Huskies receivers have room for improvement
So far in training camp, theyve hardly made the most of their chances.
Dropped passes have been a common thread throughout the Huskies camp, and its an area that the coaches hope to get cleaned up before the Sept. 5 opener against LSU.
Some guys right now are struggling from a confidence standpoint, receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty said. Theyre thinking too hard. Theyre pressing, whether thats to impress us (as the coaches) or just trying to get the plays down straight.
I think a lot of times, that just works itself out as youre playing ball.
Sarkisian, who is in his first year at UW after previously serving as USCs offensive coordinator, played down the significance of the drops this time of the year.
Dropped passes happen at camp because its a grind, a visibly unconcerned Sarkisian said after Fridays morning practice. Its not a physical thing; its a mental thing.
The drops have become a position-wide problem this camp, seeming to affect a new receiver every day.
Sophomore Jordan Polk, who had been one of the teams most sure-handed receivers at fall practices, dropped a pass in the end zone Thursday and couldnt corral a deep ball Friday after beating cornerback Desmond Trufant by two or three steps. Redshirt freshman Anthony Boyles, sophomore Jermaine Kearse and leading returning receiver DAndre Goodwin have also had their share of drops.
I definitely think the mental side of it is an issue, Dougherty said. When you know what youre doing, and you know it down pat, you play faster. Thats when your natural ability takes over. When youre thinking too much, thats when you dont play fast, and thats when you make mistakes.
Fridays morning practice served as a frustrating reminder of the Huskies struggles. During one drill in the two-minute offense, star freshman James Johnson dropped a pass over the middle. A few plays later, Goodwin mishandled a Jake Locker pass. A few minutes after that, sophomore Devin Aguilar had a pass bounce off his hands and into the waiting arms of linebacker E.J. Savannah, bringing an end to the drill.
You never want to see (drops) happen, Dougherty said. Obviously, in the two-minute drill, its critical. Youve really got to be perfect in that situation. But anytime we dont execute, its important.
Sarkisian said hes been somewhat encouraged by the receivers ability to work their way out of funks. Boyles was plagued by drops throughout the first week of camp, but he proved to be sure-handed while filling in for an injured Johnson earlier this week. Kearse went through a similar progression from the beginning of the week to Friday.
Its all mental, Sarkisian said. Its grinding, its hard, its about focus and energy. So Im not as concerned about it. Weve yet to be mentally fresh. When were not grinding these guys all day long, I think itll be fine.
Just to make sure, several UW receivers were spending extra time on the JUGS machine after practice.
Said Dougherty: Were just going to keep on working on it.
Reserve linebacker Matt Houston tore his biceps at practice earlier this week and is expected to be out three to four weeks. Running back Johri Fogerson (ankle) returned to practice Friday night and broke a 60-yard run in an 11-on-11 drill. Starting center Ryan Tolar is wearing a boot on his right foot after injuring his toe on Thursday. Sarkisian said the trainers are being cautious with the injury so that it does not develop into turf toe. Reserve cornerback Matt Mosley did not practice Friday because of swelling in his knee. Reserve offensive lineman Skyler Fancher appeared to hurt his right ankle in Fridays night session. Defensive tackle Craig Noble (knee), safeties Jason Wells (Achilles) and Victor Aiyewa (head) and offensive linemen Morgan Rosborough (shoulder) and Terence Thomas (foot) continue to rest injuries. Linebacker Brandon Huppert, from Edmonds-Woodway, saw action with the No. 1 defense during goal-line drills Friday. ... Fridays morning practice included a badly missed field goal by Erik Folk, but Sarkisian said a clock malfunction forced the kicking unit to hurry the kick. The Huskies second, and final, scrimmage of training camp will be held this afternoon at Husky Stadium. The session begins at 3 p.m. and is open to the public.
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.