Spring Ball Day 3 News and Notes

Day three of Washington’s spring football was held under blustery skies and the occasional rain spit, but for the most part it was a typical Seattle spring day. And that’s all the Huskies ever need to get in their work, over two hours’ worth Friday at Husky Stadium.

Quarterback Competition, Day Three: Still off and on.

I do believe that the programs that are working from a strong foundation traditionally find that the defense has the upper hand in early spring practices - and that was definitely the case Friday.

All three of the available quarterbacks - Jeff Lindquist, K.J. Carta-Samuels, and Jake Browning - looked good early throwing against air, started to suffer when the pressure was unleashed by the Husky defensive front seven, and then came back and made a bit of a run at it near the end. Browning was able to connect with Joshua Perkins for a 22-yard touchdown after throwing a big bomb to walk-on Eli Evenson to put the offense in scoring position.

Jonathan Smith said after practice that one of the focuses for the offense Friday was the deep ball, and the quarterbacks certainly got their share of big passes in.

One thing that became apparent; as the Huskies’ O moved toward the water (west->east), the NE corner of Husky Stadium turned into a bit of a Bermuda Triangle for receivers. For some reason, whether it was the sun or the way the sky was in the background, every receiver that went to that corner of the field lost the ball in the air, looking more like Jose Canseco before the baseball hit him in the head and went over the fence. It was all a bit confusing.
Players Making Plays:
Generally-speaking, the defense won the day.

Led by sophomore corner Darren Gardenhire, as well as fellow sophomores Sidney Jones and Budda Baker, the defensive backs had things pretty well on lock-down.

Gardenhire, according to DB Coach Jimmy Lake, had three picks on the day, and he could have had a fourth if he hadn’t lost a jump-ball battle with Jaydon Mickens.

Offensively, the available tight ends all had very solid days. That group included Joshua Perkins, Darrell Daniels, and Drew Sample. I can’t remember too many times where the ball left their hands, and especially with Daniels he made a couple one-handed stabs that bailed out the QB’s.
Injury Woes: DB Trevor Walker, DB Kevin King, DB Jermaine Kelly, LB Keishawn Bierria, OL Coleman Shelton and WR John Ross were all non-participants in practice due to various injuries while LB Travis Feeney, DB Brandon Beaver and DB Brandon Lewis continued to wear the yellow (no contact) jerseys. Beaver and Lewis did get some time in during some team periods.

Devin Burleson and David Ajamu were at practice today, but did not participate on the field. Ajamu worked with John Ross and Dwayne Washington catching passes from the Jugs machine.

Also worth noting is that DB Naijiel Hale and RB Deontae Cooper were also missing from action and there is no update on when either might return. With Cooper, Washington, and Jomon Dotson apparently unavailable, that meant Lavon Coleman was the only scholarship running back used for practice Friday, joining walk-ons Ralph Kinne (who had a fumble) and Texas transplant Gavin McDaniel.
The Seating Chart:
It didn’t look all that different from Scott’s Wednesday, with one notable exception: Joe Mathis, who played in front of Psalm Wooching.

First Team OL: LT Jake Eldrenkamp, LG Dane Crane, C Siosifa Tufunga, RG Shane Brostek and RT Andrew Kirkland.

First Team DL: DE Will Dissly (Jarett Finau), DT/NT Vita Vea (Elijah Qualls) and DE Taniela Tupou.

Second Team OL: LT Matt James, LG John Turner, C Michael Kneip, RG Jesse Sosebee and RT Kaleb McGary.

First Team LBs: 'BUCK' Joe Mathis, LILB Scott Lawyer, RILB Azeem Victor and WIL Cory Littleton.

First Team DBs: CB Sidney Jones, CB Darren Gardenhire, FS Brian Clay and SS Budda Baker.
Worth Mentioning:
— Some faces in the crowd today. Former coach Dick Baird was in the house, as well as former UW basketball star and radio personality Elise Woodward. James Atoe and Micah Hatchie, who worked out at UW’s Pro Day Thursday, were also at practice.

- Tacoma Lincoln’s Jusstis Warren, a 2015 UW signing, was at practice again, and Keith Ismael, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound 2016 OL/DL prospect from Sacred Heart Prep in San Francisco, was at practice with his family. Sacred Heart may sound familiar; it’s the school where 2015 UW LB signee Ben Burr-Kirven goes to school.

- Even though Gardenhire’s picks will get the most praise, arguably the best one came from sophomore MIK Azeem Victor, who battled Cory Littleton to come up with the ball as the both of them collided in mid-air. Littleton looked slightly shaken up, but came back no worse for the wear and played the rest of practice.

- The offense had to run the practice-ending gassers because of the picks, but TE Darrell Daniels wanted to make sure the defense knew they had just been scored on by one of his TE mates, Joshua Perkins. As the rest of the offense went to the sidelines to get ready to run, he was still woofing at the defense 15-yards away.

But the defense got the last laugh, as Daniels and the offense ran their gassers. One interesting twist; Chris Petersen had KJ Carta-Samuels get out in front of the line to lead them in a mock ‘hike’ to make sure they didn’t jump out ahead of time. Just a wrinkle Pete threw in to make sure the offense was focused and still paying attention, even though practice was basically over.

No one jumped.

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