Aug. 11, 2011
By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE - The Huskies' got into its "board" work on the second day in shoulder pads this preseason.
Really into it.
Helmets popped off, coaches and players roared and head man Steve Sarkisian wore a huge grin a few feet away as offensive and defensive linemen drove each other across thin, black boards in one-on-one grudge matches on the east field Thursday.
"We need a calculator!" Cozzetto, a veteran of NFL trenches, yelled about the growing tally of offensive wins over the defense.
The drill, and a later victory for the O-line against the defensive front in a pass-rush drill inside Husky Stadium, was an initial step in accomplishing a key camp mission: solidifying and unifying the offensive line.
Cozzetto said was also proof of great work done the last two offseasons by strength coach Ivan Lewis and his staff, training the coach thinks has transformed the program.
After the longest practice of the first week, nearly 2½ hours, Sarkisian praised starting outside linebacker candidate John Timu. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound freshman from Long Beach, Calif., enrolled late in January because of an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his knee he sustained early in his senior season at Jordan High School. He is now 35 pounds heavier than he was then, competing for one of two spots vacated with Mason Foster and Victor Aiyewa in the NFL,
"For a guy who is essentially a true freshman for us right now, he basically started today," Sarkisian said. "For a guy who has never really played the position, being a high school quarterback and safety, he is just a natural football player. He has got great instincts. He is very athletic. He can run. He's tough. He has really probably made the biggest impact."
Sarkisian then singled out one more defender, the same one who moments earlier had made a leaping interception in the end zone.
"Sean Parker. He is just around the ball," the coach said of the sophomore who spent much of last season as UW's nickel back until he missed the final four games with a shoulder-nerve injury. "He is a natural football player. If he doesn't get an interception a day, he's got his hands on one that he doesn't quite catch. He is around the ball quite a bit."
Parker is on track to begin the season Sept. 3 as departed co-captain Nate Williams' replacement at strong safety.
QUICK HITS: Chris Polk showed what he meant when he said the seven pounds he's lost made him faster. The junior, 1,400-yard rusher sprinted through the entire defense on a draw play during a passing-game scrimmage. The scoring run ended with the 5-11, 220-pound Polk, known for plowing through defenders, galloping away from defensive backs 40 pounds lighter. That got teammates and fans hooting and hollering. ... DT Sione Potoa'e did more work in group and team drills as he returns from a knee injury. ... Friday's 3:15 p.m. practice will be the first of camp in full pads. It is open to the public. Two-a-days begin Saturday, with a closed, morning practice and an open one at 7 p.m.