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The pads certainly make Shaq Thompson look a bit bigger. He was also a bit meaner today as the Huskies donned full pads for the first time in their fourth spring practice on a sunny morning inside Husky Stadium.
Even with the full pads, tackling is still discouraged — especially so with UW’s limited depth this spring — but contact is inevitable, particularly in full-speed, 11-on-11 drills. And it was during one of those when Thompson, playing linebacker, leveled the loudest hit of the day on running back Dwayne Washington in the backfield. Maybe it was my imagination, but I thought I heard an echo in the stadium from the smacking pads. (Washington was stopped cold but, for the record, popped right back up.)
Later, in the final 11-on-11 team period, Thompson took the first handoff on a zone read, ran up the middle and broke free into the open field for a long gain. It was his first carry in a live team drill, and it drew the loudest “Whoooooooo!” of the day from teammates.
And while the four running backs continue to impress — Deonate Cooper is a new man this spring; Jesse Callier finally seems healthy; Washington is the most physical back; and Lavon Coleman looks plenty powerful — that one carry is all the evidence needed to continue this experiment with Thompson.
Some other new, notes and observations:
- Sophomore defensive end Marcus Farria and senior lineman James Atoe returned to practice. Farria had missed the last two workouts; Atoe was absent on Saturday.
- The offense “won” the day after committing only one turnover, which meant the defense had to run two “gassers” (sideline-to-sideline sprints) at the end.
- In the final 11-on-11, Jeff Lindquist rolled left and threw a 50-yard strike to a wide-open Marvin Hall for an easy touchdown. Busted coverage.
- The Socha Standoff at midfield featured a tug of war with two ropes, with three offensive players vs. three defensive players. (They held both ropes at the same time.) The offense won on the third and final round with lineman Ben Riva anchoring the winning team.
- Former UW safety Tommie Smith watched practice from the Husky Stadium stands. Skip Hall, an original member of Don James’ UW staff in 1975 and later the head coach at Boise State, was also in attendance. He chatted with Chris Petersen afterward.
- Next practice: 8 a.m. Thursday