Dawgs act defensive in Spring Game

You could have called it an unveiling of sorts. After weeks of practices hidden to the public, some may have expected to see something new. They may have expected results. Instead, the approximate 5,000 fans that made it to Husky Stadium looking for a premier and a glimmer of hope for the next season, were treated to a rerun of the darkest parts of last season with the Purple Team defeating the Gold Team 3-0 in the annual Purple-Gold Spring Scrimmage.

"There were some good things and some bad things," said first-year Washington coach Tyrone Willingham, adding that it could just has easily been a high-scoring game and still had to answer the same questions. "You can't win in this situation. I would like to have more scoring, I would like to have more defense, I would like to have more of everything."

Depending on how you spin things, it was game that featured great defense or just lackluster offense. The two squads combined for just 259 yards of offense, and had one trip into the red zone.

"I think we are making a lot of progress," said Willingham of his defense. "I think our defense did a lot of good things today. But at the same time, I have pretty high standards and I would anticipate that most coaches would have the same expectations. I don't think you could say that this defense can go out and shut out 11 games next year."

Willingham gave a variety of factors as to why the offense could not settle into a groove, even though they used what he called very 'vanilla' but still very new schemes. The game was played under a running clock and made the game go by a lot faster and the quarterbacks were rotated with regularity.

Each scholarship quarterback had two quarters to work and showcase their talents. Isaiah Stanback and Carl Bonnell led the Purple Team, and Casey Paus and Johnny DuRocher led the Gold Team, with each rotating in every other quarter.

The combo of Stanback and Bonnell had nearly identical stats, with each throwing 4-for-6 for 49 and 51 yards respectively. The duo also combined for the only score of the day, leading a 13-play, 45-yard drive capped by a 41-yard field goal by Evan Knudsen with 7:42 left in the game.

Paus and DuRocher had a tougher time settling in, with DuRocher throwing two interceptions and Paus connecting on just 2-of-8 passes for 30 yards.

"The quarterbacks are still battling, and the game was indicative of what we consistently said all spring," said Willingham. Both Willingham and offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said that they felt some sort of pecking order was established among the four quarterbacks this spring, but refused to elaborate. Lappano went as far as saying he has only three quarterbacks in mind but he too refused to give details.

Shelton Sampson led all rushers with 29 yards on five carries, and earned praise from the coaches. Louis Rankin and Kenny James followed up with 25 and 20 yards each.

The defense combined for 10 sacks, with sophomore Caesar Rayford getting credit for two, and Mesphin Forrester and C.J. Wallace intercepting one pass each.

In terms of injuries, there were 16 players that were listed in on the injured list. Willingham said that he expects all of the players to be able to go for fall camp, but mentioned that there was one player that has a "concern," but refused to name who because "medically, all the discussions have not taken place."

Only one position change was announced and that was senior defensive lineman Mike Mapuolosega, making the switch from defensive end to tackle.


Notes:
In attendance: Highlighting the prospects in attendance Saturday wasn't a 2006 player, it was a 2007 player. Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian QB Jimmy Clausen, brother of Tennessee QB's Casey and Rick Clausen, was watching things from the sidelines. Jimmy will most likely be one of the top signal-callers for the recruiting class of 2007, and probably the top QB on the west coast. Also seen: Joel White-Frisbee, Jake Merrill, Taylor Mays and Brandon Jones.

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