Scrimmage report - 8/17

Under glorious skies today at Husky Stadium, the University of Washington football team scrimmaged for a little over 2 hours, with the defense showing off their speed and athleticism. Perhaps it was because ex-Head Coach and former DC Jim Lambright was in the house. The only downside to today's action was the loss of senior guard <b><a href=>Elliott Zajac</a></b> to an ankle injury that could keep him out for up to two months.

Adam Seery lined up behind Cody Pickett at the ones, with Rich Alexis the number one running back. Kevin Ware was the number one tight end, and the offensive line consisted of Nick Newton and Khalif Barnes at the tackles, Zajac and Aaron Butler at the guards and Todd Bachert at center. Dan Dicks took Zajac's place after the injury. The receivers were Charles Frederick and Eddie Jackson.

For the number one defense, the front line consisted of Manase Hopoi at defensive end, Jerome Stevens at nose, Terry Johnson at 3-technique and Anthony Kelley at REB. Kai Ellis did not participate, as originally expected. Jafar Williams started at SAM, and Ben Mahdavi and Joseph Lobendahn worked at MIKE and WIL, respectively. In the secondary, Chris Massey and Derrick Johnson were at the corners and Evan Benjamin and James Sims Jr. at the safeties.

Here were the lineups for the twos. On offense, Taylor Barton was at quarterback, with Scott White and Chris Singleton as the running backs. Patrick Reddick and Eddie Jackson were at receiver. Joe Toledo was at tight end and the offensive line consisted of Robin Meadow, Dan Dicks, Brad Vanneman, Jason Simonson and Ryan Brooks. Defensively, Graham Lasee was at the defensive end, Josh Miller at the nose and Tui Alailefaleulaat the three technique. Houdini Jackson was at REB and Ty Eriks played at SAM. Tim Galloway was the MIKE and Marquis Cooper was the WIL. In the secondary, Sam Cunningham and Eric Shyne played the corners and Owen Biddle and Domynic Shaw handled the safety chores.

The scrimmage started out with three kick returns, one by Charles 'ET' Frederick and two by true freshman Nate Robinson. Since the number one return team was going up against the scout kickoff team, big gains were to be expected and the two return men didn't disappoint.

Charles took the first kick down the south sideline for a 47-yard return. Nate backed that up with two returns of 34 and 45 yards, respectively.

For the most part, the defense came out to play and showed the 500 or so Husky fans in attendance that there is reason to believe they will be better this fall. The first series was a three-and-out, and then Charles Frederick took over, catching two balls for good gains on a drive that started out on the 1-yard line.

That drive eventually stalled, and the ones came back in. Benjamin continued his strong play this fall with a sack on Pickett in the end zone, resulting in a safety. The backup for Greg Carothers is proving to many he belongs on the field right now. This was also the series where Zajac was injured. According to Rick Neuheisel after the scrimmage, preliminary ex-rays have the doctors thinking Zajac could be out anywhere from two to eight weeks, depending on the severity of the injury. They will know more by the beginning of the week.

More special teams ensued, this time the punting unit. This series was really ragged, with poor snaps. During a couple of these kicks, punter Derek McLaughlin would 'double-take', while scout guys went zooming past him. In a game situation, he would have been toast. And to make matters worse, one punt was blocked for a touchdown.

The next series could be called 'Houdini's series'. The senior REB from Texas put together back-to-back touch sacks on Taylor Barton that positively killed a decent drive. The other Texan on the team, senior Kevin Ware, broke lose in the secondary on the very first play of the next series, going for a 39-yard gain. Only problem was he didn't hold on to the ball. Chris Massey made a nice strip and Joe Lobendahn was there to gobble up the pigskin.

Two more sacks, courtesy of Brandon Ala and Junior Coffin, stifled the next offensive possession. Penalty flags were a hallmark of this scrimmage, with too many holding penalties and false starts to count. Just when the offense looked to established some sort of continuity, a flag always seemed to bust that momentum up like a pin to a balloon.

The punting unit came back onto the field and were able to get the kicks away, although McLaughlin did have to pull another double-take. Ben Mahdavi and Jason Benn were the main long-snappers today and they need to work on their consistency.

Both Frederick and Robinson had a field day returning these punts. Frederick took the first punt back for a 54-yard return. Robinson wowed the house with a stunning return for a touchdown that would have been brought back for a block in the back. And then ET finished the returns with another big one, this time a 33-yarder.

After that sequence, it appeared that the offense was able to get it together a little bit, going on a nice, crisp 50-yard scoring drive. Highlights of that drive included three nice throws from Cody Pickett, one to Kevin Ware and two to Charles Frederick. Frederick ended up with 7 grabs for 96 yards and one score on the afternoon. Rich Alexis finished the drive with a score from five yards out and John Anderson booted home the PAT.

Taylor Barton was able to lead the number twos on a drive of their own shortly after a quick three-and-out, including a sack by REB Anthony Kelley. The drive also was a 50-yarder. Highlights of that drive included a 14-yard keeper by Barton and a pass-interference call on Derrick Johnson that looked more like a no-call.

The senior QB from Beaverton, Oregon was able to cap the drive off with a pass to TE Joe Toledo over the outstretched arms of Mahdavi. Evan Knudson rifled the ball through the goalposts for a PAT. Joe Toledo had an absolute gift wasted when the TE from Encinitas, California found himself open deep with nobody around him. It was an obvious blown coverage. Instead of capitalizing on the mistake, Toledo whiffed on the ball, causing many in Husky Stadium to groan.

At this point Neuheisel moved the ball deep into the defense's territory, asking them to stop the offense from various positions. First it was from the 18, then the 12 and then inside the 5. Overall, the defense was stout, holding the offense to only 3 touchdowns in 8 tries. They attempted two field goals, both were good. Evan Knudson put his in from 33 yards and Ricardo Do Valle nailed his from 27.

Chris Singleton and Frederick stood out in these goal-line situations, with Singleton scoring twice and ET once. Chris ended up with 19 yards on 9 carries.

Offensive MVP: It would have to be ET. Whether it was returning kicks or catching passes, Charles looks to be one-hundred percent on track to make a difference this fall. With the various injuries to the receiving corps, it was nice to see that ET is picking up a LOT of slack.

Defensive MVP: Marquis Cooper gets a slight edge over Lobendahn, Evan Benjamin, Brandon Ala and Houdini Jackson. Cooper led the team in tackles with 6 and was everywhere. Tim Hundley has a tough, but good problem to have with his linebackers. Who to play? With Marquis looking like his own self again, the UW linebacking corps is as strong and as athletic as they have been in some time. Top Stories