Tuesday Practice Spotlight

Mother Nature is a hard thing to combat, and while it was a picture perfect day on Montlake Tuesday, it wasn't those elements that threw a curveball at the UW Football team. Instead it was Jonathan Smith's wife Candice, pregnant with their third child due any day now. So while Smith tended to his family back in Boise, it was up to Chris Petersen to pick up the slack.

"There's going to be a lot of things thrown their way to put them in uncomfortable situations," Petersen said after the team's two hour-plus workout. "We'll do…things to make sure it's inconvenient for them and they have to deal with adversity, no question."

One could persuasively argue that plenty has already been thrown at the new staff in terms of injuries and players being gone because of class schedule conflicts and the like, let alone how much has been thrown at the players in terms of everything being new. But there's not one person associated with Washington Football that's going to use that as an excuse to slow them down.

"It was a little different because Troy (Williams) and I have been used to coach Smith every day and now we've got coach Pete, so it's a different feel," sophomore quarterback Jeff Lindquist said. "I feel we still got a lot done, so it was good. They are pretty similar on coaching points. Coaching style is slightly different; I'd say coach Smith has a little bit more of a calm manner when he's coaching, and coach Pete brings the energy. Both of them work and each guy kind of adds their own style into it."

Petersen admitted that he probably went overboard a tad on things, but it's all being done to help the quarterbacks get better. "Certainly when you get your small opportunities…I probably have to tone it down a little bit," he said. "‘Easy, easy coach!' I've got to get back into that coaching world a little bit better. But we'll get coach Smith back here quickly, hopefully we have a baby real soon and we'll get him back out here."

Even when Smith is around coaching the quarterbacks, Petersen's never too far away, always making mental notes. Are the quarterbacks handling their two jobs - being accurate passers and making good decisions?

"I think their decision-making is actually pretty darn good," Petersen said. "It can maybe be a little bit quicker at times. I think where we need to take the next big step is with accuracy. And it will, but I think there's a lot of balls out there - with me getting up close and personal with them today - that if that ball is thrown a foot differently the receiver doesn't have to make that circus catch that I was talking about, or doesn't go off his hands. You watch the best throwers in the NFL, those balls almost catch themselves for them. They just put them right in front of that number and it's very hard not to catch the ball when you throw it like that."

Lindquist had the throw of the day, fitting a tight pass in a window that Darrell Daniels got to just a fraction of a second before a sprinting Kevin King to nab it. The result? A 74-yard catch and run for six that had everyone on the offensive side of the ball in raptures.

"I saw open safeties and I know that Darrell is a frickin' stud, so I just threw it to him and he did the rest of it," Lindquist said. "I was pretty fired up. I jumped on (offensive lineman) Ross Dolbec and started to run down to the end zone."

For Daniels' part, the 6-foot-4, 241-pound sophomore admitted it wasn't a great play starting out, but it was the finish that mattered. "To be honest I didn't know it was coming. (laughs) I just stuck a hand up and made a play."

Not enough receivers were making plays today. As Petersen alluded, there were a number of passes off by a foot on either side, but they should have been caught. Redshirt freshman David Ajamu and sophomore receiver Kendyl Taylor both had passes come their way during the team period that would have been sizable plays, but they couldn't adjust their hands and bodies in time to make the play. They should have, but didn't come up with the ball when it mattered.

"That's what quarterbacks need; they need guys to make plays," Petersen said, matter of factly. "They don't need guys that are wide open that can catch a hitch. I can do that and I'm old. So we need better than me out there. We need playmakers. We saw one out there today."

The offensive skill guys weren't the only ones having issues holding onto passes. Outside of John Timu picking off a Troy Williams pass, I noted at least three defensive backs - Jermaine Kelly, Brandon Beaver, and walk-on Jonathan Kwon - that had excellent opportunities to force Petersen into blowing the air horn and giving the defense one less reason to run gassers. But it didn't happen.

Nothing new on Miles and Stringfellow: King-5 TV's Chris Daniels was at practice Tuesday, and asked Petersen questions about the status of quarterback Cyler Miles and Damore'ea Stringfellow. Here's how the conversation went:

What is the status of the quarterbacks and Cyler Miles? - "Same as it has been since Day One. We've got two quarterbacks out here competing their tail off and there's no change with Cyler right now."

Despite the fact that he wasn't criminally charged? - "Absolutely."

Is he still a part of this team? - "Right now he's not."

What about Mr. Stringfellow? - "No change with him either."

Do you feel like you have to make a statement in regard to those two? - "We're always going to do the right thing by the program, I've always said that from the start. We're handling it internally and we'll do the right thing always; by the team, by the University, and what's right by these players."

When do you think you'll make a decision? - "Don't have that timetable set."

Have you read the police report at all? - "I've seen some of it. I've got no response to it."

For those that want to see the video, you can view it HERE. The exchange between Daniels and Petersen begins at roughly the 70-second mark.

What is socially acceptable? - Petersen also confirmed that a social media consultant was brought in for the team this past weekend to give them ideas and guidelines for handling themselves on Twitter, Facebook, etc... Petersen did not allow his team at Boise State to use Twitter, and is in a holding pattern with regard to how he'll move forward at Washington.

"We're still figuring that out, whether we can handle Twitter," he said. "But you take Twitter away there's still five things they can do. It wasn't like these guys can't do anything. It's the world we live in, so I'm good if they're good. But if they're not good it's going to go away. So they've got to learn how to do it correctly."

Petersen added that he's positive the team will take the consultant's talk to heart and will understand how to use Twitter the right way so he won't have to do what he did at Boise. Petersen does not own a Twitter account, but did leave open the possibility of getting one for recruiting purposes.
Quotable:
Chris Petersen, on having more continuity with practice times a year down the road once they have a better handle on guys' academics and such - "We would like to be able to avoid that (different times). I think the more we can keep our guys in routine and schedule I think it helps us. But I will say this; the way college football is going, playing on Friday nights and Saturday days and then Saturday night late - you have to be able to adjust and adapt. Really that's how we look at it. The main thing is, when can we get all our guys here so we are able to practice - whether it's in the morning or night, that's really secondary. We'd like to keep it all comfortable and convenient for our guys, but that's not even college football when we play in the fall. We've got to adjust. If it's early in the morning, and we're not feeling it…we have to get that energy. Late at night as well, and come back the next morning and rally. We did that at Boise. We played…it would have been 9 in the morning Boise time against Southern Miss, and because we were morning guys they didn't bat an eye. But I think a lot of times your afternoon guys, that early morning can be like, ‘What is this?'. Likewise, if you're an early morning guy and we're playing all these night games, we've got to be able to adjust to that too. We've got to take what comes our way."

Chris Strausser, on the young guys making big improvements - "I think there's a couple guys that are really showing up doing some different stuff. Coleman Shelton, mostly his competitive nature is the biggest thing that's showing up with him. And then Dane Crane in there playing center - he's getting reps at both the twos and the threes and he continues to get better every day."

Jeff Lindquist, on getting a chance to play in front of fans Saturday - "I'm excited. As a local kid it's something I've been looking forward to my whole life. We're not quite there yet, but it's something I'm pretty excited for." Darrell Daniels, on how much the work with the Jugs gun has improved his hands - "It's a whole confidence thing. With the Jugs machine I'm just trying to get my confidence back and that's a big key to the game - catching the ball. I have to work at it."

Jaydon Mickens, on how his role has changed from last year - "It's been fairly smooth right now. I just have to keep working. I'm looked at as the guy who now always has to make that catch, that always has to make the right decision in doing everything. And if I make a wrong decision just once in practice, it turns into a pretty bad practice. I just have to do everything right so the guys under me kind of understand what's going on and what do to right, and not wrong."
Links:
Quick Tuesday Practice Report
Tuesday Practice Videos
Chris Petersen Video/Quotes
Chris Strausser Video/Quotes
Jeff Lindquist Video/Quotes
Darrell Daniels Video/Quotes
Jaydon Mickens Video/Quotes


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