The second day of spring also was the last day for the players to be in, as the coaches say, their underwear.
When they gather again on Saturday, the team will be in half-pads — helmets and shoulder pads — and then put on full pads for the first time Tuesday.
Two days of “underwear,” then, means few real meaningful assessments can be made — ask a coach right now about a player’s progress and he’ll mostly say to ask again in two weeks.
But day two provided a few glimpses here and there:
— Defensive coordinator Nick Holt said that Clarence Trent’s second practice “was better than his first day. Hopefully he just keeps growing. … we’re very fortunate to have him out there because he’s at a spot where we have no depth whatsoever due to a lot of issues that have happened here the last couple of months. He’s a young man who in time, if he stays with it and continues to learn, he’s going to help us out, in time. It’s way, way, way early right now and he hasn’t played in 4-5 y ears and we’re at a tempo where a lot is happening all at once around him.” Trent got into it briefly with Senio Kelemete during a one-on-one drill, Kelemete pushing Trent backwards and Trent keeping up the fight. DL coach Johnny Nansen then ran up to Trent and told him to go run and touch the tackling dummy QB anyway, and Trent enthusiastically complied.
— I also noticed Trent being used as an edge rusher on the field goal block team.
— Sarkisian also pointed to Tyrone Duncan and Cameron Elisara as players who had good days, saying “they were active” though he included the caveat that he’d need to look at the film to really make a good judgment of who did what.
— There will inevitably be a lot of focus on the tight end position this year and a few of us talked to Kavario Middleton afterward. He said he’s done to 245 pounds after being “250-ish” last season, the lowest of his career at UW. He also said he’s completely healthy after dealing with a nagging hamstring injury much of last season. Asked if he feels on the verge of having the “breakout season” everyone has been anticipating, he said he hopes so, and that his goal this spring is “just being a dominant type of person on the field, just dominating and letting people know that I’m not playing around this year.”
— He got in better shape in part due to eating better, he said, thanks in part to his mom forcing the issue and making lots of Costco runs for fruit and vegetables instead of hitting fast-food joints. He also has shown up to spring with two new little tattoos behind each ear, Chinese markings for “without fear.”
— Here’s what Sarkisian said about the tight ends: “I hope they both keep playing and get to a high level. We want more production in the run gamee than we had last year, more efficiency in the passing game. I don’t think we had a pass game last year where it was tight end-oriented, and this system is one that is used to throwing the ball to the tight end. So hopefully we can develop that as well. But run game production is key, we’ve got to be better at the point of attack at the tight endn spot than we were last year.”
— The offense won the day after the defense won on Tuesday. I didn’t notice as many fumbles — the only one I really saw was by walk-on Cole Sager, who immediately ran a lap as punishment.
— Sarkisian said the goal for Jake Locker this spring is to become more efficient in the offense. He said the two ways that will become apparent is more quickly checking out of bad plays at the line of scrimmage and audibiling to better ones, and more quickly reading defenses to get the ball to the right receiver. He said one example of that happening last year was the WSU game when Locker completed four passes to Paul Homer — none of which were designed to go to that position. “That started to show me he’s locking into what we are doing,” he said.
— Nick Montana continues to look pretty polished for just two days in and had one nice roll out pass to Jordan Polk during a team drill.
— I’ll post some pictures from practice later.