I wrote about sophomore wide receiver Kevin Smith (above) and the fortuitous decisions that led him to playing football, but also playing for the Huskies. Smith was a standout hoops player for Centennial high in Compton before deciding to play football midway through his junior year.
The jump from high school to the Pacific-12 Conference is difficult for any player, but for Smith and his 15 games of high school football experience, it made his head spin.
“You’re talking about a guy (who has played) 15 games of high school football,” receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty said. “He was very raw and it was very new to him when he got here. You could see the tools. He’s a smart kid, but this takes a little bit of time.”
Predictably, Smith struggled early. He was still too unsure to make a serious push for playing time.
By the sixth or seventh week, there was a change in Smith. He began to play better in practice. Gone was the hesitation, the second-guessing.
“We understand it’s a maturation process and to his credit he’s worked really hard to get that side of the game down,” Dougherty said. “As is true with a lot of these guys that have talent, once their mental side catches up with what they can do physically, then (you’ve) really got something. Then you start seeing the playing you are seeing right now.”Here's some video of his hoops ability ... how athletic is Smith, he played power forward for Centennial at times despite standing just six feet tall.
Ask anyone who's been watching practice at Montlake, and they will tell you the best performers at receiver have been Jermaine Kearse, Kasen Williams, Smith and James Johnson. Those four have been outstanding nearly every day.
Gregg Bell of GoHuskies.com writes about the Dawgfather, Don James, visiting practice yesterday. James is such an ambassador for the program. He must have shook a 200 hands and chatted with every fan that approached him.
Scott Johnson of the Everett Herald writes about offensive tackle Senio Kelemete and center Drew Schaeffer, who anchor the offensive line.
Former Husky linebacker Mason Foster hit Chad Ochocinco Johnson, er, whatever pretty hard in a game. And he got fined for it by Roger Goodell. But now the always charitable Ochocino says he will pay Foster's fine. Please ignore the video in the story posted. They don't show the hit. They only show the pompous Skip Bayless pontificating without any real knowledge of anything (you don't even want to know how much he gets paid by the four-letter).
Here's the hit ...
Around the Pac-12 ...
Pac 12 North
Cal: The Chronicle has a preview of Cal. Love this line from it ...
Whippet-thin transfer Zach Maynard is no Kevin Riley or Brock Mansion, and that can be only a good thing as Cal attempts to rebound from a 5-7 season in 2010, Tedford's first losing season in Berkeley.
My good buddy Mike Curto, voice of the Rainiers and Cal grad, would wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment.
Oregon State: They keep losing players to injury. Starting guard Josh Andrews suffered a concussion. Senior cornerback Brandon Hardin is having shoulder surgery today in Seattle, and it will likely end his season.
Washington State: Vince Grippi has this blog post ... check out this line from it ...
We counted today and there are 30 true freshmen on the roster – including Rahmel Dockery and Alex Mitchell, who were at practice today but still not cleared – though right now about 25 percent of them are slated to play this year.
That's a lot of freshmen. I've been told that the ultra-speedy Dockery has finally been cleared to play and will start practicing in the next couple of days.
Pac 12 South
Arizona: Massive redshirt freshman Mickey Baucus will be playing the all-important left tackle and protecting QB Nick Foles.
ASU: Senior receiver Gerrell Robinson is back after spraining his knee and he's ready to make plays.
Colorado: The Buffs have gone to a 3-4 defense.
USC: Suspended running back Marc Tyler still has some hurdles to clear before he's allowed to play for the Trojans
Utah: The Utes still haven't settled on a kicker since neither candidate has really kicked with much consistency in practice.
And because, I'm from Montana.