About 30 hours now until kickoff of UW’s Friday Night Lights spring game, which I figure for many of you may be the first chance to get a real close look at the 2010 Huskies.
Here are what I think may be the five most intriguing players for fans to watch:
1, RB Deontae Cooper — Cooper, pictured to the right, has been one of the stars of the spring, alongside fellow true frosh RB Jesse Callier. Callier, however, won’t play after suffering a minor knee injury last week. And with Chris Polk also out while recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, that means the TB carries in the spring game will go largely to Cooper and Johri Fogerson. Cooper was the star of the scrimmage last Saturday with two TD runs and 114 yards, symbolic of how he has played throughout the spring. He also has shown good hands, something else that could be on display in the spring game.
2, QBs Nick Montana and Keith Price — Hard to separate these two, each battling for the backup job behind Jake Locker. UW coach Steve Sarkisian says he isn’t worried right now about establishing a pecking order behind Locker, and this is likely a competition that will last well into August, if not even until the week leading up to the BYU game. Still, the spring game is the most game-like atmosphere these two players will have of spring and fall camp, so what they do Friday could tilt the final decision a bit. That Montana has a redshirt year available will likely play into that decision, as well. Both have shown moments of promise this spring, but both have also had moments of looking like what they are — freshmen either concluding their first year in the program (Price), or just beginning it (Montana).
3, OLB Alvin Logan — The junior has spent the spring learning a new position at strongside linebacker, while also getting a few reps at defensive end as a rusher off the edge. This is another competition that won’t be decided until the fall, however, when Victor Aiyewa returns to full duty — he sits out contact work right now after having shoulder surgery. Logan had two sacks in an early scrimmage and can further state his case with a solid showing Friday.
4, Safety Will Shamburger — Sarakisian said earlier this week that Shamburger has been the most improved player of the spring, and he’s been running with the starting unit this week at free safety, a spot where he is competing with Nate Fellner. Shamburger, who sat out last fall with a knee injury, has shown good instincts and aggressiveness throughout spring and also appears to have quickly grasped the system.
5, TEs Kavario Middleton and Chris Izbicki — Always a position of intrigue, and it’s only grown more intriguing this spring with Sarkisian saying last week that Izbicki had pulled slighthly ahead of Middleton. That was apparently news to Middleton, who told reporters Tuesday he hadn’t been told that and hadn’t noticed anything different in the way he’d been used. In some ways, the starting designation is a matter of semantics, as both will be utilized a lot next season, either in two-TE sets or simply rotating. Also worth watching the third scholarship tight end currently on the roster, redshirt freshman Marlion Barnett.
April 29, 2010 at 11:48 AM
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