It was miserable at practice tonight. The wind picked up to about 15 mph and rain, heavy rain, started coming down about midway through and did not stop. Obviously, the Huskies didn't look particularly sharp. In fact, the practice came to an end when Sean Parker had pick six on Keith Price in 11 on 11. It wreaked havoc on Erik Folk, who missed all five of his field goal attempts, kicking into the wind.
A few quick notes ...
James Sample, who has a nagging shoulder injury was in a red no contact jersey, linebacker Jamaal Kearse, who has a new shoulder injury which he suffered yesterday, was also wearing red, though Sarkisian said it wasn't too serious.
The wide receiving corps will be without James Johnson this weekend. He has yet to practice and Sarkisian said it's not looking too good for him playing on Saturday. The Huskies also got a minor scare when Kasen Williams tweaked his sore ankle in practice after taking a pretty hard hit from Nate Fellner in 11 on 11 drills. Williams got up very slow and limped over to the training table. They taped up the foot and he was out practicing but limping a little.
Fellner, however, was banished to the North East corner of the end zone and did up-downs for most of the remainder of practice. This isn't the first time Fellner has gotten in trouble for his hard hits on teammates. In fact, it's probably third or fourth time. Todd Milles blogged about one of those occasions this fall.
After a couple of days of excessive live hitting, including the team’s first scrimmage Tuesday, Sarkisian decided to keep all the action “up” – meaning a defender could deliver a pop, but no tackles would go to the ground.
Fellner apparently forgot the rules, because he went hard and low at a teammate during a play or two.
After the last one, Sarkisian had seen enough. He barked. He yelled. He gave Fellner the stink-eye death glare for minutes at a time.
And finally, in one big swoop, he sent the junior from Fresno, Calif. to the east end zone – to stand by himself midway through practice, and never return.
Rarely has Sarkisian seethed in that manner. He usually gets out his gripe quickly, then moves on. Not this time.
The tension lingered so long, cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin and safeties coach Jeff Mills went down to counsel Fellner, who seemed more stunned than anything.
Twenty minutes after practice, Sarkisian met with the media. By that time, he has obviously flushed some of his frustration.
“I love Nate Fellner. I love him,” he said in a fatherly tone.
“That’s what makes Nate unique – he’s a got a real streak in him that makes him special, and he’s tough. But he’s got to play within the guidelines and parameters that we set for each practice. It wasn’t a scrimmage tonight, so we had to stay up.”During his Monday press conference, Sarkisian talked about Fellner's penalty during the Arizona game (a legal hit), but also about teaching the proper way to hit in those situations and about Fellner hitting in practice too.
"We try," he said. "I’ve tried. I will continue to try. That’s part of coaching. In my humble opinion of the play, I didn’t think that was a penalty. But that’s neither here nor there. As you go through it, you have to accept the calls as they come and you have to learn from them. Part of it in practice is really protecting our team, we want to make sure we play wll on Saturday. I don’t need Nate hitting guys in our practice that are defenseless if that could hinder us on Saturday."