<
>

Scrimmage leaves room for improvement

8/19/2012

SEATTLE -- Before Keith Price left the field, Washington’s quarterback summed up Saturday’s scrimmage with a simple sentence: “I’ve got to get my juice going.”

The Huskies wrapped up their second week of fall camp with a full-contact scrimmage that produced highlights -- a 51-yard completion from Price to freshman Jaydon Mickens -- while showing there is still plenty of room for improvement.

“We’re not ready yet,” said Price, who was 14 of 18 for 176 yards and two touchdowns. “We’ve still got a long way to go, obviously, getting lined up and getting set.”

With young players like Mickens and fellow freshman receiver Kendyl Taylor and freshman safety Shaq Thompson getting a long look, Washington is working on creating consistency.

“We’ve really pushed a lot of our younger players to the forefront of this thing,” Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian said. “They made some plays again today. Now we’ve got to get to where our consistency is right, our sense of urgency is right and we minimize some of those mistakes that can hurt us, especially offensively.”

Price led the offense against the second-string defense, while the No. 2 offense worked against the starting defense. It took the starting offense four series to score a touchdown, with Price leading a seven-play drive capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass to Kasen Williams.

Redshirt freshman Derrick Brown led the first two drives for the second string, completing 4 of 9 passes for 64 yards. Cyler Miles was 4 of 9 for 58 yards, while Jeff Lindquist was 1 of 4 for 5 yards.

Thompson saw significant time with the first-string defense, which spent a lot of time in the nickel package. At 230 pounds, Thompson was often lined up like a hybrid safety-linebacker.

“We’re doing a lot more nickel stuff than we have,” Sarkisian said. “Again, it’s about putting your best 11 on the field. We feel like he’s one of those 11 guys. We’re just trying to find a role for him. He’s just a dynamic football player.”

Thompson has picked up the defensive schemes quickly. With his ability to cover, blitz and make plays, coupled with injuries at the linebacker position, Sarkisian said the Huskies could spend a lot of time with five defensive backs on the field once the season starts.

“I would think that’s definitely a reality,” Sarkisian said. “When we get some of our linebackers back healthy, you’ll see him back more playing a true safety spot but, because of where we are at, getting our best guys on the field, that’s what we’re doing with him.”

Thompson and Mickens were the first-string kickoff returners during the scrimmage, with Mickens also handling the punt-return duties.

There has been plenty to praise throughout the first two weeks of fall camp but, like Price said, the Huskies are still trying to get their “juice” going.

“We’ve just got to get used to playing football the right way,” Sarkisian said. “I think we have plenty of room for improvement. I like the work that we’ve put in. We still see a lot of the playmaking ability on a lot of these kids, which we saw today, but if we want to be elite, like I think we can be, we’ve got to minimize those mistakes and the kind of sloppiness that reared its ugly head at times today.”

• Sophomore running back Bishop Sankey rushed for 58 yards on seven carries. Jesse Callier had five carries for 23 yards.

• Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was on the field for the first play of the scrimmage, but didn’t play after that. Sarkisian said the sophomore was “a little sore.”

• Bellevue (Wash.) High School teammates Sean Constantine (a Washington commit), Myles Jack (UCLA commit) and Bishard Baker (2014 prospect) were at the scrimmage. They were joined by Huskies commit Andrew Kirkland (Portland, Ore./Jesuit).