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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

May 11, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Review of Pac-12 spring-football camps: Part 11 — Washington

Another in a series featuring looks at the Pac-12 spring-football camps. Today, Washington, which looks to improve on a third straight 7-6 season.

Starters returning – 17 (9 offense, 8 defense), plus P-PK Travis Coons.

Refresher on 2012 – Huskies had a Jekyll-and-Hyde season, upending Stanford, losing a ninth straight game to Oregon, being routed at Arizona, piecing together a promising four-game winning streak – and then dropping season-ending cliffhangers to Washington State and Boise State (in the Las Vegas Bowl), the Cougar game after blowing an 18-point, fourth-quarter lead. They were bedeviled by both injuries and turnovers, 14 interceptions and 14 lost fumbles, as QB Keith Price backslid from his big 2011 season with a poor 122.4 efficiency rating.

Coaching changes – Head coach Steve Sarkisian called back a UW hero of more than a decade ago, Marques Tuiasosopo, to coach QBs, and promoted GA Jordan Paopao to full-time tight ends coach.

Major spring concerns – Propping up Price after his mediocre ’12 season and determining whether Cyler Miles or Jeff Lindquist was ready to make a run at the job . . . shoring up the CB spot vacated by NFL first-round draft pick Desmond Trufant . . . sorting out possibilities for competitive free-safety spot.

Developments – Price had a terrific spring, as Sarkisian told ESPN.com: “Of the 15 practices, he might have had one where he wasn’t at his best, and one where he was just OK. Outside of that, I thought he was fantastic.” . . . Miles outstripped Lindquist and appears to have a hold on the No. 2 spot entering fall camp . . . Huskies jumped into the trend of increasingly uptempo offenses . . . OL, which was injury-pocked and struggled much of 2012, looks to be a strength, left to right, with Micah Hatchie, Dexter Charles, Mike Criste, James Atoe and Ben Riva, with some reinforcements back from injury rehabs in the fall . . . RB Deontae Cooper, RB Jesse Callier, DE Hau’oli Jamora and LB Travis Feeney are among those who missed the session rehabbing injuries but could figure prominently in ’13 . . . TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins was suspended from spring drills after an arrest for a DUI, when he allegedly recorded a .18-percent blood-alcohol level – more than twice the legal limit – and Sarkisian is waiting to see how the case unfolds before settling on final disciplinary action. He praised Seferian-Jenkins’ response to the incident as regards counseling, community work and school, while in his absence, Josh Perkins had a strong spring . . . Times beat writer Bob Condotta’s five breakout players of the spring were Price, WR DiAndre Campbell, rush end Cory Littleton, Perkins and Criste . . . despite broken finger that kept DT Sione Potoa’e out, UW appears closer to developing winning D-line depth . . . DT Connor Cree, converted from end, had a good showing . . . Will Shamburger didn’t lock down the FS spot, which likely will see heated competition in August . . . Sarkisian talked up RS freshman CB Cleveland Wallace (5-11, 165) . . . another CB candidate is Travell Dixon (6-1, 190) of Miami, a JC signee with Alabama who left the Tide prior to last season . . . Huskies hope to exert more pass rush, and DC Justin Wilcox says DE Josh Shirley (6.5 sacks last year) is capable of doubling that . . . PK Cameron Van Winkle enrolled for the latter half of drills and could push Coons, who missed key kicks in the close losses to WSU and Boise State . . . LB Shaq Thompson spent spring break at Fort Myers, Fla., where, as an 18th-round Red Sox draft pick last year, he was in their minor-league camp . . .  Huskies readying for the move into renovated stadium after spending a year at CenturyLink Field.

Spring game – Little of consequence took place in a scaled-down game transplanted to Memorial Stadium in front of 7,000 fans.

2013 schedule – Aug. 31 opener against Boise State in the refurbished stadium looms large, and if they win that, Huskies could well be 4-0 entering an industrial-strength three-week stretch of October featuring Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State, two of them on the road. Misses are USC and Utah.

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