It was Socha who wasn’t happy at all with the way the practice-opening warmup was going, so he gathered the team together, told them the energy they came out with wasn’t cutting the mustard, and gave them a ‘do over’ - a trip down the field, around the east goal post, and back to the west end zone.
Then they would start again, but this time with more energy. From that moment on, the enthusiasm picked up considerably and the defense went on to take the day.
Quarterback Competition, Day Nine: Early on it looked like Jeff Lindquist and Jake Browning were going to have the run of the place. Their passes were accurate and they were making good decisions in taking the ‘easy money’ passes. K.J. Carta-Samuels seemed to struggle of the three.
But as practice went and the defense had a chance to get after the three quarterbacks, it was clear Monday was not going to be a day for the offense. While the tight ends continued to show why they’ve been the most consistent offensive group to date, the offense in general was pretty stagnant as the defense was able to provide some withering pressure through both the front seven and also throughout the defensive backfield. When I say ‘withering’ it was as much as you could expect out of a shells and shorts practice with no full contact.
So in short, while Lindquist and Browning started out strong, all three struggled quite a bit when the defense ramped things up and got after the offense. The offensive highlight of the day was a Lindquist bomb that was hauled in easily by Brayden Lenius over Brandon Lewis. The two tried to connect later during a team period, but Lenius was flagged for a clear pass interference as Budda Baker went face-first into the Husky Stadium field turf. He stayed down an extra 5-10 seconds just to make sure the refs knew exactly what had happened.
One thing that has become abundantly clear about Browning - he is extremely confident in his plays down the field. He has no conscience when it comes to trying to fit in tough passes and shows all the confidence in the world in that regard - something very different from quarterbacks we’ve seen the last few years. He risks a lot of picks that way, but he comes right back and continues to look downfield first without an ounce of fear.
The downside to Browning’s game right now is arm strength. It’s not Cyler Miles territory, but when he throws deep his arm is not as strong as the other two quarterbacks. Some of that can be attributed to just not being as big as the other guys, but we know there was a dead arm issue last year that cropped up, so could it be showing up again this spring? We’ll see. But right now the only deep passes he’s going to be able to complete are ones thrown with early anticipation and lifted over the top.
Players Making Plays:
As I mentioned above, Lindquist and Lenius had the offensive play of the day, but Naijiel Hale and Jojo McIntosh had the defensive plays of the day.
Hale just ripped the ball out of the sky just before David Ajamu was about to catch a pass from Carta-Samuels. And McIntosh had the easiest pick of the spring by just playing centerfield and letting Browning overthrow a pass intended for Darrell Daniels.
Ezekiel Turner continues to show his physicality, even when the pads aren’t on. That’s his calling card, and if it had been a live game the quarterback would have suffered a slobberknocker or two from the juco transfer if given a free shot. On one play, the whole defense oohed when they saw Turner run free at Carta-Samuels, ready to lay the lumber. They knew what was coming.
Injury Woes: DB Trevor Walker, DB Kevin King, DB Jermaine Kelly, LB Keishawn Bierria, OL Coleman Shelton, TE Drew Sample and OL Andrew Kirkland were all non-participants in practice due to various injuries. Kirkland was the newest one held out as he showed up to practice with a walking boot on his left foot. LB Travis Feeney, DB Brandon Beaver and DB Brandon Lewis were joined in yellow Monday by OL Devin Burleson, who had been held out most of last week. Feeney, Beaver and Lewis did get some time in during some team periods.
Psalm Wooching and John Ross were back at it Monday, working as much as they could as they returned to practice. Ross was involved in some of the punt return work with Dante Pettis and Budda Baker. Deontae Cooper is still not at practice as he tends to family matters, and with Dexter Charles attending class it gave Cory Fuavai more reps at left guard behind Dane Crane.
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 Matt James, who moved up with Kirkland out.
Second Team OL: LT Matt James, LG Cory Fuavai (John Turner), C Michael Kneip, RG Jesse Sosebee and RT Kaleb McGary. Because of the lack of depth at right tackle because of Kirkland’s absence, that meant more work for the big man from Fife.
First Team DL: Jaylen Johnson continued to get work with the ones alongside Taniela Tupou, Elijah Qualls and Joe Mathis at the hybrid BUCK. DE Will Dissly (Jarett Finau), DT/NT Vita Vea and DT Damion Turpin also worked their way in, as well as Greg Gaines at nose.
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. Hale continues to work with the twos, as is McIntosh at safety.
— With Spring Break in full swing for most local and regional high schools, surprised there weren’t more recruits on campus Monday compared to last week, but there was at least one we were able to confirm. Conner Crist, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound offensive lineman from Tigard, Ore. was spotted watching practice. You can view his Hudl film HERE.
- Only two field goals attempted at practice Monday - both from 35 yards. Cameron Van Winkle tried one and Tristan Vizcaino tried on. Both kicks were good.
- Korey Durkee continues to show off a huge leg. The senior from Gig Harbor hit a couple that were at least 55-60 yards in the air and only a great over-the-shoulder catch from Pettis kept both of them from ending up inside the 10-yard line. We’ve always known that Durkee has the ability to flip field position with the best punters in the conference and he could be a real weapon in that regard this fall.
- Because the defense won the final team period, the offense had to run gassers. As the offense was getting lined up, the defense was relishing the win, chanting the familiar melody to the White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ as the other half of the team ran. For those that aren’t sure what the song sounds like, you can hear it HERE
Spring Ball Day 9 News and Notes
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