It was a beautiful day over at Montlake today. The wind was blowing a little bit but the sun was enough to keep me and a few hundred other fans warm. I showed up about 40 minutes late but I only missed a few drills and stretching. The team is entering its third week of spring practice. In the past years spring practice had stretched over 4 weeks but this year they stretched it out over 5 to keep the players fresh. This idea seems to be working. Guys are staying healthy and the team doesn’t appear to be tired at all. There have been no significant injuries so far and several guys returned from minor injuries today. De’Shon Matthews and Cody Bruns had each sat out the last couple of practices but both saw time today. Nate Williams also practiced at full strength today. D’Andre Goodwin remains sidelined with a hamstring injury but it doesn’t seem very serious.
The focus of today seemed to be red-zone offense and defense. This is an area where the Huskies offense struggled last year; I had nightmares of the Notre Dame game while typing that sentence. The offense and defense both had their moments today. Specifically, it seemed as if the secondary had a very good day. I think that group is going to be a strength next year. These guys go up against one of the best passing attacks in the pac-10 in Jake Locker and a good group of receivers every day and usually hold their own. I’ll have more on a few players in the secondary after the jump.
The quarterbacks were pretty much how they are every practice. Jake Locker was great and the other two were mediocre. Keith Price struggled early in drills but got a little better as the day progressed. Montana’s always learning and he’s a little slower than the other two but you can see the talent there.
The running backs had decent days. Deontae Cooper had a 75 yard run for a touchdown and that was probably the play of the day.
Ryan Tolar got quite a bit of time at backup center today (he’s also working with the starters as guard). I guess they just want him to be able to play everywhere or maybe they were giving Greg Christine a break. The starting offensive and defensive lines are usually pretty even but the second team defensive line generally has their way with second team offensive line. The walk-on defensive end Peter Follmer may actually have an impact on this team. He made a few plays today and is really strong.
To end the practice Sark gave the offense the ball and the defense’s 20 and let the starters go at it. The offense got the ball down to the 2 yard line and then was stopped on 3 different plays. When the coaches decided they were going to go for it all of the backups came running onto the field and surrounded the play. They started cheering and yelling encouragement to the players they were backing up. Deontae Cooper ran the ball in for a touchdown and all the offensive guys ran and tackled him in the end zone. Then the offense went for a two point conversion and the defense stopped them. This is what the staff has instilled in this team, competition. It was a really cool moment and there were many smiles going around as the players left the field.
My players of the day after the jump.
All of my players of the day will be in the secondary, which is kind of lame/weird but they’re the guys who stood out today.
- Will Shamburger. This is Shamburger’s first spring as a Husky and he’s done some impressive things. Today he made a couple really nice tackles. He is coming off a knee injury and wears this huge brace but he has pretty good mobility. I think he’ll be a solid player for the Dawgs down the road.
- Vonzell McDowell. McDowell continues to have a very impressive spring camp. He seems to be breaking on the ball really quickly this spring and it’s impressive how physical he is even though he’s the smallest corner on the team. Today he had an interception returned for a touchdown and was praised by the coaches a few times.
- Nate Williams. Matthew noted earlier today that Williams played well in limited action on Saturday. When he’s on the field he is U-Dub’s second best player on defense (Mason Foster is heads and toes above the rest). He beat a running back to the corner today and made a nice hit on him. This was just one of the plays that showed his mobility. If he stays healthy, I think Williams could have a really good year.
One other injury note to pass along. Everette Thompson is out this spring with an achilles injury. He had been wearing a boot every practice until today. I wouldn’t read much into this but I think this would mean that his rehab is coming along nicely. When healthy, Thompson is probably the Huskies best defensive lineman.
That’s it for today, thanks for reading!