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Day 8 Notebook: Reward Night For Gobern At CB, Glenn At S
Release: 08/17/2011
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Aug. 17, 2011

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By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing

SEATTLE - Day 8 of Huskies' preseason training camp was Reward Night.

Safety Justin Glenn and cornerback Anthony Gobern, both juniors, were elevated to the first-team defense during the latter of two practices Wednesday.

Glenn played in eight games last season but never seemed comfortable following a broken leg he sustained in the fifth game of the 2009 season at Notre Dame. He had primarily been the nickel back this month -- until he replaced hard-hitting Nate Fellner Wednesday night. That was after coach Steve Sarkisian thought Fellner was hitting a little too hard for the less-than-full-go practice.

Glenn stepped in front of pass intended for Kevin Smith in the end zone for an interception. It was the play of the day on the coach's blog, coachsark.com.

Gobern, who has played in 15 games on special teams in his first two UW seasons, made play after play in a one-on-one tackling drill against wide receivers to begin practice. Then in team drills he raced to the sideline to break up a pass from behind from Jermaine Kearse, drawing praise from the defense's coaches.

"Just a little bit of a reward there," Sarkisian said of Gobern's promotion. "I think he's come a long, long way and he did some good things again (in Tuesday's scrimmage).

"You know, we preach competition around here and we have to practice what we preach. If we're really allowing guys to compete for jobs we have to give them those opportunities."

Gobern, who chose Washington over Air Force - his dad is an Air Force Academy graduate and now a pilot for United Airlines -- is now in competition with sophomore Greg Ducre for the fill-in role at cornerback while Quinton Richardson recovers from a high left ankle sprain into next month. Richardson moved around noticeably better in his walking boot while coaching his teammates from the sidelines in his white, No. 28 jersey Wednesday night, though it seems a long shot the senior leader will be ready to play in the opener Sept. 3 against Eastern Washington.

"They're battling. It's great," Sarkisian said of Gobern and Ducre. "I love it."

As for Fellner, no hard feelings.

"I love Nate Fellner. I love him. That's what makes Nate unique. He's a got a real streak in him that makes him special, and he's tough," Sarkisian said. "But he's got to play within the guidelines and parameters that we set for each practice. It wasn't a scrimmage (Wednesday night), so we had to stay up."

POSITION BATTLES

Sarkisian said the punting battle will likely be decided after Saturday afternoon's scrimmage in a public practice that begins at 3:15 p.m. Seniors Kiel Rasp and Will Mahan are making the choice difficult - they are each booming kicks daily.

Rasp was a revelation filling in after Mahan injured the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his plant in practice 11 months ago. Rasp, who had been invited to fall camp weeks earlier as a walk-on, has since earned a scholarship by setting the school record with a season average of 43.76 yards per punt.

"This was a total two-week deal for me, as a lot of these position battles were. We'll go through Saturday," Sarkisian said. "Neither of them has given us a reason to say, 'Hey, you're out of it,' you know. They are doing a nice job.

"I hope as the season goes on there is a chance for both of them to be part of this thing, because they both deserve it. They both are great punters. We are fortunate to have both of them."

QUICK HITS: The head man was particularly happy with the tackling along the line of scrimmage upon reviewing Tuesday's full-go scrimmage, though he was less thrilled with tackling in the open field. Hence the tackling drills of DBs on WRs Wednesday night. ... Sarkisian also kept on his players about fundamentals and details, imploring lower pad levels when hitting by tacklers and blockers, plus better footwork by his QBs while handing off. ... K Erik Folk, who Sarkisian feels needs to regain his usual, top form after an inconsistent spring and finish to 2010, drilled a 27-yard field goal to win the team-scrimmage portion of practice for the offense. Folk has looked good these two weeks. ... Redshirt freshman WR DiAndre Campbell caught a 70+-yard touchdown pass from Nick Montana, as the backup QB continues to improve this month. ... Freshman John Timu, who has been running all month with the first-team at OLB, switched to play the strong side. Princeton Fuimaono is now the first-team weakside LB. Sarkisian said the switch is to get the faster Timu, a former high-school QB and S, covering TEs and Fuimaono closer to the line of scrimmage to defend the run more readily. ... Sarkisian is on his way to the Los Angeles area for a short trip to attend Thursday's funeral of his high-school coach and long-time mentor. Fred Petersen passed away last weekend. Sarkisian credits him for having a great influence on his life. "He is family to me. I want to make sure I am there for his service, and be part of it with my family, his family and our entire community (of Torrance, Calif.)," he said. "I need to be there." Sarkisian will be back for the start of Thursday's public practice, which starts at 4:30 p.m.

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