Janke ready for backfield impact

University of Saskatchewan Huskies' football coaches continue to unravel the Dexter Janke mystery.

Janke, who had his left knee surgically repaired after both his Grade 11 and Grade 12 seasons, was a bluechip Huskies' recruit last year. But his 2010 contribution was limited to non-contact scout-team duties.

The damaged hinge looks to be fully healed, and at long last, he's giving coaches an up-close look at just what he can do on a football field during this weekend's spring camp.

"One of the things we're finding out is he's pretty physical, too," said Huskies' head coach Brian Towriss.

"He's picking up pass protection against fourth-and fifth-year guys and that's what we didn't see last year. We knew he could run with the ball and has good hands, but we didn't get a chance to see him block or protect or do anything live. But he's doing a good job at pass protection. He's ready to play and he's got to continue to get live reps and get his confidence and timing back."

Janke said he's still icing his knee as a precautionary measure, but, otherwise, he's been cleared for full contact.

"It's been a while," Janke acknowledged. "I want to come in and show not only the coaches, but the players, what I can do when it comes to contact -to get their respect.

"That's the main thing; I want to show everybody what I can do.

They're giving me the chance and I've got to make the best of it."

Janke, who played high school football at Edmonton's Austin O'Brien High School, was the Carr Conference MVP in 2009. Towriss said he has the talent to make an immediate on-field impact.

Janke joins a talented trio that also includes Ben Coakwell and Jeff Hassler, which prompts the question of whether there's enough carries to go around. But Towriss is quick to point out that his backfield has struggled with injuries for years -so, yes, he said, there's definitely enough for everybody.

"We've seldom been in a position the last three years where we even had three who were healthy enough to dress," Towriss said. "If they all get 10 carries a game, the chances of having them all real healthy are better than one guy getting 30 carries a game."

Janke, meanwhile, said he's excited to get going for real. He watched the Huskies collapse during a 31-30 upset playoff loss to the Alberta Golden Bears last year, and said that memory lingered as the team staged its off-season workouts.

"It was definitely hard to watch," Janke said. "You want to be out there helping the team. Especially losing to my hometown team . . . I definitely got the razz going back home. We want to put it in the past; we don't want to forget it, but we want to show Huskie Nation that we worked really hard in the off-season to put that in the past and move forward."

Camp action resumes today with workouts at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., followed by Sunday's Green and White scrimmage at 11 a.m.

Notes: Huskies' football season tickets went on sale Friday. Packages include the Coaches Club pass for $399, which includes tent and terrace VIP access. Also available are a playoff and regular-season package for $140 and standard regular-season package for $80. For more information, call 966-1111 or visit huskies.usask.ca.

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