The Huskies running back corps was already somewhat depleted with Chris Polk out for a few weeks after minor knee surgery and Deontae Cooper out for the season with a torn ACL, and it took another hit today with Johri Fogerson sitting out practice with a mild hip strain, according to head coach Steve Sarkisian.
That leaves sophomore Jesse Callier, true freshman Bishop Sankey, walk-on redshirt freshman Willis Wilson and true freshman Dezden Petty.
But really it's just Callier and Sankey.
Asked about the running back situation, Sarkisian said: “It leaves us with Jesse and Bishop.”
Is that enough?
“I hope," he said.
It's all but a given that Sankey won't redshirt this season. The injury to Polk made it seem unlikely, but with Fogerson hurting, the Huskies simply can't afford to because of depth issues.
Sankey will likely see action in the opener against Easter Washington.
It's a huge opportunity for him. But does he grasp it?
"Realistically, probably not," Sarkisian said. "Freshmen are a little naïve to things. That’s the beauty of being a freshman. You aren’t as concerned about all the extraneous distractions and things that could be going on around you. You just line up and run the ball or catch the ball or block or do what you have to do. And Bishop has been doing that.”
Sankey has been pretty impressive in fall camp. He has shown good speed, surprising strength and some shifty moves in the open field. He's exceeded many people's expectations. But not Sarkisian.
"He’s definitely not afraid of anything," Sarkisian said. "He’s a tough minded kid. He’s very serious. He prepares himself mentally and physically. I didn’t place expectations on these guys, I think that’s the last thing you want to do then you are always trying to gauge them to that expectation. I just want to let these guys come out and play and I think Bishop has done a nice job.”
Some other notes ...
Sarkisian won't name a starting punter saying he'll use both Kiel Rasp and Will Mahan situationally against Eastern.
True freshmen James Sample worked as the sixth defensive back in the Huskies "dime" package, meaning he probably won't redshirt either.
Kasen Williams, Devin Aguilar and Willis Wilson returned punts today during special teams period.
Aguilar will likely start against Eastern, but he continues to be inconsistent in practice. During the team period, he had a very catchable pass from Keith Price go off his hands and into the arms of Greg Ducre.
Erik Folk missed 2 of 5 field goals during practice.
Reade Lobdill was out of practice and has a banged up meniscus. Chris Polk and Adam Long did some conditioning work on the stairs. Quinton Richardson also did some work on the stairs, but he doesn't seem like he will be ready to play. Sarkisian wouldn't rule him out.
"I don't know," he said. "Obviously, we get a lot of rest today, a lot of rest tomorrow. We'll assess them early in the week. I'm not going to try to say, 'Hey, we're not going to make a decision until Thursday,' or something. We'll be able to tell I think by about Tuesday where there at. I am encouraged by both, I will say that. I think they've come a long way in a short amount of time. Chris did do a lot more movement stuff today than he had been doing, and he looked good doing it. So we'll see how he responds."