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

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April 12, 2008 1:55 PM

Saturday scrimmage notes (Updated)

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington's scrimmage today has ended and there were no huge developments, which in the case of the spring is often a good thing.

That means mostly there were no apparent injuries of any kind.

The game was played with a scoring system awarding the defense points for stopping drives and the offense in the regular fashion. We're unclear on the final score as there was some uncertainty about it, but the offense won someting along the lines of 34-31.

If that sounds like the defense played pretty well, you're right, as this seemed to be a vast improvement from last week.

Rushing yards were hard to come by and the offense scored only two touchdowns --- a 16-yard TD by Brandon Johnson and a 74-yard pass from Jake Locker to D'Andre Goodwin. On the Locker pass, he scrambled out of trouble to the sidelines and threw deep to a wide open Goodwin, who got behind the secondary. It appeared Nate Williams, who otherwise had a good day, might have bitten on the Locker run.

Goodwin was again an offensive star, also making a highlight-reel 22-yard catch of a Locker pass on a third down play, when he dove to catch a low pass on a fade route.

The game was played with the one offense working against the one defense, and the twos against the twos.

The major change in the lineups came on the defensive line where De'Shon Matthews, listed as an end, joined Cameron Elisara as a starter at tackle, with Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Darrion Jones as the ends.

The LBs were Josh Gage, Mason Foster and the tandem of Donald Butler and Trenton Tuiasosopo in the middle. Tuiasosopo seemed to have a particularly good day with one sack (QBs were down when touched but he broke through quickly) and a couple of good hits on short-yardage plays.

The injured Darrin Harris didn't play at safety and Mesphin Forrester was also absent, apparently given the weekend off to attend his brother's wedding, so the safeties were Victor Aiyewa and Nate Williams. There also appeared to be a change at corner with Quinton Richardson getting a lot of time with the ones alongside Byron Davenport, though Matt Mosley and Vonzell McDowell also got time with the ones with Jordan Murchison still sidelined with an injury.

The offense appeared to have no change, with all three running backs rotating with the ones and the twos, as well as the receivers rotating and playing with both units. The starting line was the same as it has been all spring going left to right Ben Ossai, Jordan White-Frisbee, Juan Garcia, Casey Bulyca and Cody Habben.

The team did some kickoff returning and the returners included Devin Aguilar, Curtis Shaw, Richardson and Chris Polk. Aguilar had a fumble and Richardson a return of about 30 yards or so on his one try.

There was a fair amount of kicking and punting. The punting was better than a week ago, though the 70-degree weather and relative absence of wind surely helped with that.

The team was 5-6 on field goals with Jared Ballman going 1-2 (good from 43, miss from 43), Erik Folk good from 22 and 33, Ryan Perkins good from 37 and walk-on Cory Rutkowski good from 32.

Ronnie Fouch did all the quarterbacking of the No. 2 unit and got off to a decent start, looking sharper than he has of late, the highlight being a 39-yard completion to walk-on receiver Charles Hawkins which was the longest play of the day other than the Locker-Goodwin hookup. He also led a TD drive on his first possession, the one that ended in Johnson's 16-yard run, the highlight of which was a 22-yard pass to Polk that he threaded between McDowell and Chris Stevens.

We're not expecting to have any reaction from coaches today but I may try to pass along some comments from players a little later.

The scrimmage came in front of about 100 or so former players who were in attendance for the team's annual spring alumni weekend. I didn't quite see some of the more familiar names that have often been there in the past --- no Tuiasosopos or Huards or Lawyer Milloy, a lot of whom were there the last season or two. Among guys I did see were Joe Jarzynka, Elliot Silvers, Pat Conniff, Terry Hollimon and a few players from last season such as Louis Rankin, Roy Lewis and Caesar Rayford.

Also, J.R. Hasty and E.J. Savannah were again not in action. They wore their jersies and stood on the sidlines with their respecive units, holding helmets, but not in full pads. They ran steps again during the first part of practice.

There were also a few future Huskies in attendance, notably Everrette Thompson, Johri Fogerson and Drew Schaefer.

The team is off until Monday. Today was the seventh of 15 spring practices, but other than the spring game, the last one that is expected to be open to the media.

UPDATE 3:30 --- Here are a few more notes and quotes:

--- Should have mentioned earlier that Fouch was the holder for placements, apparently having wont he right to succeed Carl Bonnell at that job.

--- Fouch looked a little better than he has earlier this spring, when he had trouble with his accuracy. Fouch said coaches have been working on a change in his throwing motion, holding his elbow lower, and he thinks he's getting the hang of it now. "I'm getting used to it and learning to throw and getting on top of it now,'' he said. "I'm starting to get more confident and letting it loose instead of thinking too much. I'm just out there throwing the ball like I know how to do.''

--- There was no access to coaches, who were busy with the alumni barbecue. But we talked with a couple players and the general theme was that the defense showed marked improvement from last Saturday's scrimmage. "It was definitely better than last week,'' said safety Nate Williams. "We are really starting to get the concepts off the defense down and everyone is out there having fun and getting a feel for everything, so it was definitely better than last week and it will be better next week as we pick it up even more.''

--- Williams said he and Aiyewa, which by next year figures to be UW's safety duo, if it doesn't happen earlier, said the two are developing a good chemistry. "We talk out there and have been real close working together for quite a while now, just studying everything,'' he said. "It's nice to be out there with him and Mason (Foster) and Donald (Butler) just flying around to the ball having fun.''

--- Williams said the defensive breakdown on the 74-yard Locker-Goodwin play was just what it looked like. "Jake being the threat he is, a lot of us came up (to contain him) and he just lobbed it over the top of us,'' he said.

--- Johnson admitted it wasn't the best day for the offense especially running up the middle. "You get like that sometimes --- one day you are on, one day you are off,'' he said. "We need to go back to the lab and work on (some stuff). We were trying to balance a lot of stuff today rather than just pounding it up in there. Right now our bodies are pretty banged up so once we get a chance to rest we should be fine.''

--- Folk had a solid day, also booming a few long kickoffs, and could become a player in the kicking situation quickly.

--- Brandon Yakaboski had a few nice runs working inside.

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Posted by huskiefan@aol.com

4:57 PM, Apr 12, 2008

Who says there were no big names at the Alumni reunion??? I was there....up from Arizona! ha ha I will say the alumni reunion is a really great event. I happen to be seated at the start of lunch, right in between Hasty and Savannah. I declined to ask them about their status.....

Posted by Indiana Husky

5:12 PM, Apr 12, 2008

Bob,

I know you touched on Jake, but could you please tell us how he performed today? Does his accuracy look better than last season? If you can remember his performance last spring, is he looking better than that?

It's great to hear that the defense is looking a little better. They will certainly need to learn quickly. Luckily, the line will get to practice against our O-line all spring and fall. I can't wait for the season!

Nate

Posted by ADHD DAWG

5:56 PM, Apr 12, 2008

what's up y'all? hey, was tripper doing anything out there today? I totally dig his name, sounds real fresh like the Chronic.

Posted by kdawg

6:03 PM, Apr 12, 2008

Bob, you can correct me, after all, you were there. It sounds like if the run was controlled today, it forced the offense to be one dimensional with the pass which helped the secondary. This would be a huge step for the defense. Is this an approximation of the overall picture today?

Posted by tom ross

7:00 PM, Apr 12, 2008

Did the tight ends not contribute? No passes their way?

Posted by MukilteoSean

7:16 PM, Apr 12, 2008

I love the fact that Nate and Victor are freshening up our secondary. Forrester and Harris were liabilities last year, and I was saying before the end of last season that Williams should be more than the nickel back. This is a great thing, and having Richardson getting a shot at corner now just puts the icing on the cake for me. Also, the fact that the players are getting comfortable with the system this quickly speaks to their football IQ. I never really got the feeling that our defense was on the same page last year, and they seem to be turning the page now. I couldn't be more excited !

Posted by Richard

9:23 PM, Apr 12, 2008

Regarding the receiving corps...whatever happened to Chancellor Young?

Posted by Bob Condotta

9:44 PM, Apr 12, 2008

To answer a few questions

--- First, on whether the team became one-dimensional. I can't say for sure since we didn't talk to coaches, but typically these things aren't really run that way where they react a whole lot to what is working and what isn't. They usually want to work on certain things and call that no matter what. At the end, for instance, they did a lot of two-minute drill from their own 2-yard-line. So that meant a lot of passing. It was a controlled scrimmage, in other words, meaning the situations the drives started in were always pre-determined.

As for the tight ends, I don't think any passes went their way. Might have been one. But it wasn't a big part of things. Again, however, seven practices into spring they might simply have been working on things that didn't involve throwing to the tight end. That's how it looked.

As for Locker, I thought he looked good early when they did a few series that were just start at the 23 and go. He appeared pretty on the money. He was a little more erratic late when they were doing the two-minute stuff, but then it also looked like the receivers weren't getting open and that the timing was off. The best example of him being more accurate, I thought, was the 74 yard pass. It was kind of a similar play to the one where he overthrew Corey Williams in the end zone against USC last year where he rolled to his right then threw downfield about 35 yards or so. This time, he put enough air under it to allow Goodwin to get it instead of sailing it past him.

As for Chancellor Young, have no idea what he's doing now but he's not playing football at UW and hasn't been since the spring of 2006. He won't be coming back.

Posted by iowa husky

8:43 AM, Apr 13, 2008

any info on kickoff returning? It seems like we have quite a few potential threats now.

Posted by Garret S

6:17 PM, Apr 13, 2008

I was at the practice but I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to the details. They had about 20 min of 1v1, Bob what was happening when Victor Aiyewa took on the other guy?

Posted by Bob Condotta

9:31 PM, Apr 13, 2008

Aiyewa went up against Skylar Fancher and I didn't write down who got the better of it, though my memory is it was pretty much a standoff.

As for KO returners, the No. 1's appeared to be Shaw and Aguilar with Polk and Richardson doing the No. 2s. But I also think it was the first time they'd done live returning this year so that could change in a hurry.

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