Per NCAA rules, the team must practice twice without pads before they can start hitting. "We'll try and go five days with no pads and ten days in pads and maybe one day in what we call 'Husky gear', which is helmets, shoulder pads and shorts," UW head coach Keith Gilbertson said Thursday.
According to Gilbertson, there will be more live tackling, as well as more live action
with the quarterbacks, although the schedule for when these 'live' sessions hasn't been
worked out yet.
The energy appeared to be quite good as the players worked out the kinks. Gilbertson
hoped the solid foundation laid down by the team in the off-season would transfer over
to the field in short order.
"We had a really positive experience in the weight room and with our mat drills," he
said. "We had a good response with our speed school too. We pushed 'em hard."
Gilbertson also talked a little bit about the off-season gathering of information. "We
didn't have anybody come in this winter," he said. "We did exchange film with different
people, but no guests." Last spring some coaches from Auburn stopped by Husky Stadium.
Gilbertson wasn't sure if any schools would be doing the same this year, as it all
depends on scheduling.
All the players that are out for the spring - Rob Meadow, Tusi Sa'au, Joe Toledo, Jason Benn, Dashon Goldson and Joe Lobendahn - worked out in red, while Ben Bandel took his
turns as the number-one tight end with Jon Lyon backing him up.
Tyler Ashby was in attendance, watching the work of new line coach Charlie Dickey, as
well as former UW center Kyle Benn, who is the Huskies' newest offensive graduate
assistant. "All the kids we signed (for the offensive line) just might be bigger than
the guys in the program right now," quipped Gilbertson.
Dickey started out with the tackles, while Benn worked out the interior linemen. Khalif Barnes and Ryan Brooks are the number-one tackles, while Clay Walker, Stanley Daniels and
Brad Vanneman hold down the number-one guard and center spots, respectively.
Chad Macklin, Tui Alailefaleula, Erik Berglund, Juan Garcia and Brandon Leyritz ran with
On the defensive line, there could be changes aplenty. "I expect some great battles
there," Gilbertson said. "At left end (HUSKY) we've got Donny Mateaki and Mike Mapu. At
the other end we've got Ty Eriks and Brandon Ala. And inside we've got Dan Milsten, Jordan Reffett, Casey Tyler, Manase Hopoi and Wilson Afoa."
Gilbertson also mentioned corner and safety as the two other position battles to watch for,
but clearly everyone's focus is on quarterback. Gilbertson called it a 'day-to-day' battle,
where Casey Paus, Isaiah Stanback and Carl Bonnell will all get a shot to prove they belong
at the top of the list. "It's going to be exciting to watch and I hope they get a lot
out of it too," he said.
Each looked a bit rusty, overthrowing their receivers a few times, but also looked to have
improved arm strength and zip on the ball. Stanback, in particular, has a cannon for an
No Nate: Nate Robinson did not show up for practice today, confirming reports that he
is going to stick with basketball for the time being. But there's still a change Nate could
play, as Gilbertson left the door open to giving the dynamic two-sport star some time off
before putting on the pads.
Goodrum's status still uncertain: "We may not know until summer," said Gilbertson when
asked about when he would know about Rashaad Goodrum's academic standing. Goodrum is
still at Los Angeles Valley College, finishing up requirements before becoming eligible to
transfer to Washington.
Special Teams: Charles Frederick, Anthony Russo and Sonny Shackelford were the punt
returners Thursday. Tim Galloway and Rob Lewis handled the long snapping chores, while
Mike Mapu did the short snapping.
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