Huskies Insider Blog

Practice report with video for August 10: First day of shoulder pads brings up the physical play

With the team wearing shoulder pads and shorts, the hitting and intensity picked up a little. Defensive backs like Desmond Trufant and Quinton Richardson manhandled a few young receivers, throwing them to the ground and delivering a few hard hits.

"It's just about being physical," Trufant said. "It was fun hitting again, it's been a while."

Defensive coordinator Nick Holt wasn't exactly thrilled with the way his defense played, calling it sloppy.

A few notes ....

You can add true freshman John Timu into the mix for the outside linebacker spot. Timu shared reps with the first team defense during team drills with sophomore Garrett Gilliland. At the other linebacker spot Princeton Fuimaono has taken the bulk of the reps with the first team. Thomas Tutogi has also seen some time.

"Hopefully we have six or seven guys that know the defense and know the scheme," Holt said. "If that's rotating them, so be it. But it's still a long way away."

Wide receiver remains an interesting position to watch. James Johnson got his first consistent work with the No. 1 offense this fall. Johnson seemed to be a forgotten man after finding himself in Sarkisian's doghouse for much of last season. But even today, you saw glimpses of his talent. He made two nice catches in one-on-ones - his first catch he just overwhelmed Quinton Richardson.

True freshman Kasen Williams continues to get reps with the first team. He looked good. And in the final team drill, he took an underneath screen and broke it for a long touchdown.

"I like those kind of touchdowns where you throw it about two yards and it goes 60 yards, but that's what he brings to table," Sarkisian said. "He has that kind of ability."

One of the most impressive performances came from sophomore Kevin Smith. He caught a touchdown in team where he shook off a shoulder tackle from a defensive back. Smith is interesting. He's stronger and faster than Devin Aguilar. He's just very raw, but receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty said Smith has finally learned the intricacies of the Husky offense and is no longer hesitant about where he's supposed to be and what route he's supposed to run. Sarkisian talks about Smith in the video above.

At tight end, Michael Hartvigson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins continue to split time at tight end with the No. 1 offense. Seferian-Jenkins made three nice catches during team, including a ridiculous one-handed grab as he was falling down.

Defensive tackle Sione Potoa'e was back to full practice. He worked mostly with the second team defense. Defensive tackle Danny Shelton got some work with the first-team defense as well.

"I think Danny Shelton has been very impressive," said defensive coordinator Nick Holt. "He physically can play right now. You can see it. Now whether he can stand up to the whole grind of a Pac 12 season remains to be seen."

Here's some video of the offensive and defensive linemen doing one-on-one drills. Shelton is No. 71.

Fumbled snaps weren't as bad, though Nick Montana struggled on the exchanges from Colin Porter again. He bobbled a few snap but never put the ball on the ground.

Cort Dennison picked off a Keith Price pass late in practice. Price tried to roll left and throw back across the grain and Dennison was waiting. He tried a similar pass on Tuesday and Sean Parker nearly picked it off.