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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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April 10, 2008 8:26 PM

Lappano on the offense

Posted by Bob Condotta

I had a chance to talk for a little while today with UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano. Here are some of his thoughts on various offensive topics through the first week of spring ball.

JAKE LOCKER: Getting Locker to be more accurate with short and intermediate passes was one of the main goals of the spring, and Lappano says so far, so good.

"He's playing really well right now,'' Lappano said. "He's been really accurate. He's throwing the deep ball accurately, he's throwing the short stuff good. He's playing like we want him to play. Now there is still room for growth there, still think there is some room for decision-making, making sure he is always making good decisions. But he is playing pretty good.''

RONNIE FOUCH: Unfortunately, the same can't quite be said of Fouch at the moment, as he is struggling a bit with his accuracy, throwing a little high in sessions that have been open to the media.

"We've got to get Ronnie going a little bit. What we are going to do with him is give him a chance with the ones a little bit to give him a fair assessment and evaluation of what is going on and I think that will halp him a little bit to get going. He's better than he's playing right now.''

THE OFFENSIVE LINE: "The offensive front is a big positive for us. I think our run blocking has been pretty good. We've been able to keep our pad level down and knock some poeple off the football and run the football pretty well. I'm still not pleased where we are with our pass protection.We still have to get a little bit stronger in that area and take the correct pass set and work our feet better. But overall that's been a strength for us.''

THE RECEIVERS: "The young receivers have been as advertised. As I thought, they show flashes of being a 4-5-star athlete, and then they show that they haven't played much at this level. But that’s a nice problem to have because there is talent there to work with. They are willing to work. They come in and watch film and want to get better, and that's really good. But we still have problems sometimes getting lined up and running the route the way we want to run it. ... Every one of them has made some plays where you go 'wooh, that's a pretty talented kid.'''

RUNNING BACKS: "The running backs are pretty steady, just kind of like we thought they would be. Brandon Johnson and all of them ran it up in there pretty hard. They are all nice runners and doing a good job of holding onto the football for the most part.'' Lappano then said that today (Thursday) was the first they they intended to do a lot of work with Curtis Shaw and Chris Polk doing some of the "fly sweep'' plays that Oregon State used so well last year with James Rodgers. He said the plan is to run them "from the slot outside into the box and vice versa. It will be something the defense has to adjust to so it will be fun.'' Asked if Polk would get any "traditional'' running back carries, Lappano said "never say never but I'm not sure right now that's where we need to be.''

TIGHT ENDS: "Michael Gottlieb's more consistent right now. He's running a little bit better patterns and made some plays. He made a really nice play, a 40-yard catch and is playing well. Chris Izbikci is coming on and getting better. His run blocking, he's really strong. I know our players feel him when he comes off the ball and gets into you. He's going to be a real good football player for us, especially in the run game. His run blocking right now looks really good.''

WHO IS THE LEADER OF THE RECEIVING CORPS?: "Right now the leader out there is the old man of the group and that's D'Andre Goodwin. He is really playing at a high level right now which is really nice to see. I always thought he had a lot potential but I'm not sure he saw the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, the last two years being young and all those seniors who had been three-four years ahead of him. And now I think he knows it's his time and he's really, really getting in and out of his breaks. He's catching the football with consistency, his releases his extremely quick and he's playing very solid right now. I'm really, really pleased with what he's doing right now.''

BREAKING DOWN THE RUNNING BACKS: Lappano said "it's still an open competition'' at running back. He broke down each of the three current contestants this way:

Willie Griffin: "He's a good inside runner. He's not a real speed guy, but I think he's got great feet in the hole, got a great feel for running the football. He runs behind his pads and has good vision.''

Brandon Yakaboski: "He's a good inside runner because he's big and powerful and strong. But he also has the capability to make you miss. He has nice loose hips and he can break you down and make you miss and he can break you down out on the perimeter. And in my opinion has as good a hands as anybody on the football team. He's got really soft hands, and he cold be very valuable throwing the ball to out of the backfield, so he adds that.''

Brandon Johnson: "He os a really, really good inside runner. He's really physical, a one-cut guy. He's not going to make you miss in the open field --- that's not what he's about. He's a slasher, one cut and downhill. He maks you miss running through tackles. He's 212 right now (Johnson said he's 204) and he's pretty physical.''

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