Dawgbytes - 4/3

The Husky Stadium turf was soggy on Monday afternoon as the players began their second week of spring practice, but the rainy weather didn't dampen the enthusiasm on the field. Head coach Tyrone Willingham and his staff along with a couple of key players were energetic despite the inclement weather and according to Willingham, he's been pleased with the effort thus far, especially following the team's first padded practice on Saturday.

"The first padded practice was a delightful session, because however you cut it, you don't play football in shorts," Willingham said as he spoke to the media on Monday. "Even though I think being in shorts and not being in full equipment is a great way to practice and accomplish certain things – it's still not football.

"On Saturday we got our first taste of having a chance to do ‘real football'. We did some limited work and we did some red-zone work so there were some good things in there. As always, I walked off the field excited about some things and disappointed about some other things. It's a process and we're going through it right now."

One area that seems to be impressing Willingham is the play of his defense, especially his defensive line.

"I'm very excited about the competition with Jordan (White-Frisbee) out," Willingham noted. "You've got Jordan Reffett, Jovon (O'Connor) and (Eric) Lobos in there, along with Wilson Afoa, and then when Jordan does get back that only adds to it.

"We live on competition. The greater the competition the better they get, the better they get the better the team gets and the better the team gets the happier the coach is."

White-Frisbee, who continues to rehab from a foot injury suffered last year and then re-injured during winter conditioning, is days away from participating in full drills. Willingham said he is progressing daily and he expects his return to at least some limited work in team drills soon.

"The first thing is to make sure we get them back correctly," Willingham said emphasizing that players like LB E.J. Savannah, WR Marlon Wood and RB Kenny James are players that the team is keeping a close eye on as they work their way back into game-shape.

"At the right time, if everything goes well, they then can step up and start to brush off and renew the things they know about football, but if you don't bring them back at the right time it only exasperates their goals and their desire to be back and be able to function like they want to function."

Willingham also conceded that there are some players who heal faster than others.

"Being durable is something about some people's makeup," Willingham said. "There's some people who are quick healers and some people that are injury prone. Hopefully we don't have any of that in the group."

Joining the red-jersey brigade recently was senior WR Sonny Shackelford who sprained an ankle in Saturday's practice. He was sporting a boot and crutches while watching practice Monday, but Willingham said he doesn't expect his starting wideout to miss much time and that he expected an update in a day or two on his injury.

Willingham also mentioned the intensity of how the team is practicing at this early stage of spring practice.

"There was wonderful intensity and there were breaks in that intensity," Willingham noted. "But think about every game that's played. There aren't many teams that can get on a hot run. Even USC when we played them last year, as good as they were, there were peaks and valleys in that game against us. They didn't just come out and steamroll us the whole game.

"We've got to do our best to eliminate those peaks and valleys as much as possible and if we can do that we will be successful."

Washington's workouts continue this week as they head toward their annual spring game on April 22nd.
Recruiting never stops - In the stands and along the sidelines were several recruits, including WR Eric Greenwood from Edmonds-Woodway and Cedric Carter a defensive back from South Kitsap.

Atkins swimming - Playing a new position is tough, but playing it a level above what you're used to playing at is even tougher. DE Anthony Atkins is playing with his hand down for the first time in his career and defensive line coach Randy Hart said he's working hard.

"He's willing, but it stops right there," Hart said. "He's a willing participant; he's swimming. He's away from home for the first time, he went to high school and junior college in the same neighborhood and he's in a new enviornment."

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