Spring Ball Day 6: News and Notes

Day six of Washington’s spring football couldn’t have been more different than Monday’s practice. The sun was shining and temperatures were mild at Husky Stadium for UW’s two-hour-plus, full-pads practice.

Quarterback Competition, Day Six: This was one of those days where all the quarterbacks took their turn looking solid, but perhaps some of that had to do with what the team was trying to work on.

The emphasis Wednesday seemed to be just outside the red zone, and going in for six. During the skelly drills by the red zone, Jeff Lindquist, K.J. Carta-Samuels, and Jake Browning all threw touchdown passes. But it was the true freshman from Folsom, Calif. that had the highlights - back-to-back touchdown passes with perfect touch to Marvin Hall, the second over the outstretched arms of cornerback Darren Gardenhire.

But when it came to the full team period at the end of practice, that was all Lindquist. The junior from Mercer Island drove the first team all the way down the field, finding Hall for a key first down throw. The offense became the beneficiary of a Sidney Jones pass interference call in the end zone as he was trying to defend Dante Pettis, and on the next play Lindquist called his own number for six. It was an efficient, balanced drive.
Players Making Plays:
As I said above, Marvin Hall was all over the place Wednesday making catches. He was very noticeable.

It seems like David Ajamu and Drew Sample are taking turns now, depending on the day. Monday Sample stood out in Ajamu’s absence, and Wednesday it was just the reverse. Ajamu had at least a couple TD catches during the skelly drills by the end zone and he’s just a bit target in general with his 6-foot-5 frame.

Jomon Dotson got a lot of work running the ball, as Dwayne Washington and Lavon Coleman saw some action but not a lot. Dotson was the man during a gauntlet-style drill where he was the ballcarrier and he had three blockers ahead of him against three defenders. He barely got touched during any of the reps I saw.

Defensively, Ezekiel Turner probably showed up the most Wednesday since he got to UW. The 6-foot-2, 204-pound sophomore safety had a couple of real physical plays, including one where he stood Dotson up at the five-yard line and the redshirt frosh running back was dead in his tracks. The pop could be heard all the way to the Ave. On paper we’ve been talking about how much physicality Turner should bring to the back end, and he did that today when the full pads were on.
Injury Woes: DB Trevor Walker, DB Kevin King, DB Jermaine Kelly, LB Keishawn Bierria, OL Coleman Shelton, OL Devin Burleson 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. Bierria worked out some at practice, but wasn’t given a helmet so his time out there was very limited.

With Drew Sample out, that gave David Ajamu plenty of reps at tight end. Psalm Wooching appeared to be the other notable player that had been playing through Monday, but sat out Wednesday.

Other than that, things appeared status quo. Another quick note is that senior DL Jarett Finau has been practicing without the OL-sized knee brace that has hampered him in the past. If he could play without a brace in 2015, that would go a long way toward making sure his agility and movement is maximized.
The Seating Chart:
Again, not too much new here compared to what Scott laid out during the first week of camp. Mostly it’s because they simply don’t have a ton of bodies to rotate, and they’ve been fortunate to not lose more players during practices.

First Team OL: LT Jake Eldrenkamp, LG Dane Crane, C Siosifa Tufunga, RG Shane Brostek and RT Andrew Kirkland. Matt James played a lot at right tackle Monday, and Andrew Kirkland saw some time at left tackle behind Eldrenkamp.

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

First Team DL: DE Will Dissly (Jarett Finau), DT/NT Vita Vea (Elijah Qualls) and DE Taniela Tupou. When UW goes into an even (four) front, Dissly, Qualls, Tupou, and Mathis have had their hand down.

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. Naijiel Hale has been working with the twos, as has Jojo McIntosh at safety.
Worth Mentioning:
— With spring break starting to happen for high schools, there were plenty of recruits out at Husky Stadium Wednesday. We’ll be working on names, but one we know for sure was there was Jeremiah Pritchard from Farrington High School in Honolulu. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Pritchard’s HUDL film can be seen HERE

- The offensive and defensive lines had a really fun and interesting ‘competition’ period. It was an obstacle course race, where linemen would line up side-by-side, run around a big hoop, grab a football, navigate some bags, and then throw the ball roughly 20 yards downfield into the end zone to a waiting teammate.

This competition really showed off the athleticism of the linemen, as well as some of their less obvious skills - like throwing. Based on the energy and the whooping and hollering coming from that side of the field, they were clearly excited to compete against each other. It wasn’t just offense versus defense; for all I know they could have been asked to match up against certain other players they wanted to race.

- As good as the kickers have been up to this point in camp, they didn’t show off as well Wednesday. From my count there were only four kicks attempted in practice; Mitch Johnson made his only attempt, while Cameron Van Winkle made just one of three field goals he tried. To be fair, the timing of the battery between the snapper and holder made things difficult, but Van Winkle is normally a very reliable kicker even when the timing isn’t perfect.

- Dante Pettis and Budda Baker are definitely the two punt returners that UW Head Coach Chris Petersen has used this spring. Petersen, who has taken the role of coaching the returners personally, had Budda try and catch punts with a tennis ball in each hand, while Pettis tried to catch punts with another football in one arm.

- Maybe they’ve done this before, but I don’t remember it; the team did their pre-practice stretching to ‘YMCA’. Some of the players - like Kaleb McGary - got into it with the hand gestures to match the song. I wouldn’t be surprised if the staff tries to use the song more because it was clear it got the energy going the right way for practice.

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