AUDIO: Head coach Steve Sarkisian previews spring football in a half hour press conference with practice scheduled to begin on Monday. Audio available here.
ROSTER: The 2012 spring football roster is available here. View Document
by Curtis Crabtree
MONTLAKE - Spring football for the Washington Huskies is scheduled to begin next Monday and head coach Steve Sarkisian is itching to get out on the field.
For Sarkisian, he's got five new assistant coaches to work with a slew of returning redshirt freshman ready to seize increased roles.
"I’m excited, shoot, I’ve got five new coaches I get to work with that I haven’t been on the field with before," Sarkisian said. "For me, this is kind of refreshing in a sense that, I’ve still got to coach but yet I want to learn, I want to understand, I want to coach some of our coaches on things, the way we do things, the way I’d like things to be done so it’s a big spring on a lot of fronts that way because I want to make sure when we come back in fall camp that we’re really a well oiled machine when we hit that field come August."
With the coaching changes after the Alamo Bowl, this will be the first chance Sarkisian will have to watch Justin Wilcox, Tosh Lupoi, Eric Kiesau, Keith Heyward and Peter Sirmon.
Sarkisian said that QB Derrick Brown will likely get more reps during the spring than QB Keith Price in preparing him for the backup role this fall. QB Jeff Lindquist and QB Cyler Miles will be joining the program for the fall and will compete with Brown then, but for now he's the only other quarterback on scholarship.
Eleven players will be limited or held out of spring practices as they continue to recover from injuries and surgeries.
DE Hau'oli Jamora is out with a knee injury suffered last season
DT Semisi Tokolahi is out after offseason surgery on his foot
S Travis Feeney will be a non-contact participant after a shoulder surgery
S James Sample will be a non-contact participant after a shoudler surgery
LB Cooper Pelluer will be limited with a shoulder injury
OL Erik Kohler will be limited with nagging injuries from last season
OL Colin Porter will be out after surgeries on both shoulders this offseason
OL Colin Tanigawa will be out with a knee injury suffered last season
RB Deontae Cooper will be limited with a knee injury
RB Johri Fogerson will be out with a knee injury
WR Kevin Smith will be out with a knee injury suffered in the Alamo Bowl
Sarkisian said Fogerson may not be with the team in the fall. He's scheduled to earn his degree this spring and is still battling injury issues, so it's still up in the air.
"A big decision to be made ahead," Sarkisian said.
With the injuries on the offensive line, the first-team line for the opening of spring will be LT Micah Hatchie, LG Dexter Charles, C Drew Schaefer, RG James Atoe and RT Ben Riva with OL Michael Criste and OL Siosifa Tufunga next in the rotation.
Sarkisian said Schaefer could see some time at tackle throughout spring as well.
FB Tim Tucker has been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. Pelluer will get a look at fullback/h-back with the dismissal of Tucker.
Sarkisian said S Taz Stevenson and S Evan Zeger are likely to see time at outside linebacker during spring football. Junior college transfer RB Antavius Sims will get time at running back and slot back after transferring from Ventura College.
Sarkisian said that a few players stood out for their production in the weight room this offseason. He praised the work put in by TE Michael Hartvigson in particular along with CB Greg Ducre, CB Marcus Peters, DE Jarrett Finau, DE Josh Shirley and LB John Timu.
Spring practice will span four weeks this year instead of the five weeks that Sarkisian has utilized the last three seasons and due to space constrictions will be mostly closed to the public. Saturday practices on April 21 at Memorial Stadium and the April 28 Spring Game at CenturyLink Field will be open to the public.
The Spring Game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. kickoff.