV is running a promotion for its series called "Greatest Moments at Husky Stadium'' in which the winner will get to be an extra in a shoot, dressed in full UW football gear, as the network films a shot of the "team'' running through the tunnel at Husky Stadium. "Team'' is in quotes since the real UW football team will not be involved. But the fan will get a chance to suit up and be a part of the show, says the press release here. More details here.

--- A pre-trial hearing for UW defensive end Josh Shirley that had been set for today has been delayed until Oct. 4 (details on the background here).

--- The Times is hosting a live chat with former UW center Ed Cunningham Friday at 11 a.m.

--- If you're aching for some football tonight, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are on FOX at 5 p.m. Seattle time. That means a chance to see former Husky Daniel Te'o-Nesheim play for the Eagles. This story from a few days ago says he's in a fight to stay on the roster.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller said in a chat today that if the Huskies can win at Nebraska it will officially mean that UW is back.

--- Finally, Sports Illustrated's college football preview issue is out and the magazine picks UW to tie with Oregon State for third in the Pac-12 North at 4-5 and finish 6-6 overall. SI picks Stanford and Oregon to tie for the North title at 8-1 but Stanford to win the tiebreaker and then beat Arizona State in the Pac-12 title game. It has Cal at 2-7 and WSU at 0-9 in the North. Also, SI tabs Steve Sarkisian as the "Coach on the Rise'' and Alameda Ta'amu and Quinton Richardson as "Players to Watch.''

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August 18, 2011 1:09 PM

An early look at Eastern Washington

Posted by Bob Condotta

ewubo.jpg

In more proof that time goes fast and all that, we're now just 16 days away from the season opener on Sept. 3 against Eastern Washington. Which means it's a good time to begin taking a little look at the Eagles.

Helpfully in that regard, the EWU sports info staff sent out this press release today updating the Eagles' training camp so far (that's Eastern QB Bo Levi Mitchell pictured in an AP photo).

Also on that site, you can find a season outlook and their media guide.

You can also read this season preview from The Spokesman-Review.

I also had a chance recently to ask a few questions of Steve Bergum, who covers the Eagles for the Review. Here are the questions and his answers about the Eagle.

1, Obviously, EWU is the defending FCS champion. Can you give a general overview of the team and if it has a chance to be as good this season?

A: The Eagles lost only six players who started last year's title game against Delaware, so there aren't many holes to fill. The biggest will be on defense, where they must find a replacements for Buchanan Award winner and strong-side linebacker J.C. Sherritt and cornerbacks Jesse Hoffman and Dante Calcote. Only right guard Nikolai Myers and Matt Martin, a part-time starter at tight end, will be missing from the offense. The decision of running back sensation Taiwan Jones to leave a year early for the NFL is a big blow, but the Eags found a way to win all three of the games Jones missed because of injuries -- including the last two playoff games. Still, Eastern played so many close games and dug itself out of so many deep holes -- thanks in many cases to some fortunate bounces and instant replay rulings -- that it seems unlikely the Eagles will be a dominant team this fall, even in the Big Sky Conference. But, hey, I didn't give them a chance when they were trailing Delaware 19-0, and look what they did.

2, Sounds like the passing attack could again be really strong, correct?

A: With Bo Levi Mitchell back at quarterback, along with his entire stable of receivers, look for the big passing numbers to continue. Mitchell has a gun, and junior wideout Brandon Kaufman, a 6-foot-5, 205-pounder, should be playing at the FBS level. Mitchell's biggest problem last year was his inconsistency. He threw several of the worst interceptions imaginable, but never seemed to let them shake his confidence. And if he goes down with an injury, all bets are off.

3, Who is in line to replace Taiwan Jones, and is former Husky Demitrius Bronson in that mix?

A: Sophomore Mario Brown started the three games Jones missed and did a solid job, rushing for 341 yards and a touchdown on 100 carries as a true freshman. Brown is quick, but lacks Jones' startling speed and breakaway capability. Bronson certainly played his way into the mix during spring ball, but will probably share backup duties with senior Darriell Beaumonte.

4, Finally, this is the first time UW has played an FCS team. What kind of realistic hopes do you think EWU will bring into the game?

A: The Eagles probably figure they are catching UW at a good time, with the Huskies having to break in a new quarterback, and will expect to not only play well, but win. I can't see anyone on Eastern's roster being intimidated, and I'm sure a few of the West Siders who thought they were good enough to play at UW, will draw some extra motivation from any perceived snub.

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August 18, 2011 10:34 AM

Video: Justin Glenn

Posted by Bob Condotta

As detailed in the Wednesday night practice notes, junior safety Justin Glenn is having a good training camp and making a run not only at getting playing time at safety but also as a nickelback (a fifth defensive back in passing situations).

Glenn was a starter in 2009 before suffering a broken lower left leg against Notre Dame. He talks about his progress from the injury, how camp is going, and more in the video below:

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August 18, 2011 8:30 AM

Thursday links --- OL beginning to take shape

Posted by Bob Condotta

A spot that looked like it might have some juggling heading into camp --- the offensive line --- instead appears pretty set.

I wrote about that for today's paper, focusing on Colin Porter, as well as the fact that the entire line overall has gotten a big bigger and stronger from last season, part of the team's effort overall to get a little stouter up front.

Here are a few other quotes from UW OL coach Dan Cozzetto talking about the line:

On the overall progress: "They've worked hard. They are doing a lot of good things, and they are communicating as well as any group that I've had here. Obviously being in the system a long time, that helps too. We're working on getting our pad level down, working the line of scrimmage, attacking the line of scrimmage more - but they've done a good job of pass protecting, and playing together, keeping that group together, helps."


On the first five being set: "Pretty much. As we're looking at it, we're trying to develop a true backup center. We used Colin Porter (in the scrimmage Tuesday); we used Mike Criste. I wanted to get to Colin Tanigawa, but we didn't get to it. That's kind of where we're at. We got a chance to look at Ben Riva, and especially looking at the backup for Senio (Kelemete) in Micah Hatchie. He's having a very good camp. He's a very talented kid."

On the second group: "Skyler (Fancher) has come along. He's gotten healthier, which has been a plus. And then there's Nick Wood, who has come off that hip injury, and he's had a good camp. But he tires out a little bit with his hip...bringing Ben along maturity-wise, he's grown so much and filled out, but his game isn't where I think it needs to be. He needs to study and continue to work hard. Colin Tanigawa is the biggest surprise as far as a guy coming out of a redshirt year, stepping right in there and doing the things that he's doing."

On whether Tanigawa doing well was a surprise: "The defense had him all year, and they said he's something special. He doesn't back down from anybody. He goes up against that 3-technique Alameda (Ta'amu), and Danny Shelton, and he holds his own. He's a great leverage player, he has quick hands, he's smart...he's been the biggest surprise of that front."

On being able to anchor the right side with Porter and Kohler: "That helps when those guys can play together. We've been trying to get guys that can kind of hold their positions and keep them there. That helps us a lot. Kohler's playing with Porter, and Senio Kelemete's brought Tanigawa along, and that seems to be a good fit. And keeping Drew in the middle, that's critical. I don't want to ever pull him out of there again and have to play him in the situation I had to play him in last year. He's done a good job. Drew and Senio are the leaders of that group."

On Fancher going to guard: "He had that awful injury the previous season, and then he re-injured it again running down the burglar...that didn't help him. He's working hard to get better, and I think playing inside helps him a lot."

On Dexter Charles and Siosifa Tufunga: "Sifi, that was his first debut at center so he had been working the whole time and snapped the ball pretty good. His biggest thing is volume, communication, it's like a different language coming from high school. I think Dexter is going to be real special, real athletic, tremendous work ethic, the type of kid we are going to continue to bring in here, guys like that.''

IN OTHER NEWS. ...

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller updates Washington's off-season.

--- Practice notes from the school's site.

--- I actually wrote the story for our Pac-12 preview series today focusing on Stanford.

--- Times columnist Jerry Brewer says cleaning up the NCAA could be a tough task.

--- Pac-12 commish Larry Scott with some interesting thoughts on what's going on at Miami.

--- Lots of conference links from Vince Grippi.

All for now.

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August 17, 2011 10:17 PM

Video: Sarkisian talks after Wednesday practice, plus a few notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are off the field following Wednesday night's practice, a workout that gave proof that even the veterans can learn a few things during training camp.

The couple hundred who were there certainly noticed as junior safety Nate Fellner watched much of the second half of the practice from the sidelines, sent there by UW coach Steve Sarkisian for, in essence, playing a little too rough. On this night, the Huskies weren't tackling to the ground, something that few teams do every day as they attempt to keep their players as healthy as possible.

Sarkisian explained later that: "I love Nate Fellner. I love him. That's what makes Nate unique. He's a got a real streak in him that makes him special, and he's tough. But he's got to play within the guidelines and parameters that we set for each practice. It wasn't a scrimmage tonight, so we had to stay up. This was not a scrimmage. We weren't supposed to be on the ground, and he had a tendency here today to have them go in the ground when he was making his tackles, and that's not OK." (In practices like this, defenders are supposed to "wrap up,'' hit and wrap with arms, but not tackle low or take guys to the turf).

Sarkisian said that once the lesson is taught, coach and player move on. "Oh, yeah,'' Sarkisian said. "I'm over it. I love our guys. But we're learning, we're teaching. And we've got to learn. That's part of this deal, and we've got to get better at that."

That led to a discussion of Sarkisian's philosophy on tackling during the pre-season.

"Well, I think you have to do it,'' he said. "We'd be remiss if we didn't. I don't think we have to do it every day. I think you can play good, hard-nosed, physical football and stay off the ground. I'm not as concerned as the tackle per se, with the runner and the tackler. I'm more concerned when they fall it's the other guys around them that get rolled up on, that get rolled into. When you just work on staying up and you wrap up and you get a strip attempt then you let the man go, then we are not on the ground and I am not as concerned about ankles and knees and things of that nature. This is the best we've ever been -- but we've got to continue to coach it."

You can see Sarkisian answer that question and more in the video below:

This player was created in August 2010 to take adavantage of smart player technology. It is used in all embedded video on The Seattle Times as well as outside sites..












IN OTHER NEWS. ...

--- There were no new injuries of note.

--- Sarkisian said there is nothing new on the three ineligible players but that he "hopefully'' may know something on Thursday.

Continue reading this post ...


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August 17, 2011 3:14 PM

Wednesday afternoon notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few notes and links to pass the time until UW hits the field for its open practice tonight at 7 p.m.

--- UW coach Steve Sarkisian is scheduled to be a guest on 710 ESPN Seattle today around 4:45 p.m. You can listen here.

--- Chris Polk and Jermaine Kearse have made the watch list for the Pony Express Award, which recognzies the best dynamic combination in college football.

--- Here's an Associated Press preview of the Huskies.

--- Rivals.com with a story on Nick Montana.

--- Cody Habben has been waived by the Raiders.

All for now.

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August 17, 2011 11:10 AM

Wednesday live chat at noon

Posted by Bob Condotta

Huskies basically hitting the halfway point of camp today, so lots to chat about. ...

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August 17, 2011 10:36 AM

Video: Keith Price after Tuesday's practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's some video of UW QB Keith Price's session with the media following Tuesday's practice:

This player was created in August 2010 to take adavantage of smart player technology. It is used in all embedded video on The Seattle Times as well as outside sites..












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August 17, 2011 8:58 AM

Live chat at noon --- and a few morning links

Posted by Bob Condotta

First off, a quick note that we'll hold a chat today at noon.

Also, UW's one open practice today is not until 7 p.m.

For now, a few links. ...

HUSKY NEWS

--- Here's my story wrapping up the Tuesday scrimmage, focusing on the strong play of Kasen Williams.

---- Here's a report from the school's official site, and another one focusing on Colin Tanigawa's progress.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller says the Huskies are the youngest team in the conference.

--- Five Huskies are on Athlon's list of the Top 40 Players in the Pac-12.

RECRUITING NEWS

--- A number of the top players in the state were at Memorial Stadium for a photo shoot Tuesday and Mason Kelley caught up with a few of them for video updates. Included are Zach Banner, Jeff Lindquist and Trent Sewell.

--- Banner is also on MaxPreps pre-season All-American team.

AROUND THE PAC-12/COLLEGE FOOTBALL

--- Bud Withers' series of Pac-12 previews today focuses on USC.

--- Sports Illustrated's Top 25 is out and includes four Pac-12 teams.

--- Eugene Register-Guard George Schroeder has some questions about how things are being handled down there.

--- Here's a rundown of all the Oregon news from The Oregonian.

--- Miller says no one at USC is unhappy over the problems at Miami (and worth remembering that former Miami AD Paul Dee was also on the NCAA committee that investigated the Washington/Rick Neuheisel situations in 2003-04).

--- A Stanford update from Jon Wilner.

--- Lots of Pac-12 links from Vince Grippi.

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August 16, 2011 9:15 PM

Video: Chris Polk talks after Tuesday's practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's some video of UW running back Chris Polk talking to the media after Tuesday's practice:

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August 16, 2011 8:42 PM

Video: Cort Dennison talks after Tuesday's practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's some video of UW linebacker Cort Dennison speaking to the media following Tuesday's practice:

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August 16, 2011 7:50 PM

Tuesday practice report --- Scrimmage wrapup

Posted by Bob Condotta

Story for the paper done, time to flesh out a little more on the scrimmage today.

It lasted 93 plays, and featured the one offense against the one defense, the two offense against the two defense and the three offense against the three defense throughout. The caveat is that after the first few series, there was a lot of mixing and matching, and a lot of the veterans played only a few series, with no reason to beat them up now.

"This was somewhat like an NFL pre-season game where the starters get a series or two and then you work in some of the backups where there's still a few starters in there, and then it works its way to the young guys,'' said UW coach Steve Sarkisian.

The starting units, however, revealed no changes other than noted earlier, with Kasen Williams going at receiver ahead of Devin Aguilar, who has been ailing the past few days with a glute strain. Sarkisian said he was "going to hold off on where guys are going to be'' until next week. So too early to say yet that Williams is a starter. And the reality is that at a spot like WR, where guys rotate a lot, it can be a little bit of semantics anyway. More telling is simply that Williams is obviously in the rotation and will play a lot.

The highlight play of the day may have been his 10-yard reception from Nick Montana late in the going that didn't count --- Montana was ruled to have been touched just a hair before he threw.

"It was pretty close,'' said Sarkisian. "Whether or not it was a sack, it was a pretty good play.''

He elaborated to say: "That was a pretty good catch in the back of the end zone. That's what he is. We're finding more and more about what he does really well and what he's comfortable doing, and we're trying to put him in those settings. That was great seeing Kasen do that, and Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) made a few plays there, and I thought Bishop Sankey ran the ball well today as a young guy doing his thing. All in all, I thought the young guys showed up today. They weren't perfect by any means; they have a lot of work to do. But it was great to watch them play football."

Sarkisian said that while Williams has begun to make highlight-reel plays just about daily now, he hasn't become "ho-hum.''

"Maybe in a few years I will get ho-hum,'' he said. "But I marvel at some of his plays just like everybody else. That's the beauty of having a great athlete that can bail you out and can make those types of plays. I know it's a great luxury for the quarterbacks to have that playmaking ability and you add Kasen to Jermaine Kearse and Devin and Kevin and James Johnson and what DiAndre Campbell is bringing, and (Michael Hartvigson) and Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) and Evan Hudson, it's a pretty dynamic group of playmakers, and it's fun for us as a staff because now that ball can be spread to five different guys. It's not 'we've got to get the ball to Jermaine or Devin.' Everybody can make their plays and it's allowing the system to work for the quarterback and I think that's why we are seeing a little bit more efficiency overall in the offense when we are doing things the right way.''

Williams was also tried as a punt returner and a kickoff returner as the team explores ways to get him on the field.

"We are pushing him to see what it looks like and how he responds and he has done nothing but respond every chance we have given him,'' Sarkisian said. "There is still the big learning curve and the mistakes that are made. He has not been perfect by any means. But I love his resiliency, I love the fact that when he makes mistakes he wants to learn and get better from them. He takes tremendous notes. He's a very serious guy when it comes to competing.''

Here are the unofficial stats:

Rushing: Chris Polk 9-36, Jesse Callier 7-22, Johri Fogerson 8-50, Bishop Sankey 7-53, Dezden Petty 7-37, Willis Wilson 4-23, Cole Sager 1-3, Keith Price 3- (-7), Nick Montana 2- (-1), Derrick Brown 1-(-6)

Passing: Keith Price 7-9-80, Nick Montana 14-20-113, Derrick Brown 5-8-34

Receiving: Kasen Williams 4-53, Devin Aguilar 2-40, Kevin Smith 1-20, James Johnson 4-69, DiAndre Campbell 3-17, Evan Hudson 1-16, Marlion Barnett 3-25, Travon Brooks 2-13, Michael Hartvigson 1-12, Austin Seferian-Jenkins 1-7, Jamaal Jones 1-12, Jesse Callier 2-8, Josh Perkins 2-12

Scoring
Chris Polk 1 run (Erik Folk PAT no good)
Jamaal Kearse 25 fumble return
Travon Brooks 2 pass from Nick Montana (Folk PAT)
Erik Folk 51 field goal
Dezden Petty 13 run (Folk PAT)
Jesse Callier 2 run (Folk PAT)
Eric Guttorp 36 field goal

MORE NOTES. ...

--- The No. 1 offense was on the field for five series and scored two touchdowns, the runs by Polk and Callier, and had a field goal. The No. 2 offense had five series and scored one TD, the Montana-to-Brooks pass, and also had a field goal by Guttorp, which followed the throw to Williams that didn't count. Petty's TD came on the lone scoring drive by the three offense in its four series.

Continue reading this post ...


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August 16, 2011 6:11 PM

Video: Sarkisian talks about Tuesday practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are off the field following their Tuesday practice, which included the most substantive scrimmage of the season.

No new injuries, always the best news for the coaches.

Also, UW coach Steve Sarkisian said that Quinton Richardson has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain and could miss the opener against Eastern but shouldn't be out too long --- weeks rather than months, as he said Monday night, as well.

And DT Alameda Ta'amu returned to play the first two series with his hand in a case.

Kasen Williams worked with the starting offense, alongside Jermaine Kearse and Kevin Smith, with Devin Aguilar going with the second unit, in what appeared to be the only real significant personnel move. And no new word yet on the three ineligible players. Sarkisian said it should come any day but hasn't come yet.

There were five touchdowns in the scrimmage:

--- A 1-yard run by Chris Polk, who had nine carries for 36 yards and then sat the rest of the day;
--- A 2-yard pass from Nick Montana to Travon Brooks, capping a good series for the second offense;
--- A 25-yard fumble return by Jamaal Kearse on a bad center snap;
--- A 13-yard run by Dezden Petty;
--- And a 2-yard run by Jesse Callier.

And what might have been the best play of the day didn't officially count as Williams leaped high over Travis Feeney for a 10-yard TD in the back of the end zone. Coaches, however, blew the play dead on a touch sack right before Montana threw the ball.

I'll have more stats and notes and quotes later.

Here's some video of Sarkisian's post-scrimmage meeting with the media:

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August 16, 2011 3:15 PM

Afternoon update: Video and a few notes, links

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are on the field getting ready for what is scheduled to be the first major scrimmage of the fall.

Here's a little video of the pre-practice period as the receivers go through a warmup drill. Included at the end are freshmen Kasen Williams (No. 2), Joshua Perkins (No. 12) and Jamaal Jones (No. 11).

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IN OTHER NEWS. ...

--- UW coach Steve Sarkisian is scheduled to be a guest on ESPN 710 today after practice around 5:30-5:45 or so.

--- Don James was on with Dave "Softy'' Mahler on KJR-AM this morning. You can listen here.

--- The WizofOdds.com looks at UW's schedule poster for 2011.

--- Phil Steele's readers pick UW to go 4-5 in Pac-12 play this year.

--- Former Husky Dorson Boyce was released by the Seahawks today.

--- Brendon Bigelow, who was committed to UW for quite a while last year before signing with Cal, may redshirt this season.

--- Video has been released of Cliff Harris' traffic stop.

More later.

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August 16, 2011 11:15 AM

Video: Thomas Tutogi

Posted by Bob Condotta

I had a chance to catch up with UW middle linebacker Thomas Tutogi after practice last night.

Tutogi, a sophomore, arrived at UW last winter after playing last season at Southwestern JC in Chula Vista, Calif.

He talks about the transition he made coming in from junior college in the spring, his position switch to middle linebacker, where he's backing up Cort Dennison, and more (and sorry for the fact that it seems like there's a perpetual earthquake occurring during these videos. Still getting the hang of that part of it).


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August 16, 2011 9:44 AM

Tuesday links --- Amosa grabs hold of fullback spot, and more

Posted by Bob Condotta

For my story for today's paper, I wrote about the fullback position, a spot where all four scholarship players who were listed there a year ago are now gone.

Fortunately for UW, walk-on Jonathan Amosa made the switch from linebacker in the spring and has continued to progress in the fall, looming as the starter at the spot now. The sudden abundance of tight ends means UW can get creative with its personnel and use some of those players in situations that might have been filled by fullbacks, mitigating the lack of experience at fullback. When UW does use a fullback this year, though, Amosa figures to be the guy.

Here also is some video of an interview with Amosa last week courtesy of UW's athletic department:

IN OTHER UW NEWS...

--- John Henderson of the Denver Post continues his series on Pac-12 teams with a look at the Huskies, including a Steve Sarkisian quote that he considers the UW job one of the top five in the country.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller examines the seniority of Pac-12 teams and unsurprisingly finds UW on the young side.

--- And some fanciful Apple Cup outcomes in Miller's "best case-worst case scenarios'' for Washington State.

--- The DailyAxe is pitting Oregon against UW in its ongoing uniform battle.

--- By the way, Thursday's practice has been switched to 4:30. Today's practice remains at 3 p.m. and is expected to contain some significant scrimmaging, so would be a good one to attend if you've got the chance.

HUSKIES IN THE NFL

--- MusicCityMiracles has a detailed breakdown of Jake Locker's game against the Vikings.

--- Tank Johnson was cut due to knee issues and sounds like his career is over.

--- The Eagles released Joe Toledo.

AROUND COLLEGE FOOTBALL. ...

--- Bud Withers continues his Pac-12 previews with a look at UCLA and coach Rick Neuheisel's hot seat.

--- Henderson of the Post also expects it to soon be a Pac-16.

--- Good story trying to get at the mystery that is Vontaze Burfict.

--- Interesting stuff from Scout.com on how it puts together its rankings.

--- Nebraska lost potential backup QB Bubba Starling when he instead signed with the Royals late last night.

--- The Oregonian's look at Oregon's running backs includes no mention of Lache Seastrunk, who for all the hubbub isn't making much impact on the field.

--- Here's Vince Grippi's daily Pac-12 rundown.

--- Miller updates Utah.

All for now.

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August 15, 2011 10:38 PM

More notes and quotes from Monday practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

Now for the more complete version of the notes from Monday's practice, and this just in --- Chris Polk is still really good.

And Austin Seferian-Jenkins is continuing to become pretty good (and for the injury updates, check the entry below)

The Huskies ran about 40 live plays in Monday's practice, and almost immediately Polk ripped off about a 20-yard run in which be plowed over safety Nate Fellner (and no shame on Fellner's behalf there).

Seferian-Jenkins was the star of a non-contact session in which he had two highlight-reel catches (both from Keith Price, who had a nice night), including one in which he grabbed a pass with his left hand as he blew through the middle of the defense and then kept going for what was unofficially a 77-yard TD.

You can see Seferian-Jenkins talk about that catch as well as how he's trying to improve on his blocking in the video below:

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UW coach Steve Sarkisian said he wanted to do some live work tonight after watching the film of some of the live sessions from Saturday.

"We had a really efficient period where we had a chance to do some live stuff, and it was pretty evident, the first time you go to tackle, and cut and do different things you get a little sloppy,'' he said. "So that is why we came back tonight with another emphasis of a 40-play period where we tackled again, and cut and did different things. I thought it got a little bit better, but there is still plenty of room for improvement that way. All in all, I love their energy, I love their enthusiasm from Saturday night ... but technically, fundamentally when it came down to the moment of truth, a lot of times we weren't right. That is the stuff we have to continue to work on.''

The 40-play session tonight was all situational, with the offense beginning every day at its own 2-yard-line or so. On none of the drives did the offense get past its own 47-yard-line ---- I think the DL will probably grade out higher than the OL on this night --- doing so on the drive in which Polk had his 20-yard run as well as another of about 13 (he then pretty much took a seat for the rest of the night).

All of the quarterbacks got work in that session and Price had the best night, completing his first four passes as well as turning in a few good runs (the drive he led to the 47 might have continued if not for a dropped pass by Jermaine Kearse).

The defense otherwise appeared to have the upper hand, and it was a somewhat remade defense featuring Greg Ducre at cornerback and Danny Shelton at tackle in place of the injured Quinton Richardson and Alameda Ta'amu.

Sarkisian had particularly high praise for Ducre.

"I thought he had a nice practice today --- he really showed up,'' Sarkisian said. "Sometimes a guy thinks of himself as a backup and can almost play like a backup, and then all the sudden they get pushed to the forefront and go with the ones and that talent that we know is there comes out and they start playing like a starter, and I thought Greg did that tonight. I thought he got a little better this morning and I thought tonight was far and away his best practice.''

Ducre needed a few days in fall camp to shake off the rust after being limited in the spring following off-season shoulder surgery.

Continue reading this post ...


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August 15, 2011 9:47 PM

Video: Sarkisan after Monday practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are off the field following their Monday night practice.

What's always the best news for the team --- no new injuries.

As for the previous injuries, UW coach Steve Sarkisian said cornerback Quinton Richardson had an MRI on his injured left leg Monday night that will hopefully detail exactly what is wrong.

An X-ray revealed no break in the leg from an injury suffered when Richardson leaped high with receiver Kasen Williams for a pass in Saturday's practice. Richardson's foot was in a boot and he was on crutches on Monday.

Sarkisian said they are trying to see "if there is any other damage in there that could potentially be long-term.''

However, he sounded optimistic that Richardson won't be out long, saying "I don't think it's a long, long-term thing. If it's a few weeks it's a few weeks. But I don't think it's anything like months.''

With Richardson out, sophomore Greg Ducre worked with the first team opposite Desmond Trufant. True freshman Marcus Peters and junior Anthony Gobern worked with the second team.

Also, defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu suited up but did not practice after suffering a broken bone in his hand on Saturday. But Sarkisian said Ta'amu won't be out long and the injury wouldn't prevent him from playing.

You can see Sarkisian talk about that, as well as his thoughts on the team's practice, Williams being used as a punt returner, Ducre's progress, and when the team will scrimmage (Tuesday and Saturday) and more in the video below. I'll also have more notes and quotes later:

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August 15, 2011 2:22 PM

Huskies get another crack at No. 1 (sort of)

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Washington Huskies haven't beaten a team ranked No. 1 since 1961.

They'll get a chance on Sept. 3, though in a little different manner than the past 50 years.

UW hosts Eastern Washington to open the season, and the Eagles were today ranked as the pre-season No. 1 in the SportsNetwork/Fathead.com Football Championship Subdivision poll, getting 90 of 140 first-place votes (not exactly an exclusive poll there, is it?)

Obviously, there's a difference in the overall quality in the two divisions, and UW will be a prohibitive favorite against the Eagles. But EWU's ranking --- as well as its status as the defending FCS champ --- is an indication that the game could elicit some nervous moments.

UW is 1-10-1 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, the win coming in the 1961 Rose Bowl against Minnesota.

The most recent game against an AP No. 1 team was last year against Oregon --- and yes, obviously an Oregon or Stanford could be ranked No. 1 again this year when the Huskies play them, so UW could have a rare opportunity of playing teams ranked No. 1 in each division this season.

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August 15, 2011 11:52 AM

Updated depth chart

Posted by Bob Condotta

We're a week into fall camp, so I figured it might be time to update the depth chart a little bit. Remember, however, this is not the official depth chart, just how it appears from my vantage point.

Also, I'm trying to list as many players as I can but every single player may not be on here and no slight is intended, there's just some spots it's hard to detail everyone. And I've tried to update the heights and weights, as well.

Following each position is a brief comment.

OFFENSE
QUARTERBACK
Keith Price, 6-1, 195, RSo.
Nick Montana, 6-3, 203, RFr.
Derrick Brown, 6-3, 236, Fr.

COMMENT: Montana has had some good moments so far, but so has Price and there's no change at the top. Brown has also raised some eyebrows with his play, though it figures that the Huskies will try to redshirt him this season.

TAILBACK
Chris Polk, 5-11, 222, RJr.
Jesse Callier, 5-10, 200, So.
Johri Fogerson, 6-1, 205, Sr./OR
Bishop Sankey, 5-10, 193, Fr.
COMMENT: The top two are set. Fogerson is still attempting to get back to 100 percent health. Sankey has had a good first week and given the depth here, seems a lot closer to playing this year.

FULLBACK
Jonathan Amosa, 5-11, 230, Jr.
Nick Holt, 5-11, 220, Fr.
Dezden Petty, 5-11, 214, Fr.
COMMENT: Holt has been one of the revelations of the first week, moving to fullback and moving quickly to backup status. At the moment, he seems in line to play this season.

RECEIVER
Devin Aguilar, 6-0, 188, Sr.
Cody Bruns, 5-11, 177, Sr.
William Chandler, 6-0, 184, Jr./OR
Jamaal Jones, 6-2, 180, Fr.
COMMENT: Lots of mixing and matching of position groups going on this time of year. Aguilar appears to still be with first group, though was out with an injury Saturday.

RECEIVER
Kevin Smith, 6-0, 197, So.
DiAndre Campbell, 6-1, 182, RFr.
Luther Leonard, 6-2, 195, Jr.
COMMENT: Smith has been solid so far and Campbell also appears to be working his way to getting some snaps.

RECEIVER
Jermaine Kearse, 6-2, 205, Sr.
Kasen Williams, 6-2, 212, Fr.
James Johnson, 6-0, 201, Jr.
Joshua Perkins, 6-3, 197, Fr.
COMMENT: Johnson may be better listed elsewhere, but this is the spot where he was on UW's depth chart at the end of spring. Williams also appears to be getting most of his reps at this spot. But again, lots of mixing and matching and moving around of guys at the WR spots. Williams no doubt will get on the field a lot this season. Hard to get a read yet on Perkins' progress.

TIGHT END
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, 6-6, 258, Fr./OR
Michael Hartvigson, 6-6, 254, RFr.
Evan Hudson, 6-6, 260, RFr.
Marlion Barnett, 6-2, 224, So./or
Cameron Salley, 6-4, 236, So.
COMMENT: Continues to be a much-improved position. The top two guys will each play a lot and Hudson will also likley get on the field quite a bit. Salley, a walk-on and transfer from UPS, earned praise this week from Sarkisian.

LEFT TACKLE
Senio Kelemete, 6-4, 301, Sr.
Micah Hatchie, 6-5, 285, RFr.
Dexter Charles, 6-4, 293,, Fr.
COMMENT: Underrated news of the first week is that Kelemete has looked 100 percent after the spring foot injury.

LEFT GUARD
Colin Tanigawa, 6-3, 297, Fr.
Nick Wood, 6-3, 303, Sr.
Ross Dolbec, 6-6, 302, Fr.
COMMENT: Sarkisian has raved about Tanigawa. And Wood appears healthy after missing the spring, adding some experienced depth inside.

Continue reading this post ...


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August 15, 2011 9:23 AM

Monday morning links --- Woodward on KJR-AM, and more

Posted by Bob Condotta

Kicking off another week. ...

--- Remember, the open practice that we have access to is not until 7 p.m., so nothing new on anything likely until after that, though I'll try to have a few things on the blog in the meantime. As for Quinton Richardson, there's nothing new available to us other than what was reported on the athletic department's site last Saturday night that there was no break. Various reports have Richardson being seen in a boot and on crutches on Sunday. Obviously, he's out a little while and Greg Ducre likely moves up to the starting unit in the interim. But still awaiting more details on how long he may be out.

--- Washington athletic director Scott Woodward was on KJR-AM this morning talking about a variety of topics, including the progress of funding for the renovation. It's pretty much what was reported at the press conferences last week in terms of any news, but an interesting listen nonetheless.

--- Rivals.com rates UW sixth among all Pac-12 teams, ahead of slumping Arizona State, among others.

--- Josh Garnett told Scout.com he may take an unofficial visit to UW sometime this summer but doesn't plan to make a decision until close to signing day.

--- Jon Wilner writes that he considered UW for his AP Top 25 ballot before leaving the Huskies off. However, he includes Hawaii, UW's opponent the second week of the season.

--- Wilner also passed along this note from PollSpeak.com, showing Cal and USC two of the top three most overrated teams in the period from 2006-10.

--- Texas Tech's president says he doesn't forsee the Pac-12 attempting to take any Big 12 teams away unless Texas is involved.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller, though, writes that he thinks there will eventually be a Pac-16.

--- Ken Goe of The Oregonian has some thoughts on Oregon beginning to put some restrictions on practice access.

--- Lots of links around the Pac-12 from Vince Grippi.

--- USC is getting thin at running back.

All for now.

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August 14, 2011 10:49 PM

Sunday night notes --- Sarkisian throws out first pitch, practice schedule, and a few links

Posted by Bob Condotta

sarkfirstpitch.jpg

On their day off from football, the Huskies took in a little baseball, as UW coach Steve Sarkisian threw out the first pitch at the Mariners game today, accompanied by players (that's the pitch in an AP photo).

The CoachSark site has a few more photos of the day.

And hey, they got to see a Mariner win. If the Mariners just hadn't that pesky little 17-game losing streak. ...

REMAINING PRACTICE SCHEDULE. ...

Yes, we're talkin' 'bout practice, as a few of you have asked for UW's practice schedule for the rest of fall camp. So here it is (and again, only the practices open to the public are shown).

Monday, August 15 - 7:00 p.m. practice
Tuesday, August 16 - 3:15 p.m. practice
Wednesday, August 17 - 7:00 p.m. practice
Thursday, August 18 - 3:15 p.m. practice
Friday, August 19 - 7:00 p.m. practice
Saturday, August 20 - 3:15 p.m. practice
Sunday, August 21 - 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Picture Day
Monday, August 22 - 3:15 p.m. practice
Tuesday, August 23 - 7:00 p.m. practice
Wednesday, August 24 - 3:15 p.m. practice
Thursday, August 25 - 4:15 p.m. practice

IN OTHER NEWS. ...

--- Times columnist Steve Kelley writes for Monday's paper on the sophomore slump of receiver James Johnson and how he's hoping to have more fun this season. As is evident to everyone, the receiving position at UW is a lot more competitive this year. This looms as a vital camp for Johnson to re-state his place in the rotation.

--- Rivals.com has UW headed to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against Ohio.

--- ProFootballTalk says Jake Locker put together the best game of any first-round QB in the NFL this weekend.

--- A San Diego Chargers' beat writer assesses where Donald Butler fits in.

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August 14, 2011 1:48 PM

Video: Colin Porter after Saturday's practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a couple minutes of an interview after Saturday's practice with UW guard Colin Porter as he talks about being thrust in to the starting lineup last year as a true freshman, how he feels during this camp, and his weight:

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August 14, 2011 9:57 AM

Sunday links --- Polk, Locker and UW takes a day off

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are taking the day off today, their first of fall camp, and the next time we'll see them on the practice field will be Monday at 7 p.m. They are scheduled for another two-a-day tomorrow with the morning practice closed.

For our story for the Sunday paper I wrote about Chris Polk, who was ready to give it all up after the 2008 season but obviously has stayed to become one of the best Husky running backs of all time. Included are some charts.

In other Husky news. ...

--- The school's official site reports that Quinton Richardson does not have a broken bone and has either a contusion or a high ankle sprain. We'll probably have to wait until Monday to get word on how long he'll be sidelined.

--- Steve Sarkisian's high school coach has passed away.

--- The National Football Post rates Alameda Ta'amu as the top NFL prospect among Pac-12 seniors. (By the way, no update yet on Ta'amu other than what was initially reported last night. Sarkisian said that because he's a lineman, a broken bone in a hand wouldn't be a big deal though he didn't have exact details on the injury).

Huskies in the NFL. ...

--- Jake Locker had a good debut for the Titans, and you can see the highlights as read about it here via ESPN.com.

--- And here's the report from The Tennessean.

--- Here are more highlights and a link to his press conference.

--- Here's a column on Mason Foster from the Tampa Tribune following the Bucs' opener against the Chiefs.

Around the Pac-12/college football. ...

--- Bud Withers writes that the Pac-12 and Big Ten commissioners have denied they have agreed to a "plus-one'' playoff plan.

--- Withers also previews Arizona today.

--- Lots of links around the Pac-12 from the Spokesman-Review.

--- No shortage of stories out there on Texas A&M's impending move to the SEC. It sounds as if so far this wouldn't immediately impact the Pac-12, but you never really know anymore in college athletics. Good story in the New York Times, as well, noting what I've written on here often --- there is no "they'' in college football to look out over everything. It's pretty much every man/school/conference for themselves.

All for now.

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August 13, 2011 10:25 PM

More notes and quotes on Saturday's practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

As noted in the earlier entry, the Huskies may have suffered their first significant injury of camp tonight, when Quinton Richardson left with a lower-leg injury. The quotes as well as video of what UW coach Steve Sarkisian had to say about it are in the previous entry.

It's too early yet, obviously, to get into speculating about what it would mean if Richardson were lost for any significant length of time. But to answer the obvious question, the backup cornerbacks tonight were Greg Ducre and Anthony Gobern. Ducre appears to be the No. 3 cornerback, so he'd probably be the one to move up to the starting unit.

True frosh Marcus Peters has impressed early and would probably move up to the second unit, and obviously as time goes by might have a chance to move up further. JC transfer Antavius Sims remains sideline as he has yet to be approved to be enrolled at UW. The Huskies sought him to add depth at cornerback, and that became even more of a priority when Adam Long was lost, presumably for the year, with a knee injury suffered in off-season conditioning. Justin Glenn is also capable of playing cornerback and might be a wildcard in this if UW needed the depth.

So yes, the depth --- at least in terms of experience --- gets pretty thin quickly at that spot. But Sarkisian was holding out hope the injury may be not that big of a deal. It didn't look great, as Richardson was on the ground for 4-5 minutes or so and carted off. But injuries often look bad and don't turn out to be significant, so for now, the Huskies wait and see.

As for the rest of practice, the highlight was a 10-play goal-line session (which turned into 11 plays for reasons that will be explained) that featured the first live tacking I'd seen so far this camp.

Continue reading this post ...


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August 13, 2011 9:46 PM

Video: Sarkisian talks after Saturday practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are off the field following their Saturday night practice in front of a few hundred fans at the venerable stadium.

And for the first time this fall, there may have been a significant injury as starting cornerback Quinton Richardson was carted off about midway through with an injury to his lower left leg. He was defending Kasen Williams one-on-one in a passing drill and they each went up for a pass and came down together. Richardson immediately grabbed his leg and stayed on the ground and trainers rushed out and it took a good five minutes or so before he was helped off.

Here's what UW coach Steve Sarkisian said afterward:

"He's getting X-rays. We can't tell quite yet if it's a high ankle sprain or if it has something to do with the bone but he was obviously in pain, but it's too early to say exactly what it is. I'll know more in a couple of hours I would imagine. It looked more like Kasen landed on top of him, so I don't know exactly if his foot was under him or not. Sometimes a knee right on the shin bone can cause a pretty good bruising there, or worse for that matter, so I don't know. They kind of just landed at the same time. But it's definitely a lower-leg injury, it's not up in the knee region which is a good thing.''

Also, Alameda Ta'amu was taken to the locker room late with a hand injury. Here's what Sarkisian said:

"He injured his hand. I'm assuming the injury of what it was he's probably got a small fracture in his hand. He's a defensive linemen, he'll be okay. And Devin Aguilar actually had a little bit of a glute strain so we held him out.''

He also said there is no new news on the three players not yet eligible to practice: "Not yet. Counting the days now, whatever that day was that I said the NCAA said it would be within seven business days, we are three or four into it now.''

Here's more video of Sarkisian after practice, talking also about the intensity of the workout, including a short-yardage goal-line drill, as well as his thoughts on the progress so far of Nick Montana:

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August 13, 2011 1:57 PM

Locker to make Tennessee debut tonight

Posted by Bob Condotta

jaketenn.jpg

It's a big night --- as big as any pre-season game gets, anyway --- for former Husky QB Jake Locker (in an AP photo) as he is set to make his debut with the Titans.

Tennessee hosts Minnesota in a game that will begin at 5 p.m. Seattle time (here's a good buts-and-bolts preview). There is no live TV in our area but the game will be replayed at least twice on the NFL Network --- 7 p.m. Sunday and 10 p.m. Tuesday.

The Tennessean reports that starting QB Matt Hasselbeck (remember him?) will likely go 12-15 plays and then Locker is expected to take over. As the paper says, Locker "will see more action than Hasselbeck.''

I am assuming you can follow the game on-line either on ESPN.com or on the team's official site, among other places.

There's also a lot of stuff on the Tennessean's Titans page, including a couple of Locker-related stories, as well as a poll showing fans are most excited to see Locker of any of the team's newcomers (and somewhat oddly, Akeem Ayers is in second, ahead of Hasselbeck).

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August 13, 2011 9:25 AM

Saturday a.m. links --- Punters, BCS and more

Posted by Bob Condotta

I wrote today about what may not be the most exciting position on the team, but could be one of the better position battles --- punter.

It was also the first chance to talk to Will Mahan since he was injured last year prior to Syracuse game and hear how his recovery has gone. As you can read, he said all is well and he considers himself 100 percent. So far, they are not close to deciding this one.

In other UW news. ...

--- OL Walker Williams of Tacoma Baptist, who had been considering UW, has committed instead to Wisconsin.

--- Here's the report from UW's official site.

--- The AP had its annual look at the top-paid employees in the state, and is always the case it's whoever is the head coach at Washington at the time, so no surprise Steve Sarkisian tops the list.

Recapping Huskies in the NFL. ...

--- Mason Foster had a fumble recovery and a tackle in Tampa Bay's 25-0 win over the Chiefs last night. And sorry I missed it earlier, but Victor Aiyewa has been cut by the Bucs.

Around college football. ...

--- Bud Withers writes that the Pac-12 and Big Ten favor a limited playoff format that could alter the BCS.

--- Withers also writes about Utah in the Times' series of Pac-12 previews.

--- Lots of Pac-12 links from the Spokesman-Review.

And remember that practice tonight starts at 7 p.m.

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August 12, 2011 10:35 PM

Video: Kevin Smith after practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

I had a chance to catch up with UW receiver Kevin Smith for a quick interview after practice
Friday, talking about his progress from a thumb injury last year and his hopes for this season, among other topics:

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August 12, 2011 7:22 PM

Friday practice report: Sarkisian says "It's as physical as we've been, in my opinion''

Posted by Bob Condotta

Friday marked the first day in full pads for the Washington Huskies this camp. And afterward UW coach Steve Sarkisian said he sees continuing signs of his team starting to become the kind of physical football team he has envisioned since arriving in Dec. 2008.

"It's physical, I know that,'' he said of what he sees happening in the trenches. "It's as physical as we've been, in my opinion. We've got more explosive body types in there, even our young guys. They may not be right all the time and I don't expect them to be. But just our ability to come off the football on both sides of the ball is evident to me. We are snapping off the ball and striking better than we have in the past.''

In fact, there was physical play throughout, typified by a hit by Desmond Trufant on true frosh tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins as Trufant roamed the middle and then levied a blast that knocked the ball out.

Said Sarkisian: "A great play. Just a tremendous play. I think Keith thought that Jenkins was just wide open and was just kind of late on the ball and Desmond covered about 40 yards in 4.3. Welcome to college football, right?''

Asked how being able to make those kinds of plays consistently can impact an offense, Sarkisian said: "It's big and it affects guys. All the sudden there are some double catches and some drops and guys might not be running routes as full speed as they can be and it's not just in the passing game but it can be in the run game too with running backs so hopefully as a football team we posses that ability to make those types of hits on both sides of the ball. That's how you instill a little bit of fear and hesitation in opponents.''

You can see Trufant talking about that hit, as well as a few other topics, in the video below:

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That was far from the lone highlight, however. Freshman running back Bishop Sankey had a few nice runs, including a couple in a row during a late team sessions that helped lead to a touchdown pass from Nick Montana to Nick Holt (not the coach, the walk-on freshman who is making a real run at being the backup fullback).

Continue reading this post ...


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August 12, 2011 6:14 PM

Video: Sarkisian after Friday practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

Friday's practice has ended for UW, the first in full pads of camp.

In what is always the best news, there were no significant injuries.

There were a few highlights, among them what may be the hit of camp so far when Desmond Trufant roamed across the secondary to level tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins as he attempted to catch a Keith Price pass down the sideline (it fell incomplete).

Sarkisian talks about that in the video below, as well as some overall thoughts on the team needing to improve its pad level, James Johnson's progress, Bishop Sankey, and Danny Shelton getting some work with the starting defense at tackle, which then moved Everrette Thompson to end.

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August 12, 2011 3:31 PM

Friday afternoon notes --- Video, and practice underway

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are on the field for their first full-pads practice of the fall. No sign of any of the ineligible players having returned. I'll have more on practice after practice.

For now, a few notes, including some video at the end of the placekickers at practice today. ...

--- The first of two shows on the Elite 11 Quarterback Competition airs tonight at 4 p.m. on ESPN. Included in that competition were UW commits Jeff Lindquist and Cyler Miles, which may be a good time to reprise a recent quote from recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who told the Times that: "It's surprising to me that two great quarterbacks like that would go to the same school, but it's an embarrassment of riches for the Huskies."

-- A few of you have passed along this link to a furniture store commercial featuring Jake Locker. Here it is.

--- CoachSark's site has some info on the beginning of two-a-days tomorrow. Again, on the two-a-day days, only the night practice is open to the public and media so that's why they aren't listed on UW's official fall camp practice schedule. But they aren't practicing any less than in the past. Basically, every time there's a night practice is a two-a-day with a closed practice earlier.

--- Finally, here's some video of the kickers warming up at the beginning of practice today. You can see the two batteries at work in this clip. Farther away is the starting battery of snapper Brendan Lopez, holder Cody Bruns and kicker Erik Folk. Nearer is the second-team battery of snapper Evan Hudson, holder William Chandler and kicker Eric Guttorp. Walk-on lineman Drew Schultz has also been doing some snapping.

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August 12, 2011 10:23 AM

Live chat at 1 p.m.

Posted by Bob Condotta

A slightly different time, but let's fit in a live chat today at 1 p.m. before UW hits the field for its first full-pads practice of the fall at 3:15 p.m.

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August 12, 2011 8:14 AM

Friday links --- Linebackers past and present

Posted by Bob Condotta

An obvious focal point of camp is the linebacking spot, as the Huskies search for replacements for Mason Foster and Victor Aiyewa.

Four days in, and it sounds as if some things are already beginning to take shape there as Princeton Fuimaono has returned healthy and appears to have a pretty good hold on Aiyewa's spot while John Timu has made a real run early and is competing with Garret Gilliland at the other spot.

That was the focus of my story for today's paper.

In other UW news. ...

--- Here also is the report from the school's site.


--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller put Chris Polk, Jermaine Kearse, Erik Folk and Alameda Ta'amu on his pre-season All-Pac-12 team.

--- Miller also writes about the "new Husky Stadium.''

--- Miller also ranks Ta'amu as the No. 13 player in the Pac-12.

--- Miller also said in a chat yesterday that eight wins is "not unreasonable'' for UW this year.

--- Bryan Fischer of CBSSports.com picks UW third in the Pac-12 North as part of that site's extensive Pac-12 preview.

--- Polk, Kearse, Ta'amu and Folk all made the CBSSports.com all-conference team, as well.

In news on former Huskies opening NFL pre-season play. ...

--- It was a good day for ex-Huskies in the Seahawks-San Diego game as C.J. Wallace had seven tackles and Donald Butler four.


--- In the same boxscore above also note that Isaiah Stanback had two catches for 12 yards.

--- Daniel Te'o-Nesheim had two tackles and a sack for the Eagles.

--- D'Andre Goodwin had one catch for 12 yards for the Broncos.

--- Louis Rankin had five carries for 10 yards and two catches for 20 yards, and Marcel Reece one catch for seven yards and one carry for two yards, each for the Raiders.

--- Foster and Aiyewa open against the Chiefs tonight.

And in news around the conference and college football. ...

--- Bud Withers starts our Pac-12 preview with a look at Colorado.


--- Rick Neuheisel and Paul Wulff lead an ESPN.com writer's list of the hottest seats in college football.

--- Lots more links around the Pac-12 from Vince Grippi.


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August 11, 2011 7:45 PM

UW Fall Camp practice report, Day Four

Posted by Bob Condotta

College football training camps almost inevitably result in a departure of a player or two, for any number of reasons.

So it was with UW today. As noted in the previous post, backup middle linebacker Victor Burnett was dismissed from the team for an unspecified violation of team rules. The redshirt freshman was vying with Tim Tucker for the third spot behind starter Cort Dennison and JC transfer Thomas Tutogi, who appears to be the backup there at the moment.

UW coach Steve Sarkisian didn't elaborate on the reasons for dismissing Burnett but said he doesn't feel as if the Huskies have had significant off-field issues during his tenure.

"I am not frustrated,'' he said. "I am frustrated maybe with myself, because I feel like part of my job is to raise these guys. I am inheriting a kid at 18 years old, and I have him for the four or five years of their lives, and those are big years in a young man's life with a lot of changes. You try to get them all - try and make them all better people, and better students and better football players, so the frustration maybe is with me when you don't get them all. Then you sit back and you realize I've got 115 sons, and the percentages tell me we're doing pretty good.''

Given his status as a third- or fourth-team MLB this year, Burnett's loss isn't critical to the 2011 Huskies and obviously opens up a spot down the road.

As for practice, it was the second straight day in helmets and shoulder pads, and featured some significant 11-on-11 work.

Statistically, it wasn't the greatest day for QB Keith Price, who had three interceptions during the team sessions. But one was, and as is always the case this time of year, a bad play for the offense is a good one for the defense, so there's always somebody feeling good about something, and vice versa.

"I thought it was a very intense, upbeat, enthusiastic practice,'' he said.

The tipped interception landed in the hands of John Timu, who appears to be making a serious run at taking the weakside linebacker spot manned last year by Mason Foster. Garret Gilliland is also playing at that position.

Asked later to name some players who have made significant moves up the depth chart, Sarkisian started with Timu.

"For a guy who is essentially a true freshman for us right now, he basically started today,'' Sarkisian said. "For a guy who has never really played the position, being a high school quarterback and safety, he is just a natural football player. He has got great instincts. He is very athletic. He can run. He's tough. He has really probably made the biggest impact.''

Mmaking one of the other interceptions, a bomb on what was the last play of the day, was Sean Parker, who was the next player cited by Sarkisian as being a standout so far.

"He is just around the ball,'' Sarkisian said. "He is a natural football player. If he doesn't get an interception a day, he's got his hands on one that he doesn't quite catch. He is around the ball quite a bit.'' (The other interceptions were by Quinton Richardson and Travis Feeney of a tipped pass by Nick Montana that in a game situation would have gone for a touchdown --- in practice, he met the line of the rest of the waiting players).

Other highlights of the day included about a 60-yard TD run by Chris Polk, a nice catch-and-run by James Johnson on a slant to escape a tackle by Greg Ducre, a short pass that Johri Fogerson turned into about a 70-yard TD, and two straight completions by Montana in the last two-minute drill to Kasen Williams and Kevin Smith --- Sarkisian said it was an emphasis to throw the ball deep during the drill.

MORE NOTES

--- Sarkisian on when Semisi Tokolahi may be back: "I don't know. He (was able to practice) on the sled. But we're not going to force it with him. We've got time. We've got a lot more depth on the defensive line than I think people think. I want to make sure he's playing really good football for us in October and in November. If that means that we lose a little of that in early September, that's okay with me. I just want to make sure he's healthy.''

Continue reading this post ...


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August 11, 2011 6:26 PM

Video: Sarkisian talks after Thursday practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are off the field following Thursday's practice, and afterward UW coach Steve Sarkisian confirmed that redshirt freshman Victor Burnett has been dismissed for a violation of team rules. There is no indication at the moment that it is do to anything legal.

Burnett redshirted last year after arriving in the spring of 2010 as an early enrollee and a signee in the first full class for Sarkisian. He did not see playing time last year and sat out as a redshirt. He was competing for a backup middle linebacker spot but was running fourth behind Cort Dennison, Thomas Tutogi and Tim Tucker.

Sarkisian also said that the school hopes to hear word from the NCAA Clearinghouse on the status of Marvin Hall and Kyle Lewis within a week, and hopefully also hear in that same time frame on whether JC transfer Antavius Sims will be allowed to enroll at UW.

There were no significant new injuries. I'll have more from Sarkisian later. For now, here's some video of his meeting with the media, including his comments on Burnett:

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August 11, 2011 3:51 PM

Video: Scenes from practice, and a few notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

It's another nice day at Husky Stadium as the Washington football team is in helmets and shoulder pads for the second straight afternoon.

There is no sign of the three ineligible players, however, so looks like they are not ready to go yet. Taz Stevenson, who has been out the first three days, is in pads. And Deontae Cooper, who is out for the year with a knee injury, is back with the team. He had still been at home in California the last few days. Again, he's injured and not practicing, but he is now back in town and with the team during practices, so you may see him out there (not in pads or uniform but just with the players).

Now for a couple quick videos from the beginning of practice, both of which are of the return drills.

I've been asked for a snippet of Bishop Sankey, so he is in each of these. In the first video, the players you see are Kasen Williams, Sean Parker, Desmond Trufant and Sankey. In the second, the players are Kevin Smith, Willis Wilson and Sankey. More after practice.


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August 11, 2011 2:21 PM

Some early thoughts on the young running backs

Posted by Bob Condotta

I had a chance yesterday to speak with UW running backs coach Joel Thomas and get a few thoughts on the four new players at that position -- tailback Bishop Sankey and fullbacks Dezden Petty, Travon Brooks and Nick Holt.

On Sankey: "Bishop, I see a guy that really has some explosion to him. He is strong and has some very natural, I call them uncoachable, traits --- a jump cut and you are going full speed and you hit that cut and you are accelerating back up field. You can say that's coaching all you want, but the man upstairs gives a guy that. His willingness to learn is outstanding. I really, really enjoy what he has brought to the table. I think he's going to help our football program. I don't know what date it is but he's going to help us get better.''

On Petty: "He is maybe replacing what Zach (Fogerson) brought to the table, a bigger more physical back. Obviously with Dezden we've got to coach him up as far as pad leverage and understanding the speed of the game and the hitting that goes on at this level.''

On Brooks: "Travon has been a nice addition. He's a big physical kid, needs to learn a lot of ball.''

On Holt: "Obviously he's coming along, too and done a nice job. Had a nice pancake at the end of practice. He brings an IQ to the group that maybe most freshmen don't have, having a coach in the family.''

On the group: "I think our young guys are coming along nicely. It's nice to have some young guys and our older guys enjoy them. I really enjoy the (meeting) room that we have. Chris is taking a leadership role in coaching guys up when I'm out coaching other guys. I enjoy working with these guys every single day.''


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August 11, 2011 12:14 PM

NCAA recommending tougher APR standards --- how would Pac-12 schools fare?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Lots of buzz today about the breaking news that the NCAA --- now led by former UW president Mark Emmert --- is proposing stricter academic standards for athletic programs.

Here are the details.

Among the proposals is requiring that football teams have four-year rolling averages on the APR (Academic Progress Rate) of 930 or better to participate in a bowl game. (Here's a good primer on the APR).

It's important to note that details, such as a timeline for implementing the plan, won't be finalized until October. NCAA officials said in a press conference today that there will likely be a 3-5-year phase-in to allow schools to prepare for the increased standards.

At the moment, UW would be safe (here's a post from last spring detailing Washington's numbers), as would 10 of the Pac-12 schools. Here are the most current four-year rolling averages for Pac-12 schools:

Stanford, 977
Oregon State, 959
UCLA, 956
Utah, 956
USC, 952
Arizona, 951
Cal, 949
Washington, 946
Oregon, 941
Arizona State, 940
Colorado, 929
Washington State, 925

Colorado and WSU seem close enough that they'd be able to get their number above the 930 mark in the three-to-five-year ramp-up period.

Obviously, it will be interesting to see the reaction in the football community to this proposal.

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August 11, 2011 11:11 AM

Former Husky Savannah waiting for his chance

Posted by Bob Condotta

While former UW linebackers Mason Foster and Donald Butler prepare this weekend to take another step in their NFL careers, the man who once lined up alongside them --- E.J. Savannah --- is waiting for his chance.

Savannah, a Bellevue High grad, was UW's leading tackler in 2007 when he was also sixth hin the Pac-10 with 111 --- at the time, the most for a Husky in 12 years --- and also a starter for much of the 2009 season.

Savannah hoped to return to UW in 2010, but an appeal to get another year of eligibility was denied by the NCAA. He had a brief tryout with the B.C. Lions in the Canadian Football League, but otherwise has been living on the Eastside since then, working and working out.

"Just trying to stay in shape and get this shot,'' he said.

Savannah said the time off has helped his body heal. During his UW career he broke his hand three times, suffered a torn labrum and a high ankle sprain, among several injuries.

"I took some time off to heal my body,'' he said. "So now I'm ready to go. I got in football shape.''

In fact, he says he weighs 230 pounds, down a little from his last year at UW, and says he feels "light on his feet'' again.

He also feels unburdened by what was a sometimes rocky UW career in which he missed one season due to injury and another after initially being controversially suspended by then-coach Tyrone Willingham and later deciding to leave the team. He returned once Steve Sarkisian became the coach and started seven games in 2009.

He'd hoped to return in 2010 before getting word before spring ball that his appeal was denied.

"The coaches were fighting for me on that, but things just fell through and they just didn't grant it to me,'' he said. "I was pursuing it. I didn't get a reason (why), I just got the word that they just didn't get grant it to me.''

As well as learning some tough lessons at UW, he also earned his degree in American Ethnic Studies. Now feeling as fit as he has in years, he's hoping an NFL team will give him a chance, happy to let them know he's ready when they are.

Not getting another year at UW, he says, was frustrating. "But it's also part of life,'' he said. "You have to learn from it and move on and move forward. I just kind of took it and looked at it like where I could go from here, and just stayed in shape and waited for my next opportunity.''

Below is a highlight tape of Savannah:


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August 11, 2011 8:14 AM

Thursday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

shelton1.jpg

The big news Wednesday was the school's launching of the HuskyStadium.com web site, with just about all you'd want to know about the renovation.

I wrote a couple of different pieces about the unveiling: this story, on how the renovation may impact the ticket prices for the average fan; and this Take 2 piece on how the renovation could help push UW back to the top of the conference (it's certainly the hope at the school, anyway).

Also in our paper today is this column from Jerry Brewer on how Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck are working together in Tennessee. Locker could get some reps with the first unit when the Titans play their first game against Minnesota Saturday night.

The Huskies and Danny Shelton (pictured in a Jim Bates photo) will be back in action today at 3:15 p.m.

IN OTHER NEWS. ...

--- Here's the report on practice Wednesday from GoHuskies.com.

--- CoachSark's site with some pictures.

--- When the Seahawks play San Diego tonight, former Husky Donald Butler will be competing for a starting ILB job with the Chargers.

--- Cody Habben is struggling with a knee injury at the moment in Raiders camp.

-- D'Andre Goodwin cited as having "shown flashes'' in Broncos' camp this story in the Denver Post.

--- Scout.com lists Chris Polk No. 7 nationally among running backs.

--- The Sagarin Ratings have UW at No. 52 nationally.

--- Jon Wilner with some quick thoughts on the AP Top 25 and the Pac-12 TV deal.

--- Utah is battling injuries and already scrimmaging.

--- An AP preview of the WAC leads off with some thoughts on Hawaii.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller wonders how long Lane Kiffin's honeymoon will last.

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August 10, 2011 7:52 PM

UW Fall Camp practice report, day three

Posted by Bob Condotta

Wednesday marked another step in the evolution of fall camp --- the first day in shoulder pads, which meant the first day of any major hitting.

To get the headline out of the way, no significant personnel news --- the ineligible players are still out and there were no significant injuries.

For safety Sean Parker, however, this was a big day as it was the first time he's had any contact since last November, when he suffered a nerve injury in his shoulder/neck area in a practice prior to the UCLA game.

"As soon as we woke up this morning, about six, I was amped up knowing we had pads on and everything (excited) to come out and hit against our guys,'' he said.

UW's projected starting strong safety got it out of the way early, saying he hit heads with running back Jesse Callier in a nine-on-seven drill.

"Me and Jesse Callier met heads in the hole,'' he said. "It felt real good. Felt good about myself. ... good contact, didn't hurt a lick, and all I needed was that hit to get back into hitting mode and everything was good.''

He proclaimed himself 100 percent and said he isn't worried about re-injury.

"Fear free, fearless,'' he said of his attitude. "Just play football.''

He also said he learned he has to use proper form, saying that helped him get injured last fall.

"It doesn't really scare me too much because I feel good and I feel like that trigger of my injury was bad form and now I know to use proper form,'' he said.

Later, UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt said Parker is unquestionably ahead in the battle for that job.

"It's obviously really early, but he's doing a really, really good job,'' Holt said. "He's in shape. He looks quicker. He's always had some nice football instincts but he's getting more mature physically and he's moving a lot better and I think when it's all said and done like we thought last year he's going to be a really good football player. He's really instinctual and tough and a good tackler and understands the game and we've just got to keep him coming and get some depth behind him.''

Otherwise, Holt provided mixed reviews about the first day with any significant contact.

Continue reading this post ...


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August 10, 2011 7:23 PM

Video: Scenes from UW practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

A couple more videos to pass along tonight of scenes from UW's practice today.

The first gives a look at two of the team's most prized freshmen going against each other in a passing drill --- receiver Kasen Williams and cornerback Marcus Peters:

The next is about a minute of the defensive line going against the offensive line. The defensive linemen that you see, in order, are Danny Shelton, Josh Shirley, Lawrence Lagafuaina, Taniela Tupou and Andrew Hudson (and while the defense may look like it got the upper hand from this little snippet, the offense won the drill):


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August 10, 2011 6:11 PM

Video: Sean Parker talks after Wednesday's practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are off the field following Wednesday's practice, the first this year with helmets and shoulder pads. And that meant the first real contact of any kind, which was big for UW safety Sean Parker, who had not had any contact since last November, when he suffered a stinger injury in a practice prior to the UCLA game.

Parker talked to the media afterward and said all went well and he feels 100 percent. That and more is in the video below:

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August 10, 2011 3:23 PM

Video: UW presents virtual tour of new Husky Stadium

Posted by Bob Condotta

Continuing with the unveiling of information on the Husky Stadium renovation today, below is some video of senior associate athletic director O.D. Vincent presenting to the media something of a virtual tour of the new stadium.

Most of the information you may need is included on their new website --- HuskyStadium.com.

Here are a few other key points made in the presentation to the media today:

--- They have raised $42 million of the $50 million in private money needed by the end of the renovation. The rest of the $250 million price --- which hasn't changed --- will be raised from the stadium itself. UW athletic director Scott Woodward said he was "very confident'' that the money will be raised.

--- Donation and suite prices were unveiled today and are on the web site. Luxury suites will be $60,000. Regular season ticket prices will be revealed in October. However, Woodward said they will not increase appreciably and the school said again today that while some prices will be higher, some will actually be lower than they are now. Woodward said the regular ticket prices would likely increase 5-15 percent but said they any thought that they might double or triple in price is incorrect. "That's not going to happen,'' he said.

--- The website shows the new student section in the end zone, moved from the current 50-yard-line. UW officials say the move is needed to increase the number of premium seats, which help pay for the renovation privately and not use student fees or other public money. Woodward said, adding that prices of student ticket prices could be less initially than they are now. "Are they moving off the 50-yard-line and is that a little hard? Of course it is,'' he said. "I would be lying if I didn't tell you I would be upset if I were a student. But if you look at the whole picture that you are progressing and moving forward in a positive way, they are really getting a bonzana in my opinion.''

--- Capacity will be right in the 70,000 range. About 21,000 of the seats will be premium/donor. The rest will be available to the general public.

--- A pricing structure for the 2012 season at CenturyLink Field should be available in October.

--- Woodward insisted the price of the renovation will not go up. He said prices for items such as steel and concrete were locked in and any increases would be assumed by the developer.

--- They said the stadium has been constructed in terms of sound similar to CenturyLink Field, and that they anticipate it "being louder'' than Husky Stadium is today.

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August 10, 2011 3:04 PM

Video: UW AD Scott Woodard talks about Husky Stadium renovation

Posted by Bob Condotta

As noted earlier, UW officials doing something of a media blitz to unveil their new Husky Stadium website and unveil other details of the renovation.

Here is some video of UW athletic director Scott Woodward talking about the renovation today, giving an overview and update of the project:

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August 10, 2011 11:33 AM

UW introduces web site devoted to Husky Stadium

Posted by Bob Condotta

The University of Washington is officially rolling out a lot of material today on the renovation of Husky Stadium, including a web site devoted to the renovation --- HuskyStadium.com.

Obviously there's a lot of interest in this topic as the school notes that "due to an unexpectedly high volume of traffic, HuskyStadium.com has been experiencing occasional server space issues. We appreciate your patience as we work through launch-day complications.''

Here's the official release on the rollout today:

SEATTLE - University of Washington athletic department officials introduced "The Drive For Husky Stadium" campaign, Wednesday, including the launch of HuskyStadium.com, a website dedicated to providing information about the Husky Stadium renovation.


"The Drive For Husky Stadium is about more than a construction project and more than a capital fundraising campaign," Jen Cohen, Senior Associate Athletic Director, said. "It's about Husky fans coming together during a time of change to make sure that Washington Football remains in its rightful place of prominence among the NCAA's elite programs."


The campaign will carry fans through a transition year at CenturyLink Field and into a vastly-enhanced gameday experience in a renovated Husky Stadium. HuskyStadium.com provides details of the renovation's improvements through a 360-degree virtual venue system. The site also offers users the first intricate look at the stadium's premium seating offerings and allows interested parties to place deposits on premium opportunities including 25 luxury suites, 30 patio suites, and 2,500 seats in Club Husky. Information on seat pricing and Tyee Club donation levels for the 2013 season are also provided on the site.


The renovation's financial model calls for $50 million of the project's overall $250 million price tag to be raised through philanthropic giving. Department officials have confirmed that $42 million of that target has already been raised. The remaining $200 million is to be financed through 30-year-bonds, and will be covered by new annual revenues associated with the stadium including new premium seating opportunities, increased Tyee Club donations, new ticket revenues and naming rights. The entire project will be financed privately by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, with the funding model calling for no money from the state or the university.


Department officials, along with stadium project managers and architects are available to answer stadium and campaign-related questions from the public in a live, online chat at GoHuskies.com beginning at 3 p.m. Wednesday.


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August 10, 2011 10:46 AM

Some early thoughts on the safeties

Posted by Bob Condotta

I checked in with UW safeties coach Jeff Mills after practice on Tuesday to get a few early thoughts on his position.

That group includes two incoming freshmen --- James Sample and Travis Feeney.

Sample, one of the more heralded members of the Class of 2011 --- having played in the U.S. Army All-American Game, among numerous honors --- is beginning his career at strong safety. Feeney, also listed as a linebacker on the UW roster, is beginning his career at free.

Don't be surprised, however, to see them at the other spot for a few plays if you stop by a practice during camp.

"I telll them that they are kind of mirror positions so they have to learn both,'' Mills said. "So they will focus in on a certain position like strong or free but continue to be able to do both. The techniques of the positions are similar.''

Here are impressions from Mills on each of them after two days of practice: "I like them. I think they are good, young prospects. Like anyone they are swimming right now, but they are learning the tempo and learning the terminology, really it's like a foreign language when you start off in college football with what we are teaching them. So right now it's just that thinking and then reacting stage. But when you see them run athletically they've got a lot of great ability. And they are really good kids, they are wanting to learn and they are smart guys. You've got to be smart to be able to play this game.''

Coaches don't rule out that the 6-4, 203-pound Feeney could eventually morph into a linebacker. But said Mills: "Safety is what he played in high school. He's got a big frame, so you just don't know (what the future holds). But right now he is doing a nice job back there. He really covers ground, he's got really good range. He takes like three steps and he's there. So I like that in a safety.'' (And range might be expected of a player also taken last June in the MLB Draft by the Oakland A's).

As for the 6-2, 191-pound Sample, Mills said: "Tough kid, comes from a great program, loves football. He's a guy who rode the bus up here to last year's camp to get here. So they are into it. First impressions, I really like him.''

As for the veterans, Nate Fellner is entrenched as the starter at free safety and Sean Parker has worked as the starter at strong safety the first two days (and recall that Taz Stevenson is still out with an injury as is Evan Zeger).

"Sean, he is now full speed going and Fellner is doing a nice job in his third year. It's nice because he's understanding the whole defense a lot better than he did. I've been real pleased the first two days with those two starters,'' Mills said.

As for the rest of the group, Mills said: "Greg Walker is a veteran guy, knows both positions, really knows the defense. Justin Glenn, happy to see him coming back. I think he had a real positive spring, and he's started off good the first two days. Will (Shamburger) is doing a nice job running around. One of the nice things is that we've got a lot of depth. Competition makes you better, got good competition going against each other but within the group they are all trying to make each other better. And I think I've seen more maturity in this group in guys trying to help each other out in meetings and in sidelines. So I really like the chemistry of this group right now.''

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August 10, 2011 9:06 AM

Wednesday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

sarketc.jpg

UW will hit the field today at 3:15 in helmets and shoulder pads --- pictured is how it looked yesterday as Steve Sarkisian led the team through its paces (Dean Rutz photo). ...

--- Here's the story I came up with from the interview sessions Austin Seferian-Jenkins held with the media after practice Tuesday.

--- Times columnist Jerry Brewer is in Nashville and spoke with Jake Locker.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller puts Chris Polk in the contender category in his list of Pac-12 Heisman candidates.

--- Seferian-Jenkins and Josh Shirley are on Miller's list of impact freshmen and newcomers to watch.

--- UW is slated to go live later today with a website, HuskyStadium.com, that will have all the information you desire about the renovation. They are also holding a briefing to update media, which we'll cover and detail here. Here's the last detailed story I wrote on the renovation that includes info on the web site. (I think the site has been live periodically throughout the morning so it may be working now).

--- Mason Foster continues to be in the running for a starting MLB job with Tampa Bay.

--- Miller has more on Cal's involvement with Willie Lyles. So does Jon Wilner.

--- Lots of links from Vince Grippi.

--- An Arizona columnist wonders about the maturity of Vontaze Burfict.

---Venerable Arizona columnist Corky Simpson asks some questions about the Pac-12 this year.

All for now.

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August 9, 2011 8:11 PM

UW Fall Camp practice report, day two

Posted by Bob Condotta

finau.jpg

Day Two of Washington's fall camp is in the books, and in terms of anything significant newsworthy happening, it was fairly uneventful.

The Huskies were again in no-pads and no-contact, and hence no injuries --- that's true freshman Jarett Finau running off the field afterward in a Dean Rutz photo. Per NCAA rules, UW can't be in pads for five days, but will be able to put on shoulder pads and helmets on Wednesday.

When they do, UW coach Steve Sarkisian hopes to see some better center-quarterback exchanges. There were a few fumbles Tuesday, that drew a few frowns from Sarkisian.

"I was a little discouraged by the fact that our exchange between quarterback and center today, for whatever reason, came into play,'' he said. "And that can always put a little bit of a damper on practice, but overall I liked the intensity, the enthusiasm, guys brought it again today. We've
just got to clean up that quarterback-center exchange and keep practice moving along."

Sarkisian was asked if the fact that UW may do a little more offense with the QB under center this year is an issue in the snaps.

"Not at all,'' he saiad. "It's just a little bit of an adjustment. We have a young kid at center in Sifa (Siosifa Tufunga), who hadn't done that before, so it was a little bit of an adjustment. A little bit of an adjustment is the fact that Colin Porter normally plays guard and we're working him as a backup at center behind Drew (Schaefer). It was the same play that Keith (Price) and Drew had, the fumble exchange on, it was actually the same type of play, so there's something in the mechanics there. When Drew's going left, Keith has to go left with him, so we just have to work through that."

Continue reading this post ...


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August 9, 2011 6:53 PM

Video: Austin Seferian-Jenkins after Tuesday's practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins talked to the media after Tuesday's practice, the first time he has spoken since enrolling at Washington last March. Here's a few minutes of video of the interview as he talks about enrolling in time for spring football and how things have gone since then:

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August 9, 2011 6:38 PM

Video: UW coach Steve Sarkisian after Tuesday practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies are off the field following their second practice of the fall. Here's some video of UW coach Steve Sarkisian talking to the media afterward:


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August 9, 2011 3:33 PM

Bruns happy to be back on the field

Posted by Bob Condotta

The beginning of another football season has always been a big day for Cody Bruns.

Hitting the field again Monday, though, held a special kind of meaning for Bruns, whose father, Bucky Bruns, passed away suddenly last month at age 60 (details here).

The comfort of the routine of another football season, he said, is especially welcomed after a month dealing with life's harshest reality.

"It's nice to be around the guys and the coaches and the players,'' he said. "Everybody has been nothing but supportive through the whole thing and it's brought me closer to my teammates. I'm really looking forward to the season.''

Bruns said he will dedicate this year to his father, a fitting tribute since football was a true family affair in the Bruns household.

Bucky Bruns was a three-sport star at Prosser who later played collegiately at Idaho.

When Cody followed in his foosteps a couple decades later, comparisons were natural.

"Growing up it was always 'are you going to be better than your dad?''' he said. "That's how it always was and that was always over my shoulder.''

Father, though, was also the son's biggest supporter, through the years as a record-setting receiver at Prosser and then to his career at UW.

Cody Bruns will be a senior this year for the Huskies, vying for a role in the receiving rotation and also playing a key position on special teams as a holder on place kicks and possibly as a punt returner.

While Bucky Bruns had a long-standing pancreatic illness, his death was unexpected. "It kind of came out of nowhere,'' said Cody Bruns.

He takes comfort now being back on the field --- where he knows his father would want him to be --- and in the words of encouragement from fellow players, coaches and friends at UW and Prosser.

"There's been a lot of good support,'' he said. "It just shows how great the people are in that area and all the friends he had. It's just nice to have those kinds of people around.''

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August 9, 2011 11:07 AM

Live chat Tuesday at noon

Posted by Bob Condotta

The season is off and running, so lots to chat about. ...

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August 9, 2011 9:06 AM

Live chat at noon --- And Tuesday morning links

Posted by Bob Condotta

First off, I'll hold a live chat at noon to talk about the beginning of UW's camp.

Now for the morning links. ...

--- For my story for today's paper I wrote about the quarterback competition (and make sure to check out the accompanying photo gallery).

--- Steve Kelley, meanwhile, writes that the Huskies are definitely on the right track under UW coach Steve Sarkisian.

--- Here's the report from GoHuskies.com.

--- Athlon's says Hau'oli Jamora and Alameda Ta'amu could be among the Pac-12's breakout players this season.

--- A good update on former Husky Donald Butler from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

--- An update on Jake Locker's progress in Tennessee.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller says UCLA has the only real QB battle in the conference.

--- The Spokesman-Review with a good look at Eastern Washington, UW's first opponent this fall.

--- George Schroeder of the Eugene Register-Guard says a cloud hangs over Oregon as it begins fall camp.

--- Cal has released a portion of what it received from Willie Lyles.

--- Lots of Pac-12 links from Vince Grippi in Spokane.

--- SI.com lists reasons to love college football despite all that's happened in the off-season.

--- Always interesting stuff from Smart Football, which today offers a passing game primer.

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August 9, 2011 8:09 AM

More video --- Soundbites and highlights

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's some more video from Monday's first practice, with some player highlights and some soundbites from players and coaches:

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August 8, 2011 11:21 PM

Video --- Wrapping up the first day

Posted by Bob Condotta

With the help of Seattle Times videographer Genevieve Alvarez we have a little bit of video from today's practice, as well as a bit too much of me stammering with some thoughts about practice (and yes I have a face for radio and a voice for print).

Anyway, some good footage of Kasen Williams, the quarterbacks and some overall scenes from today's practice.

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August 8, 2011 6:50 PM

Huskies off field following first practice of fall

Posted by Bob Condotta

The first practice of the fall is over and the first thing to report may be that there is nothing significant to report.

No injuries, no significant personnel news of note.

The obvious focus on the first day is the newcomers, and the most eyes today were on receiver Kasen Williams, the Parade Magazine Player of the Year who finally made his UW debut, wearing his father's old No. 2 jersey ---- which had been retired in honor of Chuck Carroll the last few decades but is again in action in the final season of Husky Stadium.

Williams was thrown right into the mix with the starting unit at times, playing almost solely at split end, or X, the same spot where Jermaine Kearse also usually lines up. He made a nice catch in the end zone in a seven-on-seven session but a couple balls his way in the team sessions ended up incomplete (and one that appeared overthrown intercepted by Sean Parker). On another occassion he was bumped hard by Desmond Trufant and fell to the ground --- no doubt a different type of coverage than he's seen previously in his career.

Coaches said they saw what they expected out of Williams for a first day.

"All the hype with his physical tools is absolutely right on,'' said receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty. "He's got a ton of physical talent. He was pretty good in terms of the mental stuff today and like I told him, I wasn't holding back with him. I was throwing him out there with the one huddle and you guys saw it, he was getting a lot of reps, and I wasn't having to reallly hold his hand that much, either. He was doing it on his own. The key thing with him is just staying motivated but also at the same time being realistic. He's just been so used to making plays, that's all he's ever known, having a ton of succcess. Whereas if a guy makes a play on the ball and knocks the ball down, next play. Go to the next play and stay positive. It's a process and as long as we are going this way (up) and getting better every day, that kid is going to be fine. He's got a ton of talent, he's going to be great.''

Said UW coach Steve Sarkisian: "I thought he showed the things we hope he can do. He went up and made a nice play on a deep ball in seven-on-seven. He showed some real hand-eye coordination, strong catcher. But again, first day you are swimming and so I think as he grows through this first week of kind of trying to get two feet on the ground and not thinking too much he will only get better. But it's going to take a little bit of time.''

Williams also impressed some of his new teammates. "He's going to be real good,'' said cornerback Quinton Richardson. "That's a good athlete coming in. He's going to be really good. I can see him doing very big things in this new stadium they are going to be building. ... He passes the eye test, for sure. He can jump out of the building. He's a good athlete. He's smart. He doesn't get outside of himself, so I think he's going to be really good.''

Another newcomer who caught eyes today was quarterback Derrick Brown, who was 3-3 passing in one team session and along with throwing accurately also seemed pretty assured in the pocket.

"Yeah, he's a pretty talented kid,''' said Sarkisian. "It's hard. First day of practice, quarterback, true freshman --- it's not easy. But he showed some true flashes today and one of the things I was most encouraged by besides his physical tools was just his presence. He didn't get rattled. He botched a couple calls and different things but that didn't affect him the rest of the day, he was able to bounce back. That was encouraging.''

Asked general impressions of the freshmen class, Sarkisian said: "Just in general this freshman class is a little bigger and longer. It's a long, athletic group whether you are talking about Kasen or Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) or a (Travis) Feeney at safety or Scott Lawyer. Go inside with Danny Shelton, Tani Tupou, Jaret Finau on the edge, it's just a taller group. Taller, longer, bigger.''

In a couple of other observations from Sarkisian. ...

--- He said of the overall practice: "I thought it was good. We have a lot of guys --- we were running threes, which we haven't done really since we've been here. So a lot of guys, a lot of reps. I thought as practice went on I thought our tempo got better. It's always a little challenging at first when you are not in pads and practicing, but I thought as we started to get going they started to understand the pad level and the finishing part of it, so I thought they got better as practice went on.''

--- And on the quarterbacks: "I think the one thing I was impressed with Keith (Price) today is there were a couple of plays he didn't make today that he normally will make as we move forward, a couple kind of gimmees. But what I was impressed with is when a guy feels he is really competing for the job those plays can sometimes harbor and affect the rest of your practice. I thought Keith missed a couple of throws but that didn't ruin his day.He made some other plays and did some good things, so I think that is the mentality you get when you feel like you are the starter. That this one play isn't going to make or break my career so you can move on from it.''

--- And of Nick Montana, he said: "I thought Nick had a tremendous day today. I thought he had a great day and thew the ball well and made plays.''

IN OTHER NEWS. ...

--- The starting DL generally consisted of Hau'oli Jamora and Talia Crichton at end with Everrette Thompson and Alameda Ta'amu at tackles, Thompson moving inside to help fill in the depth there with others out. Danny Shelton got a lot of work with the twos and had some nice moments in the individual drills, which appeared to mostly be won by the defense.

--- The starting LBs were Cort Dennison inside and Princeton Fuimaono and Garret Gilliland at the other two spots.

--- And the secondary was Desmond Trufant and Quinton Richardson at corners with Nate Fellner and Parker at safety.

--- The starting OL generally consisted, left to right, of Senio Kelemete, Colin
Tanigawa, Drew Schaefer, Colin Porter
and Erik Kohler. The No. 2 OL was usually, left to right, Micah Hatchie, Nick Wood, Mike Criste, James Atoe and Ben Riva.

--- The players who took part in the return drills were Johri Fogerson, Willis Wilson, Williams, Devin Aguilar, Kevin Smith, Bishop Sankey, Jesse Callier, Cody Bruns, Sean Parker, Marcus Peters and Trufant.

--- Sankey had some nice runs and an initial impression is that his purported speed may be pretty legit.

--- Dezden Petty sat out a little bit late in practice with what Sarkisian said was leg tightness. No other injuries were visible.

--- The one defensive player who got a couple of looks at fullback, as Sarkisian said earlier might happen, was walk-on LB Nick Holt, son of UW's defensive coordinator.

We'll have some video from practice a little later

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August 8, 2011 2:25 PM

Sark bites --- Monday press conference edition

Posted by Bob Condotta

From Shark Week to Sark Week, as UW coach Steve Sarkisian met with the media as the Huskies hit the field this afternoon for their first practice of the 2011 season.

Here are some highlights of what he had to say:

Opening statement: "It's good to be back. I missed you guys. I really can't believe this is year three already. I think back to initial press conferences 2-and-a-half years ago, to some press conferences after some big wins, after some tough losses, going back to the holiday bowl. It's come fast. It's been a fascinating ride because I see our football team now as one that really has adopted who we are. I think more so than anything these guys aren't adopted anymore. We've got a couple of them that are still that our veterans, but the bulk of this football team are guys that we have recruited that have grown up in this culture and these schemes and these systems and these philosophies.

"It's been very encouraging because you are starting to feel the players speak the languate to one and another, to coaches, to family, to friends and I think that's what you want. Right, wrong or indifferent, this is what we believe in and the things we are doing. And I think our players, our kids believe in what we are doing. I couldn't be more excited about that.

"I like the leadership on this football team. I think we've got a senior class that is hungry, that has endured a lot of challenges from their freshmen year, but have persevered, and have understood what it takes, not only from a mental and physical toughness standpoint but from an emotional standpoint. I think they are hungry and eager to have a great senior season. And they've earned and demanded the respect from the youngsters on this ball club to follow their lead.

"In all, I think we are primed for a great training camp. We still have plenty of work to do. There's a lot to be done not only the football field but off the field. But in a nutshell I think this our most athletic team we've had in three seasons. From a depth standpoint, I love the depth at safety. I love the depth at linebacker. I love the depth at wide receiver. We have better depth on the defensive line than maybe we get credit for. I think we have better depth on the offensive line than maybe we get credit for.

Continue reading this post ...


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August 8, 2011 12:46 PM

Monday press conference update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Steve Sarkisian's first Monday press conference of the season has concluded.

And as always, there was a little bit of personnel news revealed, which I'll pass along here first before getting into more detailed notes and quotes later.

--- Sarkisian said that incoming freshmen Marvin Hall and Kyle Lewis are not yet cleared by the NCAA to practice and Antavius Sims has not yet completed all of his coursework at Ventura CC and as yet is not admitted to school. Hall and Lewis are admitted to UW so once cleared they can practice immediately. Sarkisian said he hopes all will be back soon but also said that NCAA issues can "take some time.''

--- He said five defensive players will be limited early --- DTs Semisi Tokolahi and Sione Potoa'e (each knees), safeties Taz Stevenson (sprained knee), Justin Glenn (sprained foot) and Evan Zeger (hamstring). Sarkisian termed all the injuries as minor and anticipates all being back soon.

--- He confirmed CB Adam Long will not be with the team now as he rehabs his knee injury but should be back in a few weeks.

--- He said P Kiel Rasp is now on scholarship and that the Huskies have the maximum 85 scholarship players at the moment (I'll try to break that down a little later). He also said Brendan Lopez and Jonathan Amosa remain on scholarship.

--- Keith Price will get roughly two-thirds of the snaps with the one offense during camp and Nick Montana the other third, though that could vary depending on the day. He also said he wants to make sure Derrick Brown gets some snaps with the twos and walk-on Thomas Vincent with the threes (and intriguingly mentioned that Vincent also may see some time on special teams).

--- He didn't rule out that Montana could win the QB job, saying simply that if he plays better than Price, he would be the guy. He said that could "easily'' happen, which I'd read more to mean to indicate how much they emphasize competition.

--- He said again the team is trying to get a sixth year for PK Erik Folk and hopes to know soon, but termed it a "longshot.''

--- Sarkisian confirmed that LB Scott Lawyer has enrolled and is with the team now. He had been set to grayshirt after having shoulder surgery last winter. But Sarkisian said he healed quickly and is ready to go now.

--- A few defensive players could be tried at fullback to add to the depth there, he said, though none would be a permanent move, just experiments to see how much they might be able to help. He didn't give names, but John Timu seems an obvious candidate.

--- He said he'd like to have a starting five on the OL set within two weeks or so.

--- Said a number of players will be tried at the return spots and it's too early to really say who else will be there other than the returning starters.

--- Among the players who he said had good off-seasons were Chris Polk, Everrette Thompson, Desmond Trufant and Hau'oli Jamora.

More later.

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August 8, 2011 8:47 AM

Updated roster released

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies have released their official 2011 fall camp roster.

Here it is. (And here's a PDF that has a little more detail).

A few quick notes --- it includes Antavius Sims, indicating he is in. A JC transfer QB/athlete, he needed to finish some classes last week at Ventura (Calif.) College to get enrolled. The roster also includes LB Scott Lawyer, who had been thought sitting out this fall as a grayshirt. We'll see if there's a change in that --- this indicates there is.

No omissions of scholarship players unless you count Daniel Kanczugowski, who as was reported here two weeks ago, is not eligible for this fall. One walk-on of some note also not returning is Marek Domanski.

UPDATE --- Also, have gotten confirmation that Adam Long is not on the roster right now since he's not reporting for fall camp while rehabbing an ACL injury. He is still on the team.

Among the new walk-ons is FB Travon Brooks of Oakland, who given the depth at that spot could get into the mix quickly.

The roster also includes updated heights and weights. A few notable weight changes: QB Nick Montana up to 203 from 191; OG Colin Porter up to 322 from 307; OT Ben Riva up to 300 from 275; DL Everrette Thompson up to 272 friom 244; DE Hau'oli Jamora up to 247 from 238; DT Lawrence Lagafuaina down to 329 from 344.

With the omission of Long, UW should be at 105 players on its fall camp roster.

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August 8, 2011 8:23 AM

It all begins today

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Steve Sarkisian's press conference is just a few hours away, scheduled to begin at noon. The first practice is set for a few hours later, set to begin at 3:15 p.m.

So it all begins today, as the storylines that will eventually define the 2011 season for the Washington Huskies start to develop.

GoHuskies.com has details on how you can watch Sarkisian's press conference, as well as other info on practice times and procedures.

As always, we'll have full coverage here of the press conference and practice.

I also wrote this story for today's paper previewing the season and showing the practice schedule and procedures. Included are some thoughts from Sarkisian on the direction of the UW program.

IN OTHER NEWS. ...

--- CoachSark's site has some pictures of the new players checking in Sunday.

--- Rivals.com has an exhaustive preview of the Pac-12, including calling UW the possible surprise team.

--- Former Husky Dashon Goldson has reportedly resigned with the 49ers (and if you missed it over the weekend, Olin Kreutz signed with the Saints).

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller has a detailed Q-and-A with Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott.

--- Bud Withers says this is a make-or-break season for WSU coach Paul Wulff.

--- Some interesting personnel notes in this wrapup of WSU's first fall workout including that Rahmal Dockery is not eligible at the moment.

--- The Denver Post details Rick Neuheisel's challenge this season.

--- A Stanford preview from Jon Wilner.

--- Miller with some thoughts on expansion.

--- Five questions on Oregon State and Oregon.

--- Bad start at ASU as star MLB Vontaze Burfict reportedly got in an altercation with a teammate.

--- Lots of other links from around the conference from Vince Grippi.

All for now.

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August 7, 2011 9:56 AM

Counting down the Top 10 Huskies --- No. 1: Chris Polk

Posted by Bob Condotta

polkwsu.jpg

Okay, so I realize not a lot of suspense in this selection, as running back Chris Polk tops our list of the top Huskies entering training camp.

Polk (pictured against WSU last year in a Dean Rutz photo) will be the key player in UW's offensive attack this year, the rock the Huskies will build around to help ease new QB Keith Price into things.

Polk said at Pac-12 media day two weeks ago he's down to about 220 pounds from roughly 227 last year, and expects to be as strong as a year ago but hopefully a little quicker and faster. If so, and depending on the help he gets elsewhere, he could surpass the 1,415 yards he had last season, which was second in school history behind Corey Dillon's 1,695 in 1996.

Polk is sixth in career yards with 2,561, and with a big season could make a run at Napoleon Kaufman's school record of 4,106 --- barring injury, he should have no trouble moving past Joe Steele (3,168) into second.

One stat I hadn't really realized until looking through the updated UW record book recently is that Polk is currently the school leader in career rushing yards per game at 94.9 (2,561 yards in 27 games). Tied for second on that list are Hugh McElhenny and Kaufman, with Steele fourth at 81.3 and Greg Lewis fifth at 74.4. (Dillon isn't eligible since he only played one season --- the school says 18 games are required for career records. Dillon had an average of 141.3 yards in 1996, which is the single-season per-game rushing record).

Polk's importance to the season only increased over the off-season when the Huskies lost a couple of RBs to injury, notably Deontae Cooper, who will miss a second straight year with an ACL injury. Probably can't overstate how critical it will be to keep Polk upright this season.

Here's the rest of the list:

No. 10: PK Erik Folk
No. 9: DE Hau'oli Jamora
No. 8 OG Colin Porter
No. 7: DL Everrette Thompson
No. 6: LB Cort Dennison
No. 5: LT Senio Kelemete
No. 4: CB Desmond Trufant
No. 3: WR Jermaine Kearse
No. 2: DT Alameda Ta'amu

So who got left off the list who was deserving?

You could probably make a case for 5-6 others --- I've noted the debate in the comments section about Nate Fellner, who was essentially 11th on my list. I didn't include Keith Price since this is mostly based on body of work to date (and as noted initially, I didn't include freshmen). Drew Schaefer was certainly in the consideration, as well. And numerous others could be on this list by the end of the season.

Mostly, this was designed a few players and highlight their importance to the team with the season finally nearing. All the off-season questions begin to be answered on Monday.

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August 6, 2011 1:20 PM

Counting down the Top 10 Huskies --- No. 2: Alameda Ta'amu

Posted by Bob Condotta

meda.jpg

The countdown continues with the player who may be the key to Washington's defense this season --- defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu (pictured against Oregon State last season).

Ta'amu was the key to Washington's 19-7 win over Nebraska, which considering everything might have been the best performance by a UW defense in a decade or so.

Ta'amu dominated the middle all night as the Huskies held Nebraska to 91 yards rushing on 41 attempts --- a complete turnaround from the first game between the two when the Cornhuskers rushed for 383 yards on 54 carries.

He also recovered and returned a fumble deep into Nebraska territory early in the game, a play that set a tone for all that followed, and then forced a safety on a holding call in the end zone late in the game.

That was the best game in a season when Ta'amu won the team's Lineman of the Year award, and helped move him quickly up 2012 mock drafts.

Here's one recent mock from Rob Rang that has Ta'amu going No. 31 in the first round.

Ta'amu said he was in the best shape of his career in the spring, giving further hope for a breakthrough senior season. Once topping the scales at roughly 380, he's now down to 330, allowing the athleticism that enabled him to also play basketball at Rainier Beach High to finally shine through.

Indeed, much of what UW wants to do defensively this season rests on Ta'amu's broad shoulders. The hope is he can take up a lot of attention inside to create some room for the speed rushers on the outside --- all of which would combine to give the Huskies the kind of push rush to allow UW to play more man coverage in the secondary.

The ability of Ta'amu and the defense to do that this season will go a long way toward determining the fate of this season, as well.

Here's the rest of the list:

No. 10: PK Erik Folk
No. 9: DE Hau'oli Jamora
No. 8 OG Colin Porter
No. 7: DL Everrette Thompson
No. 6: LB Cort Dennison
No. 5: LT Senio Kelemete
No. 4: CB Desmond Trufant
No. 3: WR Jermaine Kearse

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August 5, 2011 3:53 PM

Dawgfather on mend, hoping to make annual camp appearance

Posted by Bob Condotta

I had a chance to talk with former UW football coach Don James for a little while this morning, getting some stuff for a few stories down the road.

James was feeling a little better today than he was a week ago, when he was just leaving the hospital, having had a defibrillator installed in his heart. That followed a visit to the hospital a little while ago to treat some skin cancer.

James, though, says not to worry, that he's on the mend.

"I'm being put back together,'' said James, who is now 78.

He said the defibrillator was a planned procedure dating to examinations that followed a cold and cough he suffered last winter. He said doctors determined the lower part of his heart "wasn't pumping right so you don't have the energy you need. It was either a pacemaker or a defibrillator, and they decided on a defibrillator.''

UW begins fall camp on Monday and James traditionally visits for a day early on, taking in a morning practice and having lunch with coaches and seeing old friends.

James said he thinks he'll be able to make it.

"I don't feel like running a 100-yard dash,'' he said. "But I'm going to definitely try to get out there.''

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August 5, 2011 11:54 AM

Counting down the Top 10 Huskies --- No. 3: Jermaine Kearse

Posted by Bob Condotta

jermaoinecale.jpg

We continue the countdown with a player who, now that Jake Locker is gone, may elicit the most debate among UW fans --- receiver Jermaine Kearse.

Yes, he's been a second-team all-conference pick by coaches the last two years. But, many argue, he's dropped way too many passes along the way.

And yes, he became just the fifth UW receiver ever to catch passes for more than 1,000 yards last season with 1,006 (the others are Reggie Williams --- who did it three times --- Mario Bailey, Jerome Pathon and Andrew Riley). But, others would argue, he got pushed around and held to just three receptions in two games against Nebraska, the best secondary UW faced last year.

All true, and even Kearse admitted at mid-season last year he had to get more consistent catching the ball.

But as noted above, for all of his foibles, Kearse has been one of the most productive receivers in UW history. He's sixth all-time in receptions with 133 and should easily move past Paul Skansi into second this year --- Skansi had 161 (Williams seems unreachable with a career-best 243).

Kearse is also fourth all-time in yards with 2,172 and again should move easily into second (Bailey, with 2,306) behind Williams (who again seems probably safe with 3,598).

And he's second in touchdowns with 22, with a chance to catch career-leader Bailey, who had 30.

It's that latter stat that may best encapsulate the career of Kearse. Sure, he may not make every catch. But when he does, it's often a pretty big play, such as the game-saver against Cal pictured above in a Dean Rutz photo.

It's probably not overstating things to say UW isn't in a bowl game last year without Kearse, who along with the aforementioned catch against Cal that set up "God's Play,'' also made the game-winning TD receptions against Oregon State and WSU. (And don't forget his conference Player of the Week performance against Syracuse, a game that was close until he broke it open with a few catch-and-run plays in the second half).

Certainly, other than the Nebraska games, Kearse's play seemed to typify that of the team as a whole.

He made 40 of his 63 catches in the team's seven wins, also had 693 of his 1,006 yards in those wins and seven of his 12 touchdowns.

Obviously, Kearse and the rest of UW's returning receivers will be pushed greatly this season by talented newcomers such as Kasen Williams.

UW streamlined its receiving rotation quite a bit last season, but likely will expand it this year to ensure enough opportunities for everyone --- vets and newcomers alike. That could mean returners such as Kearse don't necessarily see their stats jump this year, if at all.

Still, Kearse remains the most proven receiver UW has and it's hard to envision the Huskies being successful this year without him.

Here's the rest of the list to date:
No. 10: PK Erik Folk
No. 9: DE Hau'oli Jamora
No. 8 OG Colin Porter
No. 7: DL Everrette Thompson
No. 6: LB Cort Dennison
No. 5: LT Senio Kelemete
No. 4: CB Desmond Trufant

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August 5, 2011 9:49 AM

Season ticket update --- and a few other Friday notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just three days left until practice begins, and just 29 until the first game against Eastern Washington on Sept. 3.

And unless there's a mad rush for tickets, the Huskies appear on track to selling fewer season tickets for 2011 than they did a year ago.

The school reports it has sold 41,304 non-student season tickets for 2011. That compares to 44,109 a year ago, and is less than any of the last five years other than 2009 (40,600), though also right in the same general ballpark as all five.

Here are the final season ticket numbers since 2006:

2010 --- 44,109
2009 --- 40,600
2008 --- 43,497
2007 --- 43,516
2006 --- 42,598

That might surprise some who figured there'd be a jump after the 7-6 record of 2010. Some might cite that the average ticket price has increased by 2.5 percent this year, though UW officials said earlier in the year they didn't think that has had an impact on sales, saying that's consistent with the standard rate.

Also a factor could be that the overall home schedule isn't quite as star-studded as years past --- no Nebraska, as there was a year ago, or LSU (2009) or Notre Dame and Oklahoma (2008) or Ohio State (2007). Also, the Apple Cup wasn't included in season ticket packags.

It may also indicate that while 7-6 represented a step in the right direction that UW will need to get back to the days of winning 8-9-10 games and consistently challenging for the conference title --- as it did so often in the 1977-2003 era --- to bring back all of the on-the-fence fans.

The school also noted this week that it has released the remainder of its tickets for the 2011 Apple Cup back to First and Goal, as planned, for their sale. First and Goal has not yet announced a public on-sale date. UW ended up selling 34,840 through its ticket office.

IN OTHER NEWS. ...

--- CBSSports.com says UW has the best 2012 recruiting class so far of Pac-12 schools.

--- George Schroeder says the Pac-12 isn't well-positioned for future expansion.

--- ESPN.com examines the challenges of playing nine conference games, as the Pac-12 has decided to continue to do.

--- Seth Kolloen says the Seahawks should sell Jake Locker jerseys since no one in Seattle is buying any others.

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August 4, 2011 6:55 PM

Counting down the Top 10 Huskies --- No. 4: Desmond Trufant

Posted by Bob Condotta

desmond.jpg

We continue the countdown with a player who fills a position that should prove vitally important to UW this year --- cornerback Desmond Trufant (in a Dean Rutz photo from last year against UCLA).

It could probably be argued that Trufant should be a dual entry along with fellow cornerback Quinton Richardson. Both started all 13 games at CB last year and are entrenched in those spots again heading into this season, experience at a key position that should allow the UW defense to be more aggressive and varied than in past seasons --- the two have combined to start 52 games in their UW careers, giving the Huskies the most experience it has had at cornerback in years.

But for the purposes of this exercise, we will pick Trufant while offering a nod to the value that both should bring to the Huskies this season.

Trufant struggled early last season (details here), but like a lot of the rest of the defense, seemed to play his best ball in the second half, particularly the final four-game winning streak. Trufant and Richardson each seemed to play even better in the spring, seeming to earn even more confidence from the coaches.

It's been noted often that other than against WSU the Huskies didn't really play any top-flight (or healthy and at the top of their game) QBs in that final stretch, and that Cougar QB Jeff Tuel had a pretty nice outing against UW (25-35, 298, three TDs).

The Huskies fave some good QBs to start the season, including Hawaii's Bryant Moniz --- who led the nation in total offense last season with 5,040 passing yards --- in the second week. So we'll find out early if the late-season defensive surge was more a reflection of UW improvement or opponent weakness. The play of Trufant and Richardson will go a long way toward determining the tilt of that arrow.


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August 4, 2011 2:05 PM

Pulu not eligible at Eastern this year, will play in 2012

Posted by Bob Condotta

One of the subplots of Washington's season-opening game against Eastern Washington Sept. 3 figured to be that of former Huskies Andru Pulu and Demitrius Bronson returning to face their former team.

Only Bronson, however, will be able to play in that game as an EWU spokesman said today that Pulu, a defensive tackle, was recently denied a transfer waiver by the NCAA to play this season. Pulu, a graduate of Federal Way High School, played at UW as a true freshman in 2009, then sat out last season after he was dismissed from the UW roster after pleading guilty to an assault charge (details here). To clarify the ruling from the earlier post, Pulu did not meet NCAA transfer rules because he had not completed a year of residency at EWU. The school's request for a waiver was denied.

An EWU spokesman said Pulu will remain with the program and will be eligible in 2012 and will have two years of eligibility remaining then.

Bronson transferred to EWU after last season and will be eligible to play for the Eagles this year.

Eastern, the defending Football Championship Subdivision champion, begins practice next Wednesday.

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August 4, 2011 11:12 AM

Thursday live chat at noon

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just four days to the opening or practice, so lots to talk about. ...

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August 4, 2011 9:09 AM

Live chat at noon --- And a few morning links

Posted by Bob Condotta

First off, make sure to check in on the Karl Benson chat we're holding at 10 a.m.

Also, I'll hold a separate chat in this space at noon --- lots to talk about now with just four days until practice begins.

Now, a few links. ...

Continue reading this post ...


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