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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

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August 14, 2008 4:21 PM

Into the Frye-ing pan

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Quarterback Matt Hassebeck returned to practice on Thursday after missing the past four days because of a tight back.

Just don't expect him back in the lineup on Saturday against Chicago. At least not based on the fact he had exactly zero repetitions he got with the first-unit offense in the team portion of practice on Thursday.

"I have got a feeling based on reps," Hasselbeck said. "But I haven't been told anything."

OK. We'll put on the detective caps then and since third-string quarterback Charlie Frye took 100 percent of the practice time with the first-unit offense on Thursday that he's going to be the starter on Saturday.

"I knew at some point this preseason they were going to give Charlie more reps," Hasselbeck said. "More opportunities to show what he can do in a game. I've got a feeling, but that's all it is. A feeling."

It's a pretty good hunch, and one of the factors is that the Seahawks will want to see exactly how Frye fares in extended play. He came to the Seahawks in a trade from Cleveland after Week 1 in 2007 and as the third-string quarterback in Seattle, he didn't get practice repetitions other than the scout team.

He comes from a college that used the shotgun formation, and he's had to adjust to the precise timing of Seattle's five- and seven-step drops. If Frye is a capable backup, it would also free the Seahawks to use Seneca Wallace on other positions at offense. So expect to get a long look at Frye on Saturday.

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August 14, 2008 2:18 PM

Cougars -- No joking matter at 'Hawks camp

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Wide receiver Michael Bumpus has been one of the surprising successes in camp, and he's played himself into competition for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Bumpus went to college at Washington State, but Washington was among the schools that recruited him early. Bumpus initially committed to USC, but he de-committed because the Trojans wanted to red-shirt him his first season after Dwayne Jarrett said he'd come to play for the Trojans.

Keith Gilbertson was coaching at Washington when the Huskies recruited him, and he had nothing but great things to say about Bumpus. As for a joking reference from a dopey reporter (OK, it was me) as to whether it was difficult for Gilbertson to coach a Cougar, well, he got downright grumpy. There's something pretty that's just endearing about a football coach who doesn't tolerate bad jokes (and the question was admittedly a pretty stupid attempt at humor).

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August 14, 2008 11:38 AM

The hurt begins to heal -- 8.14.2008 A.M. edition

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Defensive end Patrick Kerney, right tackle Sean Locklear, fullback Leonard Weaver and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck all returned to practice on Thursday morning.

Not that coach Mike Holmgren was holding his breath. There's only two that have really been cause for concern, which were the injuries to Bobby Engram -- who's out six to eight weeks -- and Chris Spencer, who hasn't practice since training camp began because of a sore back.

Now, the week began with only three-fourths of Seattle's roster practicing and the Seahawks had 11 players absent from Thursday's practice.

So how about it coach, you worried about the volume of injuries this year than previous seasons?

"No," Holmgren said. "The ones that I think about a lot are Engram and Spencer. The other ones, they'll come back," Holmgren said. "I think some of it is we're a lot more careful than we used to be. Not the Seahawks necessarily, but with the MRI machines and all the stuff that they get tested with, I dare say if I stuck all of you in an MRI machine, they'd say, 'Oh, geez, look at this guy's back. Look at her.' You would find stuff."

Engram's prognosis is clear. He suffered a broken bone in his shoulder and he's going to miss six to eight weeks, and the Seahawks expect him back at the end of September or beginning of October.

Spencer's situation is less clear. He underwent offseason shoulder surgery, but was on the field for the first practice. His back tightened up and he hasn't practiced since.

"He just can't do some stuff now," Holmgren said. "The pain won't let him."

Holmgren said the team began a new course of treatment three days ago.

"Each day he has gotten better," Holmgren said. "I'm hopeful, but it's one of those situations where makes the call. He's got to come back and sooner than later."

With Spencer out, Steve Vallos is the starting center. He played tackle in college, moved to guard last season and is now the first-unit center.

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August 2008