Spring Ball Day One: Five Takeaways

So what did we learn about the Washington Huskies after Monday’s first day of spring football? In truth, not nearly as much as we will by the end of their 15 spring practices. But Kim Grinolds reflects on five things that stuck out to him after seeing the Huskies go through their paces.

1) Everyone wants to know about the quarterbacks: With the departure of Cyler Miles, there are only three quarterbacks in camp. The good news is those guys will get a ton of reps, and they need them. The bad news is those three will get a ton of reps - and they need them.

Jeff Lindquist is pretty much everything we saw a year ago. He has all the ability in the world, and intangibles as well. He’s such a great kid and the ultimate team player who will do whatever he’s told. Obvious news to Jeff……The job is there for the taking. It’s okay to step on somebody’s throat and step over the bodies to take the job. If he develops a killer instinct, he very well could be the starting quarterback at Boise State to start Washington’s 2105 season.

K.J. Carta-Samuels is going to get a long look. Players have told us he carved up the defense last fall while running the scout team. He has the size and arm strength to do the job. He carries himself like a leader. It’s going to be interesting to see him when the offensive coaches allow him to get live reps.

Jake Browning looks like a high school kid, and he should. If he wasn’t at UW he’d still be at Folsom High right now. He’s about 6-foot-2, baby faced, looks like he’s never been in a weight room. Other than that, he doesn’t look that out of place among the quarterbacks. Browning has plenty of arm strength, pocket awareness, and he knows where to throw the ball. He’s pretty damn accurate as well. He made a few questionable decisions yesterday, as you would expect. Post-practice, Jaydon Mickens raved about how a kid who should still be in High School knows how to read defenses so well.

2) Budda Baker isn’t a freshman any more: I had guys tell me that Budda played at about 165 pounds last year. Even if that’s true, it wasn’t much more, and even at that weight he held up pretty well. He’s bigger in 2015 and he hasn’t lost speed or quickness. But instead of relying on that speed, he’s reading things much faster now. It’s hard to take your eyes off him in the secondary. His burst is something I haven’t seen at Washington in a long time. Budda is already a pretty special player, but the scary part is that he still has a lot of time to take it up a few levels.

3) Lots more getting done already: Last year’s spring ball was almost like a classroom setting; lots of teaching during practice. The only thing missing was a white board and a bunch of colored markers. Last year lots of guys were standing around listening as the coaches would have to explain in detail how to run through every drill correctly. This year…not so much. Pretty much hair on fire, non-stop energy through the drills from the first whistle. It’s well-choreographed chaos. The guys now know where to go and how to do it. If Monday set the tone, they’re going to get a lot done this spring.

4) Ezekiel Turner: Sure he was a JC guy last year, but he wasn’t there for long. He’s probably the most physically impressive looking guy in the secondary. He’s listed at 6-foot-2 and 204 pounds. He’s really put together and was already getting a ton of reps yesterday. Keep your eyes on Zeke. He looks like he came in with his eye on snagging a starting job, and with rumors of Kevin King moving to corner, could that be the move that puts Zeke center stage next to Budda?

5) Is Husky Football losing its relevancy?: The Seahawks have pretty much taken over Seattle. The Mariners are projected to contend for a World Series this year, and the Sounders are drawing well over 40,000 fans a game. First day of Washington’s Spring Ball, you turn on sports radio…Mariners, March Madness, Seahawks and the draft…nothing about the Huskies. Nothing.

It’s frightening how little is being done to promote the program. The entire marketing strategy seems to be “winning cures all“. The disconnect with the fan base that started with the Willingham Era continues. Plenty of opportunities are being missed.

Hopefully somebody wakes up and realizes they need to reconnect with the fans and market the program. School pride and loyalty only goes so far. In the meantime, Washington is in serious danger of being surpassed by the Mariners and Sounders when it comes to fans making their choice as to how they spend their entertainment dollars.

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