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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 5, 2007 at 6:20 PM

Nate Williams to defense

Just back from practice where the big news was that freshman Nate Williams, recruited as a running back, is now playing defense, working with the defensive backs.
We’ll find out more on this from Tyrone Willingham when he speaks after practice.
A few other quick notes:
Curtis Shaw appeared to be the No. 3 running back after Louis Rankin and J.R. Hasty, followed by Willie Griffin and Brandon Johnson. These things are real fluid this time of year, but that appeared to be the early pecking order on the freshman RBs.
Chris Stevens ran ahead of E.J. Savannah at outside linebacker. Willingham said recently that Savannah was still the starter so not sure the reason for that move. Could be the conditioning test conducted earlier in the day.
— That same conditioning test may also be the reason that the No. 1 O-line looked a lot different than it ended in the spring. The starting unit was Chad Macklin and Cody Habben at tackles, Juan Garcia at center and Ryan Tolar and Matt Sedillo at the guard spots. Ben Ossai ran with the No. 2’s along with Sir Aaron Mason, with Casey Bulyca and Morgan Rosborough at guard.
UPDATE (6:55 p.m.): Willingham explained that Williams was moved “he thought he would like to start out on defense.” He will begin as a free safety and “then we’ll work him both ways (strong and free safety),” Willingham said.
— Willingham explained that the lineup changes on the offensive line and linebacker was because “there were some things that were not completed coming into camp so we made some adjustments and we’ll stick with those adjustments until some things are rectified. … At the appropriate time I will talk about those things.”
— As for his overall thoughts on the team’s conditioning, Willingham said “I was generally pleased with our overall attitude, especially with our conditioning work. I thought that came across well. I thought our team ran as well as any I’ve had. … That’s a good base to work from, but it’s football that puts you in shape to play.”
— As for the team’s play, Willingham said “I thought we looked a little rusty. We didn’t throw it and catch it very well. But for a first day I thought it was okay. Not great, but okay.” That seemed obvious as neither of the QBs looked real sharp throwing the ball, especially Jake Locker, who had said earlier in the day that he thought he had solved his accuracy problems from the spring by improving his footwork. Locker missed on a lot of throws, but the whole passing game seemed a little out of sync, as Willingham mentioned.
— The best punter of the day might have been walk-on Kiel Rasp of Nathan Hale High in Seattle, who caught Willingham’s eye with some of his rockets. “There were couple ones that he hit that you say (wow),” Willingham said. “We’ve got some potential there, but the whole key is consistency.”
UPDATE 7:30 — Neglected to mention earlier that freshman DL Nick Wood is out with a hand injury that is expected to sideline him for some time and all but certainly to result in a redshirt season. It’s unsure the origin of the injury.
UPDATE 8 P.M. — Story is finally sent so I have some breathing room for a few more notes and overall impressions.
— For what it’s worth, Locker’s first pass of the year — in a seven-on-seven drill — was picked off by Mesphin Forrester, symbolic off the “rust” that Willingham said he saw from the offense.
— The three new RBs (Shaw, Griffin and Johnson) all were impressive, particularly Shaw, whose speed was obvious and who also made a nice catch in traffic out of the backfield. Griffin, meanwhile, reminded me a lot in style of former Husky Willie Hurst.
— WR Marcel Reece actually looked a little bigger today then he had last spring, which might seem a little ominous. But he was running with the No. 1 unit, indicative that the coaches were happy with where he is in terms of his conditioning.
Ryan Perkins seemed to punt just fine, giving some proof to Willingham’s claim that he could be a factor in the kicking race this year.

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