The first of 15 spring practices is in the books. With no contact, nothing new in terms of injuries or anything like that.
What is new is that coach Steve Sarkisian said afterward that Clarence Trent is now on a football scholarship, meaning that for now, Trent is apparently a football player first and will count against the football team’s 85-player limit for now and presumably, next fall, opening one up for basketball.
Sarkisian said Trent approached Lorenzo Romar about possibly turning out for football early in the basketball season and that Romar and Sarkisian talked then. It was decided then to wait until the end of the basketball season to make it official. Sarkisian said there were still some things to work out Monday, which is why he said neither coach announced it when they met the media on Monday.
Sarkisian said he is excited to have Trent because he fits the body type of the position, and because that is obviously a position of need for the Huskies.
“But he hasn’t played football in five years (since his freshman year of HS), so there’s a lot of work to do,” Sarkisian said. That time apparently came at River Ridge High in Lacey, where Trent spent his freshman year of high school.
Trent wore No. 97 and worked with the backups at defensive end throughout practice. He is off-limits to the media for now, per Sarkisian’s policy of keeping all newcomers off-limits until at least the season starts.
“I’m excited to have Clarence on our team. I think he’s the right type of body type, he’s the right type of athlete at the defensive end spot that we’re looking for: a long, rangy, athletic guy. He hasn’t played football in five years, so there’s a lot of work to be done,” Sarkisian said.
Of how it came together, he said: “Lo and I talked about it months ago. There’s no point in doing anything during the basketball season. We just thought let’s wait until it’s all over it. There were some logistics to go through to make sure it was all possible. I wanted to announce it at the press conference, but we just weren’t ready to do it.”
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— I talked a little to Marques Tuiasosopo afterward and he said he will be in the same role with the team this year as an assistant strength coach. While he said he’d like to play again, he acknowledged that he’s now been out of playing for more than a year and that “I’m starting to transition” to life after football. He said he likes his current role with the Huskies and that for now, it’s where he sees his future.
— Sarkisian said his assessment of practice was that “it was a lot better than last year’s day one.” He cited things such as the communication on the offensive line as signs of how the team is a lot more advanced in what it is doing now than it was a year ago.
— The major disappointment of the day were some fumbles by the running backs, including two by Demitrius Bronson, who also struggled with fumbles a year ago. If that continues, that will open the door wide open for newcomers Jesse Callier and Deontae Cooper. Callier in particular seemed to have a good practice and drew praise later from Sarkisian who said that “he has a nice feel for running the football.”
— Keith Price ran the No. 2 offense and Sarkisian said he likes the changes Price has made in his mechanics in the last year — notably, lowering his throwing motion a bit so he’s not so over the top, which caused his passes to dip. But he said Price needs to have more confidence in what he’s seeing on the field. He said there were “4-5 times” when Price pulled the ball down when he should have thrown it.
— Sarkisian said he liked what he saw out of Nick Montana, noting his presence in the huddle. And he said that while it may sound like a small thing, he noted that Montana didn’t fumble any snaps, something he said is common for a new QB on his first day. Montana had one nice pass to Marlion Barnett for about 20 yards or so during a team drill in what might have been his best pass of the day.
— Sarkisian said he liked the revamped OL but cautioned that “we’re just out here in underwear” and that no real conclusions can be made until the team gets in full pads. Most promising might have been seeing Greg Christine and Skyler Fancher each back on the field after injuries last season. “I thought Greg Christine and Skyler Fancher both rebounded really well,” he said. “I thought both looked good today.”
— He also liked what he saw of Victor Burnett saying that he looks the part, though again cautioning that with a position like linebacker, real assessments need to wait until pads come on.
— While UW doesn’t have a backup punter now, sounds as if the Huskies will have a new walk-on punter coming in this fall, so that will be solved. Also sounds as if the Huskies will have two walk-on QBs coming on this fall, helping solve the depth issues there. UW has only three there now with Jake Locker, Price and Montana, and while some other Huskies have a QB background, there are no plans to move any of them to that spot for depth, instead getting through the spring with the three they have and then adding two in the fall.
— Nate Fellner committed a personal foul late in practice and was sent to the sidelines, Sarkisian making an early statement about how he feels about such plays. “We had an incident there at the end and it would have been a 15-yard personal foul penalty and that’s not OK. we’ll learn, you get ejected from practice when you take one of those,” he said.
— Asked to name some off-season “workout warriors,” Sarkisian said: “Johri Fogerson had a really nice offseason. D’Andre Goodwin, Jermaine Kearse was fantastic. Chriz Izbicki had a nice offseason. Semisi (Tokolahi). There’s a lot of guys. Cort Dennison. But all in all, I think our entire team did. They’ve all bought in to Ivan Lewis and his conditioning program.”
— Victor Aiyewa wore red due to a shoulder injury that will keep him out of contact drills. But he went through some of the work at a linebacker spot preparing for a proposed move to that spot in the fall. Alvin Logan, as noted earlier, appeared to get most of the work at the other starting LB spot opposite returners Mason Foster and Cort Dennison.
— UW held some tryouts for walk-ons today, apparently almost all for defensive end. We’ll find out in future days if any have been added to the roster.
— UW will practice again on Thursday at 4 p.m.
All for now.