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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 25, 2009 at 9:42 PM

More Spring Game quotes

Cleaning out the notebook from the Spring Game:
— The official stats didn’t include penalties, but I think there were only 4-5 (due to plays missed while getting down the elevator from the press box I don’t have an exact tally). That seemed indicative of a day that was pretty crisp for a team completing its first spring under a new coach. There didn’t seem to be a lot of confusion or guys not knowing what they were doing or stuff of that nature.
Mason Foster had two sacks to lead all defenders, also an indicative stat as Foster is being used in more of a pass-rushing role than last season. With the return of E.J. Savannah, Foster has moved over to strongside linebacker, meaning he lines up primarily on the side of the tight end. Savannah is used on the other side but more inside. Foster said the switch took him a little while to get used to, one reason why he seemed to come on at the end of spring. “You’ve got to use your hands and get explosive on every play,” he said. He said he also had to learn to “rushing the passer from the outside” and “how to get your momentum going from a dead stop. But I worked with the coaches and I feel like I’m doing good now.”
— Asked afterward which players stood out to him Saturday, defensive coordinator Nick Holt mentioned Victor Aiyewa and Alvin Logan, each of whom worked with the White team. Aiyewa, he said “played really well hitting people.” Of Logan, he said “it was really good to see him getting all the reps he did against (the starters). He needed them and he’ll continue to get better.” Logan is playing free safety.
— Holt also had a telling quote about Jake Locker from a defensive coach’s standpoint: “He’s gotten a lot better, especially this last week of spring. He has a real working knowledge of the offense and is comfortable with what they are trying to get done. He’s always been an excellent athlete and how he’s really developed into quite the quarterback and he’ll only get better now.”
— Locker had some of his biggest plays out of play-action, which figures to be one of the biggest differences between this offense and what UW operated previously. Said Locker: “We did a lot of play-action stuff today. It gives us an opportunity to move the pocket a bit and give the defense some misdirection.”
— WR Jermaine Kearse made an interesting observation afterward when asked about the apparent improvement of the receivers. “We have a lot more time to work on our technique this year,” he said. “Last year in the spread offense there was not a lot of play-action. This year there is a lot more so there’s more time to work on our technique and get open.” He also said the fact that team does more stuff full-speed in practice has helped the passing game, as well. “(We’re) going hard running our routes full-speed and working on our time,” he said. “If we’re going full-speed in practice, the timing with Jake is going to come.”
— Kearse had a drop of a Locker pass in the first half that was the only thing that prevented Locker from giong 13-13. “It’s all right,” Kearse said. “I just lost focus on that, but I came back and bounced back.”
Chris Polk said having former players around as much as they have been this spring is definitely a change from last season. “Last year we never really had other people like that,” he said. “The coaches are really into it.”
— QB coach Doug Nussmeier said one of the most impressive plays of the day by Locker was one that few likely noticed. But he said there was a play where Locker threw to his fourth option “and it ended up being a big play for us. That’s progress.”
— Nussmeier also agreed that the coaches have talked to Locker so much about staying in the pocket that he might have almost been too reluctant to run today. But he said it’s a continual challenge for both coach and player to figure out the right balance of Locker’s running. “It’s very easy to say ‘just let your athleticism take over,”’ Nussmeier said. He said the trick is finding the right way to let Locker’s “athleticism take over when there’s nothing there.”
All for now.

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