For some reason, with some players hitting the wall in late September, receiver Jermaine Kearse has taken his level of practice participation up a notch heading into the Notre Dame game.
Again, Kearse went up and grabbed passes from Jake Locker during the final practice in Seattle on Thursday with mine-not-yours bravado, stretching his 6-foot-2 frame way above the hands of any UW defensive back.
Coach Steve Sarkisian has noticed a similar effort from Kearse.
"He's going up with confidence when the ball in the air, and that's what you'd like to see," Sarkisian said. "It's grown. He obviously had a really nice ballgame versus (USC). Came back last week, had three big catches early in that game with the touchdown. The confidence is rolling."
Thursday morning practice tidbits:
• Linebacker E.J. Savannah (foot) and receiver Devin Aguilar (knee) did not practice at all, and will be held as game-time decisions.
"I want to see them move around at full speed," Sarkisian said. "In a perfect world, if they're not capable of playing, I don't want to play them. We'll go play with the guys we have. But if they're capable players, they're good players, good-spirited guys – guys I know who can give us a winning edge. So if they can go, we'll play them."
If Savannah can't go – and if his slow movement around the field Thursday is any indicator, he won't – sophomore Cort Dennison will make his first career start at outside linebacker.
• Reserve offensive tackle Nick Scott (ankle) was a full participant with the No. 2 offense.
• Cornerback Desmond Trufant had his left calf wrapped, but practiced fully.
• Defensive end Talia Crichton went down hard midway through the 75-minute practice during an 11-on-11 drill, and needed his groin/upper leg to be checked out and ultimately stretched out. He did return later in practice with no apparent hindrance.
• In the final period of kickoff coverage, cornerback Quinton Richardson limped off the field. He was wincing a lot in pain with what appeared to be a high ankle sprain or Achilles injury on his right foot.
His foot was immediately wrapped in ice, and he did not return.
When asked what Richardon's status was, Sarkisian said, "A little tweak, he'll be OK."
• When asked if the Notre Dame fight song, which was played for much of practice Wednesday, over and over, stuck in his head throughout the night, Sarkisian smiled.
"I was listening to the Killers last night," he said. "It was all right."
• The Huskies will bring 76 players with them on the road, which means 12 new guys will travel. By Pacific-10 Conference rule, they are allowed to bring 64.
"An opportunity for some young guys to come," Sarkisian said.
• The coach was asked why he chose to head out Thursday for South Bend, Ind. as opposed to Friday morning.
"The kickoff time there is such, it's 12:30 (p.m.) our time. It's obviously a pretty lengthy flight – a little over four hours – so it's just the advantage of flying, (and) getting there so we have a really good Friday of our walkthrough, and not feel rushed on Friday and Saturday," Sarkisian said. "Let's get rushed on Thursday and get into our routine Friday and Saturday."
• Quick-hit stuff, the UW offense went through some stuff from deep in its own end, and also a hurry-up variety in the red zone at the end of practice. The defense did have one period with the scout team going over some of the "Wildcat" principles. … The Husky marching band and cheerleaders will be performing at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend at 11 a.m. local time Saturday. … In an unrelated note, Sarkisian was named one of Seattle's 10 sexiest sports figures by former Seattle-PI columnist Jim Moore on his show on 710-AM ESPN.