By Christian Caple The News Tribune
SEATTLE — One highly-thought-of defensive lineman is out, and another one is in for the Washington Huskies football team.
Coach Chris Petersen said at his pre-camp press conference on Sunday that sophomore Marcus Farria, who totaled 2.5 sacks in six games as a freshman in 2013, has been dismissed from the UW program for a “violation of team standards.”
Washington begins fall camp on Monday morning.
The Huskies also added defensive lineman Vita Vea, a 6-foot-5, 330-pound freshman from Milpitas, Calif., who was highly recruited in the 2013 class but didn’t end up signing anywhere due to reported eligibility issues.
Vea finished his high-school career with 296 tackles and 19 sacks, according to his bio page on UW’s official website. He also played running back.
“We’ve been recruiting him the last year,” Petersen said, “and we were finally able to get him in here.”
Petersen said the Farria decision was made last week. Farria, who grew up in Louisiana but played high-school ball at Centennial in Peoria, Ariz., had been in the coaching staff’s doghouse during spring practices, and was not made available to speak to the media during that time.
Scout.com rated him as a 3-star prospect and the No. 44 defensive end recruit in the 2013 signing class.
Farria is the third defensive lineman to leave the program since spring practices ended. Josh Shirley, a fifth-year senior, chose to transfer, and Jaimie Bryant, a freshman from Tumwater, was forced to retire from football after doctors discovered a serious back injury shortly after the conclusion of spring practices.
Of Farria, a speedy pass-rusher who likely could have helped the Huskies this season, senior defensive tackle Danny Shelton said: “We’re going to have those guys who don’t want to buy in, that are going to be stubborn, and it’s going to take them a while to buy in.
“I feel like in the end, it’s coach’s decision and I’m going to stand by his decision. It’s disappointing that they (dismissed players) had to leave like that. But they had their opportunity, they had their chance, and they chose the wrong path. So they have to deal with the consequences.”
Petersen said he’s mostly been impressed with the buy-in component.
“I think they’ve taken a good step in terms of buying in to some of the things we believe in,” he said. “They’ve turned up the dial in terms of their work ethic and those types of things from what we saw early when we got here. Like you said, early when you get here, it’s a hard, shocking time for those guys; it’s a little bit nerve-wracking for them, so they are starting to feel some things out. So we’re past that. Now, hey, it’s time to go, and they’ve got that.”
Much anticipation exists regarding the potential use of junior linebacker Shaq Thompson as a running back. He took practice reps at the position during spring, and Petersen continues to suggest that Thompson will factor into UW’s offensive game plan in some way.
Thompson doesn’t seem to care all that much one way or the other.
“I’m not really too picky on it right now,” said Thompson, a standout running back at Grant High School in Sacramento. “I know we have running backs and that’s what they came in here for. So that’s their job. If coach Petersen calls my name, then I’ll come. Other than that, defense first.”
Shelton was asked to name a game he’s “circled” on the Huskies’ schedule.
“I’ve been thinking about Oregon a lot,” Shelton said, which is unsurprising, given the Ducks’ 10-year winning streak in that series.
“You never know. Any game can be tough. I have all the games circled right now.”
Petersen said the Huskies are in relatively good health for the start of camp, meaning players such as receiver Kasen Williams (leg) and offensive linemen Micah Hatchie (shoulder) and Dexter Charles (shoulder) should be ready to go. “We’re also going to be smart with it,” Petersen said. “If (Williams’) ankle gets sore, we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do.” … Junior receiver Jaydon Mickens said it’s possible he could take a few practice reps as a defensive back, as mentioned to him by DBs coach Jimmy Lake. … The Huskies will split into two groups for their first two practices of camp — veterans will practice at 10 a.m., and newcomers will practice at 4 p.m., with some older players mixed in to balance out the numbers. Petersen said third-year sophomore quarterback Cyler Miles will practice at 4 p.m. with the newcomers (and freshman quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels), while quarterbacks Troy Williams and Jeff Lindquist will practice at 10 a.m. “That’s the hard one right there — how do you get your quarterbacks all the reps that they need when you’re trying to look at all these guys?” Petersen said. “That’s going to be tricky all the way through fall camp. We’re going to continue to evaluate it day by day, to tell you the truth.”