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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 2, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Practice notes and Sarkisian video

The Huskies are off the field following their first practice of the spring.

As is required by NCAA rules, it was no pads, no contact — they won’t be in full pads until next Monday.

No real personnel surprises and no new injuries of note.

The biggest surprise might have been weather. As UW coach Steve Sarkisian said: “Somebody likes me, because the sun came out for the first time in three months.”

The fourth-year coach said he liked more than just the clear skies, however.. “I thought overall first impression, first practice – and not just comparing it to a first practice – I thought the energy was really good, the guys practiced efficiently, they were running the football. The effort was good, the enthusiasm was good…obviously on both sides of the ball there’s always things to work on, there’s always things to take from practice – and this practice was no different. But for the first day there were some really good things. I thought the quarterbacks did some good things, but at the end you look up and the defense ends up with three interceptions. So that’s a good thing as well.

“But I thought from an efficiency standpoint, with five new coaches and guys learning a new system defensively – I thought it was good. You’re trying to not be too, too physical because we don’t have pads on, but you’re working on the physicality of the game and the running game and pass protection and all of that…all in all a good first day, and some new guys showed some things. Marvin Hall did some nice stuff for us early on…it was good to see our three frontline corners did some nice stuff with Desmond (Trufant), (Greg) Ducre and (Marcus) Peters. And Sean Parker looked comfortable, John Timu...and I thought the two backs did some nice stuff today with (Bishop) Sankey and (Jesse) Callier. (Antavius) Sims, first day at running back still trying to find his way, but looked really good and we had him back there doing some return stuff, so a lot of good things for a first day.”

Here are a few of my own observations:

— The defense got the official win for practice when Matt Lyons picked off a tipped Derrick Brown pass on the final play. Ken Egu had tipped it as Brown tried to get it to James Johnson over the middlke.

— The starting OL was as advertised, going from left to right Micah Hatchie, Dexter Charles, Drew Schaefer, James Atoe and Ben Riva. Erik Kohler, who will be limited due to injuries, got some work with the second team at guard. The second OL primarily was Charles, Siosifa Tufunga, Mike Criste, Kohler and Atoe.

— Callier and Sankey split time at RB. The first set of three WRs was Kasen Williams, James Johnson and Cody Bruns. Johnson had a nice day and appears fully healthy. The No. 2 WRs began as Jamaal Jones, Josh Perkins and William Chandler. But as noted in the Sarkisian quote, Hall was a definite presence — worth remembering the depth chart moves around a lot this time of year.

— The defense showed primarily a 3-4 look front with standup ends. The first three DLs were Talia Crichton, Danny Shelton and Andrew Hudson, with Josh Shirley on an edge. The other LBs were John Timu, Princeton Fuimaono and Taz Stevenson. The safeties were Sean Parker and Justin Glenn and the CBs were Greg Ducre and Marcus Peters, with Desmond Trufant (limited with nagging injuries) rotating in.

— The No. 2 defense appeared to be Tani Tupo, Sione Potoa’e and Jarett Finau across the front (though with Lawrence Lagafuiana roating in); Corey Waller (in the same role as Shirley), Scott Laywer, Thomas Tutogi and Jamaal Kearse as the LBs (with Garret Gilliland rotating in), Nate Fellner and Will Shamburger as the safeties and Tre Watson and Anthony Gobern as the CBs. James Sample also rotated in at safety, wearing a red jersey. He appeared to work solely with the safeties (Travis Feeney is also wearing red).

— There were three interceptions in the team period — Timu picked off a Price pass over the middle, and Shamburger and Lyons had picks of Brown.

— As might be expected, the new coaches gave the practice a different feel. It’s worth remembering that the former coaches were all pretty energetic themselves, so not sure that part of it could change a whole lot. But Tosh Lupoi was definitely a presence getting involved in the DL drills (with Johnny Nansen still helping out), and Peter Sirmon was real hands-on working with the linebackers — spring is the time to work on fundamentals and they spent more than a few minutes with the tackling sled. Justin Wilcox seemed to roam around the different defensive units a bit more than Nick Holt, who tended to stick with the line, which was his area of specialty. Wilcox spent a lot of time with the DBs, with Keith Heyward spending most of his time with the safeties and GA Donte Williams working with the corners.

— Hatchie seemed to have a good day in the one-on-one drills, appearing more comfortable at the LT spot.

— Walk-on DL Drew Schultz handled the snapping and William Chandler the holding during the FG drills. It looked like a few more kickers were trying out as walk-ons afterward, so there could be some additions there.

— Kasen Williams talked to the media afterward and I’ll have video later. He said he’s up to about 215 pounds from 200 last fall but feels as if he hasn’t lost any speed.

Colin Porter, who had another shoulder surgery last week, was not at practice but other injured players were

— Seferian-Jenkins spent a few minutes working on some pass rush drills (the swim move, basically) after practice. Not sure I’d read much into it — he did that a few times last year, too and there are a lot of skills that are similar to both spots.

Here’s video of Sarkisian’s post-practice session with the media, with more quotes afterward:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1543712136001″][/do]

On the changes in the coaching staff: “I think every job and opportunity and all that is different. We were fortunate to have some real staff continuity there those first three years. And obviously there are a lot of changes on the field, there are a lot of new faces on the field. There are a lot of young players who were on scout team and service teams all year last year who are now getting opportunities, so seeing them at times seems new to me, as well. I think that’s what keeps it fresh for me. That’s what keeps you motivated. I think that’s what had me so excited for today. It went great. I’ve seen a lot worse first days, that’s for sure.”

On if that makes spring ball more important: “Sure. Sure. The key is to maximize these 15 opportunities we have. One’s gone. We’ve got 14 left to go. Every time we come out here we’ve got to come out here with a purpose and an attitude about who we are. I thought we did that today. Now the challenge is to come back Wednesday and do it again.”

On the excitement at the end when practice came down to one last play: “We were competing. The defense had a three-play lead there, they were up 10-7. Then the offense tied it up on the last play, so we had to go to overtime and the defense won. They were pretty excited. And it’s great for our defense, quite honestly. It’s about not only learning the defense but building some morale up on that side of the ball with some of those guys. So it was great to see.”

On if there are any changes to practice having to use just the East field: “Yeah, I see quite a bit more. I am able to stay centralized and see more things. Obviously from an organizational standpoint we really have to be on point with where drills are taking place because of the little bit of limited space. I thought today was a really well-organized practice. It was efficient. Guys knew where they were going, what they needed to get done. But for me I was able to watch multiple drills at each time, which was great.”

On how Austin Seferian-Jenkins looked after playing basketball the last three months: “He just kind of didn’t miss a beat. He stepped right in, made his plays, worked extremely hard. I thought the tight-end position was another one that showed up today, caught the ball well, did some nice things. All three of those kids with Austin, (Michael Hartvigson) and Evan Hudson. But Austin’s transition for a guy that’s been hoopin’ this whole time, to come out here and feel comfortable is pretty encouraging.”

On how Keith Price looked: “I thought he looked great. Typical Keith in the sense he was upbeat and very spirited. Has a great deal of fun at practice. I think he is one of the keys to the way we practice, quite honestly. I think part of it for Keith was, he did some really, really good stuff, and maybe forced some balls that weren’t there. But that’s part of figuring out what are your limits now, how far can you take this thing? I thought the rapport between him and Coach (Eric) Kiesau was good. I thought he did some really good stuff, and he will learn from the couple mistakes that were made.”

On if Price looked different physically now that he’s healthy: “I thought he looked explosive. I thought he looked strong. Again a first day, fresh legs and all that. The key for Keith isn’t about today or Wednesday for that matter. In my mind, I’m thinking October and November. How do we keep building him up to stay strong for an extended period of time. That”s going to be our continued focus with him in the weight room, the training room and as we practice.”
On Williams putting on 15 pounds in the off-season: “We want him to be strong and physcial. The difference for Kasen is that when he was in high school, he was football, basketball and track so he was constantly doing things. Now with just football and offseason conditioning, he’s been able to build his body up but still stay explosive. I thought I saw that today with him. It will be interesting to see how can carry that weight as we move forward. I thought he looked good today.”

On the schedule the next few days: “We will be in helmets on Wednesday, half pads on Friday and full pads on Monday.”

On Trufant and Kohler rotating in with the twos: “Both are kind of limited and they are coming off a couple different nagging things and so we’re just mixing. There’s nothing to lead into yet. There’s no depth chart. We are just playing ball.”

On Kohler’s status: “We just have to build his stamina back. He just hasn’t been in our offseason conditioning program as much as the other guys have. So we have to build him back up.”

On the 8 a.m. practices: “It was great. I thought the guys showed up. It’s exactly what I thought. We’ve been getting them up at 5:30, 6 in the morning all offseason. I didn’t have any reason to think they wouldn’t come out with energy. This is late for them. ”

On Derrick Brown: “It’s the most extensive reps he’s gotten since he’s been here and there were some really, really good plays and some not so good plays but that’s part of the growing process. The key for Derrick is to take the stuff that weren’t his best plays today and learn from those and eliminate those and then build upon the plays that were good ones and I think he will do that. He’s committed to it:

On Ryan McDaniel: “It’s a non-issue right now. He’s just not able to perform. We’ve just got to get him healthy before he can get to that point.”

On Taz Stevenson working with the ones at linebacker: “Good. Again, I think there were some moments with Taz where he looked really explosive and athletic like we thought he would and then a couple of times where he maybe felt a little out of place because it was new to him and that’s going to happen. Again, it’s the similar experience to Derrick where it’s new to him and there are some really flashy plays in there and then some plays he would like to have back and again the key is to eliminate those plays you’d love to have back and learn from those and then build upon the really good plays.”

On seeing a lot of 3-4 today: “It’s going to look that way and feel that way to the naked eye just kind of standing and observing. It’s what we are doing front-wise that is going to be a little more multiple but it’s going to appear 3-4ish all the time just because we are standing up the two edge guys.”

On not being in the stadium: “I think it’s a little bit inspiring quite honestly. You look behind me and there are cranes and welding and all sorts of stuff and dirt flying and I think it’s been inspiring the fact of how committed this university is and this community is to this football program that they are willing to build us a brand new stadium that we’ve got to do our part and continue to build and grow, so it’s been inspiring.”

On the tailback competition: “It’s been good. We know Jesse (Callier) and Bishop (Sankey) because they have played for us so we know what they bring and I think we’ve got a healthy competition going battling and competing, each of them want a bunch of carries. I thought they both came with a very serious attitude today yet had fun but a workmanlike attitude and came to perform today.”

On new new receivers: “Again., I thought Marvin Hall did some nice stuff. It was good to see DiAndre Campbell, Jamaal Jones and (Josh) Perkins making some plays with us and not necessarily with the service team, so that was encouraging.”

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