4/25 practice report

The sun came out and beamed brightly as the Washington Huskies finished up their penultimate practice with enthusiasm. The defense looked active, getting after the ball as they close the spring on a high note.

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"I thought it was a pretty darn good practice, considering that there's one to go," Rick Neuheisel said after practice today. "This is a practice where the concentration wanes and I did not feel that. There were some times of it but it wasn't as exaggerated as I've seen in the past. I'm pleased with the way things have gone in the spring and excited for our scrimmage."

The red army continued to swell in numbers, as tailback Rich Alexis was held out of contact drills. "He had a shot put into his shoulder to try to decrease some imflamation in the muscle, but he'll be fine, ready to go on Saturday," Neuheisel said.

Alexis isn't the only dinged Dawg that should probably see action Saturday. "We're hoping Evan Benjamin, he played a little bit today," Neuheisel said. "I'm hoping he'll get to play. I'm hoping Derrick Johnson will get to play a little bit. But those will be game-day decisions. I just don't know yet."

Sophomore DT Tui Alailefaleula is also expected to play. "He's back, trying hard and I'm pleased that it's that important to him, so hopefully he'll be ready to go on Saturday," Neuheisel said.

Sophomore safety Jimmy Newell is making the most of his non-contact appearances, getting two nice interceptions this afternoon. The first was a terrific read and break on a flat pattern that he stepped in front of going full speed in the other direction. The last pick came after a hard fought battle with Paul Arnold. When he came up with the loose pigskin, the defense went nuts.

Eric Shyne and Sam Cunningham have been getting a ton of work this week, as well as safety James Sims. Evan Benjamin took some reps with the number two safeties, while Ty Eriks worked as the number 2 SAM behind Jafar Williams. On one particular read, Ty got a late break on a pass intended for a back that had slipped to the sideline unnoticed. Eriks finished the play off in disgust, and defensive GA Ty Gregorak immediately got in to give him some encouragement.

The quarterbacks looked a little shaky at times, but chalk that up to some nice defensive pressure up front. On one blitzing sequence, WILL Joseph Lobendahn read a hot pattern intended for Kevin Ware and made a perfect break on the ball. The only problem was, he didn't hold on to it. The sophomore from Honolulu continues to look great and is making all the right moves. Husky fans should like what they see out of Joseph on Saturday.

Manase Hopoi got a bunch of action as the number one defensive end, along with a DL of Jerome Stevens and Terry Johnson inside and Houdini Jackson and Jafar Williams as the outside 'backers. The sophomore from Sac-town is getting it done from the edges and gave the tight ends and strong tackles all they could ask for today.

Today's workout definitely went to the boys in white.


Reddick gets sixth year: Washington senior wide receiver Patrick Reddick has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. Reddick enrolled at Washington in the fall of 1997 but missed the 1998 and 1999 seasons due to chronic knee problems, including cysts that had to be removed from both knees. "It's great news for us," Neuheisel said. "Hopefully Pat's excited about it, we are. If he puts in the same commitment he put in towards last year we're going to reap the benefits, because he worked as hard as anybody in the offseason."

Spring game format: "We're going to try to play as much of a game as possible," Neuheisel said. "I guess it will be a little confusing for the fans with special teams, because we aren't going to do it as a purple team versus a white team. It'll be purple and white jerseys on the same side against a team with green vests on. That way we can practice our teams with our normal ones and twos. Hopefully we'll get some good work in special teams, but the game will have a normal flow."

Special teams twists: RS frosh Casey Paus worked with John Anderson as the second-team holder behind Cody Pickett. Tim Galloway got some looks at the end at long snapper with Andy Heater and John Gardenhire, Jelani Harrison and Jimmy Newell worked as punt returners with Paul Arnold and Reggie Williams. James Sims is working as the number one up-man right now. "I think we're ok, we're adequate," Neuheisel said in regards to special teams. "There's room for improvement, so we're going to try to improve ourselves before we come back in the fall."

C-Dub no-show: Curtis Williams was supposed to show up to watch practice this afternoon, but was held up with other previous obligations. He is being honored tonight at El Gaucho, as KJR is holding a benefit in his honor, and he will be Saturday's spring game.

ET on hold, for now: Neuheisel continued to assert that Charles 'ET' Frederick is no longer with the team, but the two did meet today and will continue to meet. "Charles and I will continue to talk about what, if any, will be his future," said Neuheisel.

Brand new Day: Mountain View RB/S James Day was in attendence today, checking out practice.

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