Practice Impressions: Spring 'Game'

An estimated 8,000 fans took in Washington's final practice of the spring at Seattle's Memorial Stadium in slightly dreary conditions. The play on the field was spotty, but a few players and plays stood out. Here's a look at who did what and who was in the crowd...

Who is the backup quarterback?: The number two quarterback has been the source of a lot of conjecture this spring and while it appears to be Cyler Miles right now, no one looks to have taken the job for good, at least at this point. Miles' statline looked good -- 8 of 11 for 74 yards and three touchdowns -- but he still missed several reads, struggled to make quick decisions and his delivery still seems slow. That being said, today Jeff Lindquist had a very rough practice going 0 for 5 while rushing for five yards. He also fumbled a snap and really struggled with his accuracy. He seems to get a bit jumpy when he's under pressure and he overthrew several passes. From a playmaking standpoint, Troy Williams still looks like the one who could make the biggest jump over the summer and, while I don't expect him to see any action this season so they can keep his redshirt on, he might be the second-best quarterback on the roster right now.

Running backs show their mettle: Dwayne Washington showed why the coaches and pundits have been raving about him. He ran physically and showed good speed and decision-making skills. He's a strong candidate to be Bishop Sankey's backup, but he's got to fend off Ryan McDaniel, Erich Wilson, Jesse Callier and possibly Deontae Cooper before he can lay claim to that spot. Sankey, for his part, looked super-quick and like he's ready to take the next step toward being an All-Conference tailback. The junior-to-be from Spokane also hauled in the first touchdown of the day, a 13-yarder from Keith Price on a check down. Wilson sat out the day with what appears to be an minor injury (Washington does not comment on injuries). McDaniel made the most of his handful of carries, rushing for 13 yards on four carries while Kendyl Taylor took the majority of reps, rushing for 47 yards on 12 rushes.

Defense stands its ground: John Timu, Jamaal Kearse, Connor Cree and Sean Parker all had big hits during the team sessions with Parker's blasting of Sankey for a two-yard loss being the biggest hit of the day. Cree and Timu stopped Washington dead in his tracks on 4th-and-1. Kearse led the team in tackles with four tackles and two tackles-for-loss. Cree finished with two tackles and tied Kearse with two tackles-for-loss. Josh Shirley had the big play of the day on defense, taking a fumbled snap by Williams back deep into the offense's territory before being tracked down by Jamaal Jones.

Catching on: One player who was all smiles after the conclusion of practice was Antavius Sims a little-used receiver who was an All-American quarterback in junior college. Sims admitted after the practice that it has taken him a full year to really get the position down and credits Jaydon Mickens with helping him adjust. Sims weighs about 220 pounds and used that size to lead the team with five receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns including a 23-yarder from Williams who scrambled away from trouble and found Sims along the sideline in the endzone.

Who is the backup left tackle?: This spring, offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto hasn't shaken up the starting offensive line yet, but on Saturday he was forced to when Micah Hatchie left the scrimmage before it even got started with what appears to be a possible shoulder injury or "stinger". What happened next was a bit of a surprise as Ben Riva moved over to the left side and Erik Kohler took over at right tackle. Riva definitely acquitted himself well and seemed to hold up enough to help Cozzetto breathe easier.

Taking the lead: Sark mentioned after practice that Danny Shelton, Shaq Thompson, John Timu and Sean Parker are all very good leaders on defense and are well-respected by the younger players.

Shelton makes his presence felt: Shelton had a great practice, one of his best of the spring, knifing through several times in drills and in team sessions, but because he plays the nose tackle spot he doesn't put up big numbers. With his size, strength and athleticism, Shelton could be ready to live up to the hype he came to Montlake with and that could be well for the Dawgs.

Taking care of the rock: Sarkisian also mentioned he was happy with the way the team took care of the ball, but was a bit dismayed by the troubles they had with the center-snaps, something that he said hadn't been a issue during the rest of the spring. None of the quarterbacks threw interceptions, but there were a couple of fumbles, one recovered by Lindquist after a scramble and one by Sims that bounced out of bounds.

Competition doesn't stop with the team: While the team was out there competing, they took a break to watch Moon, Millen, Sarkisian and quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo as well as all five quarterbacks take turns trying to hit the crossbar from the 30 yard line. Lindquist, Miles and Sarkisian all hit the mark while the rest were close, but weren't able to make the connection. Chris Williams, the top player on Washington's golf team and the top amateur player in the world, and another golfer (I didn't hear the name that was announced) took turns trying to hit golf balls at Harry the Husky who was holding a golf flag at the 50-yard line. They got close several times, but didn't quite have the right distance down in their 10 attempts. All of the participants seemed to have a good time with it and the fans in the stands got into it with their cheers as well.

Spotted in the crowd: Former Huskies Jonathan Amosa and Jermaine Kearse were both in attendance as well as Warren Moon and Hugh Millen. 2014 recruits Joe Mixon, Miciah Quick, Taven Bryan, Devante Downs, Henry Mondeaux, Morgan Richey, Marcus Griffin and several other recruits we didn't recognize were in the house. 2013 signees included Sean Constantine, Ralph Kinne, David Ajamu and Andrew Kirkland were all there as well.

What's next?: Now that their 15 spring practices have concluded, the players will take a week or so off and then will get into the offseason conditioning and workouts that are standard for every team. While the players focus on that, the coaches will be working on the 2014 recruits they have in their sites with most of them heading out on the road starting Monday and going all the way until the end of May. Top Stories