SEATTLE – It’s hard to say which one has been the greater source of annoyance at University of Washington football practices this spring: Will Shamburger’s knee brace or Dan Cozzetto’s mouth.
For Shamburger, the cumbersome brace protecting his right knee is a necessary evil, albeit one that the freshman safety is willing to tolerate after being out of action for 11/2 years.
And for offensive lineman Skyler Fancher, the sound of Cozzetto’s never-ending, R-rated motivational tactics is something he’s willing to accept as well.
“It’s definitely a lot better than not being yelled at,” said Fancher, who broke his fibula about this time last year and sat out the entire 2009 season.
For all the returning Huskies who were excited to get back on the practice field this spring, no one appreciates the experience quite like Shamburger and Fancher. Being away from the game has given them a new love for the game of football.
“Definitely,” Fancher said. “And I have a new appreciation, too, for guys who get injured and come back. I didn’t think it was that tough, but it is.”
Fancher, who will be a fourth-year junior in the fall, saw his 2009 season come to an end long before it started. Last April, while running a relatively benign practice drill, Fancher felt a teammate fall on him from behind and roll his ankle. The broken bone ended spring ball and kept Fancher out for the entire season.
“That was pretty tough,” he said. “I’m very excited to be back out here.”
Like Fancher, Shamburger has run mostly with the No. 1 unit this spring. While Nate Williams and Justin Glenn have been hobbled by injuries, Shamburger has had his first action in a UW uniform.
“I feel good right now,” he said. “I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I’m thankful to the coaches for giving me the opportunity. I was hurt last year, and they still offered me a scholarship. So I want to show what I can do.”