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

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April 27, 2008 9:22 AM

Spring game notebook

Posted by Bob Condotta

Since some of this didn't make it in the final version on-line, I'll present the unedited version of the spring game notebook here:

E.J. Savannah led all players with eight tackles in Washington's spring game Saturday, including two for a loss and one sack.

Not bad for a second-teamer, which Savannah technically still is despite his status as UW's leading tackler from a year ago, No. 6 in the Pac-10.

Savannah, a junior linebacker, was suspended for the first seven practices of the spring, and while he has earned praise for his play since returning, was relegated to the second team in Saturday's spring game, in which the Gold beat the Purple 10-7.

"I think he's still catching up,'' said UW coach Tyrone Willingham by way of explanation. "There are some things he is still learning about the defense (of first-year coordinator Ed Donatell) that he hasn't quite mastered yet.''

Savannah, however, thinks residue of the suspension is why he was a second-teamer Saturday.

"I guarantee it is,'' said former Bellevue High star. "I don't see myself as a backup.''

Willingham has said only that Savannah was suspended for not fulfilling certain team responsibilities.

Savannah smiled and said he wouldn't reveal more than Willingham, other than saying that he'd apparently been on suspension for weeks before spring practice began. He gave an indication of the issue, however, when asked what he had to do to say in the good graces of coaches. "Just go to all the workouts,'' he said. "Really, that's about it. And just do everything that he asks me, which I will.''

He seems especially motivated now that he's gotten a taste of Donatell's defense, which he said suits his skills well.

"I love it,'' he said. "It lets the linebackers run free. It's kind of what we did at Bellevue. ... It's a lot of the linemen taking up the other linemen and the (linebackers) roaming free. .... It plays more to my instincts of just roaming free and kind of being patient and just letting me play.''

Savannah said he weighs 235 pounds, up from the 228 at which he's listed. And Donatell says his play has been of a first-team variety since returning.

"We have a vision of this guy being very productive,'' Donatell said. "That's our intent. We have some teaching to do and work ahead of us, but I really like the things he can bring to the game.''

{Fouch impresses:} After a few rugged outings early where he battled accuracy issues after making a change to his throwing motion, backup QB Ronnie Fouch came on to have a nice spring capped by Saturday's game when he was 16-33 for 153 yards and a TD. Coaches pointed to another handful of passes Fouch, a redshirt freshman, threw that could have been caught by a receiving corps that struggled with some drops.

"I feel a lot more comfortable knowing Ronnie Fouch can play,'' said offensive coordinator Tim Lappano. "There might be a time where Jake (Locker) needs to sit down and rest and we don't want to get him banged up and Ronnie Fouch is good enough to go in and win with.''

NOTES
--- Chris Polk, who graduated from high school early, had 20 yards on five carries as a tailback and four receptions for 25 yards out of the slot. "He showed you he's got some stuff, now,'' said Lappano. However, he also missed badly on two pass blocking attempts late in the game and took a few big hits when he had the ball. "He's been killing us all spring ball so a few people were trying to get after him today,'' Savannah said.

--- With Juan Garcia out, the UW centers were sophomore Matt Sedillo and walk-on Greg Christine. However, Sedillo was playing with a previously injured ankle and spent a lot of his day with the second unit or on the bench.

--- There was only one turnover but Willingham was left shaking his head at 10 penalties, something the Huskies usually limit. "That's not us,'' he said.

--- The crowd was estimated at 9,000 and among those sitting in stands was suspended running back J.R. Hasty.

--- There was no live returns of kickoffs or punts.

--- Johnie Kirton, who has switched from tight end to defensive tackle, had one tackle and also blocked a field goal on a 48-yard attempt by Jared Ballman following a low snap. "I think he's on pace (to continue in the fall),'' Donatell said.

--- Starting tight end Michael Gottlieb sat out with an illness allowing backup Chris Izbicki to get a lot of snaps with the first unit. He responded with two catches, one on a fourth down pass from Locker to keep a scoring drive alive and the other converting a third down.

--- There were no significant new injuries.

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