Fall Camp: Practice Notes and Observations

It was a perfect day on the shores of Lake Washington for the start of the Huskies' third fall camp under head coach Tyrone Willingham and the team obliged their leader with a brisk 95-minute workout on the Husky Stadium turf. Read on for some observations on what took place in the players' first chance to get on the field for the 2007 season

Seeing as it was the first day of practice, things were a bit ragged at times, but the overall energy of the team was good.

The coaches yelled instructions and one of their favorite sayings, yelled at maximum decibels was, "get in, get down, get out". You could have heard offensive coordinator Tim Lappano and offensive line coach Mike Denbrock if you were standing on the upper campus. Their message had the desired effect though.

Here's a run-down of who did what at different positions….


Jake Locker ran with the ones and he struggled at times. It's still early and too soon to make any pre-judgments, but Locker was high on some passes and late on several reads causing this throws to be late allowing the defensive backs to break on passes.

On one throw he put the ball right where it needed to be to Corey Williams down the sideline, but it was broken up by CB Roy Lewis.

On one of his better reads he hit Cody Ellis with a short pass and then came back on the next play to hit Ellis for a 15 yarder down the middle of the field.

His first pass of the 7-on-7's was picked off by Mesphin Forrester as he tried to hit Marcel Reece down the middle.

Carl Bonnell looked to be much more in command of the offense and made quick reads getting the ball out of his hands quickly (something that Lappano preaches to his quarterbacks).

He hit Curtis Shaw in the full-squad portion with a nice checkdown and the freshman back made one move and was gone for a 35-yard gain.

Bonnell also nailed Williams on a sideline route for 15 and then hit redshirt freshman WR D'Andre Goodwin on a quick route that the youngster turned into what would have been a touchdown.

It appears that Bonnell has really gotten serious about trying to grasp the offense better and to be quicker with his reads and throws.

Locker just looks like a young quarterback, but he does appear to be ahead of where he was in the spring. His learning curve is just going to be steep at this point.

Running Backs

Very tough to glean anything from what they did because their wasn't any hitting, but Louis Rankin is in peak physical condition and he looked quick and was helping the new guys along.

J.R. Hasty looks to be in the best shape I've seen him in since he arrived on camps. He was quick and made some nice cuts when he got the opportunity.

Shaw, Brandon Johnson and Willie Griffin all had their opportunities and made the most of them when they got the chance. Johnson looks to be the most ready physically for the pounding he would take on the field and Griffin looks stocky, while Shaw is a bit thin, but is the most explosive of the bunch.

I didn't see much of Brandon Yakaboski, but he was out there running through the various drills.

Wide Receivers

Marcel Reece still looks like he needs to lose a few pounds. He didn't look as quick as you'd like to see him, but he's a physical presence out there and he uses his body well. He rounded one route causing an overthrow by Locker, but he also showed good hands when he got the opportunity to catch passes.

Cody Ellis and Anthony Russo both looked solid during the 95-minute workout. They ran crisp routes and showed good quickness in and out of cuts.

Williams and Quinton Daniels both showed good hands at different times with Daniels making a nice grab between defenders on a pass from Bonnell.

Goodwin showed excellent speed and made a nice cut on a route to free himself for a "touchdown".

Alvin Logan fought the ball a bit, having one bounce off his hands, but he recovered late in the day making a couple of nice grabs.

Tight Ends

Not much to report on here. Not a lot of opportunities for them during the workout, but they worked hard in the blocking department and youngster Chris Izbicki was open several times but the throws to him were off their mark so he didn't have any catches.

Offensive Line

The starting offensive line today was: LT – Cody Habben, LG – Ryan Tolar, C – Juan Garcia, RG – Matt Sedillo, RT – Chad Macklin.

Coach Willingham said in his post-practice comments that the changes to the lineup are reflective of some things not getting done during the offseason.

The second unit was: LT – Ben Ossai, LG – Morgan Rosborough, C- Ryan Bush, RG – Jordan White-Frisbee, RT – Sir Aaron Mason.

Read into that what you will, but the coaches have said the best players will play and that those who do the work in the offseason will get the chances to play and it's obvious they liked what the younger players have done thus far.

Defensive Line

Probably the most impressive unit on the field today.

The starting four are solid with Greyson Gunheim and Daniel Te'o Nesheim at the ends and Wilson Afoa and Jordan Reffett and the tackle spots, but what was even more impressive was the athleticism displayed by the backups – Ceasar Rayford and Darrion Jones at the ends and Cameron Elisara and Erik Lobos inside.

There was little if any dropoff in the effort and effectiveness when the second unit came on and Elisara threw Rosborough down on one play.

Gunheim looks like he could be in line for All-Conference honors and Reffett looks like he could be in line for some post season honors as well as he showed an excellent first step on several plays.

D'Shon Matthews, Derek Kosub, Kalani Aldrich and Nick Wood also saw time in the rotations and Tyrone Duncan looks like an ideal nose guard in the near future.


After the defensive line, this unit was the next to stand out.

Donald Butler looks the part of a middle linebacker even with the number ‘9' on his chest instead of his ‘35' from last year. He's quick and very active.

Dan Howell and Chris Stevens were running with the first unit and both looked like the savvy veterans they are. Howell is solid against the pass and the run and will be counted on to lead this unit, but he won't be alone in the leadership department.

Running with the two's was Trenton Tuiasosopo, E.J. Savannah and Matt Houston and all three played well when they got on the field.

Savannah is very active and will battle with Stevens all through camp for the starting spot.


Lewis is the prototypical shut-down guy showing the quickness to break on passes in front of him and the ability to read routes as he turned and ran with receivers before they actually made their move.

Jordan Murchison was the other first unit corner and he made several nice plays on passes. He appears to be fully recovered from his knee troubles of a year ago.

Byron Devenport was a sticky corner, able to run with his man all over the field and even break up one or two when he had the opportunity.

One of the surprises was the play of Matt Mosley who showed excellent speed in running with Goodwin on a deep pass.

Jason Wells, along with Forrester, were solid at safety and Victor Aiyewa and Quinton Richardson backed them up nicely although they both seemed a bit confused at times.

Darrin Harris also got some reps with the twos and was directing traffic with some of the younger players.

Special Teams

Didn't get to see much of the kickers, but the punters were front and center.

Ballman appears to be a solid directional punter while Ryan Perkins and Kiel Rasp both boomed punts. Rasp especially was solid, getting great hang time and the ball turned over several times.

All in all it was a good first practice as Willingham noted that he liked the intensity of the practice while also wanting to see more from his players.

Dawgman.com Top Stories