University of Washington

Sark stoked for training camp debut

SEATTLE - If you are ecstatic about the continued renaissance of University of Washington football - and ready for it to be put on display starting Monday at the start of fall camp - one man has you beat.

Steve Sarkisian.

The second-year coach is anxious, easily detected at his pre-training camp press conference Thursday at the Founders Club in Hec Edmundson Pavilion. He’s bursting at the seams with anticipation. He’s also seriously annoying his wife, Stefanie.

“I’m up at night, writing down notes,” Sarkisian said. “Assistants who are ... on vacation, I’m calling them four or five times. I was ready for ball mid-vacation.”

So were longtime followers.

Wherever Sarkisian has gone – to the supermarket, around Lake Washington in his power boat, even the frontyard of his Bellevue home – he gets the same feverish feedback.

“I think people are proud to wear their UW gear again, and hang their flags and put on their sweatshirts and hats and those things,” Sarkisian said. “I think that feels good for the community. And I think people are excited for what’s next.”

Next is going after a Pacific-10 Conference championship.

The Huskies were selected sixth in the Pacific-10 Conference preseason media poll, released last week. But the UW was one of seven schools to receive a first-place vote – from whom, nobody knows. What is known is that it did not come from Seattle-area media.

“I’m working on finding that out,” Sarkisian quipped.

With 30 incoming freshmen, plus a group of walk-ons, the UW roster now is more than half made up of Sarkisian recruits – an era that started roughly 20 months ago.

“Attrition is natural,” Sarkisian said. “Some guys have bought into the culture that we’ve instituted; some guys haven’t. ... We’ve lost some guys, but I think we’ve replaced them with good players – good people that have helped us change the culture in a way to where we want it.

“I don’t know if it’s exactly where we want it yet, but I think we’re getting close.”

One personnel group Sarkisian wanted to shore up was quarterback behind senior Jake Locker.

Neither backup, Keith Price or Nick Montana, has taken a snap in a regular-season game.

Two more invited walk-ons will join the fray, Erik Wilson, of Redondo Beach High in California and Aberdeen High’s Mike King, giving the Huskies five play-callers to work in.

King is a three-sport standout who is big (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) and mobile for his size. He can run a variety of offenses, especially with his smarts.

“He could run the scout team,” Aberdeen coach Ron Clark said, “the way a Stanford quarterback would.”

It’s not only a geographical fit for King, but the UW is the school he’s rooted for his entire life.

“And Jake Locker is his favorite player,” Clark said.

EXTRA POINTS

One newcomer Sarkisian is especially interested to see play is cornerback Gregory Ducre, out of Crenshaw High in Los Angeles. “A pure, pure lockdown cornerback,” the coach said. ... Running back Chris Polk (shoulder) is not only healthy and ready to go, he’s up to 216 pounds – the ideal weight, his coach said. ... Free safety Justin Glenn (leg, ankle) is still slowed after offseason surgery, and won’t be a full participant at the start of camp. ... Four local products are walk-ons. They are punter Sean Halligan (Puyallup), defensive lineman Drew Schultz (Olympia), offensive lineman Derek Weston (Tahoma) and running back Willis Wilson (Lakes).

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports

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