Practice Spotlight - Day Ten

SEATTLE - God Bless the Dempsey Indoor Facility. During a particularly gloomy Friday morning in the Emerald City, those expected to watch Washington's tenth practice had planning to do. How many layers? Was it umbrella time? How long did you want to expose yourself to standing there, watching players run around while you could do nothing but get wet?

But we must have been good so far this spring, as Steve Sarkisian move practice inside to maximize reps.

"We wanted to come in here and get work done, like Sark said," UW Receivers Coach Jimmie Dougherty said after practice. "We're not going to the Palouse any time soon, so might as well come in here and get some work done."

If this had been the fall, I doubt we would have been spared. To quote a line Rick Neuheisel was fond of saying - to fight in the North Atlantic, you have to train in the North Atlantic. But this is spring football, where teaching, technique and timing is everything - so inside we went.

The List:
SATURDAY'S PRACTICE IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC - Reminder to those wishing to see the Huskies practice will have two chances to do so - starting with Saturday's open practice at Memorial Stadium, which is located at Seattle Center. Practice starts at 11 am, and will go for roughly two hours or so. The second opportunity will be during UW's Spring Game, held at CenturyLink Field (where the Seahawks play) on Saturday 4/28 at 1 pm.

Player of the Day - To me, it just wasn't one player - it was a whole group. The defensive backs must be catching onto Justin Wilcox's defensive ideas quickly, because - to steal a word given to me from former UW Head Coach Jim Lambright - the corners and safeties just seem to be playing 'snugger' to the receivers. Outside of a couple of long passes that were completed more due to poor timing more than anything, the secondary had the receivers on lockdown for most of the day. The tight ends were getting open from time to time, but even they were not being afforded the space they got early in camp. The first couple days, they were just galloping in open fields; now it's a rare occasion to see a TE or running back with more than a couple yards' space when they catch the ball.

Play of the Day - There were a couple defensive gems that stood out. Even though it was a shells-and-shorts practice, there was still some hitting going on. In fact, Lawrence Lagafuaina and James Johnson looked to be held out of at least part of practice without their helmets in tow. That usually means a player got their bell rung. Josh Perkins definitely played the part of a bell to perfection Friday, as he was clocked by Will Shamburger on a bang-bang play - and Shamburger wasn't going full-speed. Perkins, after wiping the cobwebs clear, did return and play during the team practice. But the group play of the day came near the end, when a Keith Price pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage by a charging Desmond Trufant, eventually snagged out of the sky by defensive end Andrew Hudson. The whole defense went nuts after Hudson was able to secure the ball.

Offensively, while there wasn't as much to shout about, they did have one bolt of lightning - an 80-yard-plus pitch and catch from Price to Kasen Williams, a play made even more remarkable by the high-flying antics of cornerback Marcus Peters. Peters and Williams were locked stride-for-stride, and then Peters decided it was time to go after the ball - about two seconds too soon. His vertical leap was awfully impressive, but eventually made to look a little goofy. As he missed the ball completely, Williams kept his eyes on the prize and comfortably secured it as Peters was unable to keep up with the receiver once he made his way back down to earth.

Just For Kicks - Erik Nothstein, a redshirt frosh walk-on kicker, continues to be the player the UW coaches try out during special teams periods. Friday he was perfect on his field goal attempts, the longest coming from 33 yards. Who knows if the Graham-Kapowsin grad can be a serious challenger to incoming JC kicker Travis Coons, but I'm sure the Huskies would like to have at least one more option at kicker in case of emergency - at the very least.

Center of Attention - It was the second-straight day of work at center for junior OL Erik Kohler, who was backing up Michael Criste in the absence of senior Drew Schaefer, out with a slight knee injury. In speaking with OL Coach Dan Cozzetto, he is looking for a fourth snapper to back up Schaefer, Criste and Siosifa Tufunga - and so far the Kohler experience is working out nicely. When Kohler is at center, Tufunga moves to either guard position. Cozzetto also said that this fall he's going to groom at least two of the six incoming offensive lineman to snap, and noted that Cory English, Jake Eldrenkamp and Michael Kneip have all snapped before in high school.

Sprint to Daylight - It was a small thing, but seeing DE Hauoli Jamora do at least one 30-40 yard sprint without noticeable pain of any sort should be seen as a great step for the 6-foot-3, 256-pound sophomore, who is clearly chomping at the bit to get out on the field and hit somebody. A couple of practices ago, Deontae Cooper did some light cutting drills, so it appears that at least two of the players coming back from significant knee issues are making strides in their rehabilitation.

Quotable - "This defense is going to demand a lot out of our defensive line as far as a multitude of alignments and assignments. As we get deeper into spring ball here, we're going to be mixing guys around. At times we might have five defensive ends on the field…it's an awesome defense that coach Wilcox has, and it's been awesome for myself to be a part of this. The D-line, you can see the energy and excitement about being a part of this defense and knowing that they are really diversifying their resumes out on the field by being asked to do different things." - Tosh Lupoi, on how the DL is fitting into the new defensive schemes.

Here's some Friday quotes from other assistant coaches:

Jimmie Dougherty
Justin Wilcox
Joel Thomas
Dan Cozzetto
Tosh Lupoi

Whose in the House? - Again, small house today due to the weather - but former UW player and current Meadowdale Head Coach Mark Stewart was there, and there was also a recruit you couldn't possibly miss - 6-foot-8 OL Cody O'Connell, a 2013 prospect from Wenatchee. O'Connell currently has a scholarship offer from Washington State.

Injuries/Redshirts - With Lagafuaina and Johnson missing some of practice, the body count is starting to rise a little bit. Cooper Pelluer looked to have hurt his shoulder again, as he pulled out of practice and had a bag of ice strapped to his right shoulder. Taz Stevenson was out of practice wearing sweats. Hopefully we'll know the extent of all these bumps and bruises when we talk to Sark after Saturday's Memorial Stadium practice. Top Stories