Day seven of 15 spring practices for the Huskies was a rugged one for the team, resulting in what UW coach Steve Sarkisian said “might have been our most competitive practice, really intense.”
It included a lot of work with the offense trying to get off of its own 1-yard-line, and concluding with an overtime session.
Getting all of the work at tailback in those sessions was junior Johri Fogerson and true freshmen Jesse Callier and Deontae Cooper.
“Those three guys are really getting the carries right now and it’s fun to watch them battle and compete and see what some guys can do well and can’t do well,” Sarkisian said. “It was interesting to watch the young guys on the goal line for the first time today and what their pad level was like think — we can coach that up and get them lower behind their pads and continue to grow as the competitive nature of practice grows. …
As installation is really slowing down I think we are going to start to see all three of those guys play even faster football.”
Cooper scored on a fourth-and-one play to cap a drive during the overtime session and also ripped off a long run during the goalline session that might have gone 80 yards or so had not assistant coach Demetrice Martin played some unwitting interference. “We’re going to have to find a way to get an extra blocker next time to take care of him,” joked offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
Said Sarkisian: “I lost sight of it. When it took off I thought to myself I knew the next series was starting back down here and I’m too old to run back down there and back again.”
Nick Montana capped the other overtime series with a touchdown pass to Kavario Middleton.
Otherwise, it looked at times like a day for the defense as there were a couple of interceptions, probably the most of the spring. Vonzell McDowell picked off one Keith Price pass during a team drill and returned it for a touchdown, and Quinton Richardson had an interception of an overthrown Jake Locker pass during a seven-on-seven drill.
Said Nussmeier of Locker: “I wouldn’t say today was one of his great days, but it wasn’t bad either. I thought he did some good things.”
So did Montana, who provided one of the early highlights with a perfect strike to walk-on receiver William Chdandler, who bobbled about a 35-yard pass and then held on for the completion.
If you’re wondering if there’s any change to the quarterback pecking order, however, Sarkisian says that’s not something being decided now. “I’m not even worried about it,” Sarkisian said of a battle that figures to go well into fall.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Fogerson also had a good run during the goalline team session, ripping off about 20 yards or so to get the offense out of trouble.
— As you might have guessed from reading the above, Demitrius Bronson did not get any carries at tailback during the team session. Sarkisian said again that Bronson is getting looks at fullback but didn’t say that’s a permanent switch yet.
— DT Cameron Elisara banged his knee but said it was nothing serious and that he thought he’d be back Thursday. Sarkisian termed it a “strain” but also indicated it’s not serious.
— Asked after practice about the depth at defensive end, Sarkisian said the team fully expects to get Kalani Aldrich and Everrette Thompson back for the fall and that “we bring in three new freshmen at that spot. I think our depth will be fine.”
— One offshoot of the lack of depth in the spring is more reps for the guys who are there, which today also included De’Shon Matthews, back after missing a few days with an Achilles injury. “I think it’s been good for a guy like Talia Crichton to get this many reps and this much opportunity. The challenge is not having another guy right behind him pushing him, competing with him like there is at every other spot. They’re doing fine, but in a perfect world I’d like to have more competition there so there is another guy pushing him, competing with him so we can get better.”
— Sarkisian and the rest of the coaches got on the players a little bit early to get them back into practice mode after two days off. Said Sarkisian: “It’s almost halftime. We are through seven practices now and been in full pads for a few days in a row as coaches and players can look around and say its just another one but there is never just another one. Try to pride ourselves that it doesn’t matter what they are wearing, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like. We only know how to practice one way and that’s 100 miles an hour and we just wanted to make sure that that was the way we were going to go again today.”
— Sarkisian on what the film looked like from Saturday’s scrimmage: “I thought we did some nice things, some things that were good. I thought our effort could be better, we could play with more of a relentless effort where our guys are really playing with their hair on fire, so that’s something we assessed with our guys. I like the comnposure again after looking at the film, our two young guys they weren’t perfect but their composure was there, they weren’t just rattled, they will learn not to take sacks and that’s just part of the maturation process of the position and we need to be more physical and stout up front on the defensive line. That showed up again today. And I know (defensive coordinator Nick Holt and defensive line coach Johnny Nansen) were on it and we’ll get better.”
— Asked for someone that stood out, he said safety Nate Fellner: “I liked what Nate Fellner brought. He brought a real physical nature to the scrimmage. He was confident and was playing fast football. He’s one guy that really stood out to me.”
— Sarkisian said D’Andre Goodwin is out with a hamstring injury. “We’re watching it. I think we’re seeing the benefit of giving a guy some rest in Jordan Polk who is fighting through it now, who took a couple days off. Hopefully we get the same out of D’Andre.” Asked if it’s the same injury that ailed Goodwin last season, he said “he didn’t have it all offseason. We did some tough running, hard running. For whatever reason, it’s come to light. We’ve done the same stretching routine that we do when we do our conditioning program as we do on the field now. It just came up, you know.”
— Sarkisian said Desmond Trufant, out with a groin injury, may not be back this spring: “I don’t know, we’re not pushing him real hard. We’ve got good depth at the (cornerback) spot, and I want to make sure he is 100 percent before we get him back out here. His deal is not about what Tru can do, it’s about making sure he is healthy as we hit this offseason and into the fall camp. I’m not sure what we’ll get out of him. Hopefully we’ll get something in the last two weeks or so. We’ll see.”
— One of the more interesting battles remains strongside linebacker, where Alvin Logan, Victor Aiyewa and Matt Houston are competing. Aiyewa, however, sits out of full-contact drills with a shoulder injury, so Tuesday that left all the reps to Logan and Houston.
Said Sarkisian of Logan: “He’s doing a nice job. It’s a new position. It’s a little bit different for him, and he’s in nice competition with a couple of other guys. He obviously has the athleticism where he can grow. It’s just a matter of the consistency factor and the efficiency factor like I talked about. When he has opportunities to make plays, we want him to continue to make ’em. He has the stature that fits the mold. But for us, in our scheme to play linebacker, you’ve got to be able to shed blocks and come over the top and rush the passer. He did it again today; he came off the edge on a blitz and got a sack. So he shows the right qualities.”
And on Houston: “I thought he did pretty well in the scrimmage. I think he’s coming. They are a little bit different type of player; Matt’s maybe a little more physical than Alvin. So we’re trying to get Matt to play even faster and Alvin to play a little more physical.”
— UW is off now until Thursday at 4 p.m.