Here's some of what Huskies offensive line coach Chris Strausser said today during UW's media availability.
(On Ben Riva returning from injury) “He practiced really last week for the first time. That was the first time he truly practiced. He’s been out there in pads, but for him to really go through all of our drills … I think the biggest thing was he was not really in game shape, ready to play against Stanford. But I think physically he was the closest he’s been since the Eastern Washington game to be ready to play. Definitely frustrating for him. He’s a senior who’s started a lot of games around here, so for him to sit there and watch, I’m sure is very frustrating.”
(But he’s close?) “He’s closer. He’s definitely closer.”
(On Mike Criste and why he isn’t playing) “I can tell you the guy in front of him has played pretty good football the last five weeks with Colin Tanigawa. And so Mike’s kind of slowly worked himself into some different spots to have a chance to compete. He has played guard here and he has played tackle here since he’s been here. So to me, again, for him to have a chance to get in the game, he’s got to find a way to separate himself from the guy in front of him and really throughout the week in practice, because that’s when he gets a chance to shine.”
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(On younger guys getting more reps this week) “Yeah, we had a good scrimmage with those guys today. It was great. Those guys don’t have a chance to do our offense very often, so for them to kind of do our plays out there, I think they get excited by it, so it was fun to watch those guys compete out there just in practice today.”
(On excitement about next group of linemen) “Oh yeah. Always excited by younger guys. I really am. I feel good about this group of young guys. I feel good about the group that we potentially have coming in. and so I always get excited to get a chance to see some of these young guys do something.”
(Anyone in particular stand out? Fans love to hear it …) “I know they do. Really with that being said, we just haven’t done enough with those guys. John Turner’s been a really consistent guy for us, even not just doing our stuff in scrimmage today, but if you talk to all the defensive coaches over on the scout team, he’s kind of been the leader down there. He’s playing center for us, so we’re excited about what he’s doing so far.”
(On Jake Eldrenkamp potentially having a big role next season) “No doubt. He got in the game for a couple plays last week. We’ve got a few packages maybe to work him in there with some extra linemen. I think he’s had a good year. The guy in front of him right now is playing probably the best football of anybody in our group with Micah (Hatchie). He had a really, really good game against Stanford. Unfortunately he’s the only guy that had a really, really good game against Stanford. But Micah’s been playing good football, so for Jake, he hasn’t had a chance to get out there and play a whole bunch.”