Practice report - 4/15 PM

Isaiah Stanback takes the snap, executes a perfect fake to the running back, rolls out to his right and spies a wide open Jason Benn downfield. Shades of Marques Tuiasosopo finding Jerramy Stevens running stride for stride pop up in my head. Not so fast...

Benn drops a well-thrown ball by Stanback and the whole offense moans. But Stanback was ready to get the defense on the next play, one that quickly turns into a patented Isaiah jailbreak.

After finding some free real estate, Stanback surveys the field. Malcolm Baber, a walk-on from O'Dea who connected with Stanback for a pretty 29-yard touchdown during the spring's first scrimmage, is roaming unabated about 30 yards downfield.

Isaiah sees him and throws up a prayer. It's overthrown by about 3 yards, as now the whole team moans.

Those two plays were a microcosm for the offense today, as the plays were there, the players were in position to make plays, but they couldn't finish the job. Not to sound like a broken record, but Reggie Williams and Charles Frederick are the only offensive threats that are clearly established so far.

The others, whether at RB, TE or WR, have a long ways to go, although it does appear that RS freshman Ben Bandel has moved ahead of Jon Lyon at tight end.

One offensive player that made great strides toward earning a starting spot is FB Ty Eriks. The RS soph from O'Dea looks to have nearly supplanted Zach Tuiasosopo for the starting spot, although both took turns with the ones at the end of the scrimmage.

Ty has shown throughout the spring to have better hands and he's also showing his versatility. The coaches have put him in during one-back sets and also during some goal-line sequences. With his size, speed and determination, Ty could very well be a third-down back, red-zone back, or even a second or third-string tailback, depending on injuries.

At quarterback, there is a huge gap between Cody Pickett and the rest. That is to be expected. The Heisman hopeful showed beautiful recognition today, whether throwing downfield or just dumping off to a valve under pressure.

It's hard to say right now who is at number two. Both Stanback and Casey Paus are getting equal reps and aren't really doing much to distance themselves from each other. Paus has Isaiah beat throwing the ball, but Isaiah is arguably the most exciting player to watch offensively. Get him scrambling and big plays are sure to result.

Paus looks to be delivering the ball with more authority nowadays. I can't tell if John Pettas has tinkered with Casey's delivery, but he seems to be putting more mustard on it. He threw an absolute bullet to Andy Heater during the 7-7's that is as pretty a ball as he's thrown all spring.

On back-to-back plays, Paus was so close to connecting with new TE Lyon for big plays, but had the ball batted away at the last moment by Owen Biddle and Jimmy Newell, respectively.

Speaking of Newell, Jimmy had a big day as well. The RS Junior from Port Orchard had some fun at Reggie Williams' expense, and it got Williams' pretty hyped from there on out.

The DB's and receivers were running a drill where they try to score a touchdown, while the DB's try to stop them short. The WR is lined up with DB's on either side 5 yards apart. Then the WR chooses which side they run to, and it's that DB's job to stop them or at least hold them up, until the other DB can race over and help finish the job.

This is a drill that Williams has mastered. But Newell stopped him cold, getting the rest of the DB's pretty fired up. Reggie started jawing at Jimmy, but it just looked like it would end there.

When they went to the next period, it was another drill that involved the DB's and WR's. Well, Reggie and Jimmy hooked up again, and it was deja vu all over again.

The drill kept going, while Jimmy and Reggie kept at it. Then the words stopped and the punches started. It broke up without a lot of fuss, and both players were fine the rest of the day.

Another scuffle broke out, this time between two defensive linemen. Stanley Daniels and Mike Mapu got up in each others' grill, with Daniels' helmet came flying off. Randy Hart had several words with both, and then both were banished to the stairs for the next 15 minutes.

Once the tempers cooled and the players got back to football, it was business as usual. The defense continues to play very aggressively and pursues to the ball with reckless abandon. Co-Defensive Coordinator Phil Snow was getting his DB's to communicate with each other to the point where they were basically screaming at each other, making sure they got their point across.

There's no question Snow is doing his utmost to make sure his charges are all on the same page.

Another new coach, OL Coach Dan Cozzetto, had his players moving around quite a bit today. Dan Dicks took his reps as the number one center, with Clay Walker and Robin Kezirian working behind him. Brad Vanemann has shed his red jersey, but still isn't 100 percent.

Clay Walker as the next great Husky center is a plan that will probably take a little more time to come together than originally thought. That's why Clay has been also getting reps at guard the last two practices. With Tusi Sa'au also moving around, this time to the weak guard position, switching positions with Rob Meadow, Cozzetto is making sure his guys are getting a lot of reps at a number of positions.

During the linemen 5-5 drills, the ball is snapped and it immediately becomes a one-on-one, with the DL trying to get past the OL and touch the quarterback. Terry Johnson, Manase Hopoi and Brandon Ala were unstoppable in this drill.

As far as special teams go, Charles Frederick, Matt Fountaine, Scott Ballew and even Reggie Williams, were getting into the act returning punts. Jerome Stevens and Mike Thompson took care of the short snapping duties, while Andy Heater and Owen Biddle handled the long snapping.

Biddle, who long-snapped at Bellevue High, actually looked solid in there. The snapping, at least for today, didn't look like an area of concern.

Ballew, the walk-on from Austin, Texas, is getting the knack of catching the ball and running crisp routes. He looks more comfortable out there and is as good as the Dawgs have at the number three receiver position. Matt Griffith and Doug Clarke are there as well, but Scott is making positive strides.

Another walk-on, Ben Warren, is working as the number two MIK behind Joe Lobendahn, and looks solid. Biddle and BJ Newberry were working in tandem at safety and played well. Clearly Cornell Jackson likes the groupings of Biddle and Newberry, as well as Benjamin and Newell.

During the last session, the 'heavy touch' 11-11's, Charles Frederick was the recipient of a beautiful Cody Pickett pass in the right front corner of the end zone for 6.

But after that connection it was slim pickings for the offense. Especially impressive was Jordan Reffett with the threes. The true frosh from Moses Lake sacked Casey Paus on one possession, and came back on the next play to bat down another pass from Paus.


Notes:
Play of the day: Again, as it was yesterday, the play of the day was a streak down the sidelines, where Charles Frederick took a Cody Pickett pass all the way to paydirt over the outstretched arms of Derrick Johnson.

Dash to daylight: Dash Crutchley has been moved from REB to tight end and will stay there for the rest of the spring.

TESC awaits: Rick Neuheisel announced tonight that the Huskies would be renewing their normal fall routine of going to The Evergreen State College in Olympia for camp this year. It doesn't sound as if it will be a two-week camp, however, as details are still being worked out.

Coaches in attendance: Coaches from Auburn were once again seen at Husky Stadium, checking out Washington's practice. On a local note, high school coaches from Enumclaw, Ballard and Issaquah were also on hand.

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