BY Todd Dybas 05:29PM 03/28/2011

Football, spring in the air

Practice starts Tuesday for Washington, which will try to figure out various position battles, how to get numerous players healthy and what to do with suspended Johri Fogerson.

Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian is ready to begin spring ball. / Otto Greule Jr, Getty Images

The temperature is above 50, it only rains half the time and even that bright orb in the sky shows up on occasion. Must be spring.

Hence, Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian sat in front of the media Monday to explain everything from injuries to intentions for his Huskies who start spring football practice Tuesday after finishing 7-6 last season following an improbable Holiday Bowl win.

Let’s start with the injuries:

Done for their career:

Kalani Aldrich (DE) and Mykenna Ikehara (OL). Each will remain on medical scholarship and are on track to graduate, according to Sarkisian.

Out for the spring:

Offensive lineman Nick Wood because of hip surgery.
Cornerback Adam Long because of knee surgery he is having Wednesday.
Defensive tackle Semisi Tokolahi because of the ankle he broke during the Apple Cup.

Limited in the spring:

Senio Kelemete tore his plantar fascia. Sarkisian said he is working back. This is crucial.

Greg Ducre (CB), Taz Stevenson (S), Cooper Pelluer (LB), and Princeton Fuimaono all had shoulder surgery in the offseason. No contact for them.

Talia Crichton (DE, knee) and Chris Robinson (DT, knee) are still recovering.

Sean Parker (S) will participate in drills but will be monitored because of his stinger injury from last year.

Deontae Cooper (RB) will also be worked back in progressively after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last season.

Punter Will Mahan, who tore his ACL and MCL last year in practice, will also be taking it slow.

Sarkisian said the only high school player to enroll early is tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who, fortunately for him, has massive shoulders to carry the massive hopes being put on him.

Jarett Finau was expected to join him, but Sarkisian said the incoming linebacker/tight end has a few classes to finish up in high school and won’t be in Seattle until the summer.

Sarkisian also said he is looking at three key issues in the spring: Continuing to make the team more physical, increasing the players’ “football awareness,” and the position battles — most notably at quarterback, offensive line and linebacker.

At linebacker, Cort Dennison is the holdover in the middle.

“You’ll see Jamaal Kearse and John Timu at the same spot (outside),” Sarkisian said. “You’ll see Garret Gilliland and Thomas Tutogi at the same spot (WLB) as Jordan Wallace and you’ll see Tim Tucker in the middle. We’re going to move some guys around, too.”

The injuries at cornerback will force Sarkisian to use Marquis Persley and Justin Glenn (each slated as safeties) to corner for a portion of spring reps.

He also touched on the off-field issues. Running back Johri Fogerson is indefinitely suspended from the team after allegedly running from the police after marijuana was discovered in his vehicle when he was pulled over for a headlight being out. Jordan Polk was dismissed from the team prior to being charged with domestic violence from property damage.

“I’m not concerned about the reputation, we’ve got great kids on this team,” Sarkisian said. “It speaks to the fact the education process never ends.

“Sure it’s disappointing when problems arise, but at the end of the day, I have 115 sons, we’re going to make some mistakes. That’s the reality of it. We’ve had a couple incidents, but we’ve also done some great things on this football team that I’m very proud of.”

Fogerson will appear in court Tuesday, then Sarkisian will assess the suspension from there. An upside is the team’s GPA (2.76) is the highest since the university has tracked it, according to Sarkisian.

Back on the field, Sarkisian wants to develop a team that is better at causing turnovers, rushing the passer, in the drop-back passing game and on special teams.

The same coaching staff is in place. The spring schedule is similar to last year, but an emphasis on no-huddle work will be added.

The team will be in half pads Saturday, then full pads next Tuesday. Practices, which take play Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through April, are open to the public.

Spring schedule:
Tuesday, March 29, 4 p.m.
Thursday, March 31, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 2, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, April 5, 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 7, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 9, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, April 12, 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 14, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 16, 1 p.m. (Coaches’ Clinic)
Tuesday, April 19, 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 21, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 23, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, April 26, 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 28, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 30, 11 a.m. (Spring Game)


  • Herb Huseland

    I noted that Sarkasian said he would not platoon between Price and Montana. It’s funny how fads get started in coaching. The best teams the Huskies ever had were two Rose Bowl Winners 1960-61. They platooned Hivner and Schorette. (sp)

  • Howard Todd

    Hivner and Schloredt were not platooned. Schloredt became the starter after Hivner went down with an injury in 1959. Hivner didn’t regain the starting position until Schloredt broke his collarbone in the 4th game of the 1960 season, right after Sports Illustrated put him on its cover. And there wasn’t a whole lot of platooning going on at the time, since college football didn’t allow unlimited substitution until a few years later.

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