Aug. 17, 2004
Olympia - The Husky football team held its sixth and seventh practices of the year Tuesday at Evergreen State College in Olympia. As the heat index topped out at 85 degrees. Washington's players went through a two-hour helmets and shoulder pads practice in the morning and return in the afternoon for two more hours of work in full gear. Head coach Keith Gilbertson received some good news when freshman offensive lineman Casey Bulyca from Woodinville joined the team in the afternoon after receiving a waiver from the NCAA Clearinghouse to begin practicing. His transcript is still under review by the organization, but he is allowed to start working out beginning Wednesday. At the same time the Clearninghouse informed Washington that freshman fullback Luke Kravitz's transcript was under review and he would have to stop practicing. Kravitz is a native of Olympia. "It's the never-ending battle of truth, justice and the American way," Gilbertson quipped to reporters about the NCAA's review process. Gilbertson gave a thumbs up to the three scholarship players competing for the starting quarterback role. He felt junior Casey Paus, sophomore Isaiah Stanback and redshirt freshman Carl Bonnell all had solid performances. "I was kind of impressed with all of them," Gilbertson said. "They all kind of did something. They all made some plays. There were also some things I wish they hadn't done. With the amount of offense that we're throwing at them, I'm pretty pleased. I would say Casey was ahead early and the other guys have closed the gap and now we have a three horse race." Gilbertson said that freshman walkon Michael Gottlieb (Mercer Island) has moved from linebacker to tight end and shows promise at the position. "He really has the best quickness since Jerramy (Stevens)," Gilbertson said. "He's really quick and athletic. He's only been there a few days but he's been impressive." As the Huskies approach the mid-point of their stay at Evergreen, several of the seniors making their final trip 90-minutes south of Seattle campus say the experience is positive for the team. "You get up about 6:30 or 7 a.m. and your scheduled day ends around 10 p.m.," says fullback Zach Tuiasosopo. "All you see is trees and all you do is football. There are no women. There are not a lot of distractions. There is not a lot to do." Tuiasosopo said that developing friendships and forming a tighter team bond makes the weeklong trip worthwhile. "Besides football, the best thing is just hanging out with the players," said the senior captain. "The freshmen are all new to it but it always ends up being the most interesting part of camp, the bonding." Tuiasosopo as well as teammates Derrick Johnson and Charles Frederick, say that many of the players spend what little free time they have in the evenings competing in video games. "College Football 2005 and Madden Football 2005 are the favorites," Tuiasosopo said. "In the college game I'm always U-Dub. In the pros I'm Tampa Bay. They have (Mike) Alstott and I'm a fullback kind of guy, so I'm going to play them." Derrick Johnson prefers the Kansas City Chiefs because of their high-powered running attack. Tuiasosopo also likes to select the Raiders and use his older brother, Marques, at quarterback. "Every other time I play the Raiders and put Marques in," he says. "I always manage to do the worst I can possibly do on the game without trying." Frederick also uses his down time to catch up with relatives by cell phone, something that can be difficult at times due to the remote nature of the campus. Monday he put in a call to his younger brother, Tyrone, to see how he has made out during the recent Hurricanes that have struck his home state of Florida. Interestingly, Frederick wanted to know if Tyrone had been out playing in the high winds. Playing? "If you don't get the actual Hurricane, you still get strong wind and rain," Frederick said. "When Hurricane Andrew came through, before it got really bad, we went out and hit golf balls with the wind to our back. You'd hit the ball and never see it again." Matt Olson, a walkon offensive lineman from Edmonds, will join the roster Wednesday. Former interim athletic director Dick Thompson turned out for the afternoon practice. Thompson, who has a home in Olympia, just two miles from the practice site, had just returned from his 59-day boat trip to Alaska. Over the course of nearly two months, Thompson, along with his wife Mary and another couple traveled a total of 2,800 miles. Still sporting the remnants of a trimmed down beard, Thompson's trek took him all the way to Juneau. Watching practice from the sidelines were former Husky linemen Jason Simonson and Todd Bachert. With large Big Gulps in their hands, they took delight in watching the offensive line work out during the heat of the day. Simonson is preparing to go to graduate school at Pacific Lutheran while Bachert is currently working for Anheuser-Busch. Capital High School head coach Wayne Sortun watched from the sidelines during the morning. Sortun earned three letters at Washington from 1968 to 1970 as an offensive tackle. The Huskies will hold a Special Teams practice Wednesday morning and then return to the field in full pads at 3:15 in the afternoon.