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May 10, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Rookie mini-camp, day one — Carroll quotes, and more

Day one of the Seahawks’ rookie mini-camp is in the books.

And if nothing else, coach Pete Carroll was impressed by the enthusiasm of the 67 players who were there — a number that includes 38 who were in on tryouts.

“We made a big deal out of (players) being early and these guys were sitting in there 20 minutes before the meeting was supposed to start, waiting for something to happen,” Carroll said. “We actually had to start practice early because they were out here 10 minutes before, being early.’’

The assemblage worked out for about two hours, without pads but in helmets.

It there was a standout, it was fifth-round pick Luke Willson, a tight end from Rice, whose speed was evident on a few different plays where he took short passes and turned it upfield — once outracing the defense for a long touchdown.

“He jumped out today,” Carroll said. “He had a very good first day for us. He had a couple good opportunities, got the ball on the sidelines, got to turn it up and took off. He has really good speed and it showed up, which is cool to see on the practice field the first day out.  Caught the ball really well.  So that was probably the brightest spot where you could really see a guy jump out today.’’

As for who else made an impression, Carroll mentioned a flurry of the team’s draft picks.

“I liked the running backs. Spencer Ware looked very good today, did some really neat things. He’s transitioning to doing more blocking, but he did run the football. Catches the ball well, really liked him. I thought (tackle Michael) Bowie looked good. Really stable and balanced for a big guy. That’s an exciting guy. (Center) Jared Smith did some good stuff. Was really pleased with (DTs) Jesse (Williams) and Jordan (Hill) when I watched them down here in the individual drills. All of the guys showed pretty much like we had hoped for a first time out, so a good start. .. and (guard Ryan) Seymour showed very good quickness today. We’d seen that on film and it showed up immediately that he’s got real good feet. Something we really cherish, we need guys that can move to block the way we block and I think we’ve picked out some good guys so far.’’

As for the goal of the three days, here’s what Carroll said: “Really the goal for us is to try to find out what our guys look like on the practice field and how they learn and see if we can see some sparks of hope for the guys who are just coming on here, just trying out. Look seriously at the draft picks, but we look at everybody and when they are out here we treat them all the same and let them all compete. It’s fun to be back at work. This kicks everything into gear for the coaching staff for sure, but to get on the field finally and talk the language and move around and do the things and also start to experiment with some stuff we want to look at. These guys don’t realize it but we are guinea pigging with them with some stuff — they will never know the difference. But it’s just fun to be back to football. It’s a very exciting year coming up and we are looking forward to it and it’s great to get started.”

Here are a few more thoughts from Carroll:

On quarterback Jerrod Johnson: “He’s handling himself well. Right now he’s ahead of the other guys because he’s been around so he’s handling the huddle and gives us the sense that here’s a guy who has some experience. He’s had a good start with joining up with us. We’re pleased with what he has done so far and we’ll see how far he can take it.’’

On the condition  of the players: “This was hard on some guys today.  The conditioning level they brought to us wasn’t adequate for them to work really hard all the way throughout. The guys who have been around the program have been great and some of the other guys looked good, too, so we are trying to figure that out.”

On RB Christine Michael: “Very quick, very quick. Caught the ball well, too, and didn’t have any trouble picking things up and understanding the system. So for a first day he got off to a good start, had a couple  of good runs that got him out into the open, so pretty cool. … I think he’s very similar to Robert (Turbin), statures are very similar. Quickness and suddenness are similar. So he made a good impression for the first time out.’’

Carroll than added that “he is what we thought he is.’’

On Jared Smith, listed as a guard after playing defensive line in college, working at center: “We put him right there at the start take a look and see if we can utilize his quickness. He’s really quick for the offensive side of the ball and he’s got to learn a lot anyways so stick him in there and make him snap it and he did just fine today for the first time out. It’s the (J.R.) Sweezy race, see  if he can stay up with what Sweezy did. We are excited about this, though, and we are very fortunate we found another kid we could take forward in similar fashion. We’ll see how it goes, but there’s a long, long, long ways to go. But physically he looked good.’’

On how Greg Scruggs got hurt: “He stumbled coming out of a bag drill. He was going over the bags and stumbled a bit and tried to catch himself and hyperextended his knee. Kind of similar to how James Carpenter got hurt, just a drill by himself. Unfortunate that he hit exactly wrong. Surgery went really well and everybody is real happy with what happened on the repair. He has responded well. And he worked real hard to get ready for surgery, too, so he will come back quickly from this. But it’s still a long haul.’’

On WR Chris Harper: “He caught the ball beautifully — he really has great hands. And the fact that he is 230-something pounds is what we liked, and you can’t judge much of that today, but he did catch the ball very well and he is a very natural athlete.’’

On Spencer Ware and working at tailback or fullback: “He’s going to work at both. I want him to learn to play fullback for us and compete at that spot. We know he can run, he’s a really aggressive tough runner. We love that about him, So we are trying to transfer that nature to the fullback spot. He came in at 218 (he’s listed at 229) which is a little light for that spot, but I don’t mind at all at this point he wants to come in and compete and battle and be in good shape. He’s an exciting football player. You guys get a chance to see him in pre-season when he starts to get physical he’s going to show up. He’s very, very tough. Might take some time to make the transition but we are going to let him run throughout though so he is ready to run the football, too.’’



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