2008 Husky Spring Practice Blog

Washington Husky spring football is underway. From interviews with coaches and players, feature articles from our staff as well as other little tidbits, this is the place to get all you are looking for when it comes to the Dawgs...

April 26th (Saturday)
1:45 p.m.

First half observations

Both QB's have been able to move the ball, but clearly it's difficult to judge just how well when they can be touch-sacked.

Here are some quick first-half stats:
Rushing: Griffin 7 for 23 long of 5
Fouch 3 for 6, long of 5
Sylvester 1 for 4, long of 4
Passing: Fouch 5-12 for 23, long of 6
Receiving: Hawkins 3-15
Winter 1-5
Boyles 1-3
Tackles: Te'o-Nesheim 3 tackles, 1 sack
Butler 3 tackles
Jones 3 tackles, 1 sack
Matthews 3 tackles

Rushing: Yakaboski 3 for 10, long of 5
B. Johnson 3 for 10, long of 5
Kravitz 1 for 3, long of 3
Goodwin 1 for 2, long of 2
Passing: Locker 6-10 for 94 yards, long of 28, one pick
Receiving: Goodwin 4-60
Logan 2-34
Tackles: Savannah 6 tackles, 1 sack
Wood 3 tackles
Dennison 3 tackles
Mosley 2 tackles
April 26th (Saturday)
12:45 p.m.

Captains come out

Bulyca, Harris, Tuiasosopo and Locker were the Purple captains; Butler, Te'o-Nesheim and Walt Winter were the Gold captains. Gold won the toss and deferred.
April 26th (Saturday)
12:35 p.m.

Just a few minutes before gametime

Looks like roughly 2000 fans in attendance today, a wonderful Seattle spring day. Not super hot, a little breeze rolling through. There were 1100 on hand for this morning's Husky Football Experience.

We'll have a better idea as to which recruits were here a little later on. Just using binoculars from the press box, I could see Jermaine Kearse, Kavario Middleton and Luke Schindele, among many, many others.

Looks like the white team will occupy the south sideline, and the purple will be on the north side. Looks like it's ready for kickoff!
April 26th (Saturday)
12:00 p.m.

Spring Game is here!

Just got up to the press box on a beautiful day at Husky Stadium. Here's the depth charts put together by UW SID Richard Kilwien for the Purple-Gold game. Note that there's nothing official about this depth, it's being used just to give people and idea as to who is playing on both teams.

Gold Offense
LT - Mark Armelin
LG - Scott Shugert
C - Greg Christine
RG - Morgan Rosborough
RT - Skyler Fancher
TE - Walt Winter
Romeo Savant
QB - Ronnie Fouch
Taylor Bean
FB - Luke Kravitz
Austin Sylvester
TB - Willie Griffin
WR - Devin Aguilar
WR - Charles Hawkins
Anthony Boyles

Purple Offense
LT - Ben Ossai
LG - Jordan White-Frisbee
C - Matt Sedillo
RG - Casey Bulyca
RT - Cody Habben
TE - Mike Gottlieb
Chris Izbicki
QB - Jake Locker
FB - Paul Homer
Luke Kravitz
TB - Brandon Johnson
Brandon Yakaboski
WR - Chris Polk
Alvin Logan
WR - D'Andre Goodwin
Curtis Shaw

Gold Defense
DE - Daniel Te'o-Nesheim
Pete Galbraith
DT - De'Shon Matthews
DT - Cameron Elisara
DE - Darrion Jones
OLB - Joshua Gage
Matt Houston
ILB - Donald Butler
Kurt Mangum
OLB - Mason Foster
Chris Stevens
FS - Nate Williams
SS - Victor Aiyewa
CB - Mesphin Forrester
CB - Quinton Richardson
Vonzell McDowell, Jr.

Purple Defense
DE - Kalani Aldrich
Noah Keats Sall
DT - Nick Wood
Jovon O'Connor
DT - Johnie Kirton
DE - Tyrone Duncan
Conrad Remington
OLB - Brandon Huppert
Cort Dennison
ILB - Trenton Tuiasosopo
T.J. Poe
OLB - E.J. Savannah
FS - Tripper Johnson
SS - Darin Harris
CB - Byron Davenport
Desmond Davis
CB - Matt Mosley
Marquis Persley

Gold Specialists
P - Kiel Rasp
PK - Erik Folk
Cory Rutkowski
SNP - Brendan Lopez
Ben Hayes

Purple Specialists
P - Jared Ballman
PK - Ryan Perkins
SNP - Danny Morovick
Robert Lukevich
April 24th (Thursday)
5:05 p.m.

Afternoon Practice Notes

Team was in lightbulbs - pads, helmets and shorts. It appeared like the team was just working on a normal practice schedule, but nothing too hard before Saturday's spring game.

Brandon Yakoboski was in sweats today. Josh Gage was again in red. Byron Davenport was in full gear and didn't appear to be working out with any difficulty. Coach Williams said earlier today that Davenport was having some issues with stomach flu earlier today, but looks to be over it.

Juan Garcia and Tony Chidiac were both at practice today. Jordan Murchison and J.R. Hasty were not there. Husky signee Jermaine Kearse and Terrance Dailey were in attendance, as well as Honolulu (Hawai'i) Punahou QB Cayman Shutter, a 2009 prospect. Washington Men's Basketball Coach Lorenzo Romar was also there, as well as Interim AD Scott Woodward.

Johnie Kirton led Husky Jacks today.
April 24th (Thursday)
3:40 p.m.

Afternoon Willingham Notes

Asked about the format for the spring game and Willingham said that it would be a pretty even 'split' squad. "It should be pretty competitive."

No contact for the QB's, running 15-minute clock per quarter, except for some of the out-of-bounds and time out situations. It appears there will also be limited Special Teams.

No coaches in the booth, so they will not be working on communication down to the field right now. Willingham said that he likes to usually have a 'mock game' just for the coaches in the fall, but didn't have one last year.

Was asked about just having it as a closed scrimmage to open up the playbook, as opposed to opening it up to the public, and Willingham said that they've had 14 practices to do that, and now Saturday allows them a chance to see what they've done and what they've put in and to do it in front of fans.

J.R. Hasty, Jason Wells, Ryan Tolar, Juan Garcia, Jordan Murchison and Tony Chidiac are all out for Saturday. As far as others who have been out a practice or two due to minor injuries or other thing, Willingham said that there's nothing keeping any other player from suiting up and playing, provided they are ready and healthy to play.

Added that the number-one thing he hopes to get from Spring Game is to come out of it healthy. "All of us cried Friday when Juan went down, and really it's for any player. You don't like to see that."

He was asked about the mid-year players (Polk, Aguilar, Boyles, Mangum), and Willingham said that they've all done well under difficult circumstances. "They are not where we'd like them to be, but you can't expect them to be veteran players right now. Overall they've done a pretty good job. It's amazing the difference between when they are freshmen and when they are seniors."

Asked about the receivers, and Willingham said that there's no number-ones and number-twos, and all the depth will be sorted out in the fall. "There's still a lot to learn about these young men. Where's the right place to put them? The spring has been good for them, because it's shown them what they need to work on, as well as what the coaches need to do to get them in the right positions to be successful.
April 24th (Thursday)
1:58 p.m.

Juan's Decision

Sounds like he's going to take the month to see how his foot responds, then go from there.

Also sounds like he's going to come by the media room at some point this afternoon, so he'll explain the reasons behind his decision.
April 22nd (Tuesday)
4:41 p.m.

Afternoon Practice Notes

In Juan Garcia's absence, Matt Sedillo, Greg Christine and Ryan Tolar were taking snaps in pre-stretching drills. Tolar wasn't going full-speed, but he did take some snaps - which could be a telling sign for fall.

Team was in full pads today.

Jordan Murchison, Jason Wells and Tony Chidiac were in sweats. Also in sweats was Byron Davenport. I talked to Byron today, and he told me he's in the best shape he's been in since he got here, but when he was seen running it was with a noticeable limp. Don't know how serious it is or if it's going to affect his ability to play on Saturday.

On a brighter note, Jason Wells was switching off running the length of the field and then walking the width, and he looked pretty good running.

Anthony Boyles and Chris Polk were back in full gear today. They were both in sweats yesterday.

One interesting note: the team gathered in a big group near the 20. It was hard to tell what exactly was going on, but it looked like players were trying to hit the crossbar with the football. At the end, it was tough to tell if a ball actually did hit, but the offense went crazy and were jumping around like they had won whatever contest was going on. It looked like the team was having a lot of fun with this contest, with both teams hanging on every throw that was made. When one would barely miss, you could see appreciable groans from those hoping it would hit.

And when the defensive coaches lined up on the far sideline and ran up and back, that appeared to be the punishment for the defense losing said contest.
April 22nd (Tuesday)
3:04 p.m.

Willingham Afternoon Notes

As already posted, J.R. Hasty has been officially suspended and will not play in the Spring Game. Willingham would not comment further on Hasty's status, other than to say that if or when his status changes, he would let the media know.

Does this mean more work for Chris Polk? Willingham said that Polk is going to get a ton of work, and that the coaches have been plenty happy with how Brandon Johnson, Willie Griffin and Brandon Yakoboski have done this spring, and there's 'three or four' freshmen coming in too, so he doesn't think Polk will carry the ball any more than he was already expected to.

Asked about the DB switches, and Willingham said that all things being equal, he's always thought bigger has always been better. Said that as long as players continue to keep their speed and athleticism, he could see 6-7, 240-pound corners down the road. "That day is coming."

Asked about who on the OL will pick up the leadership mantle with Juan Garcia's absence, and Willingham said he honestly didn't know who that might be right now. Said he'd prefer it be someone who has experience and has 'played in all the stadiums' and the like, but it could be a younger player or maybe even a player who hasn't played this spring - like Ryan Tolar. He also mentioned Jordan White-Frisbee. "They could come from anywhere."

Willingham said that the rule changes will be seen in the spring game. He hasn't figured out how he's going to split the teams up, but he's ruled out a draft. Said he'd probably have a 15-minute 'running clock' per quarter, and on time outs and out of bounds play use the :40 clock that's been put in place starting this fall.

Asked if one could look at the number of players drafted to the NFL as a sign of a program's relative health, and Willingham said he thinks it's a good measuring stick. "(NFL) teams want good players." Said that at one point in his career he had over 50 players that had been in the NFL playing at least one year, and he feels that's a pretty good track record.
April 22nd (Tuesday)
3:04 p.m.

Hasty Suspended

Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham just met with the media and said that J.R. has been suspended and will not play in spring game, and when his status changes, he would let us know. I'll have more from Willingham's media session in a little bit.
April 22nd (Tuesday)
2:26 p.m.

Garcia may have to call it a day

Got a chance to speak to Juan Tuesday, and it doesn't look good for the sixth-year center. He was hoping to cap off his career with a strong showing, but instead will most likely have to see it from the sidelines. Click on the link below for the whole report.

Garcia May Have to Call it a Day
April 21st (Monday)
4:18 p.m.

Afternoon Practice Notes:

Huskies were in 'lightbulbs' today, meaning pads, helmets and shorts.

J.R. Hasty was not spotted at practice. At the end of our media session with Coach Willingham, I asked if there were any additions/subtractions to the lineup. It's a question I ask a lot. He said, 'We're working';

I didn't understand it at the time, but with Hasty not at practice, it takes on a little significance. Is Hasty gone? Is this the end for J.R. at Washington? One thing is for sure, Willingham has a media session Tuesday, and one of us is going to be asking about J.R. Hasty.

Daniel Te'o-Nesheim led the team in Husky Jacks.

Speaking of running backs, both Brandon Johnson and Brandon Yakaboski were working out and running drills. Chris Polk was wearing pads and sweats and didn't appear to be doing much at all. Anthony Boyles was also in sweats, but he was running routes and working out.

From Edmonds-Woodway, Tony Heard was seen at practice, as well as signee Justin Glenn from Kamiak.
April 21st (Monday)
4:18 p.m.

Afternoon Willingham Notes:

Official word on Juan Garcia is out for spring with a Lisfranc fracture of his left foot. It's the same injury that Isaiah Stanback suffered that cut short his senior season. According to Willingham, Stanback's Lisfranc injury was very severe, and in talking to another person that has had that same injury, they were back up and going within six weeks - so we'll see what happens.

The good part is that there's no knee issues for Juan.

Willingham said that when Juan got hurt, it was like 'air being sucked out of a room'. Said that his presence away from practice was felt immediately and that it's been hard for Juan. "With the number of injuries he's had to overcome, it's like 'When does it end?'

The team is hoping to know the final word on Garcia's injury ASAP. Matt Sedillo willl now concentrate all his work to just center, backed up by Greg Christine.

But he also added that the team was still able to get a lot of work done during the Friday scrimmage, and mentioned how having a healthy Donald Butler back has helped the defense rebound from a week ago when they did not have a particularly good scrimmage effort.

As far as anyone else ruled out for spring, Jason Wells, Ryan Tolar and Tony Chidiac are out. Because Jordan Murchison has seen very little time, it's doubtful he'll play too.

Mesphin Forrester and Quinton Richardson have been spending a lot of time at cornerback, not necessariy a new spot for Forrester, but it is a little surprising considering the corner spot has some depth with Byron Davenport, Vonzell McDowell and Matt Mosley all returning with game experience. "Having Mesphin play, it's having a bigger body out there," Willingham said. "It also allows us to use Victor Aiyewa and Nate Williams at our safety positions."

Willingham added that these moves are all done in the spirit of trying to find the best combinations of players, to try and get the best players on the field.

Asked about the DL, and he said that they've done a nice job in certain areas, and how effective they are as a quicker smaller group will depend on who they play. "I know there are going to be games where it would be nice to have bigger guys in there, and other games where it will be nice to have an advantage (in speed and quickness)."

Mentioned Darrion Jones and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim as players with speed who also give great effort getting around the edge. "Where we are most inexperienced is in the inside positions."

When asked about De'Shon Matthews moving inside, Willingham said that they are willing to try 'almost anything' to get the best players on the field, and while Matthews is doing OK with the move, he still needs to work on really getting leverage and pushing players around.

Also, the Spring Game will be streamed online at gohuskies.com for free. The game starts at 12:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
April 21st (Monday)
2:54 p.m.

Randy Hart Notes:

Spoke with Coach Hart Monday and he said he's happy with how the DL has done this spring, but with any inexperienced group you really have to ramp up their learning curve. "They've got to be good. We don't have a choice. But they are getting better with every practice."

Also mentioned how he's very happy with how Daniel Te'o-Nesheim has picked up the leadership role along the DL, especially with three seniors leaving the program.

Asked about De'Shon Matthews and his move inside, and Hart said that Matthews' role could go 'hand-in-hand' with what Te'o-Nesheim has done the last couple of years. "It's good for him because it's a great chance for him to get some experience, and we get to benefit from that."

Asked about Johnie Kirton, and Hart said that with anyone switching positions like that, there's going to be a period of adjustment, but he's done a good job so far. "He still needs to work on getting off blocks and getting to the ball-carrier, but he's had as many snaps as anybody."

Asked about any issues with the size of the DL, and Hart said that if you look at some of the most effective DL in the NFL - he used Patrick Kearney as an example - they aren't huge guys. "Leverage and quickness are really important."

Asked about Jovon O'Connor, and Hart said that he's been lost a little in the depth because he's roughly 20 pounds lighter than the other DL.

Asked about the idea of pencilling in certain guys coming in this summer because of the numbers and apparently quality of the DL class, and he said that pushing guys to play too early could result in a loss of confidence, and if that happens it's very hard to get back to where you need to be. Said that he feels that might have happened with Erick Lobos.

At the same time, Hart added that once those players get on campus and start working out and practicing, they will let him know with their actions if they are ready to go and can be inserted into the depth.
April 21st (Monday)
2:24 p.m.

Anthony Boyles Notes:

Spoke with Anthony Monday, and he's eager to play the Spring Game on Saturday and make some catches and play in front of his fans to show them what he can do. Said the hardest thing about spring has been working on the playbook. "Also the speed of the game. It's pretty fast. I thought you could jog around a little bit, but that's not the case."

Said that he's up to 190 pounds. "Before I got here I was 173."

Said the extra time having to sit out didn't help him. "It hurt me a little bit because I wasn't doing anything. I was just working, having to provide some money for my family and myself. I was working for my godparents, working some yard work."
April 18th (Friday)
4:59 p.m.

Friday Practice Notes:

It sure didn't feel like April 18th here at Montlake today and with the hail, snow, rain and sleet that was coming down...the coaches moved everything inside to the Dempsey.

Brandon Johnson wasn't working out (as stated in our previous posts), but he looked to be the only player not taking part.

Also, there were quite a few old Huskies hanging out including Anthony Allen and his top player...Deandre Coleman. Greg Lewis was there, Dick Baird and several others.

Scott Woodward was also in attendance.

Watched some of the DL drills and they were working on one-on-one pass-rushing moves and Elisara, Te'o Nesheim and Duncan all looked good.

Tormey was drilling his guys on form tackling and you can see the tempo really pick up now that Savannah is back in there. Stevens was ready to hit someone from the get go.

Watching the tight ends, Izbicki and Gottlieb both have really soft hands and both are smooth in their routes. Izbicki is the better athlete, but it's obvious he's still working on using his physical gifts to get an advantage on the DB and LB. He needs to work on getting separation, but there's no denying that he's got a great future at UW.

Griffin has very good hands. I like how softy he catches the ball and you can barely hear a sound when he catches it. With guys who aren't very good at receiving, you hear a loud slap when it hits their hands, but not with Griffin.

Ossai looks just massive when out there. I'd say he's the most physically impressive guy along the offensive line. He and White-Frisbee look the most imposing with their size and athleticism, but JWF is much more intense when he gets out there whereas Ossai seems more passive and that's what I've heard some of the coaches have a problem with. They'd like him to be more intense.

Habben moves well, but he's still got plenty of room to grow and fill out. I think he could easily play with about 20 more pounds before he leaves Montlake.

A spokesman for UW came into the media room after we had left that Juan Garcia suffered an undisclosed injury to his left leg.

He was down for about 10 minutes...they put his leg in an aircast (from ankle to above the knee) and he was taken off by a golf car...he is being evaluated right now and we probably won't know more until after the weekend (Monday most likely).

Note: In spring of 2004 Garcia dislocated his ankle and broke the fibula in the same leg.
April 18th (Friday)
3:05 p.m.

Friday Willingham notes:

Brandon Johnson may go today. Depends on swelling in either his ankle or knee. Said it was more of a knee than anything, but he believes Johnson will be day to day with his injury and they will hold him out if they think he's not ready.

Brandon Yakaboski sufffered a sprained neck yesterday and is out for today's practice, but Willingham seemed to think he would be ok and it wasn't a big deal.

Noted that with Willie Griffin and JR Hasty the only healthy running backs, that the fullbacks (Luke Kravitz, Paul Homer and Austin Sylvester) are all itching to get carries in today's scrimmage as well and the coaches will give them that chance.

From today's scrimmage, Willingham hopes to see how much of a grasp the players have of the system right now and where they are at physically and mentally playing the game.

Said he was pleased with both the offensive and defensive lines at different parts of spring so far and that they've seem some good things from both, but he is looking for an offensive line that can dominate and he doesn't seem to feel they are there yet. He did note that he expects more from everyone, even players who haven't played a game yet.

Has been happy with EJ Savannah's progress so far. Said with only three days of work, he's been doing well and that he's behind, but he's catching up quickly.

After today's practice, the players get tomorrow and Sunday off before resuming their regular work on Monday.

April 17th (Thursday)
4:35 p.m.

Practice Notes:

Wasn't too much going on today of note...

Team was in pads and shorts.

It looked like Cody Habben and Morgan Rosborough had their right wrists both taped pretty heavily, but it didn't seem like either one was being affected in terms of going out and practicing.

Brandon Johnson and Tony Chidiac were definitely out of today's practice. Johnson seemed to be walking fine, so I would expect to see him spring game if it's deemed he's back to 100 percent.

Byron Davenport was wearing sweats instead of shorts, and seemed to be working on getting really stretched out before normal team stretching.

Luke Kravitz led Husky Jacks today.

Among those seen at practice were Tim Tramp, former Lake Washington Head Coach - who was there to watch Chris Izbicki. Also there was Alameda Ta'amu.
April 17th (Thursday)
3:24 p.m.

Willingham Quick Notes:

He was asked about the defense, and he said that the positive energy and vision by the defensive staff has allowed some players to 'recreate' themselves to see what they can do this spring. Also said that the package creates some 'exciting opportunities' for guys to fly around a little bit and make plays.

He said that people were worried going into spring about an experienced offensive line pushing around a younger, smaller defensive line, but he's been pleased with how the DL has held their own.

Asked about the linebackers and their more physical play this spring, and he said that anytime you get game experience, that allows your physical talents to show.

Also said that when players like Donald Butler get more experience and 'can work on all cylinders', he can be a heck of a player.

134 days to the Oregon game, according to Willingham, but only 34 more practice days - so when he tells the team that fact, it's impressed upon them just how much needs to get done in a short amount of time.

Brandon Johnson apparently hurt his ankle and knee, and Willingham was evasive when asked if it would keep him out the rest of spring, adding that he thought it would just be a day-to-day thing but didn't feel comfortable saying for sure.

Asked would would be the No. 1 in his place, Willingham said that both Willie Griffin and Brandon Yakaboski would swich off, and he was already pleased with the competition between all three of the backs before Johnson's injury. He added that J.R. Hasty has also jumped right back into the mix and is doing good things.

Darin Harris appears to be more active of those sidelined this spring, whereas Jordan Murchison is still very limited.

Asked about some of the rules changes that will come into effect for this season. They are:

* The 25-second clock is gone. Instead, the college game will be like the NFL. There will be a 40-second clock that will start immediately after the end of each play. Previously, the 25-second clock didn't start until the ball was marked ready to play by the officials.

* The clock will stop when a player goes out of bounds, but the clock will restart when the ball is marked ready for play. Previously, the clock did not start until the ball was snapped. The new rule will not apply in the final two minutes of the first half or the final two minutes of the game.

* All facemask penalties will be 15 yards. There will no 5-yard incidental facemask penalty. That's a return to the rules of the 1970s.

* When a kickoff goes out of bounds, the receiving team will have the option of taking the ball on its 40-yard line, instead of the 35 as the past. This is another change that copies the NFL.

* Coaches who use an instant replay challenge will get an extra one if a challenge is upheld. Previously, coaches had just one challenge, regardless of what the ruling was.

* There will no longer be sideline warnings for players and coaches who crowd the field during games. Instead, officials can assess a 5-yard penalty without warning.

* A "horse collar" tackle, in which a defender grabs a runner inside the back of his shoulder pads, will now be a personal foul

Willingham said that since they've used officials with all the scrimmage situations, they feel pretty comfortable with the 40-second clock.
April 17th (Thursday)
2:51 p.m.

Chris Tormey Notes: Asked about how his group is doing now with a full contingent, and he said that they have some good depth now and are working hard. Said that they were very young last year, but the game experience will be 'invaluable' for them this fall.

Asked about Savannah, and Tormey said that they know what E.J. brings to the group, so they weren't concerned about him getting back up to speed. Added that he did a good job of working hard to do the things he needed to in order to finish off the spring on a strong note.

Asked about Josh Gage and his rise up from a walk-on to scholarship player, and Tormey said that very early on they could tell that he had a good grasp of the concepts, especially zone - so he was in their two-deeps for the nickel for the past two seasons. Then he played a bunch last year. He added with five guys in competition for the OLB spots, no one is locked into playing just one side of the ball, and they are always looking for versatility, because that means you have the concepts down cold and can step in at any time. "The more you can do, the more valuable you are."

Wouldn't talk about any sort of big changes between Baer and Donatell, adding that 'football is football. The fundamentals don't change."

Asked about the wrap-up drill the team does quite a bit at the beginning of practices and he said that was something Coach Willingham wanted the whole team to be doing, to practice wrapping up. He added that the linebackers specifically make bigger strides in that area when it comes to live situations.

Asked about Kurt Mangum, and Tormey said that he's doing fine right now, and you can't forget that in reality, he's still a senior in high school. "The learning curve is steep." Added that they envisioned him as an inside guy when they recruited him, but still want him to know all the LB positions. "He still needs to understand all the schemes."

Asked about Chris Stevens, and Tormey said that like with any other of his players, they need to find the best situations to utilize Chris' talents, and he has good straight-ahead speed and he's also very tough.

Asked about the defense hitting more in general this spring, and Tormey said that when the younger players get good game experience, that means they understand their places better, and when you do that, it allows you to play faster, which in turn allows you to be more aggressive.

Asked about Donald Butler, and he said that because there are days off in the spring schedule, it's meant that Butler hasn't had to take hardly any time off because of his knee. "I think he feels pretty good about his knee right now."

Asked about Mason Foster and the jump he'll make from last year to this year. Tormey said that he's gotten better, and you could say that about a lot of the younger guys. Added that his emphasis this spring needs to be playing the run better, because he already plays welll in space.
NO PRACTICE on Wednesday.

April 15th (Tuesday)
4:37 p.m.

Afternoon Practice Notes:

Rain again at practice - this time outside.

Tony Chidiac (turf toe), Jason Wells (knee) and Ryan Tolar (shoulder) are the only ones I saw out of today's padded practice.

Acting AD Scott Woodward was there, and he talked for a few minutes about Jeff Compher leaving and what that means for the AD. Compher is going to be the AD at NIU, but he won't be leaving UW until June, so there's plenty of time to find his replacement. Also, because football and basketball are at a relative lull playing-wise in the yearly schedule, Woodward said it's the right time for Compher to make this move.

Said that basically the new AD, when hired, will hire his own right-hand guy - like Compher was to former AD Todd Turner. Woodward said that he's still thinking about whether or not he wants the job full-time, but is leaning toward becoming a candidate. Added that he wouldn't be able to be AD and his current job, which is being Mark Emmert's right-hand man.

Brian White was out there again in shorts, despite the downpour. I like White a lot, he seems to have the energy required to help get this team turned around.

The most interesting thing seen at practice was a period where the linebackers went up against the running backs in a pass-pro series. Basically it was a one-on-one blocking session, with a QB dummy. Paul Homer was the only offensive player I saw that got his man on the ground. Austin Sylvester also did a good job blocking freshman LB Kurt Mangum after Mangum had earlier blown by Brandon Johnson with no problems.

The offensive coaches - White and Tim Lappano - were all over their guys for their lack of pass pro. In just the few minutes I got to watch, Mangum, Cort Dennison, Chris Stevens, Josh Gage and Mason Foster all got through either to the inside or outside their man.
April 15th (Tuesday)
3:54 p.m.

Willingham Quick Notes:

Coach came in late just to let us know that J.R. Hasty and E.J. Savannah are officially back on the team as of Monday (something we reported on in our Monday practice report), and they've fulfilled their team responsibilities. He added that as far as the depth chart, they will both start at the bottom of their respective positions, or 'where it's appropriate to start' (make of that what you will).

That's it. Sorry. I'll be back later for some practice thoughts.
April 15th (Tuesday)
3:50 p.m.

Ed Donatell Notes:

With Coach Willingham looking more and more like a no-show (later found out it was most likely because of a meeting he was having with a prospective student-athlete and his family), Coach Donatell was nice enough to come in and let us know about how he feels things are going on defense, as well as his own 'acclimatization' back into the college game.

Said that this time of the year - practicing, coaching, watching film and seeing how his guys develop and improve - is his favorite time of the year. Said that the defense is making progress and that he liked the energy in Saturday's practice/scrimmage, but they still have a long ways to go.

"There were a couple of long plays, and we'll turn those into 'classroom subjects'. We'll look at the how, why and what and then try and make those plays go away. That's what our intent is."

Asked about E.J. Savannah, and Donatell said that he doesn't expect Savannah to lose any ground because of his time lost on the field. "It's not like he's been away." Said that he likes his speed and explosion and his ability to find creases in an offense.

Added that he appreciates the way Coach Willingham disciplines his players and how he has a 'strong belief' in how things should be run. "As you grow as a man, you also become a way better football player."

Asked about leadership, and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim is the one player he really talked about as a guy that has been identified and probably has his spot in the lineup completely secure by his actions on and off the field. "He's improved his leadership, and when you've been around a lot of experienced guys, you become the guy. He's just great."

Also mentioned that he thinks Donald Butler has been playing well and could end up being one of those leaders on the defense, but he's still just trying to learn about the players.

Asked about not having a guy like Jason Wells in the secondary, and he said that he's always tried to look at injuries in a positive light. "It creates an opportunity to develop depth. But it still hurts to not have one of your top players out there."

Said that he likes to use the OL as a measuring stick for his front. "It helps to know where we are. When we see some of the teams in the league put some direct runs at us and we hang in there, then we'll know."

In general, he sees going against the UW offense as a net positive because of the multiple sets. "They are going to give some people serious trouble."

Asked about Johnie Kirton - He's done pretty well, but there's a 'span of time' where you just try to figure out a new position.
April 14th (Monday)
5:32 p.m.

Afternoon practice notes:

Raining hard here in Seattle right now.

The practice was supposed to be outside, but because of the rain they made a last-second switch and moved it to the Dempsey.

I was the only one of the media group to stay.

J.R. Hasty and E.J. Savannah are back and practicing. Because Tim Lappano said they wouldn't be adding anything in today, the team was in lightbulbs (helmet and shorts, no pads). Tony Chidiac, Jason Wells, Ryan Tolar and Jordan Murchison had on their practice tops and sweats.

After stretching, the team lined up in three groups on the sidelines. After one warmup lap of across the field and back, the groups went off - one at a time - and had to beat a specific time.

From the skill players, Hasty and Anthony Boyles appeared to be lagging a bit. After the first set, Willingham went past Boyles and said something to the effect of, 'Anthony, you better be leading this group the next time around'. Didn't happen.

And the leaders? Desmond Davis and Jake Locker.

The next group - the linebackers, fullbacks, tight ends - Mason Foster and Cort Dennison were right there when it came to leading that group. And with the linemen, Johnie Kirton and Kalani Aldrich were among the fastest - although when Willingham had them go back and forth twice, Kirton was the clear leader by at least 7-10 yards.

When they broke up into their position-specific periods, the QB's were throwing to the WR's and TE's, the RB's were working with the QB's in the passing game, the OL and DL were working on the various blocking techniques they use, the LB's were working on gap control and the DB's were working on shedding blockers and wrapping up ballcarriers.

On the offense, when Tim Lappano mentioned earlier in the spring that he felt Brandon Yakaboski has the best hands of anyone on the team - they were on display today, and it's no joke. Yakaboski is really fluid catching the ball, and it doesn't look like it takes him any effort at all to look back, catch a pass and then turn upfield. It's all one quick, effortless motion.

Willingham was by the sidelines on this group, watching this drill with interest. From time to time he'd act as a would-be tackler, so the RB's would have to try and either elude him or out-run him. Because coach is in great shape, this turned out to be pretty fun to watch.

On Defense - watching Donatell work was interesting. For the time I was there, he was switching off between watching the DL and the LB's, going to each group, watching the drill, and then adding his two cents if he wanted to offer up an opinion to a particular player.

April 14th (Monday)
2:57 p.m.

Coach Tim Lappano notes:

Just spoke with UW OC Tim Lappano

He said that the best things to come out of Saturday's practice/scrimmage was D'Andre Goodwin's play, the accuracy of the QB's and the fact that the offense didn't turn the ball over despite the fact that the defense was emphasizing it.

He did say that because the coaches have put so much offense and defense in the first two weeks, the players are 'flooded' with information, so they won't be adding anything new today. "Today is review."

Said that because the players were all thinking out there on the field Saturday instead of playing, it affected the overall tempo of practice. Add to that all the alumni and prospects on the sidelines, and it sounds like there were more than a few players affected by everything that was going on around them. "The speed wasn't close on Saturday."

Lappano also said that he was a little frustrated with the running backs trying to bounce plays outside for losses instead of hitting the hole and getting a yard or two. "Second and 8 or 9 is better than second and 13. But that's youth. They all ran hard. But they need to understand that it's OK to run up in there and only get a couple of yards.

Asked about the tight ends, and even though they didn't throw to them on Saturday, according to Lappano they've been 'wearing them out' in the other practices. Clearly Mike Gottlieb is ahead of the others. Lappano said that Chris Izbicki is going to be a factor in the run game, but needs to work on his route-running and getting separation in the open field. He added that he thinks Romeo Savant is going to be a factor in a year or two. "He needs the weight room, but he's a big target, athletic."

Was asked what he's seen in the new defense, from his point of view. Lappano said that he thinks there's been more hitting going on than in the past. "They are more physical than I've seen in a while. They gave us some blitz looks too. What we do is good for the defense to see, because we're multiple."

Asked about the new receivers and he said that he thinks Chris Polk is going to be a good one. Lappano added that Curtis Shaw and Devin Aguilar continue to learn and get better every day. "They will all be good football players."

Asked whether he'd rather have the experience of last year's receiving corps, or the talent and potential of his group, he cited John Wooden. "John Wooden said that if he had to choose, he'd take talent over experience. We can coach these guys up. We can get them in the right place."

April 14th (Monday)
2:22 p.m.

Cameron Elisara notes:

Said that he's moving better than he was last year, and is stronger as well. He has the biggest squat lift on the team (605), while Darrion Jones and Jordan White-Frisbee have the best bench press on the team.

With the younger guys coming in along the DL are stepping up and fitting in well, according to Elisara. Said that since they knew that Jordan Reffett, Wilson Afoa and Erick Lobos graduated, the guys coming saw this spring as the coming of a 'new era'. "We have new leaders now. Leadership is passed down from the older players to us, and I feel that I'm being looked up to (by the tackles)."

Said that Daniel Te'o-Nesheim is the leader on the end, but he also said that picking up a leadership role on the team is no more than making sure you can step up and get guys ready at any time.

He was asked whether or not the idea of the DL being too young and too small as an idea that's being overblown by people outside the program, and he said yes. "It's not affecting us at all."

He was asked about DeShon Matthews, and he thinks that Matthews versatility will help the DL this year like Te'o-Nesheim's versatility in playing outside and inside helped last year.

April 12th (Saturday)
4:01 p.m.

Here's a photo gallery, courtesy of Kim Grinolds, on what took place at today's scrimmage: Washington Spring Photo Gallery 2

April 12th (Saturday)
3:15 p.m.

Ronnie Fouch quotes:

On his day: "It felt good. The past couple days I've been starting get back on top of my throws and started to get back into the rhythm of the offense so I think today was a big day for me."

On the defense confusing them: "Their blitzes are starting to get more complex and they started off getting us, but our offensive line started to get better at picking up and recognizing a lot of the disguises and stuff."

On his new and improved throwing motion: "At the start of spring ball I was kind of down on myself, but I've been working on my new form. I used to have my elbow up and then I'd drop it down to throw and coach (Tim) Lappano has been keeping my elbow down and going straight up now so I'm starting to get used to it and I'm getting on top of my throws now. It isn't my natural throwing motion, but now I'm getting used to it."

On the young receivers coming along: "Anthony Boyles is getting a lot better. At first he wasn't knowing the offense as well, just like Devin (Aguilar) and Chris Polk and they're starting to get the hang of things and running better routes so it's getting a lot better."

April 12th (Saturday)
3:06 p.m.

Nate Williams quotes:

On how it felt to fly around like they were: "It felt good to have the chemistry down and me and (Aiyewa) like to talk out there and we're real close. We've been working together for quite a while, just studying everything so it was nice to be out there with him and Mason (Foster) and Donald (Butler) just flying around and having fun."

On this week being better than last week for the defense: "Oh it was definitely better than last week. We're really starting to get the defensive concepts down and just going out there and having fun and getting the feel better this week than last week and hopefully next week we can take it up even more."

On the defensive schemes this year vs. last year: "There isn't much of a difference, there's just more energy and more enthusiasm. Coach (Ed) Donatell bring a lot of that to us and that just lifts our spirits and makes it more fun for us and everything out there. That's the main difference I think."

On what Donatell adds to the defense: "Just in the meeting rooms and out at practice he'll jump around with us and he'll try to get into some of the drills. He doesn't just spend time with one unit, he'll be everywhere during the practice and he always helps us with anything we need."

On the long pass play: "With Jake (Locker) being the threat that he is, we all came up and he lobbed it over the top of us."

April 12th (Saturday)
2:58 p.m.

Brandon Johnson quotes:

On the scrimmage overall: "We ended up winning...they gave us our points back. I think we won 34 to 31. I think we made a couple mental mistakes, but overall I think we did good and we moved the ball productively today and we still got a lot of work to do, but I think we'll see a lot of better improvement during the spring game."

On not being as productive today as last week: "We weren't as productive, but we just need to go back into the lab and work on stuff. We were just trying to balance things out today, instead of just pounding it up in there and I think now, our bodies are pretty banged up, but once we get a chance to rest we should be fine."

On the warmth of practice: "It felt a lot different. I wasn't used to it and I kinda forgot how it felt. I've been away from it for so long, but it felt good to have some sun out ther and it made you feel like you wanted to play football."

On the defense's performance: "The defensive line looked real good and the linebackers looked real good too. They were filling their gaps real well so there wasn't much there for us so we just made the best of the situations that we had.

April 12th (Saturday)
2:52 p.m.

Scott Eklund's write-up of scrimmage number two: Husky Scrimmage Notes

April 11th (Friday)
4:45 p.m.

Afternoon Practice Notes: Hasty, Savannah and Wells were running stairs again. Wells appears to be moving around really well for a guy in only his seventh month since knee surgery.

Forrester was missing today and I heard he was attending his brother's wedding and Chidiac and Butler were dressed out, but were sitting out.

Jake Heaps and his father Steve were in attendance along with a trio of players from Meadowdale.

Tim Cowan was also on hand to check things out.

Players were in shells and shorts today.

Huskies were broken down by Chris Stevens and then Willingham noted the names of several players who would take part in the "leverage drill" or "Husky Drill" as it has become known. That is where two players go head-up on one another and then when the whistly blows they lock up in a leverage drills seeing who can get the better of the other.

Izbicki beat his man (couldn't see the number) Johnson beat Houston Logan beat his man (again...couldn't see the number) Habben and Kirton battled to a standstill

After a couple more "matches" (which I could not see from my vantage point) the Huskies then broke out into a two-minute drill (it's actually more of a 1:10 drills).

Locker hit Gottlieb on a nice read over the middle, but two plays later he was picked by Richardson on a deflection from a completely stretched out Shaw who was able to get a finger on the pass. Richardson then took it back deep into the "purple" territory.

The second team fared better as Fouch drove the team down to the "gold" 20 before I left.

Fouch hit Boyles on a nice read, but Boyles dropped it and bashed his hand on the ground in disgust. Boyles has the athleticism, but he appears to be "fighting" things a bit and thinking too much at this point. This will come around from him, but you can see his natural abilties.

Fouch scrambled for about 30 as Skyler Fancher picked up a blitzing Matt Mosley and Fouch skirted around the right side for a long gain before being touched down.

Fouch then hit Willie Griffin on another nice read and he gained about 10 down to the 20. That's when the media were required to leave.

April 11th (Friday)
3:11 p.m.

Coach Tyrone Willingham notes:

**Asked about the new coaches and how they're fitting in to the staff.

Coach Willingham noted that coach White comes through loud and clear and if you get near coach Donnatel you can hear how positive he is and how he loves to coach and teach and with coach Gervais he's got that sense of calm and that "we're on the right track" and we're making the right progress.

Willingham noted that he likes to give his coaches the flexibility to insert different things into practices. He is always open to how they do things and changing if they can get the job done more efficiently.

**Asked about yesterday's practice intensity compared to Tuesday's and Willingham noted that it was much better yesterday and he said the intensity was much better and that the team was much more crisp and some of that could be attributed to the different things they were practicing -- two-minute drill, redzone, goalline, etc.

**Wide Receivers have come along. Getting some very solid leadership from D'Andre Goodwin and he's the player they are really counting on to be the leader of the group. The rest of the group is still learning so in three to five days they haven't really gotten their yet...but they're on the way.

**Willingham noted that there area a lot of jobs being competed for in the secondary. Said that he's been impressed with the "physical nature" that the current safeties have and are bringing to the table every day. Singled out guys like Nate Williams and Victor Aiyewa as two that aren't afraid to lay a hat on a guy and make it known and that Tripper Johnson is another one who hasn't shied away from making the big hit.

**Also noted that Donald Butler, Trenton Tuiasosopo and Mason Foster are players who love to fly around and hit. Said that is infectious and gets their teammates going.

**Asked about the defensive line and how young they are and how the experienced linebacker corps will help their maturation and he said he'd prefer it the other way around, noting that if the line isn't doing there job it's harder for the linebackers to do theirs, etc. Has to have to guys up front grow up fast and that if that doesn't happen they need to get guys from the 2008 class (Noble, Ta'amu, Kelemete, Thompson) will need to be hell-bent on getting PT and that will allow that to happen.

**No injuries of note that Willingham could remember from yesterday's practice.

April 11th (Friday)
2:20 a.m.

Washington Strength and Conditioning coach Trent Greener talked with Chris Fetters about a myriad of subjects.

Here are links to the three-part series:

Trent Greener Q&A, Part One
Trent Greener Q&A, Part Two
Trent Greener Q&A, Part Three

Coach Dick Baird takes gives us another look at what he saw at practice earlier this week: Coach's Corner

April 10th (Thursday)
4:40 p.m.

Practice Notes:

Because Tuesday's practice was apparently 'average at best', according to Coach Willingham, things appeared to be more up-tempo. As far as the injured players went, Darin Harris and Devin Aguilar were in full pads, while Jordan Murchison, Jason Wells and Byron Davenport were in pads and sweats. All of them seemed to be working and practicing in some capacity.

Jake Heaps and Kasen Williams from Skyline were there. Demitrius Bronson was also there. Former players Zach Tuiasosopo and Chad Macklin were also spotted.

Mike Gottlieb led the team in Husky Jacks.

The practice started with a spirited skelly drill working on the run game. Even though it appeared the team was only going thud (3/4) tempo, there was some hitting going on. Nate Williams busted up Curtis Shaw on the sidelines, and then heard about it from Willingham. The coaches are really trying to get their guys to understand the importance of getting through this spring healthy.

But even after Willingham sent the message, offensive players kept on hitting the turf. Chris Stevens stood up Willie Griffin, and the RS frosh RB hit the ground. Even frosh LB Kurt Mangum put Jake Locker on the turf, and that was a big no-no. Probably the last guy to be sweating it was Locker himself, as it appeared to be nothing more than a little love tap.

Griffin seemed to get the worst of it during this first drill. Darrion Jones put him to the turf, and he also fumbled once, a ball that was recovered on the fly by Quinton Richardson. He did a bunch of pushups after coughing up the rock.

Victor Aiyewa seems to be doing a nice job shedding would-be blockers out on the perimeter. I saw one run to the outside where he nearly rag-dolled Alvin Logan. He's a big, physical defensive back that could make waves if he understands where he needs to be on every play.

April 10th (Thursday)
3:21 p.m.

Tim Lappano notes:

Asked about the OL - said that they've been good in knocking people off the football, but they need to be a little more consistent in pass protection. Overall, the OL is going to be a strength of the offense, but they still need to be strong in developing depth, because they could just be a play away from using the backups.

Asked about the WR - said they've been 'as advertised'. A long ways to go, but you can tell why many of them were rated as four and five-star prospects. He added that the younger guys are working really hard and want to be good players. Said that D'Andre Goodwin has really stepped up, and even though he probably didn't see the light at the end of the tunnel early in his career, he's there now. "It's nice to see him play at such a high level." Lappano added that Goodwin is really getting in and out of his breaks and that overall he's playing like a veteran receiver.

Asked about Anthony Boyles, Devin Aguilar and Chris Polk, and Lappano said that they've shown flashes, but they are trying to keep up with Goodwin.

Asked about the running backs, and Lappano said the work there has been steady. "It's like we thought it was going to be." Said that Brandon Johnson, Willie Griffin and Brandon Yakaboski can all run it up in there and have done a nice job of holding onto the football. Said they've been over-emphasizing ball leverage. Starting today, they are going to looking at Chris Polk and Curtis Shaw in the slot and incorporating what they do into the run game. "We're going to see what they can do from the slot, and vise-versa. It's going to be something the defense is going to have to adjust to."

Asked about Polk as strictly a RB, and Lappano said that you can never say never because you always want to try and get the football to the best players.

Asked about Brandon Johnson being the lead tailback so far through spring, and Lappano said that the TB job is very much in competition. "We've got a lot of positions on the perimeter and at tailback we need to look at and we've only had three practices so far. We've got a ways to go. But Brandon is a good inside runner, who is a one-cut guy. He's really good inside."

Added that he feels Willie Griffin is a good inside runner who runs behind his pads with great vision. Said that Brandon Yakaboski is also a good inside runner who can also break you down and make you miss. "He also has as good a set of hands as anyone on this football team", which means he could be effective catching the ball out of the backfield.

Asked about the tight ends, and Lappano feels Mike Gottlieb has taken a step up in his development. "He runs better routes, and had a big catch Saturday, a 40-yarder." Said that Chris Izbicki is making his biggest impact as a blocker. "He's strong, and when he's run blocking, our guys feel him. He's going to be a good player for us in the run game."

Asked about the running game and any analysis he came up with from last year in terms of changes, and he said that - while they will still 'do what we do' - they were a lot more effective running the ball out of the two-back set and the read option than they were out of the triple option. "And that means we've got to block well on the perimeter, and we have to have the timing down with the quarterback and running back."

Added that he feels the receivers are blocking well on the perimeter right now, but they have to continue to spend a lot of time on it because it's so crucial to what they do as an offense. "If there's a physical breakdown or a mental breakdown out there, now you've got second and 15."

He said that by emphasizing it more and more, it's also going to help the defense get better at shedding blockers and making plays. "It's a win-win."

Asked about Locker, and Lappano said that he's playing really well right now and he's playing how they want him to play, but he's still got plenty of room to continue to improve. Said they need to get Ronnie Fouch going a little bit, so they are going to give him more time with the ones to evaluate what he's doing. "Overall he's good, but he's not where we need him to be."

April 10th (Thursday)
3:02 p.m.

Tyrone Willingham notes:

Wasn't expecting to talk to coach today, but he showed up for a couple of minutes.

Injury update - basically all that were out Tuesday - Darin Harris, Jordan Murchison, Devin Aguilar, Tony Chidiac - are all still limited. Aguilar sounds like the least limited of the group with a muscle pull, while Chidiac is dealing with some turf toe, so he'll probably be out an extended period of time.

He said that Jason Wells appears to be on track in terms of returning from his knee injury and that he 'looks good' running.

Willingham said that Tuesday's practice was 'average at best', and that they have to 'step it up' this afternoon. Said that some of that had to do with the fact that they had two days off in a row for the first time since practices started, as well as the fact that they were installing parts to their various systems, but 'mature teams' come out and practice strong regardless. They will continue to do installation today.

Asked about Johnie Kirton's switch to DT and what he's seen, and Willingham said that his absence away has definitely taken away from time he could have been working on the change in position. Asked if he's seen any ill effects of the South Africa trip with Luke Kravitz, and he said that Luke looks fine but that he's just been limited with what they've been doing at fullback so far.

Willingham said that there have been no other position switches or players coming or going from the program to date.

April 9th (Wednesday)
1:39 a.m.

Coach Dick Baird's first write-up on what he saw the first week of practice: Coach's Corner

April 9th (Wednesday)
12:54 a.m.

Chris Fetters' write up on new tight ends and special teams coach Brian White: White trying to 'create the crowd'

April 8th (Tuesday)
3:39 p.m.

Coach Willingham Notes:

Said the scrimmage part of Saturday's practice went well, and that he saw a lot of players having fun playing the game of football. "I enjoy being around players that enjoy life."

Said that Mason Foster, Donald Butler and Victor Aiyewa all impressed him with their physical play. He also mentioned Jake Locker and D'Andre Goodwin for their play. "Jake looked pretty sharp for his first day in pads and Goodwin had a nice day."

People also asked about Tripper Johnson, and Willingham said that with the injury to Darin Harris (knee, not considered to be serious) Tripper was able to come in and make an open-field tackle on Brandon Johnson. "He's doing an excellent job considering how long he's missed from football."

Someone asked about running backs, and Willingham said that he was pleased with all of the young backs (Brandon Johnson, Brandon Yakaboski and Willie Griffin), but today will mark the point in spring practice when other parts of the offense get installed, and they'll have to see how well the backs 'expand their role' to be more than just a runner - meaning as a blocker, receiver, etc...

E.J. Savannah and J.R. Hasty will not be practicing today.

Jordan Murchison, along with Darin Harris, is day-to-day with an ankle injury.

April 8th (Tuesday)
3:04 p.m.

Brain White Notes:

And he said that - while he's not coming up with huge scheme changes for special teams ("It's not schemes that win games, it's players and execution"), he wants to create a sense of excitement around special teams. He wants that first play of the game to 'create the crowd'.

Said that if you don't pick out Chris Stevens during special teams play, you are blind. Said that he wants others on the cover teams to really pick up what he does and said Stevens is a great mentor for that role. He said that Stevens represents all the core values of Husky football.

Also mentioned Paul Homer, Mason Foster, Victor Aiyewa, Nate Williams and Johnie Kirton as players 'off the top of his head' that he's very excited working with when it comes to cover and return teams and making that big 'explosion' play that can set the tempo for a game.

Asked about returners, and just like the kickers, it's all open to competition right now. "That's the beauty of it, we're an equal-opportunity employee." Also said they've thought about the idea of Ryan Perkins being the kicker for shorter kicks and one of the other kickers for longer kicks, but those are things that will all get worked out over the length of the competition.

He also added that Perkins, through at least the first three practices, hasn't been hampered and has been able to do all the things that have been asked of him.

I'll have more on my talk with White, as well as more on the special teams in a story scheduled to go up late tonight/first thing tomorrow.

April 7th (Monday)
8:09 a.m.

Scott Eklund's write-up on the defensive line: Defensive line a focus for spring

April 5th (Saturday)
3:26 p.m.

Husky Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell quotes:

On his first impressions so far: "First time is always interesting because it effects different guys different ways so I don't put a ton into that, but I thought a lot of our guys played with good pad level and got after it. There's just a great willingness of these kids and that's what impressed me the most right now, that they're willing to do things. We certainly don't have the product we want right now and you can see where we're at a stage where the offense is a little ahead of us right now. We're just looking to get guys in the right spots so we're evaluating right now, but I can't say enough about the kids because they look at us and they're saying 'we want some more' and 'come and teach us'."

On Victor Aiyewa: "We like the physicality. The guy was physical out there and that's something we want in our defense. If he continues to grow through the spring, the guy is going to hit people and if he masters his assignments he could be a candidate."

On Tripper Johnson's day: "He's a nice athlete and a nice kid. You have to qualify it a little bit the guy's been doing something different for a few years and he's gotten some maturity from somewhere and when you're that age and you've gone through a competitive experience from another sport and I've always liked baseball guys because they pick up stuff with their eyes and with their ability to make plays on a ball."

On the difference he's seeing between his NFL players and who he's coaching now: "I think you qualify things by saying they don't have as much experience and you don't have quite as much time with them. They're doing things, they're a complete student and there's regulations on time, but I think you quickly adjust things. Teaching is teaching to me and you obviously can't do as much, but these kids are eager kids and you look in their eyes and they've got a look I haven't seen, it's a deeper look, that I haven't seen in quite a while and it's a good look, it's a great look because it shows they're into it."

On guys stepping up when others go down with an injury: "Tripper got in more right away and that's how things happen. Stars are born, sometimes, when a guy gets to get in and get more looks. I've always said when a guy gets injured, I hope that it's not bad, but I look for the chance to improve in another area and develop some depth."

On his thoughts on the defensive line: "You have Daniel (Te'o-Nesheim), who's a great player and he has experience, and then you have some new guys and they're going to have some different development patterns, the time table is just different for each guy, but I can say I 've seen something good out of every one of them. I really can. Darrion (Jones), I've seen some good stuff through the week. A lot of his strength is playing into a technique. Kalani looks good, Johnie (Kirton) has showed us a couple of things, Tyrone (Duncan) has showed us a couple of things, there's one bright spot here and there and now we've got to make it appear more often, so I'm encouraged by those guys. Cameron (Elisara) and Nick (Wood) are kinda new to these kinds of thing and they've showed some positive things so I'm looking forward to getting to the next week and the next week and seeing where these guys end up."

On Donald Butler: "Once you start scrimmaging I'm focused on different things, but he gives us some juice and he's a guy we feel comfortable in our assignments and I feel comfortable talking to this guy as a coordinator and that's constantly what I'm evaluating -- who am I going to talk to in the game?"

On Vonzell McDowell's day: "It's nice to see him and see him get some confidence and see him into things. He's really thriving right now and he's really hungry to learn."

On what he was most impressed with: "I thought there was some good popping and some good hitting. I thought the guys adjusted when a couple of other guys went down and from that standpoint we got the calls and in and out of the huddles and guys aligned correctly."

On the difference from his defense and the defense these players have played: "I think there's some terminology and the secondary we'll play it a little differently, but I think that we'll be more man-to-man and a little more press in that which will be a little bit different, but it's really the development of a culture and a mindset for us right now. It isn't drastically different."

April 5th (Saturday)
2:56 p.m.

D'Andre Goodwin quotes:

On some of his big plays: "Everytime you get an opportunity to make a play it's pretty fun."

On his rapport with QB Jake Locker: "I do. Since we came here together in the summer, we've been talking about how we want to be a good combination and have good timing and today we showed that off a little bit."

On taking on a leadership role: "I kind of like the role. I like leading the younger guys, just like the older guys did with me before they left so I like it and there's not pressure...I just do what I've got to do."

On the younger receivers: "I think they're all talented and they can make plays on the ball in the air, but like when I first came in they've got to work on the small things like their technique and coverages, so I think we're going to be an excellent receiving corps."

April 5th (Saturday)
2:43 p.m.

Tripper Johnson quotes:

On playing in pads for the first time in quite a while: "It was awesome. It's been a while, but it was a lot of fun. It was probably the most fun I've had in a long time and I'm just happy to be out there, whether I get minimal work or maximum work with mixing in reps. I can't complain.

On getting more reps than he expected: "Darin went down and I bumped up to the second unit so I got a lot of reps today. I was pretty lost at times, actually most of the time, but I'm starting to pick it up slowly and it will take some time. I'm going to struggle and I know that, but I feel like I'm getting better after the first couple days."

On getting to hit with full pads: "It was different. I haven't done that for a long time. It was great. I'm still kind of revved up and the energy is still going. It was awesome and I can't complain."

April 5th (Saturday)
2:37 p.m.

Jake Locker quotes:

On his overall thoughts of the first day in pads: "We were physical today. I felt like we ran the ball well. Obviously there's some things we need to shore up and complete some passes in the passing game. Overall, for the first day, I thought it was good, but there are a lot of things we can improve on."

On what they need to improve on: "We can get more crisp on our timing and our routes and then, every once in a while we were staying inside the hole enough, we were bouncing it out too often, we need to fix that. If we take care of those things and get on the right guys we'll be alright."

On how he felt he through the ball: "I felt pretty good. There was a little stretch in team drills where we didn't complete as many passes as we needed to, but overall I felt pretty good, nothing sailed on me today."

On the young receivers: "I told you guys in the press conference before spring that we had some exciting players and I thought we were going to be really good and I think we've shown glimpses of that for the first three days of practice and I think it's only going to get better as we go."

April 5th (Saturday)
2:15 p.m.

Scott Eklund's write-up on the first scrimmage: First Scrimmage of Spring

Here's a photo gallery of the first scrimmage courtesy of Kim Grinolds: Spring Scrimmage Photo Gallery

April 4th (Friday)
4:41 p.m.

Practice Notes: **This was my first time seeing the guys this spring so I spent a lot of time getting used to some new numbers.

**Lots of coaches were standing on the sidelines as there is a coaches clinic going on today and tomorrow. Some schools represented were...Juanita, Redmond, Mt. Si, Kent Meridian, Lynden, Capital, Bremerton and Curtis. Probably was about 60 or so milling around watching different drills.

**Last year it was kind of sad to see coach Baer not taking part in any drills, just observing. This year is totally different. Coach Donatell is intimately involved...especially with the defensive backs. He pulled several kids aside, including Matt Mosley to give them pointers on re-routing receivers. It was pretty fun to watch and he was very boisterous in his comments and coaching.

**Nick Wood is a lot bigger than when he got here. Probably in the 295 range would be my guess.

**Morgan Rosborough doesn't have much of a gut at all and Jordan White-Frisbee really looks in great shape, but he's huge.

**Jason Wells led Husky Jacks and broke the team down today. He was running around but wasn't doing much side to side. He looks like he's further along than many thought he would be at this point.

**Savannah and Hasty were running stairs.

**Anthony Boyles has a lot of hair going on. He wasn't running stairs and was working out with the other receivers. Looked smooth in his routes...so did Aguilar.

**Chris Izbicki is easily 250 now. He looks big and his arms are huge. He's definitely put in the time in the weight room.

**Ronnie Fouch is another player who looks a lot bigger. His legs are still pretty skinny, but his upper body has really filled out. I heard he had put on almost 35 pounds since he arrived on campus last spring. My guess is he's about 210 now...tough to tell though.

**Luther Leonard and Vincente Cordova from Evergreen were both in the house to watch their future teammates go through their drills.

**Practice kicks off tomorrow at 11:30 am tomorrow.

April 4th (Friday) 3:15 p.m.

Coach Tyrone Willingham notes:

Coach Willingham met with the press for the first time following Washington's first day of practice and he said he came away impressed with some things....

**No injuries to report from the first day and he noted that that is a concern every time they come out for the first few days of practice because the coaches want the tempo to be great and the players have that energy and excitement to be back out playing again and that can lead to problems if they don't watch things.

**Some long plays in the passing game occured yesterday. Willingham noted that the situations the coaches placed the players in yesterday lended themselves to those things happening.

**Noted that it excited the players and that the talent coming in and the players that are hear already lend themselves to those big plays happening and that the coaches' focus this year is to get better at the long passing game.

**Also noted that QB Jake Locker was good at that last year, but they want him to continue to improve and get better in that area as well.

**No new info on Savannah and Hasty and we won't need to ask because he will let us know.

**Boyles will practice today and yesterday was a disciplinary move with him running stairs...nothing more...

**Coaching clinic going on right now so he hasn't been able to really evaluate the team. Liked the energy of the team and said that he hopes that's a sign of confidence, but that they need to grow and keep learning.

**First couple days back are more mental than physical. Players can be tentative trying to interpret calls and what the coaches are looking for and the players need to get back into it. Said there's nothing like playing football and that's exciting for the players, exciting for the coaches and that it's exciting for the community.

**Happy with spring conditioning, but said he had two different conditionings...spring conditioning and season conditioning and that the team is far away from being in the condition to play a real game and noted the date of the Oregon game.

**Still thinks Donald Butler is dealing with some remaining effects of the knee injury he dealt with last year, but he did say Butler is in excellent shape heading into camp and that they were able to do some things during the winter through that should really help him and that's what they are hopeful of. Coaches have to be aware of what his problems are and know how to balance his time on the field and letting him take time off the field.

**Said young guys are swimming as usual, but after the first week they will be fine.

**First day of pads on Saturday and Wilingham noted that, while he loves to get his guys out there hitting, football is about getting your hands and feet in the right place and it's easier to do that in shorts and shells. He loves the intensity of pads, but from a coaching standpoint, shorts and shells helps them work on technique.

**Will work on redzone situations and open field situations. Pads don't change what they do in practice.

April 4th (Friday)
8:20 a.m.

Scott Eklund's write-up of the offensive line: Husky line strives for versatility

April 3rd (Thursday)
5:43 p.m.

Because it was the first day, I tried to just write down all the numbers I saw in the various position groups.

The only numbers I missed were Tobias Togi and Charles Hawkins. Didn't see them there. Could be due to class or another schedule conflict. I don't know.

As Kim mentioned - E.J. Savannah and J.R. Hasty ran stairs. They certainly didn't seem to be out of sorts just in watching them get ready. They were there early and seemed to be ready to go and get whatever punishment they had coming out of the way so they can get the pads back on.

Anthony Boyles joined them just before the media had to leave. Don't know why.

Coaching observations - very chatty. I've seen plenty of energy before with the team during warmups, but today it seemed like all the coaches were going around and talking to all the players. Normally they will make the rounds and do a lot of what they did today - but I saw a lot more interaction between coaches and players that aren't in their position group.

The two coaches that seemed to be especially chatty were Tim Lappano and Brian White. Everyone already knows Lappano to be pretty boisterous and lively when practice is going on, but he was just a few decibels louder and more present than before. One of the kickers dropped a ball and you could hear 'Get out of the way!!' from 40 yards away. And when a couple of the running backs went a little wider toward the sideline to catch a pass, Lappano was on them. "Hold your stem!", meaning don't stray too far toward out-of-bounds.

Coach White is night and day from Bob Simmons when it comes to coaching style. He's running pretty much the whole time, and you can hear him all the time when he isn't getting drowned out by Lappano. As the tight ends are going through their warm up catches, he ran stride-for-stride with his players, talking them through the catch with little tips like catching the ball at its highest point and watching the ball into the hands and securing the ball as they turn upfield.

Just in the little time that we got to see the offense line up, it looked like a typical first practice of spring. Botched snaps, dropped passes. The offensive coaches looked to be trying to push tempo from the get-go.

As far as players - Trenton Tuiasosopo led the team in Husky Jacks today. Senior Dan Howell was out at practice for a little bit.

Just on the hoof - Morgan Rosborough looks good. No gut, body redefined. I suspect he's still in the 350-360 range, but it's good weight now. He looks like a hoss. It was fun to see guys like Boyles and Devin Aguilar out and catching passes. You can tell their athleticism, as well as the fact that they have a little flair to their game that Husky fans haven't seen from the WR position since Reggie Williams. Wanted to see Kalani Aldrich to see what he looked like, and to me he looks just a little bigger than what Caesar Rayford looked like. I suspect the 6-7, 260 is about right, maybe 5 pounds off.

Didn't get much of a chance to see Chris Polk, as he was trying to stretch out some sore hamstrings. I think he's still getting used to working out at this level. The trainers are going to not take any chances with a guy like Polk, so they made sure he was properly stretched out and had plenty of water before practicing.

Here's what I could make out of who was working with who in the early drills:

C - Garcia, QB - Locker, FB - Homer, TB - Johnson

C - Sedillo, QB - Fouch, FB - Kravitz, TB - Griffin

C - Christine, QB - Bean, FB - Sylvester, TB - Yakaboski

April 3rd (Thursday)
10:52 a.m.

Chris Fetters' write-up on the coordinators: New Coordinators eager to get to work

Scott Eklund's write-up on the secondary: The State Of The Secondary

April 2nd (Wednesday)
5:36 p.m.

Kim Grinolds, Chris Fetters and Scott Eklund discuss what to look for during spring practice and who they think will be the breakout players in this Dawgman Radio broadcast: DawgmanRadio - Spring Football

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