Williams takes center stage

The players were back on the field under overcast skies at Husky Stadium Thursday afternoon. Reggie Williams stole the show and a new cornerback also made quite an impression by the time the workout had concluded.

One of the finest plays of the day came on a deep pass from Cody Pickett to Williams. Freshman cornerback Eric Shyne had the impossible task of covering the six-foot, four-inch receiver. Shyne made a great break to the ball – which was just a hair under-thrown – and swatted it away before Reggie could bring it down. The defense cheered, led by Terry "Tank" Johnson in street clothes on the sideline, after the terrific play by the frosh.

That play proved to be one of only a handful in which the cornerbacks got the upper-hand on Reggie. Even Derrick Johnson, possibly the quickest of the corners, got turned around time and time again by the precise route-running of Williams. Sophomore Sam Cunningham, who played in all 11 games last year as a true freshman, faired no better than DJ. "Sam Bam" pushed, pulled, grabbed and did anything else he could to slow down Williams, all to no avail.

Reggie's best catch of the day came over the middle of the field when he had to really stretch his arms out for the ball. He put his paws out and once they came in contact with the ball, that poor pigskin didn't stand a chance. It was Reggie's for the taking.

James Sims Jr. looked good today while lining up in the secondary. He looked fast enough to be the free safety of the future. On one play he lined up as a cornerback, and though he fell behind while backpedaling, he recovered well enough to use his enormous vertical-leap to knock down the ball.

Jimmy Newell looks like he's in tremendous shape with hardly an ounce of fat on him. He figures to be the team's starting free safety heading into fall camp, but with redshirt freshman Evan Benjamin and Sims nipping at his heels, nothing is yet set in stone.

Shelton Sampson worked out with the team again today. He was the only incoming freshman that played. Nate Robinson also came out, but watched from the sidelines with "Tank" and Kevin Ware, who had finished his workout. Sampson looks to be under six-feet-tall as it is, but compared to Nate-Rob he's like a giant. It'll be interesting to see where each ends up playing when Fall camp begins August 6th.

Justin Robbins continued to impress today with his quick recovery from a knee injury suffered during bowl practices back in December. Wearing a knee brace, J-Rob didn't seem to lose a step and cut well in all directions. He looks to be well on his way to recovery and should be one to be counted on in 2002.

Notes:

David Dixon, the six-foot, 11-inch center on the Husky basketball team over the last three years, sat down for a breather from his workout to watch the football guys for a while. Dixon looks even more slimmed down from what he was at during his senior season, and is still waiting to hear from professional teams around the world for opportunities to continue his hoops career.

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