Dawgbytes - 4/22

The Washington Huskies had their final full-go practice Thursday before Saturday's spring game. UW head coach Keith Gilbertson wanted to just split his team up and play four quarters of football, but injuries have forced his hand in a different direction.

"I know it's something that teams like UCLA and Cal have been having problems with too," Gilbertson said Thursday, commenting on the lack of offensive linemen to hold a normal game.

"The game will be a competition between the offense and defense, and we'll also mix in the kicking game in there too."

The 'game' will be scored like a regular scrimmage, except that other points will be given out for various things, including fumbles and interceptions.

"We did it like that a couple of times under Don James," Gilbertson said. "I'm not doing it for show, that's for sure. We have fifteen practices and I'm going to use all of 'em." Gilbertson did say that a full game scenario would have been the ideal tool for being able to judge improvement, but that they will work with what they have. He also added that the twos will probably get the most work Saturday.

The team will elect their season captains Friday, as well as hand out various awards. It's the first time captains have been selected in the spring and spring awards handed out since the Jim Lambright era.

Gilbertson mentioned Charles Smith, James Sims, Ryan Brooks and Juan Garcia (before his injury) as offensive players that have made positive strides. Defensively, Evan Benjamin, Scott White, Matt Fountaine and C.J. Wallce were singled out.

"Guys like Kenny James, Zach (Tuiasosopo), Khalif (Barnes), Derrick Johnson, Sam (Cunningham) are all players I think have all looked the part," Gilbertson added. "And I think Sean Douglas has a chance to be a fine kicker. He certainly has the leg for it."

The Husky head coach lauded James for having the best all-around game of a strong group of younger running backs. "Kenny has had the most reps with the first group, whoever that might have been at the time," he said. "He's looked the best. He's done the best with blocking, pass protection, catching the ball out of the backfield. He's just a very good football player."

One player Gilbertson mentioned as having worked his way into a potential starting spot for this fall was freshman defensive tackle Casey Tyler. He mentioned receiver, quarterback and defensive end as positions still very much up in the air as far as a pecking order.

"At receiver I'm not really sure where the depth fits in right now," he said. "It hurt that Sonny (Shackelford) was out for some time with a hamstring problem and Quintin (Daniels), coming off of knee problems hasn't been as fast as I remember him being. He ran some good times in the winter.

"The quarterbacks have all had a lot of reps, but one of those guys has to emerge. At defensive end, Mike Mapu has looked better of late, but that's a position where a newcomer might have an impact."

While it's assumed Rashaad Goodrum would be the help coming in this fall, Gilbertson didn't rule out the possibility of a true freshman being used. He also added that there's no news on Goodrum's eligibility, and it could be a situation that might not get resolved until just before fall camp.


Notes:
Injury updates: Ben Bandel will have his knee scoped Tuesday, so he will not participate in Saturday's game. Chris Singleton, who Gilberton hoped to see last Saturday, is still a game-time decision. "I was hoping to see him for 35-40 plays or so last week, but he didn't make it out of warm-ups, so we'll see," Gilbertson said. "If he's not feeling it, we don't want to push it."

Charles Frederick is expected back at full speed, and Gilbertson is also hoping that sophomore DT Dan Milsten will be available for action.

Tusi and Toledo back?: Apparently the back problems of Tusi Sa'au and Joe Toledo might not be enough to keep them out of Gilbertson's fall plans. "I talked to their specialist and he's very optimistic," he said of Sa'au, a junior offensive lineman and Toledo, a junior tight end. "I've known him for a while and I trust him. He's optimistic, so I'm optimistic."

Bradley sighting: Derrick Bradley was at Thursday's practice. The cornerback from Mukilteo is ready to rejoin the team this fall after leaving school to take care of an injured shoulder.

Spring Fling information: Saturday's spring game is the centerpiece to the Huskies 'Spring Fling'. At 10AM Saturday there will be a Volleyball intrasquad scrimmage at the Bank of America Pavilion addition between BOA and Graves Annex. There is also a 1PM baseball game versus Arizona and a 2PM softball game against Stanford.

All the events are free - except reserved tickets for the softball game - and open to the public. There's also a Washington Football experience from 11-11:45 where kids can get a chance to meet players. You can register online for this event at gohuskies.com

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