Cody Bruns ready to contribute for UW
In his third year in the program, record-setting Prosser receiver Cody Bruns is eager to make an impact in the Huskies' receiving rotation.
Seattle Times staff reporter
UW @ BYU, 4 p.m., CBS-CSN
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This Washington football season is defined by a redshirt Tyrone Willingham decided not to pull in 2006, allowing Jake Locker the chance to play this season as a fifth-year senior. That year, Willingham resisted the urge to play Locker in the last five games of the year after Isaiah Stanback was lost to an injury.
But, as thankful as UW fans are for that decision, many will always question a decision in which Willingham went the other way, pulling the redshirt off receiver Cody Bruns five games into the lost 0-12 season of 2008.
In fact, Bruns played for the first time in the second half of a game in which the Huskies trailed 31-7 at halftime at Arizona after having been seemingly headed for a redshirt season, which is common for true freshmen.
To many Huskies fans, it seemed an unnecessary waste of a year for a player who appeared the very definition of one who needed time to grow.
Bruns, though, has never publicly raised an issue with it.
"I don't regret anything that has happened so far," he said. "It's gotten me to where I am right now, and I'm just building toward the future."
And that future suddenly appears bright.
Now in his third year in the program, the Prosser native was cited by UW coach Steve Sarkisian as having one of the best training camps of any player.
When starter James Johnson sat out for about two weeks with an ankle injury, Bruns saw some time with the starting unit. And his 70-yard catch and run for a TD was the highlight of UW's first fall scrimmage.
Johnson is back now, but Sarkisian has flatly said that Bruns "will play" at receiver this season, beginning with Saturday's game at BYU. Bruns is also the holder for field goals and PATs.
Receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty says Bruns is more physically able to compete now — the kind of statement that only further chafes those who wonder why he didn't redshirt in 2008, when he played sparingly and made three catches.
"He just wasn't ready from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint last year," said Dougherty. Bruns didn't catch any passes but did complete a pass while appearing in eight games in 2009. Coaches decided not to redshirt him because he ended camp as a second-team receiver and they felt he was needed to add depth.
"He's really worked hard in the weight room to become stronger, faster and more able to get off the press (coverage at the line of scrimmage) and not get rerouted in the secondary," Dougherty said. "He's just stronger and more physically ready now."
Bruns says he's up to about 180 pounds after playing at 174 last season and about 160-165 at Prosser, where he caught a state-record 310 career passes in high school.
"I tried to get more explosive and faster in the offseason, which has helped a lot, I think," Bruns said.
Dougherty said Bruns brings a lunchpail attitude to practice every day.
"He never complains or pouts or hangs his head," Dougherty said. "He comes out here every day and works and gives it his best."
And finally, it appears, there will be some payoff.
• True freshman CB Greg Ducre, who sat out Wednesday's practice with a shoulder injury, was back Thursday and will make the trip and be available, Sarkisian said. He also said LB Brandon Huppert, who had been out a week or so after having some knee issues, will also make the trip and be available. And so will DE Kalani Aldrich.
• The team will arrive in Provo about 4 p.m. and then go to the stadium for a walk-through.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or email@example.com
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