Spring Ball Day 10: News and Notes

It was Washington’s second full pads practice for the media Wednesday, and it couldn’t have happened in nicer conditions. The sun was out and the players were fired up to get the pads popping. And as you would expect, the defense let their presence be known.

It was Tim Socha again who was involved early, with a bullhorn loud and proud to signal THUD tempo periods. That meant as fast as possible and hitting without taking players to the ground.

MIK Azeem Victor announced his presence on the first play, tracking down Jomon Dotson and putting him down in front of the defensive sideline. They went nuts.

And that’s how it went for the majority of practice. With the sun out, the energy and enthusiasm were high. But when it came to the THUD-temp full 11-11 periods, the defense once again took the day when the bullets started flying.
Quarterback Competition, Day Ten: I’m sure plenty of progression has been made overall this spring for the three quarterbacks, but it’s awfully hard to tell from the outside looking in based on their collective performance Wednesday. They had some moments, but they were far and few between.

The highlights? Jeff Lindquist had a couple; a nice 70-yard run untouched for six that really got the offense energized. He also had arguably the prettiest throw of camp to date; a 67-yard strike over the top to Marvin Hall that was caught perfectly in stride. Once Hall had it secured, no one was going to catch him. Lindquist knew exactly where he was going, never hesitated on the throw, and launched a perfect spiral to the senior wideout.

But in general, the quarterback play was rough. And to be fair to them, the receivers just had a torrid day trying to hold on to the ball. Jaydon Mickens had a couple plays in a row where Jake Browning put the ball right where he needed to, only to have the senior drop the pass. There seemed to be too many moments Wednesday where the quarterbacks should have gotten bailed out by the receivers and backs, only to see the ball end up needlessly on the turf.

Browning was the biggest offender in terms of turnovers. He threw up a jump ball to Brayden Lenius (normally not the worst idea), but Sidney Jones was camped under it from the start and was able to haul it in. The second one was more egregious, as he scrambled to his right. As he tried to extend the play as long as he could, he saw a receiver he thought came clear. Brandon Lewis was waiting for Browning to try and fit in the throw, which he then promptly stepped in front of for an easy pick.

There’s absolutely no doubt these reps for Browning will really help him down the road as ‘banked reps’ Jonathan Smith can go to as examples of what not to do when managing the game, but for right now Browning is really taking his lumps while he learns on the job. No one said it was going to be easy for the true frosh; how he responds the next couple practices will really tell the tale as to how far he’s progressed in a short amount of time.
Players Making Plays:
As I mentioned above, Lindquist and Hall had the offensive plays of the day, and Jones and Lewis were the ones that came up with nice picks.

But it was Victor and his crunching takedown of Dotson very early in practice that really seemed to set the tone for the day.

Injury Woes: DB Trevor Walker, DB Kevin King, DB Jermaine Kelly, LB Keishawn Bierria, OL Coleman Shelton, OL Dexter Charles and OL Andrew Kirkland were all non-participants in practice due to various injuries. The boot that was on Kirkland’s foot Monday was gone Wednesday. LB Travis Feeney, DB Brandon Beaver and DB Brandon Lewis were joined in yellow Monday by TE Drew Sample, who had been held out most of last week.

Psalm Wooching and John Ross were back at it Wednesday, with Wooching full-go. Ross was involved in some of the punt return work with Dante Pettis and Budda Baker, but was not in full pads. Wednesday also saw the return of running back Deontae Cooper, who was in shorts and jersey only today. Devin Burleson was back full-go and he was the second-string left tackle behind Jake Eldrenkamp.
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. The return of Burleson at RT certainly helped.

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 Devin Burleson, LG Cory Fuavai, 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 and Ezekiel Turner at safety.
Worth Mentioning:
— With Spring Break in full swing for most local and regional high schools, the recruiting of the local kids is back at Husky Stadium. According to Lakes Head Coach Dave Miller, he had 36 players at Wednesday’s workout, a reward for a leadership class. There were also some players from Curtis High School in University Place, including 2016 OL/DL Elijah Piper. You can see his Hudl highlights HERE

- There was a big specialist period at the end of practice Wednesday. After the thud tempo team periods, it was a fitting end to see how Cameron Van Winkle and Tristan Vizcaino dealt with some pressure of their own.

This was the sequence:
Van Winkle 32-yard FG...GOOD.
Vizcaino 25-yard FG...GOOD.
CVW 40-yard FG...GOOD.
Vizcaino 45-yard FG...GOOD. By a yard.
CVW 27-yard FG...NO GOOD. Hit right upright.
Vizcaino 38-yard FG...NO GOOD. Wide right.
CVW 43-yard FG...NO GOOD. Wide right.
Vizcaino 47-yard FG...NO GOOD. Wide left.

So as you can tell, great stuff early on but they faded badly at the end. Van Winkle had a solid year last year, so there shouldn’t be much concern here as he gets his spring kicks in. But obviously you’d like to see him more nailed on and ready to go.

- Speaking of field goals, the linemen once again had an unusual and funny competition period. The offensive and defensive linemen were paired up in a kicking contest. They were trying to kick field goals as fast as possible, moving back a few yards for every made kick. Greg Gaines bested Elijah Qualls in one specific competition that I saw. The linemen were definitely getting a ‘kick’ out of trying something they would normally never do.

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