Practice news and notes - 8/20 AM

The Washington football team, spurned on by an off-tempo practice Tuesday night, came out firing with an upbeat morning session on Wednesday. Even though they were in 'lightbulbs' (shorts and shoulder pads), the pace was brisk and the defense showed that they came to play. Leading the way? Terry Johnson and Manase Hopoi.

Johnson made an early statement by ripping off Dan Dicks' helmet during a one-on-one drill. You could hear him vocally from the stands and he was right at the front during the practice-ending 11-11 session that saw the D throw some curves at the offense, courtesy of Phil Snow.

Hopoi, the junior from Sacramento, let his pads and his hands do the talking. During the 11-11 session, he caused problems with line of sight by keeping his hands high and deflecting a couple of passes. And then he jumped a route and picked Casey Paus off in stride for a touchdown. Nobody was as active on the DL this morning than Manase and he was making things happen in a big way.

It's become clear that Snow has taken things under his command when it comes to his role as co-defensive coordinator. He's making the sideline calls and at the end of practice during conditioning he took the lead, along with OC John Pettas. The former UCLA DC has been putting his stamp on things from the moment he got to campus, and at least from an outside perspective appears to be the defensive coaching leader.

When the team first came out, the one thing that stood out was the number of players in red. Jerome Stevens, Scott White, Khalif Barnes, Clayton Walker, Jon Lyon and Ben Bandel were the main players sitting out of this morning's workout. Lyon, the JC tight end from Carmel, California and Saddleback College, came out with his left foot in a boot.

The Husky coaches had a bit of a scare this morning when Charles Frederick and Chris Massey got tangled up during a one-on-one drill. Frederick didn't get up and actually crawled to the sidelines, where he was treated and stretched out. He got up and made it back for the rest of the practice, but did appear to be favoring his left side from time to time.

Justin Robbins continues to work out on his own and really looks fantastic. The RS junior from Olympia is moving very well and doesn't seem to be affected by any residual pain or discomfort from his knee injury.

Mike Mapu, the JC transfer from American Samoa and Mesa CC, continues to impress with the short snapping duties. All he needs to do is get reps to hone his skills and the job should be his. With Stevens out, only Jason Benn was the other short snapper available. Evan Knudson was kicking again this morning after nursing a sore hip flexor, but Michael Braunsten did get the lion's share of the repetitions. It was also the first time where first-team FB Adam Seery worked extensively as a holder, with mixed results.

Benn, the RS frosh from O'Dea, had arguably the best day of the long snappers, along with Owen Biddle and Tim Galloway. Keith Gilbertson worked long and hard with the punters today with various scenarios (coffin corners, kicking out the end zone, etc...). Tuesday evening, Gilbertson spent most of the day in a camera well in the South upper deck, but he didn't leave the field this morning.

Mapu has been a busy guy of late, also working toward unseating Dan Milsten and Graham Lasee as a starting defensive end. He got into it with OG Nick Newton, slugging it out until Newton ripped Mapu's helmet off. Usually that would be the end of that, but Newton would have nothing of it, continuing to swing away until Dan Cozzetto and Ryan Brooks broke things off.

One guy getting reps with the twos on defense was Donny Mateaki, who is right on the cutline for traveling to Ohio State. The RS frosh from Honolulu shows some real signs of brilliance, but his consistency is the biggest thing holding him back. And with Stevens out, Tui Alailefaleula worked solely with the ones.

James Sims got some work with the number one safeties, along with Owen Biddle, and Chris Massey lined up opposite Roc Alexander this morning.

Offensively, Brad Vanneman got the first reps with the ones today, but Dan Dicks split equal time with him. That battle is literally neck and neck.

Cody Pickett hooked up with TE Joe Toledo early in the 11-11's for a touchdown on a very pretty play, but after that it was almost all defense. Snow threw the kitchen sink at the O and they didn't respond with a lot of success. Right after Hopoi's pick, Evan Benjamin nearly came up with his own theft.


Notes:
New skin: While the team practiced, painters were busy putting a new coat of either primer or 'Husky gold' on the benches of Husky Stadium.

Return visit: The team was visited again by scout from the New York Giants.

Frequent visitors: Josh Miller and Junior Coffin continue to be at every practice since the team returned from Olympia. Miller is expected to be helping out the team in some sort of student coaching capacity down the line.

Extra work: The team did 10-yard sprints at the end of practice this morning, with the offense doing some extra. Each side lined up as a unit along the width of the field and went on the snap of the ball.

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