Practice report - 8/15 AM

The 'sense of urgency' was back on the coaches' faces this morning as the days keep ticking away toward Washington's first football game August 31st at Michigan. Head Coach Rick Neuheisel took the lead this morning and showed a much more active 'hands-on' coaching presence than ever before . With depletions at every position, it was tough start to what appears to be a long day for the team. They will be doing some 'full-speed' contact later this afternoon.

'Why Can't We Be Friends'? by War was an interesting choice for music to start out the morning, followed by an 'Right Place, Wrong Time' by Dr. John. Husky QB Casey Paus may have felt a bit out of place, as Neuheisel's focus was turned his way a lot this morning, and most of it was out of frustration. The redshirt frosh from New Lenox, Illinois struggled, but it looked more to be out of mis-reads more than anything. His arm is golden. The playbook is wide-open for the signal-callers right now and even Cody Pickett and Taylor Barton made mistakes. Things will get scaled back dramatically by the time the serious preparation for the Wolverines begins.

Neuheisel singled out one receiver and used him constantly this morning as a model for crisp route-running - senior Wilbur Hooks. The Anchorage, Alaska native looked like his old self again, running pain-free and catching everything in sight. Charles Frederick and Matt DeBord were the other top receivers this morning, and even walk-on Clayton Ramsey had some nice stretches. With Reggie Williams, Paul Arnold, Pat Reddick, Justin Robbins and Doug Clarke out, it makes for tough sleding.

Neuheisel was all over the field, checking out the various positions and even offering encouragement to those that couldn't participate, like true frosh Matt Fountaine. It was apparent watching Neuheisel operate he knows time is of the essence.

Jimmy Newell came out in street clothes for this morning's session. We don't know why, but Neuheisel will undoubtedly have an answer when he meets with the press this afternoon. James Sims took his place at the number one free safety position and looks awfully comfortable next to Greg Carothers.

The defensive line of Kai Ellis, Terry Johnson, Jerome Stevens, Manase Hopoi looked solid with Jafar Williams, Ben Mahdavi, and Joe Lobendahn behind them as linebackers. Roc Alexander (still wearing red) and Derrick Johnson lined up outside. Ty Eriks, Tim Galloway, and Marquis Cooper provide outstanding depth at the linebacker spots. Tui Alailefaleula, Josh Miller, and Anthony Kelley provide good experience in the trenches. Graham Lasee and Mike Savicky both look to be competing for playing time on the line as well.

Scott White is getting pressed into action more and more, as Zach Tuiasosopo sat out today with tightness behind his knee. Knowing Zach, he'll fight through it. Braxton Cleman was doing a lot of conditioning and medicine ball work on the sidelines, working hard. He's really chomping at the bit to get in the action.

Practice broke up a little early this morning, but not without some back and forth during the 11-on-11 drills. At times the offensive line looked very cohesive and was able to handle everything Tim Hundley threw at them. At other was very much a tug of war with both sides getting their licks in. Robin Meadow continues to impress physically with his play, not letting people get by him at all. On the DL, Josh Miller is always there. He's not going to be in the backfield on every play but he's always ready to make things happen and he doesn't get caught out of position. Junior Coffin and Tusi Sa'au also showed this morning that they are making steady progress and will add quality depth to the DL right now.

You can't say enough good things about sophomore LB Joe Lobendahn. This guy can play in open space! One on play, Joe picked a perfect angle and swatted the ball away before Joe Toledo could get his mitts on it. In my opinion, Joe is as natural a linebacker as Washington has ever had. He makes his job look too easy.

Offensive play of the morning: It would have to be the play of senior receiver Wil Hooks. Hooks caught some passes under duress this morning, similar to the one he made a couple of years ago at Stanford. If Hooks can stay healthy, he's going to make some noise in the receiving rotation.

Defensive play of the morning: Greg Carothers had a nice pick in the endzone off of Isaiah Stanback that Isaiah tried to force into coverage. The defense forced the QB's through their progressions all morning, a tribute to an active linebacking and secondary presence.

Big Hit of the morning: During the OL/DL one-on-one matchups, Junior Coffin smacked Brad Vannemann but good, putting him down. It was a real show of strength for the sophomore from Silverdale. Top Stories