Huskies Insider Blog

Recurring Pac-10 theme: Quarterbacks get hurt here

Tedford audio (11-23)

When Matt Barkley went down Saturday in Southern California's loss at Oregon State, it marked the eighth starting Pacific-10 Conference signal caller to get knocked out of a game this season.

Did I mention in 2010, there are still just 10 teams playing in this league?

Hunt the quarterback - and eventually hurt him - seems to be a recurring trend going on this season. Only Stanford's Andrew Luck and Oregon State's Ryan Katz has stood tallest to the challenge of taking punishment, and keep on playing.

UW coach Steve Sarkisian simply reasoned it's just one of those years the quarterbacks are getting injured.

"I think it’s somewhat coincidental that this happens to be that way this year," Sarkisian said. "I think it speaks volumes to how important backup quarterbacks are. But I don’t think there’s something that directly points to this is why guys are getting injured, or they’re targeting quarterbacks or anything to that nature. I think it’s just coincidental."

But it's happening - to programs that rarely are put in this scrambling-for-help situation.

"Over the years, we’ve been off-the-charts fortunate with the health of staritng quarterback," USC coach Lane Kiffin said. "It’s something new for us."

The injury recap:* Arizona: Nick Foles (dislocated kneecap) got rolled up in a game at Washington State on Oct. 16. He missed two starts, giving way to Matt Scott.

* Arizona State: Steven Threet (concussion) was knocked out in the first half of a loss against California on Oct. 23. He returned the next week to face Washington State.

* California: In the first quarter, Kevin Riley (left knee) took the big hit that ended his season - and career - Oct. 30 against Oregon State.

* Oregon: Darron Thomas (shoulder) left in the first half after a violent collision against Washington State on Oct. 9, but has not missed a start.

* UCLA: Where do we start? Kevin Prince (right knee) led an upset of Texas on Sept. 25, but paid the price late with a season-ending injury. And on Saturday, Richard Brehaut (concussion) was knocked out early in the second half after a helmet-to-helmet hit by UW safety Nate Williams.

* USC: In the loss Saturday at Oregon State, Barkley (high ankle sprain) left after throwing an interception. His status this week is up in the air.

* Washington: Jake Locker (ribs) initially suffered a rib-cage injury against Oregon State on Oct. 16, tried playing through it against Arizona and Stanford before eventually being shut down for two weeks, missing the Oregon game Nov. 6.

* Washington State: Jeff Tuel (concussion) left late in the first half of the Cougars' win at Oregon State on Nov. 13, but was cleared to return in the second half. He has not missed any starts this season.

Here is the short Sarkisian transcript from today's conference call (it was just myself and The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta taking up the coach's time ... as if we don't do that in person enough):

What has been behind cornerback Quinton Richardon's good showing the past couple weeks?"I think the first thing, he’s playing much more physical, not only at the line of scrimmage in jamming receivers but when he’s getting his opportunities to tackle, not only wideouts but running backs in space. Second thing, he’s getting his hands on more (footballs) when balls are being thrown – and the obvious interception that was made for the touchdown last week, but I’m seeing that even more often in practice. He got another great interception yesterday in practice, so he’s being more active."

Is Richardson playing with more confidence, too?"I think that’s natural. When you start to make some plays, your confidence level rises."

Linebacker Mason Foster has been outstanding all season. What in particular has he improved on in 2010?"I think the biggest improvement he’s made is his ability to play multiple positions. We’ve moved him around quite a bit, and to his credit, he’s handled it extremely well. He’s done great things rushing the passer, he’s done nice things playing off the edge, he’s done nice things playing in the middle, so I think his versatility is where he’s improved the most."

When was the last time you held, or participated in a practice in the snow like this week?"It was in the CFL - in Saskatchewan - I remember because we had this old-school turf field and it had snowed so hard that we went out in our cleats as if we were going on grass because the field was completely covered in snow. That was when I was a player, so I don’t know exactly how long ago that was, but I was still trying to play the game."

What was behind changing the practice time Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 2 p.m.?"Yeah, the university canceled all the classes today, and so I just didn’t feel like I wanted our guys sitting around all day with kind of nothing to do, so we just bumped it up a couple hours to take advantage of their free time, and two getting them out here a little earlier, and hopefully getting our coaches out of here a little earlier with the weather."

UW and California are closing out the old Memorial Stadium on Saturday. What are your memories of the venue?"Well, I’ve always enjoyed going there – it’s a great setting for football. A couple real memories about it: One is their visitors’ locker room is by far and way the smallest in the Pac-10, so I’m hoping with this renovation they’re doing, they do a little something to the visitors’ locker room; and two, just some great games. Cal has had some very good teams over the years, and have been involved in some very good football games there."

** TUESDAY PRACTICE NOTES: Defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu was out with a sprained right ankle (he was limping pretty badly). Defensive coordinator Nick Holt said he suffered the injury in the UCLA game, and reaggravated it during Monday practice. Holt said Ta'amu will try and practice Wednesday. Chris Robinson ran with the No. 1 defense in his place. ... Safety Sean Parker (shoulder) wore the red jersey, but participated in special teams returns, and ran some plays with the No. 1 defense during team period. ... Offensive lineman Ryan Tolar (sprained knee) was in street clothes. Erik Kohler has moved over to left guard in Tolar's place, and Colin Porter took most (if not, all) the first-team reps at right guard. ... Defensive end Talia Crichton (knee) only rode the stationary bike during practice as he tries to make his way back. ... Punter Kiel Rasp and placekicker Erik Folk both booted punts and kicks, respectively, into the high nets in the Dempsey Center.