Monday Practice report

SEATTLE - As Trick Daddy's 'Take it to the House' was winding down, the music fading from the speakers alongside the field at Husky Stadium, you could hear the DJ's marching orders from Steve Sarkisian: "Play me a good song!" Slowly, AC/DC's 'Thunderstruck' come busting through the woofers and tweeters as the Huskies marched through the rest of their team period.

When Erik Folk's 31-yard field goal went through the uprights and past the glare of the late-afternoon sun, the offense went bananas. Contrast that to the pained look of Devin Aguilar, happy his side won, but he wasn't celebrating with them. He was with teammate Quinton Richardson, who had gone down on the play before, his neck aching.

After a couple of minutes in the west endzone, the sophomore cornerback sat up and then eventually was helped up, rubbing his neck and grimacing after he took his helmet off.

It's that time of the spring where the offense starts to pick things up and move to where the defense had been up to that point. "This is about when it happens," Sarkisian said after Monday's practice. "Our kids played well. The quarterbacks continue to get better. Their rhythm in the passing game and the system keeps coming. The timing with the quarterbacks has gotten so much better with the wide outs. And our receivers made some tough catches. They used good body control and they went up and got some of the tough catches that created some of the big plays."

"Their confidence is growing every day, and that comes with making plays," added receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty. Jordan Polk and Cody Bruns both scored touchdowns during the team period, and Devin Aguilar and Jermaine Kearse contributed big plays. "They are buying into it right now and they are running their routes to win. We believe in them, no question."

The Huskies' number-one quarterback, Jake Locker, has starting to find his form. "From the mid-point of spring, I know he has grown quite a bit," Sarkisian said of the junior from Ferndale. "His comfort level with the terminology, his comfort level with his progressions...I just think his overall game has increased. He's playing at a high level right now. I expect him to continue to grow."

From the defensive standpoint, the injuries are starting to pile up, and Nick Holt is feeling it. "You see the defense getting nicked up a little bit," he said. "The offense has continued to get better and they are getting their timing down. The quarterback is probably getting a little more comfortable in the system. The receivers are getting a lot more comfortable in the system, so that's why you see things clicking a little bit more in the passing game.

"Now with No. 1 (Chris Polk) back, he brings to the table a whole different dimension of football player on offense. That's why you see the offense now on eight cylinders instead of six. And in September hopefully they'll have 12 (cylinders).
Notes:
Logan moved to safety: Monday, Alvin Logan was moved from receiver to safety, a move that's designed to help get the talented redshirt sophomore from Colorado in the mix. "There's more opportunity at the safety spot than at the wide receiver spot right now," Sarkisian said of the move, adding that they did it now so they could get as much film of him on defense to evaluate the move for the fall. "He wants to play and wants to do whatever he can to get on the field, so we're giving him that opportunity."

"He's a good athlete, he's a good kid and he wants to play," added Holt on Logan. "He cares about football. He didn't want to get lost in the depth chart at receiver. And it's not that he couldn't be a good receiver, but he's been out. By moving him to defense we're getting more athletes in the back end. Let's put him out there and see what he can do.

"We love to have him on defense. It's unfortunate we only have three more days with him, but I'm glad we got him moved now. Now he can get a couple more practices before summer. He's a big kid on the hoof and he runs pretty good. I think in time he will develop into a good football player. He's still young and I'm glad we have him."

Injury report: Everrette Thompson and Skyler Fancher are both walking around on crutches. Fancher broke his leg last Wednesday and the cast on Thompson's left foot goes up to past his knee. Sarkisian said it was a cracked bone in the foot, and he could have persevered, but it's not worth the risk. They are going to shut him down and make sure he's fully ready for the fall.

Tyrone Duncan looked to hurt his ankle/foot during some team work on the east field, and was held out for the rest of practice. Terence Thomas, Vince Taylor, Kurt Mangum, Cort Dennison, Brandon Yakaboski and E.J. Savannah were all in shells and shorts. Kiel Rasp, Andrew Lutton, Josh Gage and Vonzell McDowell were in red.

Terrance Dailey and Allen Carroll did not appear to be at practice.

Holt's point of view: I spoke for a few minutes with coach Holt to assess who he feels has stood out on the defensive side of the ball. "You go into it and knew a couple were good players," he said. "But I was surprised at how good a player Donald Butler is. He's a really fantastic football player. He's having fun and enjoying himself. He's being a leader, and him and Daniel (Te'o-Nesheim), we knew they were good players, but we didn't know they were that good.

"And E.J. Savannah...when he's out there he makes a difference.

"Quinton Richardson has really gotten better in the last ten days, as well as Nate Williams and Mason Foster. (Foster), he's come a mile in just a matter of a week.

"Those guys are the core guys that I think could play anywhere in this conference and be really good football players. Alameda (Ta'amu), he's gotten quicker understanding leverage and moving his feet. I think he could be a special player too when it's all said and done."

More on Foster: Sarkisian was asked about Foster's development this fall. "He's really found a comfort level, especially coming off the edge when he's pass rushing," he said of the junior linebacker. "He's playing faster football. He's a talented kid, he has a great physique and can really run around, and now he's starting to play like the guy that he looks like. And that's a tribute to coach (Mike) Cox and his coaching. He's been hard on Mason because he knows his potential. It's starting to show up for him."

More on Savannah: With E.J. out Monday, Donald Butler played at WIL and Trenton Tuiasosopo played the MIK. "He's such a playmaker and gets around the ball and creates havoc in the backfield," Sarkisian said of Savannah. "He's a tremendous blitzer, especially internally. When he's not in there we lose a little bit of that playmaking ability."

Sark on Sanchez: With the NFL Draft coming up on Saturday - it coincides with Washington's Spring Game - Sarkisian was asked about USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. "Mark will be a fantastic pro," he said, adding that he's been contacted by basically every team in the league about Sanchez. "Mark will be a fantastic pro. He's extremely bright. He's a tremendous leader. He brings a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy to the football team. Nobody works harder on and off the field from a preparation standpoint. The greatest thing he brings is the person that he is. If Seattle is lucky enough to get him, from a community standpoint I know they'll really embrace him."

Running Back by Committee?: Chris Polk got a bunch of carries on Monday, but Sark said afterward that the RB battle is going to carry over to the fall, so there will still be a lot of work between Polk, Brandon Johnson, Curtis Shaw, Willie Griffin, David Freeman and Demitrius Bronson. Dailey's status still appears up in the air and Brandon Yakaboski has basically been out all spring.

"Things are slowly starting to sort themselves out," Sarkisian said. "We're not trying to rush to any decisions. We don't need to. That thing is going to carry on into fall camp."

In the house: There were about a dozen high school players from Aberdeen at practice today, as was Olympic's Larry Dixon. One of the Aberdeen players there was Deshea Taylor, a 2011 lineman prospect who originally was in the Foster High School system.

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