Preseason camp will officially expire Friday night, but that doesn't mean the Washington Huskies are only concerned about themselves before then.
No. 11 Louisiana State awaits.
And this isn't just a Tigers squad intent on erasing all doubts from last season's disappointing effort, struggling on both sides of the ball. It's a roaming, foaming Tigers' nation, expected to invade Husky Stadium with their own tint of college-football purple.
Scout-team work began Wednesday. On one end, the No. 1 offense ran against some of LSU's attacking schemes under new defensive coordinator John Chavis, who spent the past 14 seasons in the Southeastern Conference at Tennessee.
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"They always have good talent, and have good players. I think it will be a good test for up front, and in the (receiving corps)," said UW quarterback Jake Locker. "(Receivers are) going to have to run good routes. We're going to have to make sure we're crisp up front with our blocking schemes and everything. And we're going to have to make plays … and find ways to make things happen."
As the first-string offense put its work in, so was the No. 1 defense against scout-team quarterback Keith Price, who was trying to do his best to imitate LSU starter Jordan Jefferson. And on a couple of plays, Price broke through with his feet and arm, gaining big chunks of yardage.
The Tigers are built on defense. For five consecutive seasons, they were ranked in the top three nationally in total defense – up until last season when they finished 32nd.
"LSU is always known for a good defense, but we have a great coaching staff, and we'll do what they want us to do, work with a game plan and play hard," Huskies receive D'Andre Goodwin said.
Coach Steve Sarkisian, who will debut as a head coach against LSU, noted the two teams' schemes on both sides of the ball are similar, which could circumvent the game-planning process.
"We thought (Wednesday) was a good day … to get it introduced today, so Saturday (a game-planning day) is not the first day we're doing it," Sarkisian said.
Other Wednesday tidbits:
&bull A new and notable injury popped up unexpectedly Wednesday – tailback Chris Polk (head), who hurt himself during the night practice Tuesday. Sarkisian said it wasn't serious.
Updates on a few already dinged up – tight end Kavario Middleton (hamstring) is doubtful to return before the weekend workout, and likely will be rested until Monday. … Two players who are already ruled out for the LSU game are safety Jason Wells (right achilles) and offensive tackle Skyler Fancher (ankle), who might need surgery. Also, linebacker Matt Houston (arm) is doubtful to play.
Others who did not participate in practice Wednesday include receiver Cody Bruns (hamstring), safeties Will Shamburger (knee) and David Batts (heel), cornerback Matt Mosley (knee), offensive tackle Terence Thomas (foot) and defensive tackle Chris Robinson (knee).
&bull It's a slower process than Sarkisian would like to see happen, but the NCAA cleared defensive end Talia Chrichton to return to practice Wednesday. He was one of three true freshmen who could not work out with the team starting Monday. Price returned Tuesday, but linebacker Tim Tucker remains out.
&bull Again, Wilson High product Desmond Trufant spent a healthy chunk of time working out with the No. 1 defense, in order to get the work needed to catch up after he missed much of the first two weeks retaking a core class to regain his eligibility. He also worked out as a gunner on punt coverage teams.
&bull Speaking of special teams, looks like receiver Devin Aguilar will enter the season as the No. 1 punt returner, and receiver Jordan Polk and cornerback Quinton Richardson will be the primary kick returners.
&bull Since Greg Walker was pulled from the No. 1 defense on Tuesday night at free safety, he worked exclusively with the second-string unit Wednesday. Shouldn't be anything to worry about – coaches want to get Victor Aiyewa more acclimated to playing some free safety, moving over from strong safety.
&bull Locker was sharp in the team scrimmage at the end of practice Wednesday.
In first-down offense drills, he was 7-of-8 for 166 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown pass to Johri Fogerson (ruled dead halfway through, but Fogerson was already ahead of everybody).
And in goal-line offense, Locker was 2-of-2, with 4-yard TD passes to Aguilar and Goodwin.
&bull Placekicker Erik Folk continued a little mini-slump, missing field goals from 48 (short into the wind), 39 (hit right upright) and 35 (wide right), and finished 1-of-4. He got in a good half-hour of extra work after practice.
&bull Continuing the "Retired Coaches Who Visit Practice" Tour, highlighted by former UW coach Don James watching the team work out Tuesday, it was ex-Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren viewing action from the bench Wednesday, along with former assistant Gil Haskell.
&bull We've found a candidate for the most hideous mohawk haircut on Montlake – backup punter Kiel Rasp.
&bull Sarkisian said he would have a depth chart solidified by practice Saturday. Also, practices next week will be held at 7 p.m. to simulate the evening kickoff start against LSU on Sept. 5 in Seattle.
&bull Of course, Sarkisian came from USC as the offensive coordinator, and was well aware his former quarterback pupil Mark Sanchez had won the starting spot with the New York Jets as a rookie, announced Wednesday
Had he talked to Sanchez to congratulate him?
"Just a couple text messages back and forth," Sarkisian said. "He's a busy guy these days. I am happy for Mark."
&bull The new coach also promised an "80s" music day for an upcoming practice (OK, he didn't really promise, but he got excited to offer such an idea to the 30-somethings of the media horde).