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

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April 17, 2008 3:10 PM

Thursday Willingham notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham just completed his daily briefing with us --- although it was really his first one since last week --- and the most significant news is that RB Brandon Johnson has suffered some sort of knee/ankle injury.

Willingham said it wasn't overly serious, nothing he thought would threaten his ability to play next season, but that it could limit him the rest of spring practice. Johnson was apparently hurt on Tuesday. Willingham called his status "day-to-day.''

With Johnson out, Willie Griffin and Brandon Yakaboski are splitting time running with the No. 1 offense with J.R. Hasty serving as the backup. Johnson's injury could clear the way for Hasty to get more of an opportunity and Willingham spoke highly of the work Hasty has done since returning from his quasi-suspension on Monday.

"He has jumped himself in a short period of time to right back into it,'' Willingham said of Hasty.

There are no other new injuries. Willingham said cornerback Jordan Murchison (ankle) remains limited while safety Darin Harris (knee) has begun to do a little bit more.

Otherwise, it has been a pretty injury-free spring for the Huskies.

In other notes:

--- Willingham said he is pleased with the progress of the defense under first-year coordinator Ed Donatell. He said players "seem to be embracing'' the new defensive packages and are "flying around'' out there.

In particular, he said he had been concerned heading into the spring that UW's veteran O-line might really dominate a rebuilding defensive front. "I've been very pleased how they have held their own,'' he said.

--- Willingham also said he has liked the play of a veteran linebacking corps saying that experience is allowing the players to "play to their full potential.''

--- He said Donald Butler, who battled knee injuries all of last season, has been 100 percent throughout the spring. "We have yet to have to parcel out his time,'' Willingham said, meaning he hasn't had to be rotated or pulled due to his knee.

--- Willingham talked a little bit about new rules that will be enacted for this season, among them some slight changes in when the clock will start after plays (read about it here). Willingham said he thinks the biggest one could be one not mentioned in that story altering the rule on whether quarterbacks are over the line when they throw a forward pass. Willingham said the rule now reads that a QB's entire body has to be over the line, not just part of it, for a pass to be ruled illegal. He pointed to a controversial play in the Hawaii game when a Jake Locker completion to Quintin Daniels was overruled when it was determined he had stepped over the line. The call negated a third-down conversion and UW then had to punt, setting up Hawaii's winning TD.

"That would have made a huge difference,'' Willingham said.

--- The Huskies are expected to conduct a full-scale scrimmage Friday but that won't be open to the media, unlike the first two.

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