UW camp notebook: Bad break hasn't kept Milsten down
Seattle Times staff reporter
UW camp: Day 2
What happened: Yesterday was the first of eight days that the Huskies will split into two groups and hold separate practices for each. The Huskies again went without pads — they can't get into full pads until the fifth day of camp.
QB update: UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano met the media yesterday and said he couldn't name a leader in the quarterback race, though Isaiah Stanback remains the presumptive favorite.
"I can't put a timetable on this thing but we want everybody to still have a chance," Lappano said, adding the new split practice schedule will allow for each QB to get plenty of work. "I don't know when it will be — it could be one week, two weeks, three. We're going to find out a lot during these split practices."
Kirton call: Willingham reiterated yesterday his overall happiness with the team's shape and condition, especially of the veteran players, all of whom stayed in town to work out over the summer. One player drawing particular raves yesterday was redshirt freshman running back Johnie Kirton, listed at 6 feet 3, 280 pounds. The Huskies plan to use Kirton at both running-back positions and maybe as an H-back as well. "You don't see many guys that look like that in the NFL," Lappano said. "He's got a chance to be something really special. ... He's a guy we have to get on the field."
Injury report: RB Kenny James sat out practice with a shoulder injury suffered the day before. Incoming LB E.J. Savannah also wore red, apparently the result of a lingering nerve injury in his neck.
Quote of the day: "There weren't a lot of assignment mistakes out there. Guys knew what they were doing," Lappano, expressing his pleasure with the offense's retention of the playbook from spring.
Washington defensive tackle Dan Milsten, lying face down on the Husky Stadium turf, turned back to see his foot pointing "up towards the air."
Not good, he thought.
Not good, indeed.
Milsten, hit from behind by Oregon State offensive tackle Josh Linehan while chasing a play during an eventual 29-14 loss to the Beavers on Oct. 16, suffered a broken fibula and dislocated ankle and was lost for the season.
He hadn't been on a football field since then until Tuesday, when the Huskies opened practice.
"It felt good to be out there," said Milsten, a graduate of Rogers High in Puyallup. "When you're just sitting around, it's a little sore. But when you're out on the field, you don't feel it at all."
Milsten, now a junior, started the first six games of last season at tackle, and his apparent return is good news for a D-line that could be one of Washington's best in years if everyone makes it to opening day healthy.
Other key linemen who missed spring, or were limited, due to injuries, included Donny Mateaki, Erick Lobos and Jasper Henry. But other than Jordan White-Frisbee, recovering from an offseason foot injury, every lineman was available and ready to go Tuesday.
"It's good to see," said defensive-line coach Randy Hart, though he cautioned that it will take a few weeks — and the beginning of full-pads practice — to determine if everyone is really recovered.
Milsten's injury was so gruesome that some of his teammates turned away in horror. He said he didn't really feel pain until doctors put his foot back in place on the field. He eventually needed 13 screws and a plate to put it back together — 11 of the screws and the plate remain.
"You don't see many [injuries] that look like that," Hart said.
As Milsten was carted off the field, he sat up and shook a fist to the crowd, exhorting them to cheer on his teammates.
"I was just frustrated and wishing I was out there playing," he said. "I don't know where it came from, really. I guess I had a lot of energy left in me."
Some teammates later called Linehan's hit dirty. Milsten won't go that far, saying "things happen."
But he's also well aware that Linehan, a junior, comes back to Husky Stadium with the Beavers on Nov. 5.
"Let's just say I can't wait to play Oregon State again," he said.
Washington center Brad Vanneman took on a tough job this summer — selling Huskies football season tickets over the phone.
Vanneman was one of three UW student-athletes — and the only football player — who accepted an offer from the athletic department for a job selling tickets. Their task was to call fans who used to have season tickets but hadn't purchased them for this year — a not insignificant number considering season-ticket sales are down roughly 10 percent from a year ago.
Vanneman said he took the job because it paid well — he got commission for tickets sold — and had flexible hours.
But he said it was harder to sell the tickets than he thought, acknowledging the team's 1-10 record last year certainly played a factor.
"I thought I had a pretty good pitch — 'I'm Brad Vanneman, the starting center,' " he said. "But it didn't work out as well as I'd hoped. People weren't near as impressed as I thought they would be. I figured season-ticket holders would be excited to hear that a player from their team was calling. Some said, 'Yeah, I know who you are.' Others had no idea and some didn't care at all.
"I only had about two, three or four negative ones, guys who said, 'You sucked last year. What happened?' It took a lot of self control not to lash out at them and slam the phone down."
Vanneman said the group ended up coming close to meeting its goal of selling 375 tickets.
"The best way to get tickets is to win games, so that's what I'm all about now," he said.
Hardcore Huskies fans have surely already checked out the future schedule portion of the team's new media guide to see where UW will play in coming seasons.
One problem — UW athletic director Todd Turner says those schedules are obsolete. Like every other Pac-10 school, the Huskies have to juggle their future schedules due to the conference's recent decision to add a ninth conference game beginning next season, when all NCAA teams are allowed to play 12 games.
UW, like many schools, already had 12 games scheduled for 2008, when teams were going to be allowed to play 12 games anyway. That caused UW to shift a planned home game with Boise State to a future year.
Turner said the Pac-10 recently decided to change much of its conference scheduling for future years, causing even more reshuffling.
"It hasn't impacted who we will play, but when," Turner said of the changes.
Turner is also looking at altering the 2007 schedule, which has UW hosting Oklahoma and Ohio State on consecutive weekends in September. "That would be a struggle for the best team in the country," Turner said. "When the program gets on its feet again, then we can take on more."
Turner said he hopes the school will be able to release some revised future schedules soon.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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