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For the first time this spring, the Huskies were outside at Husky Stadium for the third spring practice. They were in shoulder pads for the first time, and in a steady rain.
A few notes and observations
- Sophomore DE Marcus Farria was absent for the second straight practice. Senior OL James Atoe was gone today, too. Afterward, Chris Petersen declined to comment specifically on either player, but said he would announce so if a player was out long-term.
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins watched practice, a week after having surgery on his left foot. He said he felt good and on track in his recovery, scheduled for 6-8 weeks. If he needed to, he could “push it” to be ready for UW’s Pro Day on April 2, but NFL teams have told him not to rush; they want him ready for team OTAs in the summer.
- Budda Baker was spotted at practice, as was Federal Way RB/WR recruit Chico McClatcher (wearing a sweet SuperSonics hat).
- The defense “won” the turnover battle — forcing three turnovers during the three 11-on-11 periods, by my count — which means the offense had to run two sideline-to-sideline sprints at the end of practice.
- Early in practice, quarterbacks, running backs and tight ends participate in one of the more entertaining drills of spring so far. You can see it at the end of the video above: In short, in looked like an old-school high jump competition, with players diving over a small wall of pads, as if trying to get into the end zone on a short yardage play. Most of the guys did a flip onto a large yellow pad as they landed. To emphasize ball security, two managers held short poles with boxing gloves attached to the end, trying to jab the ball free as the players jumped. Wide receivers coach Brent Pease kneeled down in front of the small wall, looking a little like the T-1000 from Terminator 2 with a long, pointed padding attached to his arm, as he tried to take out players’ legs.
- Shaq Thompson did not participate in any drills with the running backs. More on that shortly.
- There was more buzz about senior RB Deontae Cooper, who continues to practice without knee braces, and who continues to look explosive.
- With shoulder pads on, we saw a handful of tackles. Thompson had a pretty good hit on Dwayne Washington during one 11-on-11 play. Trevor Walker had a tackle on John Ross after a long completion from Williams. (Petersen walked over and said something to Walker after that.)
- Travis Feeney made a nice, leaping interception of a Williams pass near the line of scrimmage.
- After a high snap, Jeff Lindquist lost a fumble during a bad exchange with Washington. Josh Shirley recovered.
- The rain surely had something to do with it, but neither quarterback was quite as crisp as they were inside Thursday.
- Jesse Callier had two nice runs during the final 11-on-11 drill.
- The Socha Competition Period, as I’m dubbing strength coach Tim Socha‘s entertaining drills, feature a sumo-wrestling-style event at midfield, with players standing inside an oversized hula hoop. The player knocked out of the ring lost. The defense won overall, with Danny Shelton winning his match (couldn’t quite tell who it was against, but I like Shelton’s chances against anyone, even a real sumo wrestler). In the fastest finish, Ross knocked out Patrick Enewally, getting the rowdiest celebration from the offense. David Ajamu edged Hau’oli Kikaha in a good battle, and Joe Mathis and Elijah Qualls both won their matches for the defense.
- Former UW defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi watched part of practice from the Husky Stadium stands.