A lot of odd occurrences today at the afternoon practice. Running back Chris Polk was made unavailable to the media by coach Steve Sarkisian (assuming it was for the comments he made Saturday about USC and the matchup being 'personal'). Then the whole offensive line was not talking.
Throw in the fact that tight ends Kavario Middleton and Chris Izbicki, running back Johri Fogerson and quarterback Jake Locker already talked at the weekly press conference Monday, basically only the receivers and fullback Paul Homer were available for interviews among the starters.
So much for fodder leading up to the biggest game of the season, huh?
Of course, much of the talking about the running game can be made through the numbers themselves. As mentioned before, Polk is averaging 20 carries a game. He is the workhorse. He is the No. 1 running back.
Johri Fogerson has provided a nice compliment to Polk. Both operate very well together.
But is the workload, sooner or later, going to catch up to Polk, being 5-foot-11 and 210 pounds? If that happens, what happens to the rotation? Is fullback Paul Homer available to run inside as well?
As of now, the UW offense will ride the horse that's running the race, at least until she breaks.
"I think Chris has done a great job," Huskies offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier said. "When guys go in and show production, they're going to get more carries, and Chris established himself at as the starter at the end of camp, and that's why we named him the starter."
Running backs coach Joel Thomas said there was no specific day, or week that the staff decided to make this a tag-team duo with Polk and Fogerson. It just evolved that way.
"Johri's progress obviously started to show he does some special things with the ball in his hands. Chris obviously is the one we wanted to keep on growing, because he's the most explosive (running back)," Thomas said. "I don't know if there was a date … but they were the guys who continued to prove consistent play. The group understands that. Our offense, we need guys that are confident in what they're supposed to be doing all the time, and as violent (running it) as possible."
Asked who the No. 3 tailback was, Thomas' answer was, "One of the three." He meant Curtis Shaw, Willie Griffin and Demitrius Bronson.
Look at this season's numbers, and answer it yourself: Shaw has five carries; Griffin one and Bronson has played just special teams.
When asked about Griffin's role on the Pacific-10 Conference coaches teleconference earlier today, Sarkisian noted that what was happening would continue.
"That's kind of what it is," he said, adding the No. 3 and/or No. 4 tailback would be getting only a handful touches, up to six in a regular routine.
As for Homer, he has 29 career rushes – 22 coming his sophomore season.
"Last year, I had a few … short-yardage carries," Homer said. "(Polk) is a strong running back. They'll throw us in to block for him. The guy is a beast. So I can't complain about that. Have we been stopped on third-and-short? Whatever is going on, is going right."
News from practice:• Defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu was excused from practice because of a death in the family. Sarkisian said Ta'amu would probably be back Wednesday. Semisi Tokolahi was running with the No. 1 defense in Ta'amu's absence.
Also, for the second consecutive day, Everrette Thompson practiced with the No. 2 defense in a bid to return from an offseason ankle ailment. His season-long status will be determined after the USC game.
• Locker's numbers Tuesday:7-on-7: 10-of-11, 135 yards.1st down offense (11-on-11): 4-of-7, 37 yards.3rd down offense (11-on-11): 2-of-4, 19 yards, INT (by free safety Greg Walker).
Also, Erik Folk made 4-of-5 field goal attempts.
• Game time has been set for Stanford on Sept. 26 in California – 6 p.m. No live television. Think how that makes the UW administration feel. Not very happy.