SEATTLE – At the University of Washington, receiver Jermaine Kearse is one of the good soldiers. He toes the we-first, me-second company line. He knows dissatisfaction has no place in college football.
That could’ve changed last week.
Of all the regulars, Kearse played the fewest snaps – 26 of 83 (31 percent) – of the receiving corps the first week against No. 11 Louisiana State. His first play came in the second quarter.
He never asked coach Steve Sarkisian why. Never complained. Never moped.
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What did he do?
He changed positions, moving inside to the slot.
And on UW’s first drive Saturday in a 42-23 victory over Idaho, Kearse was in on the third play. He made an 8-yard reception later in the drive, one that ended when Jake Locker ran 3 yards for a touchdown.
Early in the second half, Locker lobbed a high pass down the left sideline, and Kearse beat cornerback Isaac Butts on a jump ball for a 34-yard gain, setting up another score.
“It feels good to get some playing time,” Kearse said after he was in for 28 plays (of 58, 48 percent), third-highest receiver behind true freshman James Johnson (37) and fellow sophomore Devin Aguilar (31). “The whole philosophy is, if you make plays, and play hard, you get more playing time. I tried to do everything right this week, and I was rewarded.”
Sarkisian’s weekly press conference was only minutes old last week when the coach brought up the topic of Kearse, and his desire to get him more involved.
And he did, working him in the slot in practice.
“I didn’t quite have a one-on-one conversation (with Sarkisian), but I could tell he wanted to get me more involved, just the way we practiced,” Kearse said. “He got me more involved in plays.”
UW has five good receivers in its rotation. The weekly challenge will be to find ways to keep them all involved.
On Saturday, it was D’Andre Goodwin who played the least – nine plays. But he finished with the best numbers – three receptions for 83 yards.
Converted cornerback Justin Glenn started at free safety, and saw the most playing time there. He and strong safety Nate Williams started seven of the defense’s 10 series. Greg Walker, last week’s starter responsible for giving up two big pass plays to No. 11 LSU, came in only on Idaho’s last series. … Wilson High’s Desmond Trufant did not start at cornerback, but played on six consecutive drives in the second half. … Eight Huskies – defensive end Talia Crichton; offensive linemen Mykenna Ikehara and Scott Shugert; tight ends Dorson Boyce and Romeo Savant; cornerbacks Anthony Gobern and Adam Long; and linebacker Jordan Wallace – all saw their first career game action. … Idaho’s Max Komar, an Auburn Riverside High product, had a career-high 111 receiving yards in his second 100-yard game. … Sarkisian noted that defensive tackle De’Shon Matthews’ knee injury was the only “serious” one the team suffered Saturday.