Practice Report - 4/17

With all due respect, the weather was actually kind of nice during the day, but as soon as the players began to run some warm-ups and do some stretches, down came the rain and in came the cold winds from the lake. In preparation for their second live scrimmage Husky Stadium tomorrow afternoon, the Huskies put forth another two and half hours of practice in the chilliest of temperatures in helmets and shoulder pads to work out all the kinks in their arsenal.

The first order of business of the day was working on some field goals. Short snapping to PK Evan Knudson and the first team was Jerome Stevens. As Knudson lined up on the right hash mark for a 30-yard attempt, a blazing Roc Alexander flew right past Ty Eriks to go lay out and block the kick for the special teams play of the day. Overall, Knudson did show some boom in his kick and some accuracy along the way.

Playing the "gunner" spot on punt defense today was Alexander, Shelton Sampson, Derrick Johnson, and Matt Fountaine. Each showed good quickness and moves to get by the defender and get to the punt returner. At this point, Alexander and Johnson look to be the ones coaches are really looking hard at to man the gunner spot.

The punting game saw the 5-10 190 lbs. Owen Biddle as the long snapper for the first unit, Jason Benn for the second unit, and Andy Heater for the third unit.

While the quarterbacks, wide receivers, and running backs were working on fundamental drills, over in the east end zone and on the far field, the linemen and the defense were working the sleds pretty hard. It was an intense workout that sounded a lot like mat drills with all the screaming and yelling from the coaches and players.

The quarterbacks and running backs were working on the option today. In fact, it was the most option we have seen all spring. Perhaps it was a prelude to something we may see more of at the scrimmage tomorrow.

The depth-depleted receiving corps had a rough day today. With the exception of Reggie Williams and Charles Frederick, all or most of the walk-ons had a tough time tracking down the ball, and when they did get to the ball, they wound up dropping it with a lot of "clunks" being heard from the field. As a matter of fact, the former athletes of other Huskies sports had the worst of it today.

Former basketball player Sterling Brown had a pass from Pickett so well thrown to him it was practically gift-wrapped. But the ball went right through Brown's hands. That could have been called an "air ball."

New to the receivers group was Huskies baseball player Simi Reynolds. Reynolds made a lot of "errors" and had trouble finding the ball all day. Reynolds did the most "Bobby Kennedy push-ups" out of all the receivers today for his troubles.

In one of the wackier plays of the day, Isaiah Stanback dropped back for a pass during offensive sets looking for Ben Bandel. Who was there to intercept it? Rick Neuheisel was standing at the right place at the right time and if I did not know any better, it looked as if the pass was intended for him in the first place.

Neuheisel gave Stanback a blank look as if he was saying, "Isaiah, perhaps you can explain to me why I caught this ball."

An interesting item of note was the presence of Francisco Tipoti on the first team O-Line. Regular starter Nick Newton was out today with an illness and Tipoti used this opportunity to have a great day of practice. Tipoti has actually been having a decent spring and is miles ahead of where he was this time last year.

The first match-up during the one-on-one drills between the corners and receivers was a dandy. Williams was matched up against Alexander with the "Roc" coming out on top after a fierce battle for the ball.

Williams had first possession of the ball, but Alexander got his hands on it and muscled the ball away from the Heisman Trophy candidate. Charles Frederick was next as he lined up against Johnson playing corner. Frederick took a simple out pattern from Paus and turned it into a touchdown after he faked Johnson out and froze him dead in his tracks.

Fountaine also stood out again today as he won a couple of battles against Williams and Frederick. He was earning much praise from cornerbacks coach and co-defensive coordinator Phil Snow all day.

On the opposite side of the field, the linebackers and safeties were playing the running backs in a drill to practice their recognition of offensive sets. The main linebacker rotation saw Scott White, Greg Carothers, Joe Lobendahn, and Tyler Krambrink.

During scrimmage drills, the offensive line was having their way again this afternoon. The quarterbacks had nearly all day to complete passes left and right. On defense, it was anything goes with different combination of personnel making it hard to firmly establish a depth chart for the day.

In a display of the option run by Stanback, he hid the ball VERY well to fool everybody on the defense as he handed off the ball to Zach Tuiasosopo, who ran about 7 yards untouched before the defense even realized he had the ball.

In another play of note, Paus took the snap for a draw play to Sampson, who committed the cardinal sin of draw plays: He backed up. Instead of going full steam ahead to the intended hole, Sampson pulled up and tried to change directions which irked the coaching staff.

Sampson did not have his best day today as he had an inability to find an open hole and many dropped passes.

On the final play for the first round of scrimmages, Stanback dropped back and looked for Williams who had freed himself from Alexander. With the ball coming towards Williams, Alexander stepped up and made the interception. But the play was not over, not until he had some fun at least. Alexander raced Williams down the field the opposite direction for a touchdown.

The offense and defense split up once again after that and headed towards the end zones for goal line situations. Once again, the offense ran a lot of options to re-emphasize the need to go back to playing that kind of football. It looked a bit rusty at times, but we can all take comfort in knowing that the option is not dead yet in Husky Stadium.

The play of the day came from the second team offense during round two of scrimmages. As Paus dropped back, we saw the draw again. This time it was Chris Singleton who shook the entire defense out of their shoes in route to a 15-yard gain. It was just beautiful to see that kind of run.

Even Stanback got into the "shake and bake" act. While he did not have a very good day in the air, Stanback proved once again he is the most mobile quarterback on the team. On his final play, he took a botched play and turned it into a nice gain as he shook and cut his way into a 10-yard scamper into the end zone.

Tomorrow's scrimmage is set for 4pm at Husky Stadium. There is no way to prepare for the weather so it is advised that you dress warmly if you decide to attend. I can not emphasize that enough. Top Stories