Riddle: He isn't a true freshman, or a newcomer. Yet, he's making his first start in the Steve Sarkisian era – and first for University of Washington football in 15 years.
Who am I?
The answer is Damon Huard, who once upon a time, was the UW's all-time leading passer from Puyallup High School.
A bit of startling news came out of early summer when Chuck Nelson – also a UW alum and legendary placekicker – was abruptly relieved of his radio color-commentary duties after 17 seasons, and was replaced by Huard.
In the booth Saturday for the first time will be Huard and 30-year play-by-play man Bob Rondeau to call the Huskies' season opener at Brigham Young in Provo, Utah.
"There will be some growing pains trying to work out the kinds the first few weeks," Huard said. "I'll just take (Rondeau's) lead, and just call the games from what I see, and go from there."
Added Rondeau: "He's not the first guy I've broken in doing this."
Huard's last season playing for the Huskies was 1995. After that, he enjoyed a 14-year career in the NFL, playing for five teams.
He made his first NFL start with Miami in 1999. A year later, he was signed by New England where he was part of two Super Bowl-winning teams.
The last organization he was with was San Francisco in 2009, eventually being released last September.
In May, he took a fundraising job within the UW athletic department, which led to the broadcasting gig.
"He's an ex-quarterback. He knows about preparing for games," Rondeau said. "At our meeting Monday, he showed me what was going on. My message to him is to be overprepared more than underprepared, and he understands that."
Each day of practice this week, Huard has been on the sidelines, watching the action – familiarizing himself with the players and the schemes.
"I like Damon a lot. I think he'll offer a very unique perspective to the game," Sarkisian said. "Anytime a guy has played in the National Football League that many years, he's seen a lot of football. He'll add a real dynamic of being up-to-date on the game, knowing what's going on in the game right now. I think he'll do a nice job."
Some tidbits from practice Thursday:
• Surprise, surprise – a clean slate of health. With the addition of linebacker Brandon Huppert (knee), who was not expected to go to Provo at the beginning of the week, everybody will be available Saturday.
Huppert did light work Thursday.
"It’s not going to be a situation where it’s a priority to get him in the game," Sarkisian said. "But if the situation arises where we need him, he’s available."
• Cornerback Gregory Ducre (shoulder) practiced, and will travel to BYU.
• Defensive end Kalani Aldrich (knee) did no team drills, but will be on the travel roster.
• Injured running back Deontae Cooper will have surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee on Sept. 8.
• Quarterback Jake Locker took all the snaps with the No. 1 offense.
• Sarkisian said O'Dea product Zach Fogerson and Dorson Boyce are now basically co-No. 2 fullbacks behind Austin Sylvester.
• Per Sarkisian, the UW's Friday schedule: "We'll start meetings here at 8:30 in the morning. We'll walk through here at roughly 10:15. We'll leave here on the bus at noon … fly, get there, land at 4 (p.m.), go straight to LaVell Edwards Stadium and do a quick half-hour walk-through, go to eat dinner and then have meetings."
• Last year, opponents complained about the sod at LaVell Edwards Stadium, saying it came up in clumps.
"It's grass. It looked like early in the year, it was kind of torn up; I don't know if it was the turf, or however they laid the turf didn't settle in in time, but later in the year, it looked fine," Sarkisian said. "I'm anticipating, knowing BYU, that if there was something wrong with it last year, they are going to get it fixed."
• Here is thelink
to my interview with 710-AM ESPN's Dave Grosby on Wednesday afternoon.