Scrimmage report - 4/17

Under blue skies Saturday morning at Husky Stadium, the defense asserted itself, capitalizing on a makeshift Washington offensive line to dominate the Dawgs' second scrimmage of the spring. Scott White led the way with 6 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, while Brandon Ala had a sack, two passes batted down and a fumble recovery.

"This might have been the worst offensive scrimmage in all the years I've been here," Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson commented aftewards. "No one made a play. We've got some problems on offense.

"I liked some of the things the defense did today. They hit and tackled better. Obviously the pressure rattled the offensive kids a bit. We're a long ways off until we get all our guys back. Until we do, that's just how it is."

That was no more apparent than on the OL, where walk-on Jens Jellen started at guard alongside Khalif Barnes, while guard Clay Walker was moved to the center position. There were numerous exchange miscues, as would be expected with new personnel. Also, Tui Alailefaleula - who has been backing up Ryan Brooks - was moved inside to help shore up the guard spot decimated by injuries to Brad Vanneman and Juan Garcia.

"I'm not surprised," Gilbertson said of the struggles offensively. "You can see it coming when you're moving people around and guys are playing different positions. It was going to be hard to be really consistent."

Only one touchdown was scored, a 33-yard pass play from Isaiah Stanback to Dash Crutchley. The Michael Braunstein extra-point attempt bounced wide off the right upright.

The freshman kicker was 2-3 on field goals, with a long of 40. Evan Knudson was 3-4 with 44 yards being his longest field goal of the day. Punter Sean Douglas had a 34.4 yard average on 5 punts, while Knudson had a 39.5 yard average on two kicks.

"We had a lot of mistakes, but I felt personally that I made a lot of strides," Stanback said after practice. "I worked hard and tried to have a good week of practice. I just have to make some minor adjustments on the routes."

Isaiah was 6-13 for 80 yards and the one touchdown to Crutchley. Casey Paus, who started out the day with the number-one team, was 6-16 for 66 yards and one interception, a diving grab by freshman safety C.J. Wallace. Carl Bonnell was 3-5 for 49 yards and one interception. That pick was registered deep in the defense's territory by another safety, Jimmy Newell.

"After a while it takes a toll on your mind and body, getting pushed around to different positions," Paus said after the scrimmage when asked about the different offensive position moves. "I think the guys have been coping with it well so far, but we'll see. It's kind of scary, but I think the guys that we have are going to step up big. And some of the linemen will be back for fall ball. We have a lot of good experience coming back, and it's unfortunate that we don't have them right now. We just have to get better with what we do have. That's my goal.

"At this position (quarterback) you can't dwell on things. We have one more week of practice and I just have to get better and better."

"We don't have a starter and no one certainly won the job today," Gilbertson said. "We just have to go back Tuesday and start all over again."

Paus won't let the poor scrimmage affect his long-term outlook. "The coaches told us that they were going to rotate everybody all the way to spring game, so I don't think they had planned on making a decision anyways," he said. "I didn't expect anything. If a decision is made, they'll talk about it but I don't think it will happen until after spring ball.

"It's going to be a competition all the way until the 24th, so that's the way I'm going to look at it. I just need to get in the classroom and figure out what happened today."

Crutchley's big grab was the standout play from a wide-receiver corps that didn't have a lot of chances Saturday. Quintin Daniels led the team with 4 catches for 47 yards. James Sims had 3 catches for 70 yards, including a long of 44. Crutchley had two grabs for 40 yards and Sonny Shackelford also had two catches, for 9 yards. Anthony Russo, Charles Smith, Craig Chambers and Jon Lyon each had one pass reception on the day.

It's no surprise that the running backs did not enjoy the same success they did last week. In Washington's first scrimmage, the Huskies had 4 running backs run for over 50 yards apiece. Today? Only two over twenty yards, led by Kenny James' 23 yards on 6 carries and Louis Rankin's 20 yards on 5 carries, including a long of 16. Sims had 6 yards on 2 carries, Shelton Sampson 4 on 4 carries, Zach Tuiasosopo 2 yards on one carry and fullback Dan Foafoa had 4 yards on his lone carry.

So who stood out defensively? Besides White's 6 stops, there was a five-way tie for second in tackling. Chris Hemphill, Josh Okoebor, Evan Benjamin, Eric Roy and Wilson Afoa each had four tackles on the day. Afoa also had 2 sacks for 11, leading the defense to six sacks during the scrimmage. Brandon Ala, Mike Mapu, Casey Tyler and Jordan Reffett had the other ones. Hemphill, Ala and Ty Eriks each had fumble recoveries for the defense.

"Chris Hemphill runs around the field and he looks like he's trying to hit people, and I like that," Gilbertson said when asked about defenders that caught his eye. "Evan Benjamin and Scott White made plays. Mike Mapu had his best effort today running around. He looked like he knew what he was doing. I'm liking the perimeter of our defense right now, but we haven't thrown a lot of plays at the middle of the defense yet."


Notes:
Lewis to offense: Rob Lewis is now wearing number 81 and running with the tight ends. The move was not made as a temporary fix while Joe Toledo, Ben Bandel and Jason Benn are out with injuries. "I'm going to give him a look now and at (fall) camp too," Gilbertson said of the 6-3, 205-pound Lewis.

Dawgman.com Top Stories