Practice Spotlight - Day 13

SEATTLE - With Friday's practice closed to the media, this was our last chance to see what the Washington Huskies had up their sleeves heading into Saturday's Spring Game at CenturyLink Field - or more accurately Spring Football Scrimmage - as the number of healthy offensive linemen is going to preclude the team from going full-go with a true 'game'.

UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian pointed out that they'll use a point system for the defense - with three points for a successful series stop, five points for a turnover and seven yards for a defensive touchdown. There won't be any punting, as the ball will simply be moved 40 yards, and it's unclear whether or not there are going to be special teams for kickoffs and return units.

The List:
Play of the Day - Have to give this one up to one of the smaller players on the team - Marvin Hall. The true frosh wideout caught a juggling pass one-handed from Derrick Brown as he was going out of bounds. It was hard to tell who was covering him from our vantage point but what did become clear after a couple of seconds was that the whole offense exploded in cheers when Hall successfully came up with the completed pass.

Honorable mention goes to a couple more plays made by pass catchers. Tight end Evan Hudson, who had a great diving catch along the same sidelines. The sophomore from Bothell also happened to take out the media rope, as well as a big Gatorade jug and the stand holding it, turning it into one big collision. Thankfully Hudson was able to get right back up and didn't appear any worse for the wear.

The other play was made by redshirt frosh Josh Perkins, who skied over cornerback Ken Egu for a brilliant one-handed stab along the far sideline. Perkins has been one of those players who has been hit-and-miss during the spring, coming up with some unbelievable grabs and then not coming up with anything for a practice or two. He'll need to show up on a more consistent basis if he is to challenge Kasen Williams, James Johnson and Kevin Smith this fall.

Player of the Day - To me, there were a lot of players that were extremely solid; Sean Parker, Desmond Trufant, John Timu, Danny Shelton, Michael Hartvigson, Dezden Petty, and Johnson all had nice days - but Connor Cree is a defensive end who has steadily risen up the charts of late, and today was his finest practice of spring. He was everywhere, and now with his hand off the ground and playing on the edge instead of in a three-point stance taking on tackles, Cree can use his 6-foot-6, 245-pound frame to great advantage, causing havoc as a speed rusher or dropping back into zone coverage to man the flats.

Talkin' Mess - There was a great one-on-one drill between the receivers and cornerbacks, and the jawing was in full effect. Of course it was done in the spirit of competition and never got past a slow boil, but just listening to the needling going on was pure comedy. Even Kevin Smith, who is still rehabbing a knee injured during the Alamo Bowl practices, was doing his best to get under the skin of the defensive backs. Despite his relative age, Marcus Peters gave all he was given right back - and then some. He wasn't backing down from anyone. And Desmond Trufant? Last year his combatant-in-arms was Jermaine Kearse; they would go back and forth like siblings, riding each other until they couldn't stand it anymore. This spring, Trufant has had his eyes set squarely on Williams, and the two have had some great one-on-one sparring sessions. Trufant got Williams the first couple of times, but when he wasn't able to get a jam on him the third time, Williams turned the senior cornerback inside-out, causing Smith to go nuts and jack the smack up to an even higher level.

Makin' Moves - It's good to see Erik Kohler moving around and taking part in OL drills, and the true junior has been a stalwart at right tackle his first two years at Montlake. But with Ben Riva getting every opportunity to step into that role, Kohler is taking his talents to other positions - namely center and left guard. Kohler had toyed with left guard earlier in his career before Colin Tanigawa made it his own, and is now back there while Tanigawa rehabs a knee injury. In fact, with Drew Schaefer and Mike Criste manning the two-deeps at center Wednesday, Kohler played exclusively at left guard. If Tanigawa comes back 100 percent for fall as expected and James Atoe moves in for the now-retired Colin Porter - Kohler may be forced back outside to earn his right tackle spot back from Riva. If that scenario does come to pass, it's good news for OL Coach Dan Cozzetto, who needs as many healthy bodies back for the fall as anyone.

The Comeback Kid - That name rightly goes to RB Deontae Cooper, who is moving heaven and earth in an attempt to come back from two devastating knee injuries - to the same knee. Wednesday the sophomore from Perris, Calif. was working with the Jugs throwing machine, catching passes. During this spring we've seen him do some like cutting drills, but haven't gotten a chance to see him really open it up and test the knee - and we won't until the fall. But I wouldn't put it past Cooper to make a full recovery; he wants it that much.

Quotable - "I think the defense has definitely stepped it up. The offense is doing fine, but the defense is definitely getting a lot better collectively. I feel like we're more close as a group together; we're hanging out more, doing things together. We're just playing well together. I think we're trying to figure it out, finally." - Linebacker Garret Gilliland, on the defense rising to the challenge and playing at the level of the offense this spring

Here's post-practice quotes from some other players.
Tre Watson Wednesday Quotes
Sione Potoae Wednesday Quotes
Garret Gilliland Wednesday Quotes
Marcus Peters Wednesday Quotes
Greg Ducre Wednesday Quotes
Connor Cree Wednesday Quotes

















Recruits/Faces in the Crowd - No recruits to speak of during a cloudy and rather downcast Wednesday from a weather perspective. Athletic Director Scott Woodward was seen at practice. Luther Leonard and Jermaine Kearse were both there, as well as former DL Keith Navidi - who played alongside such players as Steve Emtman and Mike Lustyk and was a member of the '91 National Championship team.

Injuries/Redshirts - Lawrence Lagafuaina was out of red, but replaced by James Johnson - who joined Cooper Pelluer, James Sample and Travis Feeney in red. Drew Schaefer was back and practicing after suffering an slight knee injury last week. Talia Crichton left practice suffering from the flu, according to Sarkisian, and it sounds like the bug has been making the rounds.

Sarkisian also confirmed that guard/center Siosifa Tufunga will be out for roughly a month with a broken right hand. Tufunga's hand will go under the knife Thursday.


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