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March 13, 2014 at 1:04 PM

UW spring practice notes: Defense wins turnover battle

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The Huskies were in helmets and shoulder pads for their fifth spring practice this morning inside Husky Stadium, another 2-hour, 15-minute workout.

Notes, quotes and observations:

  • The young quarterbacks, Troy Williams and Jeff Lindquist, continue to split snaps evenly. They had a rough start to the day in the first 11-on-11, with safety Brandon Beaver dropping a sure interception of Lindquist’s first pass. Linebacker Travis Feeney later tipped a Williams’ pass, and Williams also lost an early fumble, recovered by defensive end Psalm Wooching. Both were much crisper as the practice went on, particularly so in one 7-on-7 drill. “I think they both have done some good things,” offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith said. “It’s going to be a long process. … One thing I will say is they’re both working really hard. We’re putting some new things on ’em and we’re stretching ’em mentally, so they’re grasping on that. But they need way more turns to start separating themselves.”
  • Smith estimated that “maybe half” of the offensive system has been implement. “I think we’ve got a ways to go, no doubt,” Smith said of the offense’s general progress. “… We expect mistakes to be made in the first couple weeks when we’re installing, and we’re working through that.”
  • For the first time this spring, the Huskies ran through an 11-on-11 red-zone drill near the end of practice. Williams flashed some sweet footwork on one play to avoid two defensive linemen in the backfield and then scampered right about 10 yards into the end zone. Marvin Hall dropped one pass in the back of the end zone from Lindquist, who later threw across his body to find Kendyl Taylor for a touchdown. Other notable plays in the red zone: Feeney and Josh Shirley combined for a touch “sack” of Lindquist for a big loss.¬†Jaydon Mickens was stripped and lost a fumble near the right pylon, which was the deciding turnover in the defense’s overall win on the day (the red-zone turnover counted as two turnovers for the defense). The offense had to run the sideline-to-sideline sprints after practice.
  • Lindquist said he has three class finals next week, including a performance in his Drama 251 class in which he plays a fire captain in the play¬†The Guys, based on a true story. “It’s really fun,” he said.
  • The Socha Drill was a 100-yard relay between the offense and defense, the catch being each player had to do about 10 spins with his forehead attached to a bad that was perpendicular to the ground. (We all played this game at some point in T-ball.) As you can imagine, no one ran his 50-yard leg in straight line. It was, again, an entertaining competition and an even more compelling finish, with Shirley nearly coming from way behind to catch Deonate Cooper, who got back to the original goal line first in a photo finish. The defense thus ran a sideline-to-sideline sprint.
  • K.J. Carta-Samuels, the four-star quarterback from Saratoga, Calif., who signed with UW last month, was on hand for practice today, playing a little soft toss with his older brother, Austyn, the former Vanderbilt quarterback.
  • Been meaning to mention this: nose guard Danny Shelton has switched to jersey No. 55.
  • In limited action, place-kicker Cameron Van Winkle continues to look solid as he builds his way back up after a back injury sidelined him for the second half of 2013. In about a half-dozen attempts from about 30 yards, I haven’t seen CVW miss this spring.
  • Again, there isn’t a formal depth chart, but the first-unit defense hasn’t changed much in five practices. Shirley, Shelton, Evan Hudson and Andrew Hudson have been working together on the defensive line, with Shaq Thompson, Azeem Victor and Feeney at linebacker; the corners are Marcus Peters and Travell Dixon; and Beaver and Trevor Walker are at safety. On offense, the first-unit line from left to right: Jake Eldrenkamp, Siosifa Tufunga, Mike Criste, James Atoe and Ben Riva. Guard Colin Tanigawa has also been working some with the ones. The running backs, like the quarterbacks, have been sharing carries about equally, with no one really separating himself yet. Mickens, John Ross and DiAndre Campbell have been consistently working with the ones, but the receivers have also been shuffling around a bit, too.
  • Tight ends coach Jordan Paopao on the tight ends: “I think Josh Perkins has really come out and established himself, just because he has the most playing experience in the group. Michael Hartivgson‘s come out and had a really good, solid spring, and Darrell Daniels has put (together) some unbelievable stuff, athletically. David (Ajamu) is still learning; at the end of the day, he’s still a young kid, but he’s done some really good stuff, as well. And I really like Derrick Brown contributing to the mix.”
  • This was not a scheduled day for Chris Petersen to speak to the media.
  • Next: The Huskies practice again Saturday morning in a workout closed to the media (with no interview availability). It’s the final practice before a two-week spring break, and Petersen on Tuesday estimated that 200 high school coaches will be in attendance for a clinic.



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