Huskies Insider Blog

Sore and still limited, Price shows enough to earn start

He wasn't fleet-a-foot fluid like a Baryshnikov, but UW quarterback Keith Price did enough prancing, dancing, sidestepping and other tests of lateral movement to convince coach Steve Sarkisian he was ready to start Saturday against California.

Price, a redshirt sophomore who leads the country with 11 touchdown passes, practiced fully Thursday wearing a brace around his left knee and a tight wrap over his right knee - protecting injuries he suffered in his past two games.

While he sometimes labored on a few throws - not thrusting himself forward on his front foot with vigor - the accuracy did not wane. And the longer he threw, especially in individual drills, the better he showcased.

Sarkisian said the signal caller looked better Wednesday and Thursday of this week playing with two sprained knees than he did on those days last week with just one bum right knee.

"Part of that is the comfort level as his body is adjusting. He is getting used to being a little banged up," Sarkisian said. "And I think is body has healed quicker this time around."

Sarkisian noted that the strength in Price's right knee - which is his plant lever - "is getting back to normal." Therefore, he can load up on that side and get in position to throw with little restriction.

The issue might be the follow-through to his left leg, which he still slightly favors.

The third-year UW coach said he is confident that Price will be able to make any throw asked of him.

"There is nothing we have in the game plan, or there's nothing we didn't put in because we didn't think he could do it," Sarkisian said. "We feel pretty good about it."

As a runner, Sarkisian conceded that Price likely won't go 80 yards for a score, but added that the quarterback's mobility should not be compromised to any great extent.

"I am sure he will be limited some still. He knows his body. He knows what he is capable of, and not capable of," Sarkisian said. "He is going to run. He's going to have some scrambles. He is going to get us a couple first downs with his feet."

Other stuff:

* Cornerback Quinton Richardson got hit in the ... well, midsection early in practice Thursday, and wore an ice pack standing on the sideline. He will be fine to start against the Bears.

* Even though Nate Fellner (hamstring) did not participate in any team-period action, Sarkisian said the junior has shown enough improvement that he should be available to play Saturday. Justin Glenn, who has ran with the No. 1 defense all week, is expected to start.

Taz Stevenson (knee), a reserve safety, is likely to miss the game, and true freshman James Sample (shoulder) is still very limited.

* Running back Jesse Callier (knee) should return to full kick-return duty after leaving late in the first half against Nebraska. Callier and receivers Kasen Williams will shoulder the return load back there, Sarkisian said.

* First it was a thigh injury. Then, linebacker Cort Dennison got beat up a bit in last week's game, and has shown a little bit of that wear and tear.

Sarkisian has lightened the senior's practice workload this week to get him some rest. In fact, backup Garret Gilliland has seen work with the No. 1 offense this week at all three linebacker spots, just as insurance.

"(Dennison) feels good," Sarkisian said. "His body comes back. It is the grind of a football season, and playing middle linebacker. ... He will cut it loose (Saturday) and go."

* Sarkisian said he will announce next week the walk-ons who have been awarded scholarships.

* And for all you Nick Holt fans - his son, Nick, Jr., has been moved back to linebacker, thus ending the experiment of him playing fullback.