Spring Ball Day 1: News and Notes

It will be a year of transition for the Husky football program and things got started down that path with a two-and-a-half hour workout under a warm sun. Here's some observations, news and notes from the first day of spring football...

As expected, the quarterbacks who are here for spring -- junior Jeff Lindquist, redshirt freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels and true freshman Jake Browning -- got about equal reps.

All three had their moments, but K.J. Carta-Samuels probably had the best day.

Browning showed good poise when he got reps with the first unit, but you can see that he's a freshman with some of the mistakes he made.

Browning threw two picks on the day -- one to S Budda Baker and one that was snatch away from a receiver by LB Jake Waumbaugh -- but he also threaded some nice passes into different receivers and tight ends.


Speaking of the tight ends, David Ajamu had one of the best days I've seen from him during the two-plus years he's been on campus.

He showed soft hands, good route-running and that ability to make grabs in traffic.

Not to be out-done, Drew Sample also was solid, finding room to make some key grabs during the team and seven-on-seven work.

Darrell Daniels is probably the most athletic of the crew and while he got open for a couple of big plays, he also dropped an easy catch which would have resulted in a first down.

"They made some good catches," Chris Petersen noted. "David Ajamu showed up, making some tough catches, and that’s awesome. David’s a young guy that hasn’t played a lot of football for us, but damn, when I watch that out there today, I’m like, ‘OK, let’s change that seating chart maybe a little bit and give him a little more love out there."
Some of the players that passed the look test included LB (BUCK) Joe Mathis, DT Vita Vea, DE Shane Bowman, S Ezekiel Turner, OT Devin Burleson, OG/OC Sifa Tufunga, QB K.J. Carta-Samuels, RB Jomon Dotson and RB Dwayne Washington.

Dotson isn't very big, but he's put on some size and he looks more like a football player than a track guy like he did last fall when he first arrived.

I was a bit concerned about the move of Mathis to BUCK, but he looked pretty natural playing in space today. The junior looked good in coverage, breaking on several short passes and not giving up extra yardage while playing in space.

Turner had a solid day. You can tell he's going to be a good one, but there were several times where he was around the ball, but had a pass pulled free from his grasp.

Burleson looks very flexible for a guy his size while Tufunga looks stout and ready to hold up against the big interior defensive linemen he'll face on a weekly basis.

As we noted during the Husky Combine at the beginning of the month, Vea appears to have lost about 40 pounds, looking trim and running really well.

Bowman is a physical freak and he looked solid with most of his reps coming with the second-team defensive line.


The linebackers group is thin.

Bob Gregory will have his work cut out for him with the loss of John Timu and Shaq Thompson and Travis Feeney sitting out most drills while recovering from offseason surgery, so there will be plenty of reps for the younger linebackers.

Sean Constantine didn't get a lot of reps, but he did make the most of his opportunities, batting down a pass in coverage.

Drew Lewis appears to be fitting in pretty well. He was out at the LOLB spot and he looks like he could be a very good coverage linebacker.

Scott Lawyer and Azeem Victor filled in the inside linebacker spots and both looked athletic.

I really liked what I saw out of Cory Littleton today. He's the most experienced linebacker of the group and showed good leadership and recognition skills.

Connor O'Brien will be interesting to watch develop. He's got all the size you'd like, but he just hasn't seemed to break through to this point.

Kyler Manu was the other early enrollee from the last class. He didn't get a lot of reps, but when he did get on the field, he showed good speed and recognition skills.


Missing from practice today were Coleman Shelton, Keishawn Bierria, Trevor Walker, Jermaine Kelly and Kevin King. All were present, but not taking part in drills.

Travis Feeney, Brandon Beaver and Brandon Lewis were all in yellow jerseys which meant they could take part in some drills, but not in others.

Deontae Cooper and Naijiel Hale were both missing from practice and Chris Petersen noted that Cooper should return soon while Hale will miss the first week and possibly more days.

When asked if there was a reason, Petersen's reply was vague.

“No reason," he said and then added, "Well, there’s a reason – a reason between myself and Naijiel.”


On the subject of reading anything into the starting offense or defense, Petersen gave the answer most coaches give at this time of year.

“You could be asking me this question probably in August and it’s probably going to be too early," Petersen said. "We’re going to let these guys compete, and we told them, and we mean this sincerely – we do not have a depth chart at any positions. It is a seating chart, and I hope they move each practice, and a certain guy practices well, whether it’s quarterback, O-line, D-line, that guy needs to be bumped up and get a few more reps.”

That being said, the first-team offensive line on Monday were, from left to right...

LT - Jake Eldrenkamp (RS Jr.)
LG - Dexter Charles (RS Sr.)
C - Siosifa Tufunga (RS Sr.)
RG - Shane Brostek (RS Jr.)
RT - Andrew Kirkland (RS So.)

The second-team offensive line on Monday were, from left to right...

LT - Matt James (RS Fr.)
LG - Dane Crane (RS So.)
C - Michael Kneip (RS Jr.) RG - Jesse Sosebee (RS. Fr.)
RT - Kaleb McGary (RS. Fr.)


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