Louisiana State comes to town in a little more than two weeks to kick off the season. Pacific-10 Conference play opens for the Washington Huskies in a month.
For those who think preseason camp is just a three-week-long tune-up for the regular season, guess again.
Coach Steve Sarkisian and his UW staff are still sampling game-planning ideas.
And one that has merit – one that could stick around for critical junctures – is having two tailbacks share the same backfield.
“It would probably be a game plan thing … to create some matchups,” Huskies quarterback Jake Locker said.
During the scrimmage portion of the evening practice Wednesday, coaches got to see sophomore Johri Fogerson and redshirt freshman Chris Polk paired together for a series or two.
The shifty and sturdy Fogerson (6-foot-1, 191 pounds) was the inside runner while the speedy Polk (5-11, 210) shifted around and sometimes split out wide as a receiver.
It’s not just these two, although because of Polk’s injury issues and Fogerson’s conversion from safety, the staff had no idea how well the two players would work together.
Sarkisian saw the potential on Wednesday.
“They’re both talented guys obviously running and catching (the ball), but what they’ve shown early in camp, they’re both very physical,” Sarkisian said. “We can do some different things when they’re both in there together.”
It’s a schematic idea that is highly debated in football circles. Players tend to like it because it creates mismatches. Some coaches don’t, because it can weaken a protection scheme with one less tight end or no fullback.
But Sarkisian likes it and has utilized it before as the offensive coordinator at USC. His two most prolific weapons then were Reggie Bush and LenDale White, who combined to score 99 career touchdowns before they left in 2005.
UW running backs coach Joel Thomas also tried it at Purdue, utilizing Kory Sheets and Jaycen Taylor in the same backfield in 2006 and 2007.
“Personnel-wise, (Fogerson and Polk) are two pretty good, athletic running backs. However a defense calls it, we have to match up on that,” Thomas said. “Obviously, that is what camp is for. We’re always trying to develop ideas to try and get our best playmakers on the field.”
It’s not just Fogerson and Polk. There could be a situation when a bigger back such as Demitrius Bronson is paired with a smaller back such as Willie Griffin or Curtis Shaw.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they all could do it,” Sarkisian said, “but Chris and Johri are our most versatile guys.”
One day after limping off the field, Fogerson (right ankle) participated in kickoff return drills early in practice Thursday but did little else. Sarkisian said he is day-to-day. …
Others not practicing Thursday included safeties Victor Aiyewa (head), Jason Wells (Achilles tendon) and Greg Walker (elbow), linebackers Joshua Gage (hand) and Matt Houston, offensive linemen Morgan Rosborough (shoulder) and Terence Thomas (foot) and defensive tackle Craig Noble (knee). Sarkisian said Thomas likely will undergo some tests to detect what is causing discomfort to linger. The freshman is wearing a protective boot. …
Center Ryan Tolar (toe) limped off the field twice after getting hurt during practice. …
Former Wilson High standout Desmond Trufant returned after missing a week and a half because of academic issues. And he was rusty – he got beat for touchdowns by receivers Jermaine Kearse and Jordan Polk, and he was called for a pair of pass-interference penalties. “He’s going to struggle some. Things are new to him,” Sarkisian said. “He got beat a couple times in 7-on-7 … but he’ll be fine.”
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442