Dawgbytes – 8/13

When the horn blew at 9:05 this morning to start practice, the sun was already heating up the Husky Stadium turf and the players appeared hyped about their first Saturday practice.

Head coach Tyrone Willingham was encouraged by the intensity and energy displayed today, but said he is looking for more consistency from his players. "Practice was, I thought, an upgrade," Willingham said following the team's two hour workout. "Still not where I'd like it to be, but I thought it was an upgrade.

"Probably since I've seen this group, I think we've come up, slipped a notch and then come up again. It's the daily sequence that you go through when you're at this stage of your preparation, but what we're hoping for with this football team is to get ourselves to the point where we don't have these ups and down. Instead just stay on a steady climb."

As soon as stretching was done, offensive line coach Mike Denbrock could be heard exhorting his players to keep their pad level lower and work on their "false steps". The line was working hard on one a drill that is the image most think of when they think of fall camp – the blocking sled.

Seven linemen straight across and they had to drive the sled 15 yards before Denbrock blew the whistle to stop the drill. He could be heard saying, "Don't you quit, don't you quit on me." And no one did.

One thing is for sure, this is about as deep as the offensive line has been for the better part of a decade.

The running backs were really working hard today running through a drill that makes them work on their footwork by running through a set of ropes, then enter a contraption that simulates defenders ripping at the ball and then making a cut as soon as they exit. Johnnie Kirton continues to impress with his footwork for a man his size. Running backs coach Trent Miles could be heard telling his charges to keep their eyes up.

The defense was located on the far field today, but because the team was in full pads today for the first time this camp, the players were working on their tackling and how to stand up the ball-carrier.

Some might think that the first time in pads would mean a more intense atmosphere around practice. Not so says Willingham.

"We go hard, whether it's in shorts, shells or full pads," Willingham stated. "We didn't tackle today, but we had the same crisp thud type work that we normally have. We demand the high level of intensity whether it's shorts or whatever.

As far as the quarterback position is concerned Willingham said, "No new is no news."

All four quarterbacks continue to get the same reps, but offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said they expect to pick a guy in about a week.

Red Jerseys: The red jerseys were diminished some today, but the most notable of the five seen in red were RB Kenny James, who is still nursing the sore shoulder he suffered during Tuesday's workout, and S Darin Harris who is still recovering from a concussion. Willingham said some players are dealing with heat related issues and one of those was DT Jasper Henry. Willingham noted this is a normal occurrence during camp and expects the heat related issues to be resolved on their own.

Recruiting 101: Several recruits were in attendance at practice. The two most recognizable were Bellevue OL Steve Schilling and Skyline OL Cody Habben.

Tormey encouraged by young linebackers: Linebackers coach Chris Tormey has been really impressed with his three true freshman linebackers. Tormey stated that E.J. Savannah is showing exactly why they were excited to get his signature on a letter of intent. The feeling of the coaching and training staffs is that with a good rehab, Savannah's shoulder should be just fine. Darrion Jones has really impressed Tormey with his speed and athleticism and Jones is already the biggest linebacker on the roster. Tormey loves Chris Stevens' speed and instincts, but is looking for the youngster from California to add a few pounds since he only weighs 205 right now.

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