UW's Sarkisian blows gasket after shot to QB Price

Staff writerAugust 15, 2013 

SEATTLE — Late in Wednesday’s practice, Washington quarterback Keith Price ran a keeper up the middle inside the 10-yard line, and nose tackle Danny Shelton hit him in the knee.

Price was on the ground briefly then got up. His furious coach spent more time on the field.

Steve Sarkisian threw his visor, fell to the ground and was flat on his back for several seconds. He got up, told one of the managers to blow the air horn three times — which signifies the end of practice — and walked off the field alone. Along the way, he announced, “No one is talking,” as he passed a UW sports information staffer.

Seeing rush end Cory Littleton carted off the field about 10 minutes earlier likely boosted Sarkisian’s irritation a day after it was announced preseason All-America tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins would need surgery on an injured right pinkie.

All quarterbacks wear yellow jerseys during practice, signifying they are not to be hit.

After Sarkisian left, assistant head coach Johnny Nansen screamed at the entire team huddled around him.

Price appeared to be fine after the play. Littleton seemed to be much more of a concern. He appeared to have a left leg injury and was able to put little weight on it.

Wednesday’s fireworks aside, Tuesday’s scrimmage provided the deepest look yet at the Huskies.

It was the only full look at the team that reporters will get before the Aug. 31 season opener. Every practice after Friday is closed the rest of the season, except for the first 20 minutes of Monday-Wednesday practices.

Here are five takeaways from Tuesday:

1. Defensive personnel. Senior Princeton Fuimaono has worked his way into a starting linebacker spot, displacing Travis Feeney, who had offseason shoulder surgery and missed spring practice.

Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said Feeney is behind, while Fuimaono has put together an efficient and hard-hitting camp.

Littleton had moved from linebacker to stand-up rush end before Wednesday’s apparent injury. Also competing for that job are Josh Shirley and Hau’oli Kikaha (formerly Jamora).

2. Deontae Cooper. Cooper, who has torn his ACL three times in three years, had about 10 carries, his first full-contact runs since 2010. He came out smiling.

After a timid start, Cooper faked linebacker Shaq Thompson in the open field on a swing pass and later cut back to score a touchdown.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Sarkisian said. “I thought he looked a little hesitant early, understandably so. … I think that’s a big step for him in the right direction.”

3. Kasen Williams. With Seferian-Jenkins’ injury, Williams became even more of a prime target for Price during the scrimmage.

Price went to Williams — last year’s team leader in receptions — over and over. Williams caught almost everything thrown his way — single or double coverage, short or long, versus smaller or bigger defenders.

A day earlier, Williams, the son of former Wilson High and UW star receiver Aaron Williams, pulled in a 60-yard pass in double coverage.

4. Special teams jumble. Speedy freshman John Ross had a slick punt return, and Marvin Hall returned a kickoff 93 yards for a TD.

But kicker Travis Coons missed two extra points, and Cameron Van Winkle had a field-goal attempt blocked.

No kickoffs made it into the end zone.

5. Steady offensive line. Last year was a mess on the offensive line. It started in the spring when Colin Porter had to retire.

Then the Huskies lost Colin Tanigawa and Erik Kohler in short order.

This fall, the Huskies have been able to give the same five players — from left to right, Ben Riva, Dexter Charles, Mike Criste, Tanigawa and Micah Hatchie — work at the same spots with the same teammates.

Asked the difference from last year, Price said: “They know what they’re doing.”

todd.dybas@ thenewstribune.com @Todd_Dybas blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports

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