December 9, 2012 9:44 PM
Posted by Bob Condotta
A few notes and links to pass along. ...
--- As noted earlier, UW had eight players in for visits this weekend (here's the list). So far, no reports of new public commitments of those who visited this weekend (among the visitors was one player already committed in WR Demorea Stringfellow).
--- One of the more intriguing visitors was offensive tackle Nico Falah of St. John Bosco High in Bellflower, Calif. (Keith Price's alma mater). Falah is officially committed to USC but told ESPN's HuskyNation that he enjoyed his trip and that "if I don't go to USC, I'm going to Washington for sure.''
--- It's also worth remembering that DE Joe Mathis of Upland, Calif., who was one of the eight who visited this weekend, has said repeatedly he intends to announce his decision at the US Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5 (here's the roster for that game).
--- UW commit Daeshon Hall was named the DallasNews.com Defensive Player of the Week.
--- Here's my UW notebook for Monday's paper.
--- The high school career of UW QB commit Troy Williams is over after a heartbreaking loss in a state playoff game Saturday night in which he threw for 367 yards and four touchdowns ran for 104 yards and one touchdown. He is expected to finish classes at Narbonne on Friday and then enroll at UW in time for the winter quarter, meaning he will obviously be around for spring practice, when the Huskies will have five scholarship quarterbacks. The link above includes some highlights. Here's another story on that game that also details Williams' plans to enroll early.
--- The Idaho Statesman takes a look at the Huskies.
--- Forbes calls the Las Vegas Bowl one of the five best bowls for the buck.
--- Jake Locker had an up-and-down game for the Titans today in what was ultimately a tough loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
--- Chris Polk was inactive again today while continuing to battle a toe injury.
December 9, 2012 6:48 PM
Posted by Bob Condotta
The Washington Huskies held their end-of-season banquet tonight, at which it announced its various awards.
Taking home the most prestigious honor was senior cornerback Desmond Trufant, who won the Guy Flaherty Award, given to the team's Most Inspirational Player as voted on by the players.
Trufant (pictured at right against Oregon State earlier this season in a John Lok photo) also was named the team's defensive Most Valuable Player. Winning honors as the offensive MVP was tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins while safety Justin Glenn was named the special teams MVP.
Here is a release from the school with the full list of honorees:
Senior cornerback Desmond Trufant won the 105th Guy Flaherty Award, the Washington football program's oldest and most prestigious team award, and was also named the Sports Radio 950 KJR Defensive MVP, while Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Justin Glenn won offensive and special teams MVP honors, respectively, at the Husky football team's postseason awards presentation. The event, which included coaches, players, family and fans, was held Sunday afternoon at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Trufant, a senior from Tacoma, is a four-year starter at cornerback and served as a captain in 2012. After the season, he earned first-team All-Pac-12 and second-team All-America honors. The Flaherty Award, voted on by the players, was first awarded in 1908 and is given to the team's most inspirational player.
Seferian-Jenkins, a sophomore from Fox Island, Wash., has already set UW career records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns by a tight end. In 2012, he earned second-team All-Pac-12 and third-team All-America after catching 63 passes for 789 yards and six TDs.
Glenn is a fifth-year senior from Mukilteo, Wash., who started 10 games at safety in 2012. Named as the special teams MVP, he posted 66 tackles and had three interceptions during the season, earning honorable mention All-Pac-12.
Sophomore defensive end Andrew Hudson (Redlands, Calif.) won the L. Wait Rising Defensive Lineman of the Year Award while redshirt-freshman offensive guard Dexter Charles (Camano Island, Wash.) won the John P. Angel Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Junior safety Sean Parker (Los Angeles) was honored with the Chuck Niemi Big Hit Award while sophomore tailback Bishop Sankey (Spokane, Wash.), who rushed for 1,234 yards during the regular season, picked up the Earle T. Glant Tough Husky Award.
The Travis Spring Outstanding Freshman Award winner was true freshman safety Shaq Thompson (Sacramento, Calif.), and the Husky Fever 12th Man Award was presented to sophomore receiver Kasen Williams (Sammamish, Wash.). Senior center Drew Schaefer (Sammamish, Wash.) took home the 101 Club Academic Achievement Award while sophomore nose tackle Danny Shelton (Auburn, Wash.) was honored with the Academic Achievement Award.
The Bob Jarvis Offensive Scout Squad Player of the Year went to freshman quarterback Jeff Lindquist (Mercer Island, Wash.). Sophomore defensive lineman Drew Schultz (Olympia, Wash.) was named winner of the Mark Drennan Defensive Scout Squad Player of the Year. The Brian Stapp Special Teams Scout Squad Player of the Year Award was presented to freshman cornerback Cleveland Wallace (San Jose, Calif.).
Hudson, sophomore receiver DiAndre Campbell (Oakland, Calif.) and freshman fullback Psalm Wooching (Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i) picked up weightlifting awards.
Senior defensive lineman Semisi Tokolahi (Hilo, Hawai'i) was presented with the Don James Perseverance Award and senior wide receiver Cody Bruns (Prosser, Wash.) was named winner of the Tyee Sports Council Community Service Award.
Finally, three student staff members were presented with the Kurt Gegner Memorial Award: Mac Cahill (equipment), Reid Mayfield (video) and Meghan Barrington (training).
The Huskies return to the practice field Thursday and, next Monday, travel to Las Vegas for the MAACO Bowl, where they'll take on Boise State on Dec. 22.
December 9, 2012 1:52 PM
Posted by Bob Condotta
The Huskies are off the field for the final time this weekend, holding about a 90-minute workkout in the Dempsey Indoor.
UW was in full pads and once again there was a lot of work with the younger players as the Huskies concluded their opening phase of their bowl practices.
UW has had six practices the last two weekends, and all were devoted largely to the younger players and fundamental work. UW will now take three days off before then beginning gameplanning for the Vegas Bowl against Boise State on Dec. 22. UW will essentially have a gameweek from Thursday-Sunday, then travel to Las Vegas next Monday, and then have another gameweek of practice leading into gameday itself.
UW coach Steve Sarkisian said the six practices of the last two weeks have served their purpose.
"It's been great,'' he said. "It's been really competitive. The spirits have been high by those guys to get in and show what they can do and how they have improved even over the last two weeks. It's been highly competitive. I think some of the young backs have improved as the days have done on. I think some of the young DBs have really showed some stuff, whether it's Travell Dixon, Cleveland Wallace, Brandon Beaver --- those guys have played well. The young quarterbacks have had somewhat of ups and downs along the way but they are getting really invaluable experience, as well as some of the young O linemen. So it's been great all the way around.''
Sarkisian had a lot more to say about some of the younger players, as well as talking about the team getting to choose its bowl gifts on Saturday, the schedule from here on out, and more. You can watch it in the video below, and I also have some more transcribed quotes after the video:
On Jake Eldrenkamp being used at left tackle: "It's the way he shapes up with the group that we have right now up front. We will obviously reassess all of that when spring ball rolls around and put Jake in the best position for him as well as for us as a team. He's an athletic guy and he's really improved as the year has gone on from a fundamental, technique standpoint. I think his toughness, he's understood the physicality of college football and gotten better at that. So I've been impressed with Jake along with some of the other young linemen.''
On Dwayne Washington's conversion to tailback: "He's still relatively raw at the position. Even though he's been there at running back since he showed up, that's essentially where we put him. But some of the fundamental things of the position are still new to him, so he will look good for two or three plays and then they might get lost there for a couple of plays. So this is great for him to put these days on film. He's a talented guy, he runs hard. We've got to continue to work on his pad level so that he runs behind his pads and then taking care of the football, but I think his future is very bright at that spot.''
On what dimension Washington brings to the tailback spot: "Well, his size, for one. Talking about a 6-1, 6-1-and-a-half, 215-pound, end up being a 220-225-pound running back. is something we don't have on our roster right now. Also, with his background playing wide receiver, his ability to do some things catching the ball out of the backfield is unique, as well. Hopefully we can continue to develop him, spring ball will be big for Dwayne those 15 practices when we really get back into the fundamentals and teaching the nuances of the position. But he's another guy that really has a bright future.''
On Travell Dixon's progress at cornerback: "Right now he's a corner. He's still learning the scheme. This was good for him. One of the keys for him that we want to see out of him is that competitive nature show up consistently. He's a talented guy, he can run, he had a really acrobatic interception yesterday. Was good to see him make some tackles today. Wanted to get him some opportunities to have to make some tackles on running backs as well as wide receivers. But that consistency for Travell is something we are really looking for and trying to get out of him, that drive, that consistency. So that's going to be his next step and phase in the competition at that corner spot that will get opened up by Desmond (Trufant graduating) and we'll see who can seize the opportunity.''
On the bowl reps being here over the weekend and the gifting suite for the players: "Bowl gifts are bowl gifts and depending on what bowl game you go to. The Vegas Bowl does it a unique way which is pretty cool, a gifting suite where the guys can almost choose what they want rather than 'this is what you are going to get.' And the guys really enjoyed it. The showgirls added a flair for what the Vegas Bowl is all about and they do a great job. Our guys are excited about going to a different bowl game than they have been to the last two years and for a lot of our guys it is relatively close to home from Southern California, so a lot of family and friends can come. And our fans are pumped. The ability to get from Seattle to Vegas in a good venue before Christmas and everybody can get home for Christmas. So I expect there to be a great deal of purple in the stands.''
On what the players get to choose: "Oh man, they had from recliners to head phones to home theaters. There are so many things to choose from and it's a pretty cool points system the way they do it. You can choose one big gift or you can go all the way down to seven small gifts. So it gives the guys something to feel like they have some ownership of how they get their bowl gifts.''
On the three young QBs and how they have played in the last two weeks: "I think they have all shown some real glimpses of hope and excitement of what they could potentially do. They also have shown their youth and inexperience at times with some of the mistakes they make. But these practices are invaluable. I was talking to Keith (Price) about it and even going back to getting ready to play in the Holiday Bowl and when Keith was getting a bunch of these reps and how much he loved these practices and how much you looked forward to them as a young player. Because sometimes a young quarterback, the daily grind of going to the service team and plowing your way through it, sometimes it's hard to get motivated every day. But these first six practices as a young QB, you get excited for. These are almost like your gamedays and a little extra edge with yourself and your preparation and you could see a pep in their step as they were playing the last six days. And again, some really good stuff, some other stuff that they are going to learn from, mistakes you can't make at this level.''
On if there is any pecking order with the young QBs: "We're not worried about that right now. We've got a long time before those guys potentially are playing for us right now, so it was just good to get them reps, to get them motivated for the off-season and get them ready for spring practice.''
On having a number of recruits in this weekend and the response: "It's been tremendous. We've obviously had some tremendous young student-athletes here that are not only good football players but are good people and it was a cool opportunity for us to show off the new stadium, our great campus, our current team and our coaching staff. And to learn these new guys. So all in all I think the response has been great but we obviously have a long way to go until signing day so we just have to continue to recruit and put our best foot forward for all of the guys we are recruiting.''
On if he prefers having big groups in now or during the gall for game weekends: "I think it varies on recruit. I think so many times, we have such a unique gameday atmosphere here, especially when we get back into Husky Stadium. And sometimes the kids, you want them to see that and be part of that because that is one of the great selling points here, gameday at Husky Stadium. But the flipside of that is that maybe we don't get to spend as much personal time w ith the recruits as we would when they come on weekends like this in December and January. So there is a fine line and a lot being put on the assistant coach to know his individual recruits and what they are looking for in their official visit and what might get them to feel even better about the University of Washington. So it varies with me. I like the personal time. I like spending the time with recruits and getting to know them as much as they are getting to know us. Some kids it's important to get them up to see the gameday atmosphere.''
On how the schedule works now: "It will kick into (gameweek mode beginning Thursday). Thursday will be like a Monday for us from a preparation standpoint. So don't want to say that it will be a light workout but it will be the preliminary stages of the gameplan. Tuesday will be a legitimate Tuesday practice and we will we get after it pretty good and we will go and then Saturday will resemble a Wednesday and then Sunday will resemble a Thursday. So if I label the days wrong as we are going next week don't hold it against me. And then we will take that Monday off to travel down and then we will recreate the week next week (in Las Vegas).''
December 8, 2012 10:14 PM
Posted by Bob Condotta
As I mentioned earlier today, we had a chance to talk for a while after practice with UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.
Here's the story for the Sunday paper that resulted.
And here are a few more thoughts from Wilcox that didn't make it into the paper:
On the defense this season: "I think we took a step in the right direction and we can continue to build on that.''
On what needs to improve for next year: "It's really going to be position specific and a couple of spots. We've got to play better man coverage in the back end, at the safety position. We have to tackle better up front, as well. Pressuring the quarterback with four guys has got to show improvement. ... but they did a lot of things well and we showed improvement as a group at each position in certain areas.''
On Boise State: "They've got every formation, shift, motion and gadget play --- they do it all. I know those guys well and I know they will have them coached up and ready to go. Everybody thinks it's an advantage that you get to coach against them (since he had coached there for six years) but unless they tell us what play is coming it isn't really an advantage. ... You watch the tape and it's the same thing. It's the same offense and they've got good kids running it and they coach it really well. Unless coach Pete (Chris Petersen) tells us what play they are running before hand there is really no advantage.''
On which players showed improvement this season: "That's a hard one. I think a lot of guys showed improvement. Huddy (Andrew Hudson) up front really had a solid year for us. I think the linebackers, the true freshmen (Travis Feeney, Shaq Thompson) got better and better for us, John Timu started to progress the way we needed him to. Desmond (Trufant) really started off played good, got dinged up, I think that hurt him a little bit, One guy that probably played better and didn't get a lot of notoriety was Justin Glenn. He was a key guy for us back there. It was hard to pick one guy but there were a fair amount of guys that made progress.''
On Shaq Thompson's move to linebacker: "If you watched his high school tape it wasn't like he played a ton of safety. He played a little bit of defense and when he played defense he was like an outside linebacker for him, so it really wasn't a move because he hadn't done much of that to begin with. So Pete Sirmon did a great job with him and to be as productive as he was was impressive, not only physically but to pick up on things is a pretty big change.''
On how the defense can become more consistent: "Execute better, whether you are playing a certain coverage or certain technique, execute it better. It's practice, it's technique, it's attention to detail. It's all of the above, It's abillity, so it's all of those things.''
On his tenure at Boise State: "I was a grad assistant there to befin with and then left and came back a great program. They do a great job, coach Petersen is a phenomenal person and football coach and it's the same (now as then). You look at the video, they are multiple, they give you a lot of issues. They execute really well, they only allow (a few) sacks, not many turnovers, they never beat themselves and it's been that way for a while.''
On what Petersen taught him: "A lot of things, and they are similar personality in a lot of ways to coach Sark --- just a real positive teacher and leader and very smart, detailed. A lot of things about what coaching is.''
On why it's not an advantage now that he used to coach there: I said, 'well we used to scrimmage them and they would run the ball up and down on us in scrimmages and I knew them just as well then.' So how is it different (now)? It's the same as our offense --- just because we practice it every day doesn't mean we are going to stop them. We are going to put our best game plan together and have an idea of what they do on offense, but at the end of the day it comes down to executing the calls and they are going to be ready and have gameplan stuff for the game.''
On the penalties against WSU and how to fix them: "It's technique. Seven penalties, seven 15-yard penalties in one quarter. You can't stop anybody doing that. It's seven first downs, automatic first downs. So it's technique breakdowns, maybe getting a little anxious and not playing with that calm and confidence that you had prior --- those types of things. A couple of them got hands to the face, poor pad level. It's not because we weren't trying, it wasn't an effort issue. It was technique and approach to the play and mentality and all of those things, and it showed up all at once, back-to-back-to-back. It was horrible.''
On the pass interference penalties: "There are going to be times throughout the season you are going to get pass interference calls when you are playing coverage. You have to know how to play through the man to the ball, and when there is a time to play the ball and when there is a time to play the hands. And those are just decisions that we've got to make on the fly at a pretty quick tempo and we made some poor decisions in playing the ball.''
December 8, 2012 2:32 PM
Posted by Bob Condotta
As I've been doing throughout the season, here's another video with a little look at the renovation of Husky Stadium. In this video, though, I tried to give a little different view, looking at it from the west end:
December 8, 2012 1:55 PM
Posted by Bob Condotta
Here are a couple of videos of player interviews from practice today.
First, cornerback Desmond Trufant talks about being named to the All-Pac-12 Team, defending Boise State's passing attack, and more:
Next, linebacker Shaq Thompson talks about getting some post-season honors, the challenges he faced as a freshman, and more:
December 8, 2012 12:21 PM
Posted by Bob Condotta
A couple of quick notes to pass along. ...
--- First, UW is off the field following its Saturday practice, It was the fifth of the bowl season and similar to the others that have come before it, with lots of work with the younger players. UW is not yet doing specific gameplanning for Boise State. That will start on Thursday when the team returns to a regular schedule. UW will practice again Sunday morning and then will be off until Thursday, when it will then practice daily until the Dec. 22 Vegas Bowl against Boise State.
--- We did not talk to UW coach Steve Sarkisian, so no news items from him. However, some defensive players and defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox spoke to the media and I will have some of that later. Wilcox spoke for 10 minutes or so on a variety of topics. He was asked about the fact his name has been listed as a possible candidate for some jobs --- though there has never been a report linking him specifically to any one job. He said he fully expects to be back at UW next season, answering "sure'' when asked directly at one point if he would return to UW in 2013. He laughed and then said he planned to stay at UW "until you run me out of here.''
--- There also are reports that UW has gotten a commitment from linebacker Azeem Victor of Pomona, Calif. Both Rivals.com and Scout.com are reporting that he has committed. He is rated two stars by Scout,com and three stars by Rivals.com. He had earlier been reported as committed to San Diego State but decommitted and considered other options. He is not one of the players on a visit to UW this weekend, instead reportedly scheduled for a visit in January. Victor would be the 20th known commit for the Huskies. Here are some of his stats from MaxPreps. And here is a link to some highlights.
December 7, 2012 10:23 PM
Posted by Bob Condotta
Catching up on some news and notes. ...
--- UW's Shaq Thompson was named to the FoxSportsNext.com Freshman All-American second team.
--- UW QB commit Troy Williams was named the LA City Section Player of the Year for the second straight season.
--- For our story for Saturday's paper, I wrote about Kasen Williams.
--- A number of you have already noted that Rueben Foster, regarded as one of the top linebacker prospects in the country, will visit UW next month. Here's a bit of background behind his decision to decommit from Auburn. And more from Scout.com, noting his visit will be Jan. 12.
--- A book signing for Derek Johnson and former UW linebacker Dave Hoffmann, who is the subject of Johnson's book "The Husky Hitman'' will be Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Bellevue Barnes and Noble.
--- Bud Withers examines whether the Heisman is just a media creation.
--- A Boise TV station breaks down the best prices for the Vegas Bowl.
--- CBSSports.com has a Pac-12 Notebook.
--- The Boulder Daily Camera looks at the impact on Colorado's recruiting of the school's long search for a coach.
Dec 14, 12 - 12:35 PM
Another new Husky?
Dec 14, 12 - 09:52 AM
Friday links. ...
Dec 13, 12 - 03:59 PM
Five Questions, Five Answers on Boise State --- with Chadd Cripe
Dec 13, 12 - 02:21 PM
Thursday from Montlake
Dec 13, 12 - 08:35 AM
Thursday morning links --- Huskies back on the field