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

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April 30, 2008 9:36 PM

Former Huskies honored by Pac NW Hall of Fame

Posted by Bob Condotta

I had a neat opportunity today to attend the Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame Luncheon held in Lake City.

The organization has been around since 1990, inducting pro and college coaches and players, semi-pro coaches and players, and media and other people who have made an impact on the game in the area.

Among the six honorees this year are three with significant UW ties --- Barry Bullard, a tackle for the Huskies from 1957-60; Pat Locker, who is Jake Locker's uncle and was a standout running back at Western Washington; and Phil Borders, who was honored for his semi-pro career but was also a one-year letterman at UW in 1958 before embarking on a pro baseball career and later returning to football.

Along with being a member of two Rose Bowl champions, Bullard --- a native of Coos Bay, Ore. --- is also known for being Jim Owens' first recruit once he took over the Husky program. He told a story of how he looked at his football career mainly as a way to get through school --- he was an engineering major --- and always carried a briefcase. "I was a terrible bore,'' he said to laughter.

Pat Locker, who was named as the Player of the Century at Western Washington after gaining 4,049 yards in his career, was introduced by Jake Locker (Jake's father, Scott, was also in attendance). Jake Locker gave a pretty emotional speech, choking up briefly as he talked of how his uncle "been there my whole life. ... Not only are you getting a great football player but a great man.'' (Here's a story on Pat Locker's WWU career making he clear he certainly deserves to be known as more than just Jake's uncle).

Borders became a star player for the Seattle Ramblers semi-pro team (the history of semi-pro football in Seattle is detailed here).

Others inducted were former Seahawk and WSU star Robbie Tobeck, semi-pro coach Mel McCain and Gary Wright, a member of the Seahawks organization since day one, mostly in the PR department.

Ron Crockett, president of Emerald Downs and a noted Husky booster and fundraiser, gave the keynote speech, focusing a portion of it on the progress of the Husky Stadium project. He said the plan is to go back to the legislature again next winter in hopes of getting $150 million in state money to add to the $150 million the school hopes to raise. He estimated the total cost of the project at $300-310 million.

All kinds of NW football dignitaries were there, such as Don James and Jim Lambright (each already members of the Hall), though neither appeared to win any of the raffle prizes.


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April 30, 2008 3:42 PM

Cougs to lose six scholarships

Posted by Bob Condotta

Interesting story from the WSU student newspaper, The Daily Evergreen, that the Cougars will have six fewer football scholarships for next season due to falling short of necessary standards in the NCAA's new Academic Performance Rate.

Here's the link with details.

The actual report has yet to be officially released, but a UW spokesman said today that the Huskies will meet the standards and are not in danger of losing scholarships for either football or men's basketball.

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April 30, 2008 3:27 PM

34 bowls approved for next year

Posted by Bob Condotta

The NCAA approved 34 bowl games for next year.

Here's a story with details.

Here are the Pac-10 bowl agreements for next year:

Champion BCS (Orange if ranked #1 or 2, otherwise Rose)
Pac-10 #2 Holiday vs. Big 12 #3
Pac-10 #3 Sun vs. Big 12/Big East
Pac-10 #4 Las Vegas vs. Mountain West Champ
Pac-10 #5 Emerald vs. ACC #4-7
Pac-10 #6 Hawaii vs. WAC 1-3
Pac-10 #7 Poinsettia vs. Mountain West

That's the most the Pac-10 has ever had and would seem to assure that any conference team that gets to six wins will get a bid.


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April 30, 2008 9:22 AM

Pac-10 lighter next year?

Posted by Bob Condotta

The general consensus is that the Pac-10 won't be as strong in 2008 as it was in 2007, and that could be reflected come the NFL Draft next April.

ESPN's Todd McShay hasthis mock draft for next year that includes just four Pac-10 players in the first round. Six were taken this year.

And once again, it's USC dominating things.

The Trojans had four first-rounders this year, and in McShay's draft they would have three next year, including a surprise with the top pick, DT Fili Moala, a player a lot of people have probably barely even heard of.

Believe it or not, he didn't even get one vote from a conference coach for the All-Pac-10 team last year (meaning he didn't earn honorable mention).

And the USC spring press guide isn't exactly effusive in its praise of Moala, writing that he
"should be in the lineup for his third season'' and including quote from the usually hyperbolic Pete Carroll that he is "a solid performer inside.''

But I've seen other 2009 mock drafts list Moala pretty high, as well, so sounds like he's one of those guys with a lot of potential who has simply been a bit overshadowed so far at USC --- he had 32 tackles, 5.5 for a loss last season).

If that seems a reach, the other two USC players on the list are not --- linebackers Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing, who each have the distinction of having already won Rose Bowl MVP honors.

The other Pac-10 player listed is Oregon OT Max Unger, part of a strong Ducks' offensive line. Combine that with 235-pound running back LaGarrette Blount, and we can already see what Oregon's strategy figures to be against UW come Aug. 30 --- run up the middle and run some more until that young UW line proves it can stop it.

Speaking of the draft, here's a list from the Pac-10 with conference players highlighted.

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April 29, 2008 8:00 PM

Coaches tour coming

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's another friendly reminder that the UW coaches tour will hit the state in the next few weeks, beginning Thursday in Tacoma (also called something to fill up the blog now that it'll probably be months before there is any real news).

But actually, I've heard these are great events (I've never been to one for UW or any other school) so wanted to pass this along for anyone who might be interested.

Here's a link with all the details.

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April 29, 2008 1:57 PM

Season ticket update

Posted by Bob Condotta

A couple of you have asked how ticket sales are going, so here's an update from UW officials.

The Huskies are currently sitting at 42,460 season tickets sold. Last year, UW sold a total of 43,516, so the Huskies are at 98 percent of that number.

As for tickets sold at this point of the year, UW is about 1,000 season tickets ahead of that pace.

The percentage is greater in terms of Tyee, or donor, seats. Last year, UW sold 17,167 Tyee seats. This year, UW has already sold 16,984 of those seats, or 99 percent of last season. (All numbers updated since this was first written).

Four-game mini-plans go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday). Last year, the school sold ,5345 mini-plans, which are good for tickets to four games of the buyer's choice at $212 for reserved seating and $112 for East End Bleachers.

The Huskies averaged 68,855 fans per game last season, up substantially from the 57,483 of the 2006 season, which was the lowest since the expansion of Husky Stadium in 1987. UW ranked third in the Pac-10 in attendance last season behind USC (87,486) and UCLA (76,379).

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April 29, 2008 11:02 AM

Spring game attendance numbers

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few sports information directors around the country, led by Dave Plati of Colorado, have compiled a list of attendances for spring games this year.

Here are some of the numbers:

2008 SPRING FOOTBALL GAME ATTENDANCE
School (cost) Attendance
*ALABAMA ........................... 78,200
*ARIZONA STATE .................. 5,000
ARKANSAS............................ 40,200
^AUBURN ($5)..................... 35,000
BOISE STATE ($7).................. 7,500
*BRIGHAM YOUNG............... 16,700
*CINCINNATI........................ 10,142
*CLEMSON ........................... 25,000
*COLORADO......................... 17,800
*COLORADO STATE .............. 6,100
EAST CAROLINA ($5)............. 5,053
^FLORIDA ........................... 61,000
*FLORIDA STATE .................. 30,000
*FRESNO STATE.................... 2,600
GEORGIA.............................. 19,874
*GEORGIA TECH................... 8,500
*HAWAII............................... 9,300
*HOUSTON........................... 3,500
*IDAHO................................ 5,100
ILLINOIS............................... 12,531
*IOWA.................................. 15,352
*IOWA STATE........................ 8,000
*KANSAS .............................. 10,000
KANSAS STATE ($5)............... 15,523
*KENTUCKY.......................... 8,500
*LOUISIANA STATE ............... 33,624
*LOUISIANA TECH ................ 5,103
*LOUISVILLE......................... 17,200
MARSHALL ($5)..................... 6,701
*MARYLAND......................... 10,221
*MIAMI-FLA. ........................ 11,000
MICHIGAN STATE ................. 27,000
*MINNESOTA........................ 7,200
^MISSISSIPPI ($10) ............... 28,311
^MISSISSIPPI STATE ($5) ...... 10,000
MISSOURI ($3) ...................... 26,322
*NAVY .................................. 2,497
NEBRASKA ($4-10)................. 80,149
NORTH CAROLINA STATE...... 15,273
*NORTH TEXAS..................... 3,169
NOTRE DAME ($8-15) ............ 30,286
OHIO STATE ($5) .................. 76,346
OKLAHOMA.......................... 23,306
*OKLAHOMA STATE.............. 20,000
*OREGON ............................. 14,107
OREGON STATE .................... MAY 3
*PENN STATE........................ 73,000
*PITTSBURGH ....................... 7,549
*PURDUE.............................. 9,500
RUTGERS ($5) ....................... 14,501
*SOUTH CAROLINA .............. 31,125
^SOUTHERN MISS ($5-10) .... 11,126
*STANFORD .......................... 2,000
*SYRACUSE ........................... 3,428
TENNESSEE ........................... 28,898
*TEXAS ................................. 43,000
^TEXAS A & M ($5)............... 32,000
*TEXAS TECH ........................ 11,250
*UCLA................................... 15,052
^USC ($10)........................... 22,000
*UTAH .................................. 4,500
*VIRGINIA............................. 5,000
*VIRGINIA TECH ................... 30,000
*WAKE FOREST...................... 4,100
*WASHINGTON ..................... 9,000
*WASHINGTON STATE........... 900
WEST VIRGINIA ($5) .............. 18,000
*WESTERN KENTUCKY........... 2,000
*WESTERN MICHIGAN........... 1,305
*WISCONSIN ......................... 22,000
*WYOMING........................... 1,700
*ANONYMOUS ...................... 6,000
NATIONAL AVERAGE (all)............. 14,331
MEDIAN ........................................ 8,000
*---denotes does not charge admission.
^---students admitted free; all 12-and under free at USC; alumni-card holders at Florida admitted free (also has 2-for-1 sponsor deal); all college age and under admitted free at Texas A & M.
NO SPRING GAME: Air Force, Akron, BYU, California, North Carolina (cancelled/weather), Toledo
CLOSED SPRING GAME DUE TO STADIUM CONSTRUCTION: Michigan

At many places, including UW, these are estimates.

Some other interesting notes passed along:
--- Brigham Young, Fresno State and Washington State had final practices with scrimmages open to the public (numbers are included above).

--- Boise State includes spring game ticket as part of previous season's package.

--- New Mexico took its spring game on the road to Santa Fe.

--- In lieu of charging, Iowa asks fans to bring one non-perishable food item that is donated to a local crisis center. Missouri charged $3, but fans who brought three cans of food items to donate to a local food bank. Most of Ohio State's revenue is split among four designated charities. Notre Dame's is a fundraiser for local alumni club scholarship fund. Rutgers' benefits two local hospitals. All proceeds at West Virginia go to WVU's Children's Hospital.

--- Nebraska charges $10 for 25,000 reserved seats, general admission at $4 and $8, with kids 6 and under free along with other youth promotions for free admittance (UNL students and staff, former players free).

--- Known school records were set at Florida (61,000), Mississippi (28,311), Missouri (26,322), Colorado (17,800) and South Florida (4,607).

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April 29, 2008 8:24 AM

Howell still waiting for the call

Posted by Bob Condotta

While seven players from last year's team have signed free agent contracts with NFL teams, one who hasn't is Dan Howell. While he is graduating in June and planning a post-football career, he says he would like to have a chance to keep playing if it's there.

But according to this story in his hometown newspaper, the Signal in Santa Clarita, Calif., he has yet to garner any interest.

Here's also a story mentioning the signings of Roy Lewis and Jordan Reffett to the Steelers, pointing out that the Steelers didn't draft any defensive linemen.

And here's a story on Louis Rankin signing with the Raiders pointing out that the team has been poor in the kickoff return department of late, a role Rankin may be able to create for himself.

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April 28, 2008 12:14 PM

Post-spring depth chart

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's my best guess at a post-spring depth chart. I'm leaving out incoming freshmen but including injured players and listing players according to the roster handed out to us on Saturday but also trying to list specifically in a few cases by where they seem most likely to play in the future.

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK:
Jake Locker, So.
Ronnie Fouch, RFr.
Taylor Bean, RFr.

TAILBACK
Brandon Johnson, So.
Willie Griffin, RFr.
Brandon Yakaboski, RFr.

FULLBACK
Paul Homer, Jr.
Luke Kravitz, Sr.
Austin Sylvester, RFr.
Tobias Togi, RFr.

TIGHT END
Michael Gottlieb, Sr.
Chris Izbicki, RFr.
Romeo Savant, RFr.
Walt Winter, Sr.

OFFENSIVE LINE
LT Ben Ossai, Jr.
Mark Armelin, RFr.

LG Jordan White-Frisbee, Sr./or
Ryan Tolar, So.
Scott Shugert, RFr.

C Matt Sedillo, So.
Greg Christine, So.

RG Casey Bulyca, Sr.
Morgan Rosborough, Jr.

RT Cody Habben, So.
Skyler Fancher, RFR.

RECEIVER
WR D'Andre Goodwin, So.
Charles Hawkins, Sr.
Anthony Boyles, TFr.

WR Devin Aguilar, TFr.
Alvin Logan, RFr.

SB Chris Polk, TFr.
Curtis Shaw, So.
Tony Chidiac, Jr.

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE LINE

DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Jr.
Kalani Aldrich, RFr.
Noah Keats Sall, Sr.

DT Cameron Elisara, So.
Nick Wood, RFr.
Jovon O'Connor, Sr.

DT De'Shon Matthews, So.
Johnie Kirton, Sr.

DE Darrion Jones, Jr.
Tyrone Duncan, RFr.
Conrad Remington, So.

LINEBACKERS

SLB Mason Foster, So.
Chris Stevens, Sr.
Cort Dennison, Fr.

MLB Donald Butler, Jr./or/
Trenton Tuiasosopo, Sr.
Kurt Mangum, Fr.
T.J. Poe, Jr.

WLB Joshua Gage, Jr./ or
E.J. Savannah, Jr.
Matt Houston, So.

SECONDARY

CB Quinton Richardson, RFr.
Vonzell McDowell Jr., So.
Matt Mosley, So.
Marquis Persley, RFr.

CB Mesphin Forrester, Sr.
Byron Davenport, Sr.
Jordan Murchison, Sr.

SS Victor Aiyewa, So.
Darin Harris, Sr.

FS Nate Williams, So.
Jason Wells, Sr.
Tripper Johnson, Jr.

SPECIAL TEAMS

PK Ryan Perkins, Jr.
Erik Folk, RFr.
Jared Ballman, Sr.

P Jared Ballman, Sr.
Ryan Perkins, Jr.

SNAP Danny Morovick, Jr.
Brendan Lopez, RFr.

HOLDER Ronnie Fouch, RFr.
Erik Folk, RFr.

KO RETURNS Chris Polk, Fr.
Curtis Shaw, So.

PUNT RETURNS Curtis Shaw, So.

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April 28, 2008 10:17 AM

More free agent signings

Posted by Bob Condotta

Reports are that Jordan Reffett and Roy Lewis have signed with the Steelers and that Chad Macklin is headed to Minnesota.

That would be seven free-agent signees among the Huskies.

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April 28, 2008 9:12 AM

Gunheim to Raiders

Posted by Bob Condotta

Greyson Gunheim will join Louis Rankin as a former Husky trying to make the roster of the Oakland Raiders.

Gunheim's agent, Kenneth Viera, said this morning that Gunheim signed with the Raiders shortly after the draft.

That makes four Huskies known to have signed free-agent deals --- Gunheim and Rankin with the Raiders, Marcel Reece with the Dolphins and Anthony Russo with the Seahawks.

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April 27, 2008 9:10 PM

UW free agent updates

Posted by Bob Condotta

Reports are that Louis Rankin has signed with Oakland and Marcel Reece with Miami.

That's on top of the Seahawks announcing earlier today that they have signed Anthony Russo.

The Rankin signing was reported by NFLDraftBible.com. Oakland's close to Rankin's hometown of Stockton, but the Raiders also drafted Darren McFadden and are pretty loaded at running back so that could be a tough go making that roster.

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April 27, 2008 3:49 PM

No Huskies drafted UPDATED (Russo to Seahawks)

Posted by Bob Condotta

The NFL Draft is over and no Huskies were selected, meaning guys like Louis Rankin and Marcel Reece are now left to fend for free agent contracts.

It is only the second time since the advent of the modern draft that no Huskies were selected.

The other year was 2003.

What those seasons have in common is that each came essentially four years after a coaching change that led to a truncated recruiting class. The draftable players in this year's class were either those still remaining from 2003 --- Rick Neuheisel's last class at UW --- those from 2004 -- Keith Gilbertson's only full class as UW's caoch --- or JC transfers such as Reece.

The Huskies were one of two Pac-10 teams that didn't have any players selected, Stanford was the other.

There were 34 PAC-10 players selected. Here's a breakdown by school:

USC --- 10
Cal --- 6
Arizona State --- 5
Arizona --- 4
UCLA -- 3
Oregon --- 3
Oregon State --- 2
Washington State --- 1

UPDATE --- Anthony Russo has signed a free agent deal with the Seahawks. As I wrote last week, he worked out with the Seahawks a few weeks ago, and the team was impressed with his punt returning ability. He has an ally with the Hawks in Gilbertson, now an assistant with the Seahawks who was always high on Russo's ability during his years as UW's head coach.

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April 27, 2008 12:22 PM

Ducks finish up

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano made a wry comment yesterday about their being a few people in green at Husky Stadium yesterday.

But they weren't any of the Oregon coaches as the Ducks were busy yesterday conducting their own spring game.

As the Oregonian perceptively noted, the Ducks won.

The Ducks, UW's first opponent next August, had a lot more offense in their game, finishing 36-3. Once again, burly JC RB LaGarrette Blount was a standout with 68 yards on five carries. Maybe he's why the Huskies are suddenly enamored with having big cornerbacks in their secondary.

Sounds as if Oregon's QB situation is still unsettled, though likely a battle between Nate Costa, who didn't play in the spring game, and Justin Roper, who it sounds like played pretty well.

You can also find the Eugene Register-Guard's coverage here. And more on the Ducks is available on the Oregonian's blog.

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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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April 26, 2008 10:38 PM

Spring game thoughts

Posted by Bob Condotta

So the next time the Washington Huskies present themselves for public view, they will be in Eugene, taking on the Oregon Ducks in a game that looms pivotal to the future of Tyrone Willingham. A fourth-straight loss to the Ducks, especially if by a decisive margin, obviously won't go over well with anyone and would put the Huskies at the bottom of the Pac-10 before September begins.

So did they look today like a team ready to go into Eugene and win?

Not necessarily. But then, I've rarely seen a spring game in which everyone left feeling like the team they just watched was ready to win a national title or something. The nature of spring games --- the fact that it's all the same team, the rules are different, the coaches limit the playbook, etc. --- makes mass generalizations risky.

As I wrote earlier this spring, what I do think such contests are good for is assessing specific personnel, rather than how a certain unit performed.

UW defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said exactly that when I asked him about the score of the game. "I wouldn't read a lot into that. Tim (Lappano) and myself are working together on these things, we're out there working our kids.'' Meaning, they aren't necessarily playing to impress anybody, but to get their team ready.

Also, the running clock made for a quick game and fewer plays than normal. There were 104 plays --- the Huskies ran 95 by themselves last year at Stanford.

Here are some other notes and thoughts:

--- Jake Locker, I thought, definitely looked better throwing the ball, an improvement that has apparently been there all spring (media got to see three complete practices including today). He was 13-17 and probably 14-15 of 17 if not for a drop or two. Hard to tell what the blame was on the interception --- some intimation that maybe the route wasn't run correctly. Ronnie Fouch (16-33) looked a lot better, as well. Willingham said he thought only three passes weren't put right where they would have wanted them. That may be a bit too high of a number, but the overall sentiment seemed valid.

--- The defensive back end definitely looked more active. E.J. Savannah; Nate Williams and Victor Aiyewa made their presence felt (even if each showed there is still lots of room for improvement in pass coverage); Darrion Jones had some nice moments at defensive end; and the other LBs (Mason Foster, Trenton Tuiasosopo and Donald Butler) also gave proof that position should be a strength next season.

--- The young receivers looked like that --- young receivers. There were at handful of dropped passes (though the one real noticeable one in the first half was by senior Charles Hawkins), and it was telling that the biggest day was turned in by the most veteran of the group in terms of playing time, sophomore D'Andre Goodwin. Oregon will present one of the best secondaries UW will face all year (safety Patrick Chung and cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Jairus Byrd are all all-conference candidates for next season) so UW's crew will need to show some quick progress in the fall.

--- Hard to really assess the running game with the line a little of a mismash with Ryan Tolar and Juan Garcia out and Matt Sedillo hobbling, the restrictions on Locker (which meant little real use of the option), and minor injuries that also appeared to slow Brandon Johnson and Brandon Yakaboski. The O-line didn't look overpowering, but you also never saw today the line that will likely start against Oregon as Sedillo played sparingly and Tolar not at all. Lappano said again afterward the coaches will look at the O-line and figure out if changes need to be made during the summer. He said he's still holding out hope Garcia may be back but that if he can't return "we'll go to put the best five out there and make a decision about who is going to be out there.'' He said the critical thing now is keeping everyone else healthy "because if you lose (anyone else) then you come pretty vulnerable there. Then you have some dropoff.''

--- Willie Griffin had the best day of the backs earning praise from Lappano who said "he's not a home-run hitter. That's not him. But he makes a cut and hits it and makes 5-6 yards. That's what he is and he ran really hard today. Probably as hard as I've seen him.''

--- Even though they kept a lot of things under wraps there were still a few new looks from the defense, such as over-loaded D-lines (more than two linemen to one side) and Trenton Tuiasosopo lining up as a down linemen at times. Donatell also talked a bit about disguising coverages in the secondary. "We want to coach our safeties not to give their looks away because the best quarterbacks play in this league so you obviously want to make it a little harder on them,'' he said. "That's our intent. But we're not there yet.''

--- A lot's been made of the smallish defensive line, but Donatell leaves open the chance that several of the true frosh coming in will play in the fall which would change the look quite a bit. Asked how many of the true frosh coming in, Donatell said "I don't totally know the answer to that but when you have four chances (meaning four players) it's better than two, so we are playing the percentages. There is always the challenge of the physical aspect of it that you are coming from high school. But we are already talking to these guys. They are all big kids, so they should be able to hold their own. So what we are going to do is keep talking to them, giving them information, so they can be as good as they can possibly be.''

--- The kicking game looked far from mid-season with the FG kickers going just 1-4 and Keil Rasp struggling as the backup punter, averaging 24 yards on three punts. Jared Ballman appears to have the punting spot heading into the fall but the PK job look wide open with Ryan Perkins (46), Ballman (48 blocked) and Erik Folk (34) all missing. Walk-on Cory Rutkowski was the only one who made an FG while the three scholarship guys missed, hitting from 39 yards out.

--- There were no new injuries but Josh Gage sat out with an injury from last week and TE Michael Gottlieb sat out with an illness.

--- Chris Izbicki got more time with Gottlieb out and had a nice day with two catches for 23 yards, one coming on fourth down and the other on third down, picking up a first down each time.

--- Chris Polk was steady when he had the ball, but not spectacular, which might have been disappointing to some. He also struggled in pass blocking at the end when he was torpedoed by Daniel Te'o-Nesheim once and run through by Chris Stevens a few plays later. But given just coming up from high school, his overall production --- four catches was the third-most for the day --- was solid.

All for now.


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April 26, 2008 6:30 PM

Game story posted

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's my game story from today's UW spring game that has details and quotes.

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April 26, 2008 6:12 PM

Post-game quotes

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'll try to have some more on the game later --- right now finishing up stories for the paper.

But GoHuskies.com has some coverage, including some quotes here.

And here are the final stats.

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April 26, 2008 1:00 PM

Spring game thread

Posted by Bob Condotta

A FEW QUICK POST-GAME NOTES --- TE Michael Gottlieb sat out due to being sick. Otherwise, there were no real injuries, though Brandon Yakaboski suffered some sort of injury late which is why Chris Polk was suddenly used so much in the backfield. Matt Sedillo was also suffering from a "pretty bad ankle'' which is why he spent a lot of time with the second unit today.

Tyrone Willingham said he thought the game confirmed much of what the coaches had seen through the spring, with improved play from the defense and some play-making ability from the new receivers, though also a need for more consistency from that group.

He said the disappointments were the penalties (a total of 10 for 80 yards) and the field goal kickers (made just one of four).

Willingham said he was also pleased with the play of the quarterbacks, as was OC Tim Lappano who said that backup Ronnie Fouch "had his best day as a Husky..''

Willingham said of Locker that "it was very obvious he knows what he's doing now and it comes a whole lot easier to him.''

Also, Willingham said Savannah remains on the second-team because he still is behind picking up the defense. Savannah talked to us for the first time this spring and said he thinks he's still being punished and that he'll be back on the first team when the season starts. He wouldn't directly say why he had been suspended, but when asked what he had to do to get back in the coaches' good graces he said attend every off-season workout, a pretty good hint.

I'll try to have a more complete report later.

A FEW POST-GAME STATS --- Locker 13-17, one INT, one TD, 159 yards.
Fouch 11-23, one TD, 99 yards.
Goodwin 7-109 one TD.
Aguilar 2-37.
Leading rusher was Griffin with 71 yards on 20 carries, next was Polk with 20 yards on five carries.

Leading tacklers were Savannah with eight, Nate Williams with seven, Mason Foster and Cort Dennison with six. There were four sacks --- Jones, Te'o-Nesheim, Elisara and Savannah.

FGs were just 1-4.

GOLD WINS 10-7--- I'll have more later.

PERKINS MISSES FROM 47 --- The Purple had another chance to tie but Perkins missed right on a 47-yard FG with 53 seconds left. Chris Polk played the entire series at tailback and twice was lit up trying to block on pass plays, once by Daniel Te'o-Nesheim.

KIRTON BLOCKS FG --- The Purple, now quarterbacked by Fouch, had a chance to tie the game but a 49-yard FG by Jared Ballman appeared to be blocked by Johnie Kirton, though there was also a bad snap that led to a low kick. It's still 10-7.

GOTTLIEB OUT --- TE Michael Gottlieb is out with an undetermined injury, Izbicki has taken his place and has two nice catches in the second half.

GOLD TAKE 10-7 LEAD --- Fouch has just hit Devin Aguilar with a 13-yard pass to put the Gold ahead 10-7 with 13:02 remaining. That was an 11-play, 70-yard drive for the Gold. Fouch was 5-5 for 50 yards on the drive while Griffin had five carries for 18 yards.

PURPLE AHEAD 7-3 END THIRD QUARTER --- We're through three and it's 7-3 Purple, but the Gold is driving thanks to nice some passes by Fouch and nice runs by Griffin, who is having a nice day.

PURPLE SCORES --- Locker has hit Goodwin with an 11-yard pass on a fade route over the top of Quinton Richardso, who was also called for a PI on the play. Perkins hits the kick and it's 7-3 Purple with 3:19 to go in the third quarter. That was an 80-yard drive in 13 plays for the Purple. I have Locker going 7-7 for 69 yards on that drive.

PURPLE DRIVING --- The Purple, the No. 1 offense, is driving as I write this keyed by a fourth-down pass from Locker to Chris Izbkick that picked up eight yards when five were needed.

GOLD MISSES FIELD GOAL -- After a nice drive to the 12-yard-line stalled, the Gold then missed a 34-yard field goal, attempted by Erik Folk. It had good distance but was wide left. Crowd is estimated at 9,000.

DEFENSE HOLDING STOUT --- Maybe the most surprising number of the game so far is that the starting offense has minus-one yards rushing. That's in large part due to three sacks on Locker for minus-24 yards and two of those were just touch sacks that would never happen in a real game. Still, the No. 1 offense has just 25 yards rushing on eight attempts with a long of five. A lot of that may be due to the fact Locker can't run (though he did scramble for five yards at one point). Still, an interesting number.

SOME FIRST-HALF STATS --- Locker is 6-10 for 94 yards with a long of 28 with the stats looking a lot better than it has looked on the field at times. Goodwin has four catches for 60 yards, Logan 2-34 and Charles Hawkins 3-15. Willie Griffin is the leading rusher with 23 yards on 7 carries. The Huskies have combined to rush for 32 yards on 24 carries, but with Locker off-limits to contact, the running game is without a major weapon. Brandon Yakaboski and Brandon Johnson are each 3-10 rushing.

Savannah has six tackles to lead all defenders while Te'o-Nesheim, Savannah and Jones all have one sack.

HALF ENDS 3-0 --- The Rutkowski FG is the only score of the first half. The passing game looks anything but at mid-season form. The Purple got the ball back at the 43 with 39 seconds left but couldn't move as Locker threw two incomplete passes and then was sacked --- and this one would have been legit as he was wrapped up by Darrion Jones as no one was open. On one play, Locker and Chris Polk appeared to have communication issues, Polk turning in and Locker throwing out. So far, not a great day for the offense.

INTERCEPTION BY RICHARDSON --- The Purple was driving when Locker underthrew Curtis Shaw near the goal line and the pass was picked off by Quinton Richardson. The pass traveled about 25 yards in the air or so and was the kind of mid-range toss Locker has been said to throw better this spring. But you never know if maybe the route was run wrong or something, as well.

GOLD TAKES 3-0 LEAD --- The Gold, which is essentially the second-team, has taken a 3-0 lead with a 39-yard field goal by Cory Rutkowski. Erik Folk did the holding. There is 3:35 left in the first half.

E.J. STILL SECOND TEAM --- One interesting item on the roster is E.J. Savannah running on the second team with Josh Gage on the first team. It was thought Savannah would immediately reclaim his starting spot, and I suspect come Aug. 30 he will. But for now he remains on the second unit following his suspension for the first half of the spring.

STILL NO SCORE --- Still no score after the fourth possession of the game. Curtis Shaw and Devin Aguilar have been handling the punt returns, but the plays aren't live so we can't really judge their returning.

FIRST QUARTER SCORELESS --- The first quarter has ended scoreless, but it's a running clock we are on just the fourth possession of the game. One notable defensive alingment change is having some of the LBs line up as D-ends, such as Trenton Tuiasosopo. Chris Stevens has done that in the past but it appears to be a bigger part of things todayh.

ONES VS. ONES --- The format today is essentially the starters against each other and the backups against each other.

NO REAL SURPRISES --- It's a beautiful day here, the nicest of the spring.

No real surprises in the lineups, though one slight change is Tyrone Duncan listed as a defensive end instead of at tackle. The first two drives by the Jake Locker-led offense ended in a turnover on downs and a punt.

CATCHING UP --- Running a little late here, but the game has started and we are in the third sesries and so far no scoring but two nice catches by D'Andre Goowin.

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April 26, 2008 7:29 AM

Spring game today

Posted by Bob Condotta

The end of spring practice is here on a day when it also looks like spring is finally beginning --- as I write this at 7:30 a.m. the sun is shining brightly through my window here a little south of Seattle.

Here's my story today previewing the game, which is really more of an assessment of where the team is as spring practice ends.

Here's a breakdown of all the activities on tap at UW today, with the football game just part of a number of spring events.

The football game starts at 12:45 p.m. and will be available on streaming audio and video through GoHuskies.com.

I'll also plan our usual game-day type coverage here, with some running commentary during the game, and more afterward.

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April 25, 2008 5:20 PM

Draft day looming

Posted by Bob Condotta

In case you haven't heard --- and you'd have to be David Stern assessing the Sonics' situation to be that oblivious --- the NFL Draft is this weekend.

As I wrote earlier this week, there's a decent chance no Huskies get taken.

As added evidence, the seven-round mock draft of Todd McShay on ESPN.com, updated this week, doesn't include any Huskies.

Louis Rankin, however, remains confident he will be taken, according to this story in his hometown paper, the Stockton Record, in which he is quoted as saying that he has been telling scouts that whichever team drafts him will win the Super Bowl next year.

And this story in the Rocky Mountain News has a mention of Marcel Reece, noting him as a sleeper player who could be taken and noting that he didn't play more last year because UW coaches didn't always believe he was committed to blocking (it was well-known during his UW career that was something he needed to improve).

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April 25, 2008 2:25 PM

UCLA QB situation suddenly murky

Posted by Bob Condotta

Reports out of Los Angeles today that Patrick Cowan, who had been scheduled to enter the 2008 season as UCLA's starting quarterback, could be out for the year with a knee injury.

Brian Dohn of the LA Daily News has details here. As Dohn reports, backup Ben Olson, who would likely become the starter if Cowan is out, is also ailing, though not with anything that would endanger his season.

Chris DuFresne of the LA Times has this take on what suddenly looks like a tough first year for new UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel.


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April 25, 2008 9:11 AM

A few Friday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says. ...

--- My story today led off with a note on UW's new-look secondary as the Huskies are going for a bigger look their defensive backfield.

--- Both of UCLA's top two QBs were injured in practice Thursday. Like the Huskies, the Bruins play their spring game tomorrow.

--- The Huskies don't have a commitment yet for the Class of 2009 (they'll have to be a little more selective this year due to a smallish senior class) but lots of other schools do, including USC, which already has commitments from four of the top 18 players on the latest Rivals 100.

--- Maybe USC induced them with these T-shirts.

--- ASU QB Rudy Carpenter had thumb surgery earlier this week.

--- According to Brooks Hatch of the Corvallis Gazette-Times, Oregon State pitcher Alex Besaw plans to play for the Bellingham Bells, the summer baseball team Jake Locker also plans to spend some time with. He also says another Beaver Brett Casey, , also a former basketball player at OSU, will be part of that team, as well. Here's an earlier announcement of that team's roster.

--- Oregon got a visit this week from a JC quarterback who would be eligible to play immediately. The Ducks also have their spring game this weekend and are having a draft to pick the teams something a lot of teams have done through the years. UW coach Tyrone Willingham said he's done it before but won't this year.

--- Scout.com has a list of the top 12 offensive departures in the Pac-10 from a year ago and lists Louis Rankin No. 4.

All for now.

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April 24, 2008 5:05 PM

Practice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

The team was in pads and shorts for its final practice before Saturday's spring game, indicating a light-day in terms of physical activity.

Once again, Ryan Tolar spent a lot of the pre-practice time with the other two centers --- Matt Sedillo and Gregory Christine --- indicating that he may be prepping to start getting some time at that position just in case. UW coach Tyrone Willingham said before practice today that no firm decisions have been made on any possible manuvering on the offensive line as a result of the injury to Juan Garcia. But looks as if Tolar could be an option in some way.

Linebacker Josh Gage was in red with an undisclosed injury but the health situation seemed as advertised otherwise.

Among those in attendance today was incoming running back Terrance Dailey and his mother. Incoming receiver Jermaine Kearse was also in attendance.

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April 24, 2008 3:41 PM

Garcia: "It's all or nothing''

Posted by Bob Condotta

Husky center Juan Garcia just concluded his meeting with reporters here today and said he "went for the miracle healing'' in deciding to not have surgery now and see if his injured left foot will begin mending on its own in the next month.

As he explained it, he will have his foot in a cast and be on crutches until May 23, when the cast will be removed and it will be determined whether the foot has begun to heal. If it has, then he will continue on that course of rehab with the possibility that he could be able to play in the first month of the season. He said doctors will look at that time to determine if tendons in the foot have begun to heal.

If the foot shows no healing on its own on May 23, then he will have surgery, and as he said "that's the end of that.'' Having surgery then would mean his college career would be over, and he indicated he'd likely pack up and move on to begin post-college life at that point.

"That's why I'm saying it's all or nothing,'' he said.

He said he has been told there is a 40 percent chance the foot will heal on its own.

Garcia said the rehab option gave him the best chance to play meaningfully next season.

Unlike Tuesday when Garcia met with reporters and teared up at one point, he was in good spirits today, joking that he's a believer in all religions right now because there's got to be one that's right and will answer his prayers.

Garcia said one thing that has improved his mood is the page on GoHuskies.com on which fans can comment about his career and their best wishes for his recovery.

"I was overwhelmed,'' he said. "I didn't realize how many people cared about me. ... After seeing that, it kind of gave me hope. That's why I'm calling it 'the last comeback.'''


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April 24, 2008 3:18 PM

Thursday Willingham notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham gave just a little bit more definition to the format for Saturday's spring game (emphasis on the "little.'')

He said it is likely that there will be a "pretty even split'' of the roster to form two teams that will make for as competitive a game as possible. Could also be a way to not let people figure out who is starting where as Willingham tries to keep things as under wraps as possible heading into next fall.

He said again the game will likely feature a 15-minute running clock, with quarterbacks off-limits to contact.

There don't appear to be any new health issues, with Willingham said running backs Brandon Johnson and Brandon Yakaboski may play, but could be limited, as well. Yakaboski apparently suffered a minor knee bruise in practice on Tuesday so he may be more limited than Johnson. That would leave UW pretty thin on running backs, but the Huskies will keep the playbook as basic as possible in the spring game so they'll figure out a way around that (use the fullbacks more or whatever).

Willingham also said that "we'll be limited in what we do with special teams'' as well, so may not be a lot of live returning.

As he says every spring, Willingham said the number one goal of the spring game is to get through it healthy, a thought reinforced by the injury last week to Juan Garcia.

Willingham said there was nothing new to report on the personnel front --- no movement on the J.R. Hasty situation or anything like that.

He was asked about the progress of the three receivers who came in at mid-year --- Devin Aguilar, Anthony Boyles and Chris Polk --- and said that "they've done well under very difficult circumstances. Are they where you'd like them to be? No, that would be almost impossible. But they are doing a pretty good job.''


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April 24, 2008 1:44 PM

Garcia to try rehab

Posted by Bob Condotta

Juan Garcia is expected to talk with media a little later today, but a spokesman has told us that he has decided to try to rehab the injury for a month or so and see if the foot will begin to heal on its own. If not, he will then likely have surgery.

The thought is the surgery will take long enough to recover from that waiting a month probably won't impact anything and there is a better chance of a possible recovery in time for the season by rehabbing.

I'll hopefully have more later from Garcia.

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April 24, 2008 12:15 PM

Report on Bud Ericksen funeral

Posted by Bob Condotta

City of Bothell flags were at half-staff Wednesday, the day of the funeral of former Husky center Bud Ericksen.

About 300 mourners attended a service at Bothell United Methodist Church and my information comes from one of them, my colleague Craig Smith.

Craig went to Bothell High School with Ericksen's son, Mike, who played freshman football at Princeton and now lives in San Diego.

Bud Ericksen, 92, may have been the oldest living Husky at the time of his death last Monday.

He was a center and defensive lineman-linebacker who played for the Huskies from 1935-37 and then played for the Washington Redskins before World War II. He scored the opening touchdown in the 1938 Pineapple Bowl victory over Hawaii in Honolulu when, as center, he took a pitchout from a running back and ran 32 yards for the TD in the 53-13 win.

Ericksen is believed to be the only Bothell High School graduate to play in the NFL. He was a third-generation Bothell resident and served as mayor from 1969-73. He operated an auto dealership in Bothell for decades.

Ericksen was an avid Husky fan and Craig reports that his daughter, Edith, said at the service that she thought her father and the family minister, Greg Jackson, were discussing death and dying the night before he died.

"Then I got closer and what they were talking about was the Oregon game,'' she said, referring to this year's season opener Aug. 30 in Eugene.

Rev. Jackson got a good response at the service when he took off his gold stole (the long scarf-like ceremonial garment ministers wear around their necks) and replaced it with a purple one in honor of Ericksen's devotion to the Huskies.

"It was the perfect tribute to an old Husky,'' Craig said.


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April 24, 2008 8:43 AM

Polk emerging as playmaker

Posted by Bob Condotta

It was Chris Polk day in the Seattle print media, but there was good reason for it based on the comments of UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano, who has come away from spring practice suitably impressed by the freshman receiver.

In my story on Polk today, Lappano says that "he's the real deal.''

Lappano said the spring has been designed to see if players such as Polk could rise up and show they can take some of the pressure off Jake Locker this fall.

Lappano says there has not been one designed running play called for Locker this spring.

"Part of our focus was, we know he (Locker) can make plays, let's find our other playmakers,'' Lappano said.

Polk has become one of those playmakers of late, Lappano said, emerging as particularly dangerous in the red zone.

The hope is that enough of the young players can break through to become playmakers in the fall and allow the Huskies to dial down Locker's running just a bit and reduce the number of times he gets hit.

"I would hope that he doesn't have to rush for 1,000 yards,'' Lappano said. "I would hope he can throw for 1,000 more yards (than he did last season) and maybe have 6-700 yards rushing. He's going to have a couple of days where he's going to rush for more than 100 yards because he can take it the distance. If they come out of their gaps and he pulls it down, he can go 80 or 90 yards. So he's still going to get his rushing yards. But I don't think we need it to be 1,000.''

If you remember, Locker rushed for 986 yards last season, the most ever for a Pac-10 QB, and almost certainly would have broken 1,000 had he not gotten injured against Oregon State.

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April 23, 2008 3:53 PM

Huskies off today

Posted by Bob Condotta

A quick note that the Huskies are off today. They have two practices remaining this spring --- tomorrow and the spring game on Saturday.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham said Tuesday that the spring game will likely consist of a game-type scrimmage with 15-minute running quarters, with stoppages for time outs and the ball going out of bounds. The game will be played with the new 40-second play clock, as well.

As for the format of the teams, he said that hadn't been settled yet, though it won't be a draft. He said he'd like as much competition as possible, which could mean ones against ones, though the injury to Juan Garcia may also further reinforce the idea of wanting to put players in as little danger as possible.

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April 23, 2008 2:26 PM

More freedom for Locker?

Posted by Bob Condotta

It was noted here a few days ago that Jake Locker says he feels a lot more comfortable with Washington's playbook this spring, which or course is what should be expected of a quarterback entering his second year as a starter and third in the program.

So are UW coaches feeling more comfortable with Locker's knowledge of the playbook as Husky coach Tyrone Willingham said the other day that there will be increased opportunities for him to audible this season.

"There are going to be some things in our system that will have a great deal of flexibility and other times things that kind of lock him in,'' Willingham said, "But with his experience, he gets better and better every day so we will have the ability to allow him to expand at certain times.''

Locker didn't do much calling of audibles last season but the ability to call a few more should obviously give the Huskies some better options this season. Coaches often say that is one of the biggest values of having an experienced quarterback is the ability to get out of bad plays at the line of scrimmage. Sounds like that could be something else that Locker does better this season.

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April 23, 2008 9:13 AM

Garcia, the day after

Posted by Bob Condotta

Juan Garcia's injury remains the biggest story of the moment for the Huskies, so it was again the focus of my story today.

I also talked with guard Casey Bulyca yesterday, asking him about the impact of Garcia's injury to the offensive line.

"Obviously it's a big, big hurt for us because he's been around for so long and he's been through so much,'' Bulyca said. "He's always been a leader and he came back for a sixth year for us. We're going to miss him if he doesn't come back at all. But in the long run I know that he doesn't want us to sit around and feel bad for him. He wants us to go out and win games this year. That's probably the best thing we can do for him is go out and play hard every game and do the best we can all year.''

Asked how difficult it is to replace a center, Bulyca said: "As an offensive line unit, all of us are pretty close. We are all pretty good friends. We've got some younger guys who are going to have to step up. Matt Sedillo looks like the most (plausible) candidate to step in for Juan. No matter who is there or ends up being there when we start against Oregon, I have full confidence that we will be fine.''

Asked how he thought Garcia was holding up, he said: "He's been fairly positive. There's nothing he can do about it. It's sort of a random act of God, I guess. It's not like you can go back in time and fix it. He's pretty much accepted the fact that he's hurt and more or less dealing with it. He's staying positive. He was just in the locker room a few minutes ago and it was good to see him. Everybody came up and gave him a big hug. He'll still be a big part of this program, no matter what.''

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April 22, 2008 4:49 PM

Here's how to send well wishes to Juan Garcia

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few of you asked how you could send well wishes to Husky center Juan Garcia.

The school has set up a special page on its web site for just that purpose.

Here is the link.

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April 22, 2008 3:02 PM

Hasty status unsettled UPDATED

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham just held his daily briefing with the media and confirmed that J.R. Hasty has been suspended from the team, that he will likely be out for the rest of the spring, but that a final determination on his status has yet to be made.

Here's his complete statement on Hasty:

"He has been suspended from the team. His status as it stands for the spring game is that he will probably not play and I have not made a final decision on what his status will be with the football team. When that moment arises I will communicate that to you. Other than that, I will not have anything else to say regarding that.''

GARCIA SAYS NO TO SEVENTH YEAR: I've seen a few of you wonder about that so I'll relay what Juan Garcia said when asked whether he would think about trying to petition for another year.

"Even if I could I would not do that. Ther's no way,'' he said.

So that should put a rest to that.

PRACTICE UPDATE (4:30 p.m.): Not much to really report, which is why I decided to just throw it down here.

Jordan Murchison remains out and as far as I can tell, he's only had a practice or two this spring, which may help explain some of the recent movement in the secondary. Byron Davenport also appeared hobbled and didn't appear to be in full pads (he was wearing sweats).

The team ended conditioning with a little passing contest with offensive players and defensive players competing to see who could hit the crossbar first from about 20 years (excluding quarterbacks). An offensive player hit it after a few tries (we couldn't tell who it was) so the defensive coaches all had to run a line. Other than that, looked pretty status quo.

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April 22, 2008 1:58 PM

More on Garcia

Posted by Bob Condotta

Got a little more here on Juan Garcia after having transcribed the tape.

In essence, Garcia said he has two options for treatment --- have surgery immediately and hope that he could return by mid-season at the earliest, or wait a month and see if the injury begins to heal on its own, which might mean an even earlier return. The danger with the second option is that if it doesn't heal, then he would have to have surgery, and it would be a month later in the process and probably cost him the season.

"There's a 60 percent chance it won't heal,'' Garcia said.

But Garcia sounded pessimistic that either option would enable him to really do much for the Huskies this year.

"If I wait for that surgery at the end of four weeks and everything doesn't go good, that's the end of that,'' he said. "So maybe I'll go for surgery so I can say bye to the fans and come in for a play or two and say goodbye to the fans and say I was a Husky football player.''

Asked if there was a chance he could return for the beginning of the season, Garcia said "I don't know about that one. Maybe some miracle happens and I get healthy in four weeks. But I don't think I'd be ready to go the first couple of games. I don't know. Maybe. People say I'm the comeback king, maybe I can come back and make the rehab shorter than it is and make the doctors amazed with the stuff I do way before I'm supposed to. So maybe that's what I'm leaning on right now.''

While the injury is similar to that of Isaiah Stanback's, Garcia said it's a particularly devestating injury for an offensive linemen.

"Like the doctor said, I'm an O-lineman and I've got to push 250 pounds and push (my) weight and then push a big guy's weight and you're always on your heels and stuff,'' he said. "So that's what makes this injury bad.''

Garcia said the injury is essentially a tear at the bottom of his foot.

"I could have done the top of my foot where it wouldn't have been that big of a deal,'' he said. "But I had to go mess up the bottom. It's just frustrating. I knew from the moment it happened --- it kind of felt like slow motion --- I knew it wouldn't be good.''

Garcia said the injury happened on a goal-line play.

"The handoff went to the fullback and he got stuffed at the line of scrimmage and I said 'we've got to punch this in,''' he said. "So I hit the line and the linebackers were pushing and then all those guys just jumped on and started pushing the other way and my leg got caught in the rug and my knee started going one way and I just felt it snap, just feeling everything rip. I just knew from the get-go it wasn't going to be good. Maybe if I didn't try to push that guy in for a touchdown (it wouldn't have happened) but that's not my style.''

Garcia said he has had trouble sleeping since the injury, frustrated over being hurt again and trying to figure out what he does now.

He said he hopes to have a decision on what course of rehab action to take tomorrow after meeting with coaches today.

"I'm a little sad, a little heart-broken,'' he said. "But it is what it is.''

The injury is especially tough because Garcia made the choice to come back for a sixth season of eligibility when he could have instead been preparing this week for the NFL Draft --- analysts say he would have had a chance to be a mid-to-late-round pick.

"That's crossed my mind,'' Garcia said of second-guessing his decision. "It's going to cross my mind. But I thought I could have been a better player. One of my main goals was to leave the University of Washington as an elite lineman. The O-line has been a question mark and been embarassing (earlier in his career) and then we've kind of been building momentum and I've been taking pride in that, and going into this last year I was just so happy we've got an O-line I was proud about. It just kind of breaks me up that I've got to watch it from the sidelines. ... I just had a feeling I could have been special (so) it just feels frustrating.''

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April 22, 2008 1:39 PM

Garcia says he may be done

Posted by Bob Condotta

Juan Garcia just stopped by the media room and talked to a few of us and I'll try to provide a more detailed account later.

But in essence, he said his injury is pretty bad and it's unlikely he'll be able to play much for the Huskies this year.

He said his Lisfranc injury isn't as severe as Isaiah Stanback's but that "for an offensive lineman it might as well be.''

He said he has several courses of treatment available, including having surgery, and will decide on that in the next day or so.

He said a best-case scenario is that he would make it back by mid-season or the end of the season.

Garcia teared up at several points in the interview, saying that "it's just tough knowing I might never wear the Husky uniform again.''

He said there is no chance he would try to sit out this season and try to get a seventh year of eligibility.

He also said he suffered a badly sprained knee, though that wouldn't have been serious enough to impact the season.

He said the injury occurred on a goal-line play when he made a push into a group of defenders and they pushed back and that his foot "just got caught on the turf. ... I knew from the get-go it wasn't going to be good.''

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April 22, 2008 9:43 AM

More on offensive line

Posted by Bob Condotta

The injury to Juan Garcia was obviously the big story yesterday.

I had a chance to talk with UW offensive line coach Mike Denbrock yesterday shortly before the news on Garcia's injury was made official.

He said Garcia was hurt on a goalline play in Friday's scrimmage

"There was a mess of bodies in there so it's hard to really see on film what exactly happened,'' he said. "But obviously something not so good.''

Denbrock obviously hopes Garcia can make it back for next season.

But it's a reality of football that if one man goes down, someone else has to go in, so he said he's that the Huskies will be able to replace Garcia if need be.

He said sophomore Matt Sedillo will be the center if Garcia is out, and while that could change, he likes what Sedillo has done.

"He's just a real smart football player that understands the game,'' Denbrock said. "He can kind of maneuver our blocking schemes around the way we would require anybody who plays center for us. He's a good power player, he's got good feet. He just needs experience.''

Denbrock said there was a chance a long-term loss of Garcia could led to some shifting of roles up front, though he wasn't sure.

"We're always going to work to get our best five guys on the field,'' he said. "Right now, Matt's got the most experience there (at center) so he's a natural fit in there. So he'd go in there and do a very strong job and compete at a very high level. I'd feel confident with him. But we'll look at all options available to us to put the best guys out there we can.''

Despite some talk that the defense has gotten the better of the offense at times --- a seeming surprise given the disparity in the outside expectations of the two units --- Denbrock said he thinks the offensive line has played well this spring.

"I think we've had a really good spring,'' he said. "I really like the things that we are doing. We've had some continuation of the things we did last year and will continue to grow as a group and will be, I think, a strength of our football team.''

One bright spot has been the play of Jordan White-Frisbee at one guard spot in place of the injured Ryan Tolar --- Tolar, by the way, is expected to be fine for the fall. Denbrock said White-Frisbee has done well enough to earn playing time in the fall.

"He's a really, really good football player and he will be an anchor for what we are doing,'' Denbrock said. "I think he's really worked himself into the mix for very solid playing time. He continues to grow and progress. He's been there (on the offensive line) about a year now and he just continues to grow every day and he's just getting better and better.''

The spring has also provided some valuable playing time for a trio of redshirt freshmen who are now emerging as backups --- tackles Mark Armelin and Skyler Fancher and guard Scott Shugert.

"They are coming along,'' Denbrock said. "They are freshmen, so it's tough on them sometimes. But I like everything about all three of those young guys. They are picking things up and really in a learning mode right now. As much as they heard it last year, they weren't experiencing it as much on the field. Now they are getting a chance to see it from a whole different perspective and they are growing and they are going to be twice as good in the fall as they are in the spring.''

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April 22, 2008 8:31 AM

A look at Husky draft prospects

Posted by Bob Condotta

As part of our weeklong preview of the NFL Draft, I wrote today about the outlook for former Huskies in this weekend's draft.. The consensus is that it doesn't sound all that good in terms of hearing their names called this weekend.

As the story details, the Husky with the best chance of getting drafted is said to be Marcel Reece, whose mix of speed and size (he weighed in at 231) intrigues NFL scouts, who think Reece could be tried at several different offensive positions.

The overall theme of the story, however, is that UW's lack of success on the field the last few years is also mirrored by its lack of draftees come April.

I prepared this chart for the story, but it didn't make it in the paper so I'll present it here. It shows that UW has had the second-fewest draftees of any Pac-10 school since 2003.

PAC-10 PICKS
Over the last five seasons, only Arizona among Pac-10 schools has had fewer players taken in the NFL Draft than UW. Here's a list
USC --- 30 (7 first-rounders)
Stanford --- 20 (1)
Cal --- 18 (4)
Oregon --- 16 (1)
Oregon State --- 14 (2)
UCLA --- 14 (1)
Arizona State --- 12 (1)
Washington State --- 11 (1)
Washington --- 9 (1)
Arizona --- 8 (0)

And here are UW's draftees since 2003:

2003 --- None

2004 --- 1, Reggie Williams, WR, Jacksonville
2, Tank Johnson, DT, Chicago
3, Marquis Cooper, LB, Tampa Bay
7, Cody Pickett, QB, San Francisco

2005
2, Khalif Barnes, OL, Jacksonville
6, Derrick Johnson, CB, San Francisco

2006
4, Joe Toledo, OT, Miami

2007
4, Isaiah Stanback, QB, Dallas
4, Dashon Goldson, DB, San Francisco

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April 21, 2008 9:50 PM

Spring game info, other notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

A busy day of football news left a few other notes behind, so here they are:

--- The spring game will not be telecast live but will be available on GoHuskies.com on live streaming internet. Former Husky Roy Lewis will provide the color along with play-by-play from Benton Strong. The game will also be broadcast on KJR-AM which will apparently do a lot of pre-game stuff, as well.

--- The UW Alumni Association is again sponsoring a coaches golfing tour in May and June. Here's a link with details.

--- The school has begun sending out a survey asking fans if they would be interested in loge or club seats, at what price, and if they would be in favor selling alcohol in the loge and club seating areas. Here's a link to the survey that also includes some pictures of what the areas may look like.

--- A couple of you have passed along the YouTube video purporting to be a behind-the-scenes look at the Oregon football program. I watched the first segment and am not sure what the heck it is going to be. Here is the Eugene Register-Guard's take on it. Guess we can all watch the second segment tomorrow and see where it goes.

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April 21, 2008 5:01 PM

Hasty on temporary leave of absence

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW running back J.R. Hasty was not at Washington's practice Monday and when reached by phone said he had been told by Husky coach Tyrone Willingham to take a "temporary leave of absence.''

Hasty said Willingham told him the coach wanted to "think over some things'' before deciding if/and/or when he will be allowed back on the team.

Hasty said Willingham told him before Friday's scrimmage that the coach wanted more time to think about whether he was making the right decision to allow him back on the team after he was suspended for the first even practices of the spring. Willingham said that Hasty and linebacker E.J. Savannah were each suspended for unspecified violations of team policy.

Hasty said his earlier suspension was for missing a few off-season workouts and said he had no one to blame but himself.

"That's on me,'' he said.

Hasty said he expects to meet with Willingham again on Tuesday to discuss his situation.

He also said he will "do whatever it takes'' to again become a member of the team and that he has no plans to leave.

He said Willingham told him when he was suspended prior to the spring that "he didn't really think I wanted to be on the team so I had to prove it to him.''

Hasty said he felt he was doing that by showing up to practices and running steps at Husky Stadium but that Willingham then decided on Friday to again remove him from the team for a few days.

Hasty said as far as he knows, he could be back to the team tomorrow.

Hasty said his situation is not related to academics, just team policy.

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April 21, 2008 4:03 PM

Garcia has Lisfranc injury

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham just announced that Juan Garcia suffered a Lisfranc injury when he was injured on Friday.

The injury is the same suffered in 2006 by quarterback Isaiah Stanback. But Willingham said that was a "severe'' version of the injury and that there are "varying degrees of it.''

He said it is uncertain right now how serious Garcia's injury is and that he will be further evaluated in the next few days to determine a more exact prognosis.

He said there was no apparent damage to the knee, which had also been listed as a potential area of injury on Friday.

Willingham said he would not estimate how long Garcia will be out other than to say the obvious that he is out for the rest of the spring.

Stanback had surgery and needed about nine months to get to fully recover. It is unknown whether Garcia will need surgery.

Willingham said Garcia will be replaced in the starting lineup by sophomore Matt Sedillo with walk-on sophomore Gregory Christine serving as the backup. But he said it is possible other players could be moved to center if need be to put the best five players on the field.

Willingham said that Garcia i struggling with the thought that his career could be over, or at the least, that he won't be 100 percent for his final season.

"It's very difficult on him right now,'' Willingham said, noting Garcia's preivous injury history (missing the 2004 and 2005 seasons with injuries) and saying that he is inevitably asking "why me?''

The injury was suffered early in Friday's scrimmage and Willingham said Garcia's loss was obvious the remainder of the day.

"The whole team felt his absence,'' Willingham said.

A UW spokesman reminded us that while Stanback's is the most notable Lisfranc injury suffered by a Husky in recent years that DT Donny Mateaki also suffered a version of it in the spring of 2005 and came back to play that fall.


FORRESTER TO CORNER: In another bit of news, Willingham also announced that senior free safety Mesphin Forrester is moving to cornerback. The move is being done in part due to the rapid improvement of sophomore Nate Williams, who is emerging as a starter at safety alongside another sophomore, Victor Aiywea.

Willingham said he liked the pairing of Forrester, listed at 6-2, 205, alongside Quinton Richardson, who is 6-0, 205, saying "now we have two bigger bodies out there to contend with.'' So sounds as if the starting secondary right now is Forrester and Richardson at corner and Williams and Aiyewa at safety.

DEFENSE WINS SCRIMMAGE: Willingham also said that the defense got the better of the offense in the scrimmage Friday. "This time I gave the advantage to the defense coming out of the scrimmage,'' he said.


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April 21, 2008 12:56 PM

Denbrock on Garcia: No real news yet

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW offensive line coach Mike Denbrock was just interviewed on KJR-AM by Dave "Softy'' Mahler and said Husky center Juan Garcia was at the doctor's office having his knee and ankle further examined. Denbrock said he hoped to know something definitive soon.

UW coaches will be available to the rest of us media in an hour or so and hopefully we'll get something more then.

Denbrock sounded hopeful that it wasn't soo serious but reiterated that he didn't really know the prognosis.

He did say that he had a lot of confidence in Matt Sedillo should Garcia not be able to go this season though pointing out that there's a reason one guy is a starter and the other is the backup. Sedillo is a sophomore who is listed as Garcia's backup.

He also said he liked the confidence displayed by UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano, who apparently said on another KJR show last week that he thinks the Husky offense can average 38 points a game next season. UW averaged 29.2 points per game last year --- Oregon led the conference at 38.2.

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April 21, 2008 9:56 AM

Locker feeling more comfortable

Posted by Bob Condotta

We're still waiting for word on Juan Garcia, which likely won't come until Tyrone Willingham meets with the media today before practice.

In the meantime, I'll pass along some happier news in the form of a few comments from UW quarterback Jake Locker last week.

UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano has said several times during the spring that Locker appears to be a more accurate passer than he was last fall, and Locker agrees,

"I feel a lot more comfortable,'' he said. "I just feel like I am completing more passes. I haven't been missing chronically high or low or anything. Every once in a while I miss a throw --- I'm not going to make them all. But overall I've felt really comfortable in the pocket and felt confident in where I am going with the ball.''

An example was a 74-yard TD pass Locker threw to D'Andre Goodwin in a scrimmage a week ago Saturday. It was a play similar to one Locker missed on against USC last year when he scrambled out of the pocket and overthrew Corey Williams in the end zone. This time, when Locker scrambled and threw, he took enough off the throw to allow it to get to Goodwin.

"Last year in situations like that that where I came out of the pocket and was moving, I put a little bit too much on the ball when I didn't need to,'' he said. "I feel like I'm getting more comfortable in those situations, especially when I'm moving, understanding that it's a big play but that it's more important to get him the ball than to throw the perfect pass at that time.''

And Locker also points out the obvious --- that it only makes sense he's getting better with age. This is still just his second spring practice with the Huskies and the number of QBs who struggled at times in their first year or two before becoming superstars is staggeringly long.

"Last year I was still getting familiar with the offense, feeling it out in game situations, game speed, trying to recognize what the defense was going to do,'' he said. "Now I just feel confident in what we are doing. I know the game plan, I know the scheme. I know why coach Lappano calls the plays when he does. I'm not having to think as much. I'm just able to play and react, much like playing in high school, and it's made it a lot more enjoyable.''

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April 19, 2008 6:13 PM

Latest on Garcia

Posted by Bob Condotta

The latest official word on UW center Juan Garcia is that he suffered an injury to his left ankle and knee. An MRI will be conducted on Monday at which time a clearer picture of the short-term and long-term prognosis should be available.

I'm not completely sure if that means you can assume there are no broken bones. The information above was what I got today with no further specifics. But the fact that the information didn't detail a break of any kind could be good news, though obviously it sounds as if we won't completely know what the situation is until Monday at the earliest.

Here's a link to the story in today's paper that has details on what happened to Garcia in Friday's practice.

As noted in that story, Garcia missed the entire 2004 season with injuries to his left leg and ankle, dislocating the ankle and breaking a fibula. An early read of the information presented above at least seems to indicate he didn't suffer those injuries again.

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April 19, 2008 10:05 AM

No word yet on Garcia

Posted by Bob Condotta

As I type this at 10 a.m. Saturday we have no official word yet on Juan Garcia.

In the meantime, I'll pass along my story for today which has a little more information on that as well as a little note on the running back situation.

As soon as there is more definitive word on Garcia I will pass it along here.

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April 18, 2008 4:51 PM

Garcia injured

Posted by Bob Condotta

After I had just filed the previous report, a UW spokesman walked into the media room and passed along word that center Juan Garcia suffered a leg injury of undisclosed origin at the beginning of today's scrimmage.

Garcia was down for roughly 10 minutes and then taken off on a cart with his entire left leg in an air cast.

He was apparently injured during a short-yardage drill on a run up the middle while caught in a cluster of players.

Again, the severity and nature of the injury is unknown as he was being taken to be evaluated.

Garcia is obviously a huge part of the team, however, and any serious injury would be a big blow to the Huskies. He has been the starting center the past two years and was a team captain last season. He decided to return for this season, his sixth year of eligiblity, after briefly contemplating leaving to play professionally.

He was granted a sixth year of eligibility after he missed the entire 2004 and 2005 seasons with injuries.

In April 2004 during a spring practice, Garcia suffered a broken fibula and a dislocated ankle in the same left leg he apparently hurt today, causing him to miss that season. He then suffered a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the 2005 season.

If we get more information I will pass it along as quickly as I can, but given that it's Friday night leading into a weekend it is unclear if, or when, we will know more.

UPDATE --- GARCIA ADDED TO WATCH LIST --- A UW spokesman also just told us that Garia has been added to the Outland Trophy Watch List. I wrote in a post earlier today (you can find below) about the fact he wasn't included and that maybe it was because he was listed as a senior last season. That was apparently the case, and the committee decided today to add his name to the list.

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April 18, 2008 4:40 PM

Friday practice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Not that there is much to note.

The team is scrimmaging as I write this, but media were not allowed to watch, given our customary 25-minute boot from the Dempsey Center, where practice was moved due to concerns over the weather.

The injury situation looked as advertised --- Brandon Johnson and Jordan Murchison not in full pads and sitting out, Brandon Yakaboski in pads but wearing red, likely not to participate in any real activity. Darin Harris was in full pads and appeared ready to go, as did everyone else.

For more on what Johnson had to say, he said the of his knee that "it's just hyperextended. I'll be back on Monday. Most of the swelling is (gone) so I'm able to walk around and move it a lot more so hopefully I'll be running Monday.''

Asked if he had any worries that the knee injury would impact him long term he said "oh no, not at all.''

There were a number of local Pac-10 officials there ready to call the game today, and there were also a number of high school coaches who appeared to have been invited specifically to see a scrimmage

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April 18, 2008 3:03 PM

Friday Willingham notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Another day, another injury to a running back, one that sounds minor but figures to make for a fairly thin backfield when the team hits the field for a scrimmage later this afternoon.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham said in his meeting with the media today that running back Brandon Yakaboski is struggling with a neck sprain and may have to sit out today.

"It's more of a stiff neck, a little bit of a sprain there,'' he said. "Not a big thing.''

Still, it could make the backfield Brandon-less as Brandon Johnson also likely remains out with a knee injury suffered earlier this week. Johnson met with the media today and said he suffered a hyperextended left knee when he fell the wrong way when tackled during a two-minute drill. He said he expects to be back Monday.

So the running back carries today will apparently all go to Willie Griffin and J.R. Hasty. Griffin said today that he feels a lot more agile this spring, having dropped from about 208 pounds last season to 195 this spring, the weight he played at in high school. He said he simply didn't come to camp last fall in the shape he should have been in.

The injuries to Johnson and Yakaboski could also mean more carries for fullbacks Paul Homer and Luke Kravitz.

"That's why we have such a wonderful group of fullbacks that have been itching to get their opportunity to run the football,'' Willingham said. "So they may get it today.''

Willingham said again that Hasty and former Bellevue High teammate E.J. Savannah have each played well since returning to practice this week.

"They've been wonderful,'' he said. "I think it's awful tough to play catch-up in a short amount of time. But they've done fine.''

Willingham also expanded on his comment of the day before when he praised the play of the defensive line. That led to the obvious question whether the veteran offensive line has been underachieving at all.

"There have been some good thigns with the offensive line, but as always there is give and take,'' he said. "They've had some good days and had some days that aren't so good. That's part of it. But what we want is an offensive line that has the ability to dominate. That's what we are looking for during the season. At the same time, if they have that potential and ability, that allows us to measure our defensive line, so I would say we've had a little of both --- some good play from the defensive line and at times some not so good play from our offensive line. But that is always the give-and-take of spring practice.''

The O-line is playing without starting guard Ryan Tolar, out for the spring after having off-season shoulder surgery. Asked if that has made a difference this spring, Willingham said "obviously I think it does. Ryan was a starter last year and was a contributor to a lot of the success we had as an offense. But I have been very pleased with the play of Jordan White-Frisbee and hopefully he can continue to improve at his game.''

The team is expected to conduct a full-scale scrimmage this afternoon but it is not open to the media so we won't have in-depth reports like the two previous scrimmages.

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April 18, 2008 11:25 AM

Huskies blanked on Outland Trophy watch list

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Football Writers Association of America has released its 70-person watch list for the 2008 Outland Trophy, given annually to the best college football interior linemen in the country.

Here's the list, and while it includes 10 players from the Pac-10 Conference, none of them are Huskies.

Eight of the Pac-10 players on the list are offensive linemen, including three centers --- Cal's Alex Mack, Oregon's Max Unger and Stanford's Alex Fletcher. All are deserving candidates, and speak to the strength of that position in the Pac-10 this year. Mack is the defending Morris Trophy winner in the Pac-10 and some early draft lists for next year I've seen have Unger as the first conference player taken.

Still, I figured Juan Garcia had a good chance to make the watch list for this award after having been named to an all-conference second-team pick a year ago (same as Fletcher and three other Pac-10 players who were named to the watch list --- Oregon State's Andy Levitre, Arizona's Eben Britton and Oregon's Fenuki Tupou.

It's possible the people putting the list together don't know that Garcia is back since he's listed as a senior on the All-Pac-10 team from a year ago --- which he officially was at the time before deciding to return for a sixth year of eligibility that had been awarded the previous spring.

The fact that there are only two Pac-10 defensive linemen on the list is illustrative of what is thought to be a pretty down year for experienced D-linemen in the conference.

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April 18, 2008 8:25 AM

Friday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says. ...

--- First is my story today on how the Huskies are also using the spring to adjust to some rules changes recently enacted by the NCAA. When I asked Tyrone Willingham about it yesterday, he didn't seem to think the timing rules will change much. But Jake Locker did seem to think it made a little difference in speeding up the game, which is the whole point --- the NCAA is continuing to search for the perfect way to keep the game going while not eliminating plays, which was the problem with the timing rules changes it made two years ago.

--- UCLA's receivers say they like a change in the offense of new coordinator Norm Chow, allowing them to read the defense and then choose their route, rather than having to run a pre-determined route.

--- USC coach Pete Carroll says Mark Sanchez is the starting QB. But Mitch Mustain, a transfer from Arkansas, says he still thinks he can win the job.

--- Much to the relief of UW fans, Alexis Serna has finally graduated. OSU has found a kicker to replace him but is still looking for a punter. And Lyle Moevao is taking all the starter's snaps at QB in Corvallis this spring with Sean Canfield sidelined with an injury.

--- Like the Huskies, Oregon is expected to scrimmage again today. The link also includes the note that basketball player Frantz Dorsainvil has given up his two-sport experiment and quit the football team.

--- Dennis Erickson took it easy on his team in its final practice before its spring game this weekend.

--- Columnist Greg Hansen writes about all the heat Arizona AD Jim Livengood is feeling these days. Here's a good overview of Arizona's spring practice.

--- This is a few days old, but Stanford ended spring drills with no resolution to its three-man race at QB.

--- Cal also continues to have uncertainty at the QB spot that will last until the fall.

--- Notre Dame ends spring drills this week and coach Charlie Weis says he is excited about the progress of QB Jimmy Clausen among other things. Sounds like the O-line is still an issue, however.

We'll be back later today with reports from UW.

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April 17, 2008 9:37 PM

Defensive changes coming?

Posted by Bob Condotta

With a new defensive coordinator in Ed Donatell, it's no secret that the Washington defense will have some different looks next season.

What the team hopes to keep a secret is exactly what those changes are --- players and coaches alike are reluctant to go into much detail about how different the defense will look when UW plays Oregon Aug. 30.

Donatell has said he'd like to use both the 4-3 --- which if the scrimmages that have been open to the media are any indication, remains the team's base defense --- and the 3-4. The Huskies almost exclusively used the 4-3 in the two scrimmages we've seen.

More than the base scheme, however, the biggest change Donatell may be bringing is adding a lot of different looks to the Husky defense.

"I've always had a believe that I like to have coverage in disguise,'' he said recently. "Our intention is to do the unexpected.''

That's not something the Huskies were accused of doing too often under former DC Kent Baer --- one of the biggest criticisms of Baer's attack was its simplicity.

''They are disguising everything and the blitz schemes are a lot better than we had in the past,'' said backup quarterback Ronnie Fouch after the last scrimmage. "So it's starting to look good.''

Jake Locker touched on that a little bit today, as well, saying that "there are a lot of new things'' in the defense and that he can tell the defensive players "are excited about it.''

"I'm excited about it,'' he said. "They are really playing aggressive and flying around to the ball.

"I like what they are doing. It is definitely a new look and the players are enjoying it.''

Locker said he also thinks it is helping the offense by giving it some more complicated looks to work against in practice.

"We're seeing a lot of things we see week-in and week-out,'' he said. "That will help the whole offense to improve, as well and help our preparation as well.''


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April 17, 2008 4:31 PM

Thursday practice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies were in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts today for what figures to be a fairly light day with a scrimmage on tap tomorrow.

Brandon Johnson was not in pads and visibly limping (the injury to his left leg) and looked to me like a guy who probably won't do a whole lot more this spring. Everything else appeared as advertised.

Among the visitors at practice today were Bellevue High coach Butch Goncharoff and incoming freshman Alameda Ta'amu.

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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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April 17, 2008 1:13 PM

Three new bowl games?

Posted by Bob Condotta

According to an article today in USA Today the NCAA will consider applications for three new bowl games later this month.

Alas, I can't find a link to pass along --- I actually just read it in the paper. Remember when you had to do that?

But the article said the three new games would be the Congressional Bowl, pitting Army or Navy against an ACC team in Washington D.C.; the imaginitavely-titled St. Petersburg Bowl (Big East vs. Conference USA) at Tropicana Field); and the Rocky Mountain Bowl (Mountain West vs. WAC at the University of Utah's stadium).

That could bring the number of bowl games to 35 and make it nearly impossible to miss a bowl game as long as a team is qualified --- a .500 record is all that's needed.

There were 32 bowl games last year and the article noted that seven bowl-eligible teams were left home and the NCAA will have to take into consideration if there's a danger in sanctioning too many games and running the risk of not having enough qualified teams. The NCAA will begin considering the issue April 29.

This just makes it that much more clear that the biggest obstacle for UW getting to a bowl game these days is finding six wins on the schedule.


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April 17, 2008 8:43 AM

More on UCLA's ditch day

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's an interesting take on the aftermath of UCLA's "Ditch Day'' from the LA Times.

I'd never heard of this before this year, though the stories say it's been going on since about 1980 or so. Maybe people wrote about it before but it never got this much attention, I don't know.

For the record, UW doesn't have anything like this and I've never heard of the Huskies having anything like this --- not the kind of thing Jim Owens or Don James would have ever allowed happen.

The stunt not only didn't go over well with new coach Rick Neuheisel and a lot of others there to watch practice, but also with their fellow students. Here's an editorial from the school paper condemning the tradition.

Finally, Brian Dohn reported that the aborted practice will count as one of UCLA's 15 allowed during the spring.

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April 17, 2008 8:25 AM

Bud Ericksen, former UW center, dies at 92

Posted by Bob Condotta

Another former Husky has passed away, Bud Ericksen, who was a center from 1935-37 and scored a TD in the 1937 Pineapple Bowl.

Craig Smith of our staff, who got to know Ericksen in later years, wrote his obituary for our paper today.

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April 16, 2008 1:58 PM

Huskies off today

Posted by Bob Condotta

A quick reminder that UW is not practicing today, so there won't be the usual updates from spring practice this afternoon.

The Huskies will practice again Thursday and Friday, then take the weekend off, then practice next week on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday before concluding spring drills with the Spring Game April 26 at 12:45 p.m. That game is open to the public and part of the school's Spring Fling (details here).

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April 16, 2008 10:19 AM

Interesting story on potential UW recruit

Posted by Bob Condotta

Finally had a chance to read this story from Andy Staples of SI.com and it is an interesting look at the recruiting of quarterback Tate Forcier, who has offers from 30 schools including Washington.

Forcier and his brothers (one plays at UCLA, the other at Stanford) have set up a web site on which they are posting all of the letters with written offers that Tate has received. Here is that page as well as the letter from UW coach Tyrone Willingham.

I can't imagine the notoriously private Willingham is very happy about the posting of that letter, but the whole thing does provide some fascinating insight into the process.


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April 16, 2008 9:23 AM

Want to be UW's athletic director?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Then here's your chance if you think fulfill any of the qualifications listed in this job description here.

As I wrote today, the school is starting to get a little more serious about its search for a new athletic director, having hired the firm Parker Executive Search to help in the process. Here's the home page for Parker as well as a link to a listing of all the jobs it is currently advertising, including UW's.

I couldn't find out exactly how much UW is paying Parker, but LSU reportedly paid the firm $75,000 when it helped in both the search for a new AD and a new basketball coach so I would imagine the fee is about the same, if not exactly the same, for Washington.

Oregon State also paid Parker $75,000 for its help in that school's search for a new basketball coach, a process that didn't earn any raves in this column here from John Canzano.

As I wrote today, schools like to use the firms largely to retain confidentiality and conduct background checks. Acting AD Scott Woodward has yet to declare his official candidacy and what he decides to do will go a long way toward determining where the search heads. If he says he wants it, he'd be the leader in the clubhouse by a Tiger Woodsian margin. If not, the school will obviously have to look elsewhere.


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April 15, 2008 9:24 PM

UCLA players ditch practice

Posted by Bob Condotta

Interesting stories out of UCLA today where the players upheld a long-standing tradition of sprinting out of a practice and not returning, apparently costing the Bruins a day of work that they can't get back.

New head coach Rick Neuheisel was said to not be happy about what the LA Times referred to as a "quasi-muntiny.''

Here's a story with details from the LA Times as well as a few reports from Brian Dohn's blog at the LA Daily News. And the Orange County Register has this report, as well.

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April 15, 2008 7:25 PM

Husky great Harrison passes away

Posted by Bob Condotta

Walter B. Harrison, who was captain of the 1942 Huskies and winner of the 1941 Guy Flaherty Award, has passed away due to complications of a fall. He was 87 when he died on April 6.

Here's a story detailing his induction into the Husky Hall of Fame in 1999.

But Harrison's allegiance to the Dawgs didn't end when his playing days did.

His grandson, Nathaniel, said Harrison attended every Husky home game for 72 years other than years he spent serving in the Marine Corps in World War II. The streak was still alive at the time of his death.

He was a graduate of Roosevelt High and entered UW in 1939, lettering on the 1940, 1941 and 1942 teams.

The 1940 team finished a game away from a Rose Bowl berth, going 7-1 in conference play, the only loss a 20-10 defeat to conference winner Stanford in Palo Alto. UW allowed only 35 points in eight conference games that season.

The 1941 team finished 5-4 and tied with WSU for second in the conference while the 1942 team was 4-3-3.

Harrison was named to the All-Coast team and was a second-team All-American and was later drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round. But he entered the Marine Corps, instead, serving in Guam and Tinian, according to his grandson. After the war he returned to Seattle and worked primarily selling cars.

According to the book "The Glory of Washington,'' Harrison was known for his versatility, playing every position but guard and halfback. When the school named an All-Time All-Husky team in 1950 Harrison received the second-most votes behind George Wilson.

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April 15, 2008 3:57 PM

Hasty, Savannah officially back in fold

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham officially confirmed the return of E.J. Savannah and J.R. Hasty before practice today, saying "they started living up to the responsibilities of a football team. That's always what gets you back.''

The two each participated in practice Monday for the first time this spring, and are now back as full functioning members of the team after having been essentially suspended for the first seven practices for failing to live up to certain, unspecified team responsibilities.

Willingham was vague on where the two begin on the depth chart, but it's almost certain Hasty is at the bottom of the running back depth chart while Savannah is likely a backup, at worst, at one outside linebacker spot.

Asked how the two looked Monday, Willingham said "you can see the conditioning and some things aren't there, but those things will come.''

UW defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said he didn't think Savannah was behind at all pointing out he was an active participant in meetings and film sessions.

"We've been talking with him,'' Donatell said. "It's not like he's been out. He's still been part of us and been around the office and we've had a lot of contact with him. He just knew he had some things he wanted to take care of before we got to football stuff and now we are moving forward with that and he is right on course.''

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April 15, 2008 11:39 AM

Pulling their weight

Posted by Bob Condotta

Or, rather, lifting it.

In something I meant to pass along in the earlier post, I asked Cameron Elisara yesterday about the fact that he is often talked about as one of the team's most avid weight lifters.

It's a tough question in a way because there's no way to answer it without sounding boastful, so just to make clear, he was simply trying to give me an answer when he told me, not bragging.

Anyway, Elisara said he has the best squat on the team at 605 pounds.

But he said he other players have bested him in some of the other lifts.

Specifically, he said Darrion Jones and Jordan White-Frisbee have the best bench presses on the team (though he wasn't sure of the number) and that Daniel Te'o-Nesheim has the best clean and jerk ("he took that from me,'' Elisara said.

"Everybody has gotten better,'' Elisara said, saying that of his two years here this was the best winter conditioning the team has done.

Coaches also have said that they are generally pleased with the overall condition of the team.


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April 15, 2008 8:38 AM

Examining the D-line

Posted by Bob Condotta

For those of you who have been asking for a story on the defensive line I tried to deliver today.

Here it is, focusing in part on the recent move of De'Shon Matthews from end to tackle, where he ran with the first group during much of Saturday's scrimmage.

Asked why the move was made, DL coach Randy Hart said "he works hard.''

The main concern about Matthews is his size --- he says he weighs 253 pounds. Asked if that's big enough, Hart said "I don't know. We are going to find out.'' But Hart said if it doesn't work, he can move back to end, saying "every rep they take at every position is applicable to other positions, so sometimes it's just trying to get them more reps than where they were playing.''

Matthews said on Saturday that "I felt like I was small. I'm not used to going against three guys. But it's all good. It will come if I just eat more and hit the weights harder. It will all come in the end.''

While the line remains a bit of an uncertainty, and will stay that way until proven against Pac-10 competition, Hart had nothing but good things to say Monday.

"I'm very happy with their efforts,'' he said. "As long as the effort's there they will be okay. ... All of them, their ears are open and they are working their tails off.''

As noted in the story, the starting line at the moment is Darrion Jones and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim at end and Matthews and Cameron Elisara at tackle. Elisara, Jones and Te'o-Nesheim are likely to hold those spots to the opener. But the other tackle position could remain in flux until the fall when the freshmen who could make a big impact up front arrive, such as Craig Noble and Alameda Ta'amu.

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April 14, 2008 7:59 PM

UW assistant AD headed to Northern Illinois

Posted by Bob Condotta

Jeff Compher, who is the executive associate athletic director at UW, is leaving the school to become the new athletic director at Northern Illinois University, according to this story in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle.

Compher came to UW in July 2004 shortly after the hiring of Todd Turner, having also worked with Turner for five years at Vanderbilt. Once Turner was essentially fired in December it was thought that some of the people he brought to UW would find jobs elsewhere, and Compher is the second associate AD to leave.

Scott Barnes, who had been UW's senior associate AD for advancement, left in March to take over as the new AD at Utah State.

Compher had also been reported to be a finalist for the Miami job earlier this year that instead went to Kirby Hocutt.

At NIU, Compher replaces Jim Phillips, who recently became the new AD at Northwestern. Interestingly, Phillips was considered a candidate for the AD job at UW in 2004 that instead went to Turner.

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April 14, 2008 5:09 PM

Savannah, Hasty back

Posted by Bob Condotta

I wasn't able to attend practice today, but I have found out that E.J.Savannah was back on the field for practice today, and that J.R. Hasty was back as well.

Up until today, the two had been resigned to running steps throughout practice while being unofficially suspended for a failure to live up to undisclosed team responsibilities thought to be related to missing off-season workouts and classes.

The team practiced indoors today and in shorts.

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April 14, 2008 2:52 PM

Reviewing the offense

Posted by Bob Condotta

Offensive coordinator Tim Lappano gave us a quick review of the offense in the aftermath of Saturday's scrimmage, in which the defense seemed to make vast improvement from what we had seen a week earlier.

Lappano admitted it wasn't the best effort for the offense saying "we had a lot of young guys out there thinking, not able to to play as fast as they can play.''

In particular, he said the young receivers and running backs struggled, seemingly overloaded with the playbook.

"It got a little fast for a lot of those young kids Saturday,'' he said. "They are flooded right now.''

Here are a few other Lappano observations:

--- He said the running backs "have to understand it's okay to get two yards'' instead of trying to bounce it outside and losing yards. "We had three or four 2-3-yard losses that were blocked well enough up front,'' he said. "But that's youth..... They've got to understand the situation.''

--- Lappano said a high point was the play of the quarterbacks. He said Jake Locker made some reads in the option game that could have been better but that "he's throwing the ball well right now. ... Our quarterbacks threw the ball pretty accurately.'' He said it was the best day of the spring for Ronnie Fouch who said afterward he is getting adjusted to a change in his throwing motion.

--- He said again that WR D'Andre Goodwin had a good day and that he's becoming "a big-time playmaker.''

--- There didn't appear to be any throws to the tight end but Lappano said that was more a function of what the Huskies wanted to work on Saturday. "We're been wearing them out in practice,'' he said.

--- Lappano said a player having a good spring is walk-on redshirt freshman tight end Romeo Savant. "He's got a pretty bright future here down the road,'' Lappano said. He said he likes the play of Chris Izbicki, as well, but that he's got to get better running routes and getting separation.

--- Asked about the defense, Lappano said it's "more physical than I've seen it here in a while. The hitting last week and this week has been pretty good. ... They are pretty physical and some of the young guys have improved in the secondary.''

There is no press briefing with coach Tyrone Willingham today so at the moment, I may not have much else to pass along here today as I have to skip practice today. But if there is news that becomes available I will pass it along.

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April 14, 2008 12:19 PM

Kent Baer hired at San Jose State

Posted by Bob Condotta

Former Husky defensive coordinator Kent Baer, fired at the end of last season, has found another job, landing at San Jose State as a defensive assistant according to this story here.

He'll be working there for head coach Dick Tomey, the former Arizona head coach, and alongside another former Husky assistant, Steve Morton, who was offensive line coach from 1992-98.

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April 14, 2008 9:17 AM

Recruiting symposium set

Posted by Bob Condotta

For those interested in some of the intricacies of college recruiting in all sports, or who have kids who might be recruitable someday, a symposium next month may be of interest.

Here's the press release from FamilySportsLifeToday.com.

FamilySportsLifeToday.com announces "Expectations with Revelations: an insight to the process of Intercollegiate recruiting today", a symposium for parents and student athletes.

The event will be held at the University of Washington, Hec Ed Pavilion, Assembly Hall, Saturday, May 31, 2008, from 12:00 -3:30pm. Middle School and High School parents and their student athlete children are invited to this FREE program. Pre-registration is encouraged by joining
http://www.FamilySportsLifeToday.com.

This program features college coaches as Panelists from various areas of intercollegiate sports. Division I, II, III, NAIA and Community College representatives will present their recruiting insights and information for parents and their student athletes on what identifies a prospect today when they evaluate a student athlete playing interscholastic sports.

The representative Universities and Colleges from the Puget Sound will include coaches from Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, St. Martin's College, Pacific Lutheran University, University of Puget Sound, Northwest University, Bellevue Community College, and the host school, the University of Washington. The sports being represented in this symposium will be the following:

- Men and Women's Basketball
- Volleyball (D-I, D-II)
- Men and Women's Soccer
- Football (D-I, D-II)
- Track and Field
- Fast pitch Softball

Also featured in this extraordinary program are former intercollegiate student athletes from the various levels of intercollegiate athletics and their respective sports. Certified professionals from Strength and Conditioning training programs will also provide information for parents and student athletes.

Topics will cover:

- Identifying a student athlete "prospect" today. Where and when are they first discovered?
- The "first" contact: is the beginning of "expectations"?
- The Parent's role in supporting their student athlete today in middle school and high school sports.
- How a Parent can best prepare for understanding the eligibility related to NCAA Clearinghouse rules and regulations today.
- Important information and dates to remember.
- Core subjects that are pre-requisites for eligibility standards per NCAA Clearinghouse rules.
- Select Team programs: does it help to be on a "Select" team today or not?
- What age should individual training, such as Strength and Conditioning programs be initiated?
- Sports Nutrition and your student athlete today. The importance of eating well and staying healthy.

The program is FREE to the Public. The program is FREE to the Public.

Refreshments will be available. A question and answer session will follow the presentation. Questions for the seminar can be submitted in advance to FamilySportsLifeToday@gmail.com.

Parents are invited to fill out a survey on college recruiting at
http://www.FamilySportsLifeToday.com/survey.

Registration will be open from 12:00 - 12:20pm. Pre-registration is recommended online at http://www.FamilySportsLifeToday.com

Seating is limited, so it is important to register online now for this event.

Donations of food items for Northwest Harvest will be greatly appreciated and gladly accepted!

This is the third program of its kind, hosted by Family Sports Life Today, Co-Director, Coach Tom Newell. The inaugural program began in 2001 at Seattle Pacific University and was widely acclaimed by all parents in attendance at that time. The second program was hosted on the campus at Hec Ed Pavilion two years ago, and all parents in attendance came away with a better understanding of what college coaches think when they identify a "prospect" for their sports programs.

About FamilySportsLifeToday.com
FamilySportsLifeToday.com was founded in 2006 by former NBA Coach Tom Newell, high school Coach Guy Perry, and technologist Jay Arnold. FSLT is dedicated to assisting volunteer coaches, parents and participants develop better teaching models and motivational methods, bringing families to improve the dynamic of the youth sports experience. FSLT provides Internet radio podcasts, news articles, documents and resources for youth coaches, parents and players at www.FamilySportsLifeToday.com

FamilySportsLifeToday.com organized the first televised basketball game with 11-foot hoops in June of this year, kicking off a national discussion on the state of professional basketball. See www.FamilySportsLifeToday.com/ForLoveOfGame

Tom Newell was the first NBA coach to coach a Chinese Basketball Association team, the Jilin Northeast Tigers in 2007-2008. Coach Newell blogged about the experience at www.FamilySportsLifeToday.com/blogs/Tigers. Previously, Newell was an Assistant Coach for the Seattle Supersonics, Director of Player Personnel for the Indiana Pacers, and Scout for the Golden State Warriors. He also was an Assistant Coach for the WNBA's Portland Fire.


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April 13, 2008 10:16 AM

Sunday notes, links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few news and notes for a Sunday morning:

--- Here's my story on Saturday's scrimmage, which includes a few quotes not in the earlier post.

One quote that didn't make it in the final cut was backup quarterback Ronnie Fouch's assessment of how the Husky defense looks under new coordinator Ed Donatell.

"They are disguising everything and the blitz schemes are a lot better than we had in the past,'' he said.

--- Oregon, the first opponent next year for the Huskies, also scrimmaged yesterday and one of the stars was again 235-pound JC transfer running back LaGarrette Blount. Oregon coach Mike Bellotti is quoted as saying that Blount is "better than I thought he might be.'' So sounds as if the Ducks may have round their replacement for Jonathan Stewart.

Oregon's QBs, however, struggled, going just 13-26 for 83 yards with three interceptions.

--- BU, UW's second opponent next year, also scrimmaged, and also got a good performance from a new running back, redshirt freshman J.J. DiLuigi. Here's another story on DiLuigi. That scrimmage marked the end of spring drills for BYU and here's a good overview at the Cougars at the end of spring ball.

--- Oklahoma, another UW opponent next season, held its spring game, and columnist Dave Sittler says not to worry that QB Sam Bradford threw three inteceptions. Here's a recap of the spring game, reporting that OU's ball-hawking secondary dominated.

--- UCLA also scrimmaged yesterday and coach Rick Neuheisel then named Pat Cowan, the son of former Husky Tim Cowan, as the team's No. 1 QB. That caused Ben Olson to grumble that he maybe hadn't been given a fair shot at the job.

--- USC also scrimmaged and QBs Mark Sanchez and Mitch Mustain continued to struggle.

--- Arizona State survived a scary incident at its scrimmage Saturday between two of its best players, while also cutting down penalties.

--- Notre Dame, another UW opponent next year, is in the middle of its spring drills. Here's a good overview of where the Irish stand.

All for now.

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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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April 12, 2008 9:44 AM

A look at the tight ends

Posted by Bob Condotta

For my story today I looked at UW's tight ends, and most specifically redshirt freshman Chris Izbicki.

It will be one of UW's most important positions this year, especially once Kavario Middleton arrives in the fall. If Izbicki and Middleton prove quickly they can do it, I think UW coaches would like to get more production out of the TE spot this year.

As for today, UW is scheduled for a scrimmage that will be open to the media, so we'll have some reports later.

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April 11, 2008 3:20 PM

Friday notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Nothing real big emanating from Tyrone Willingham's press briefing today but here are a few notes and quotes:

--- Asked about the impact of the new coaches, Willingham said: "You always bring new personalities. Obviously, if you've been on the practice field for five minutes, you can hear Coach (Brian) White, he comes through loud and clear. And if you get near Coach (Ed) Donatell, you can hear the real positive nature that he brings and how he talked to our guys and how he guides them through his knowledge of what we're doing; and if you get near Coach (Steve) Gervias, you get that sense of calm in a sense that we're on the right track, we're doing the right thing. I think to their respective groups, they've brought that kind of approach, that kind of feel to it. So far, it's been very positive.''

--- Asked if they have contributed any new way of doing things, Willingham said: "All of our coaches have the ability to insert individual things into the structure of our practice. You always allow your coaches that kind of flexibility, and I'm always open to suggestions as to how we do things. We've got a wealth of experience (and) there's more than one way to do things.''

--- Asked if practice was better Thursday than Tuesday, which he had said was not real good, Willingham said: "We were a lot better ... It was a much more spirited day.''

--- Asked to assess the receivers, Willingham said: "The key thing with our receiver corps is we're getting some solid leadership from D'Andre Goodwin, and that has to be the real guy that sets the pace for that group. For the rest of the group, we're still learning. There's so much those guys have to learn that in three or four days you wouldn't imagine that they would be close to where they need to be. But they seem to be working pretty hard to get there.''

--- Asked about Alvin Logan, Willingham said: "I'd probably say Alvin is our biggest receiver. Alvin is doing a really good job and I'd say he's starting to understand his role and his body --- because I think that's a part of it, that you have to gain confidence in kind of who you are because he does have the size. He has to learn, we believe, to use that as one of his strong points in how he plays wide receiver, which might be different from how D'Andre plays wide receiver. I think Alvin is a very bring and intelligent young man, and I think he's going to incorporate his intelligence, his size and hopefully what I call his power into how he plays wide receiver.''

--- Asked about competition at safety, he said: "I think we've got a lot of competitions in the secondary, and it won't just be a free safety competition. I think that competition could overflow into all of the safeties, being that it could be the best two guys could emerge as not just the best free safety, but also the strong safety.''

--- Asked for an overall assessment of the secondary he said: "I've been pleased with the overall physical element that we have. A couple of years ago we had C.J. Wallace back there who I thought was a pretty good enforcer. If C.J. had the chance to put his pad on you, it was going to happen. I don't know if we had that feel last year. Now with Nate (Williams) and with Victor (Aiyewa) you're starting to see some guys who don't mind putting a pad to someone. And I might even add Tripper (Johnson) in there. It's early for him, but he's had a couple of occasions and he hasn't seemed to back away from it. So, when you have guys who bring that kind of attitude, that's really contagious. They start to get everybody excited about hitting people, OK, and then our linebackers start hitting, and we've got a couple of guys there who hit pretty good --- Trenton Tuiasosopo and Donald Butler and those guys don't mind putting a lick on you. And now you've got four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 guys--- it gets kind of nice. It gets noisy out there.''

--- Asked about whether it's more important to have experience on the defensive line or at linebacker, Willingham said: "If I rated the importance, I would say it's more important to have the front experienced than to have the linebackers experienced --- even though you want to have experience everywhere. But your line really sets the table because if they don't do the right things up front, that puts too much pressure on your linebackers. So we have got to have our guys up front grow up fast, and then if not grow up fast, then we've got to have our guys in our recruiting class of 2008 come in and make an impact right now.''


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April 11, 2008 1:43 PM

Around the Pac-10

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are as many (hopefully) interesting links as I could find from around the Pac-10 in about 20 minutes:

--- Washington State canceled its spring game for Saturday due to injuries and a lack of depth.

--- USC has just a six-man race for the tailback spot, down from the 10 of last season, and no plans to name a starter until the fall. Sympathy abounds throughout the Pac-10.

--- Looks like Patrick Cowan, the son of former UW QB Tim Cowan, is taking the lead in the UCLA QB derby.

--- Oregon fans are upset that the new baseball facility is going to eliminate about 400 parking spots. UW fans may be able to one-up them on this in a few years when they start building that SoundTransit terminal at Husky Stadium and it screws things up for years.

--- Oregon is also breaking in a new free safety in T.J. Ward who figures to spend a lot of time chasing around Jake Locker Aug. 30.

--- One more Oregon story, this one on LaGarrette Blount, the 235-pound JC running back who could be a key in that game Aug. 30.

--- Arizona incoming freshman QB Matt Scott can't practice yet but is attending many of them with an eye toward getting ready to play this year if needed. He's the apparent heir, uh, apparent to Willie Tuitama.

--- Georgia fans are buying ASU season tickets just so they can see the Bulldogs play in Tempe this year.

--- Cal QB Nate Longshore may miss the rest of spring with a pectoral muscle pull, giving Kevin Riley that much more of a chance to stake a claim on the job.

--- Stanford's new defensive coordinator is an old face, longtime Bay Area football fixture Ron Lynn.

All for now.

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April 11, 2008 9:08 AM

Checking in on the running backs

Posted by Bob Condotta

For today's story I wrote about Brandon Johnson and the running back situation.

Johnson makes it clear he wants the job to be his, as would just about any player in his position. More likely is some sort of rotation with UW having a number of young players at that spot.

I also talked with new running backs coach Steve Gervais about the position.

"I think there is great competition that is going to take place for the full 15 days and when we get to the end of spring ball we will try and sort it out and see who emerges at the top,'' he said. "Brandon has the experience of playing some last year where the other two redshirted, but I think right now we just want to see how they all perform and compete.''

Asked to assess each, Gervais said:

"I think Willie Griffin is a good smart football player. He runs tough inside and he has good lateral quickness in there.''

"Brandon Yakaboski has a little bit more when it comes to the outside. He has the ability to get out there and he's maybe a little better pass catcher.''

"Brandon Johnson has great strength, great lower body strength, and good vision inside. He definitely slashes and sees the hole and gets through it.''

Gervais is also in charge of the team's three fullbacks --- Paul Homer, Luke Kravitz and Austin Sylvester (walk-on Tobias Togi is practicing right now due to academic issues).

There isn't a huge competition there at the moment with Homer entrenched as the starter, Kravitz a backup who will rotate in, and Sylvester a freshman who is learning the position.

Gervais said Homer "is as good as you are going to find anywhere. He is a great, physical football player and a great leader and a smart kid. I don't think you could ask for a better person to protect for Jake Locker making great blocks and occasionally carrying the football.''

Of the others, Gervais said "Luke backs (Homer) up and he's a smart kid and will do a good job there. Austin is learning it. But he's physical and he'll be a good player.''

For those wondering how Gervais is adjusting to college coaching, it's not something he says is a big deal.

"Football is football,'' he said, pretty much leaving the question there.

Players, however, speak highly of the impact Gervias has made so far.

"He explains to us what to do and pretty much just walks us through it,'' Johnson said. "He makes it that much easier. I like coach Gervais a lot. He's taught me more stuff than I ever knew since he's been here. How to read defenses and read the fronts and understand the defensive line and the different techniques they are in.''

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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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April 10, 2008 4:31 PM

Thursday practice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW kicked off its practice today under sunny skies and amid a sideline full of notables.

Among those taking in today's practice were Skyline quarterback Jake Heaps, probably UW's top target for the Class of 2010, and Skyline receiver Kasen Williams, an emerging recruit for the Class of 2011 and the son of former Husky receiver Aaron Williams. (By the way, media cannot talk to recruits in such instances as it is a violation of NCAA rules). Demetrius Bronson, who will arrive in the fall, also attended.

Also observing were some former Huskies, with more coming to town in the next day or so for the team's annual alumni weekend. Among those watching today were Jason Chorak and Zach Tuiasosopo. Tuiasosopo looks like he's dropped about 30 pounds having apparently given up football after three years of bouncing around the NFL.

As for the team on the field, no real changes from what was reported earlier in terms of injuries, with WR Devin Aguilar back in full pads and working. J.R. Hasty and E.J. Savannah were again not in pads and watching from the sidelines. CB Bryon Davenport was in shoulder pads and sweats but appeared to be working as normal (the team was in full pads).

The team spent the early portion of practice working on the triple option, something UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano had said earlier in the day will be more of an emphasis this spring (I'll have more from that conversation later).

Lappano said that in reviewing last season, he didn't think the team got what it should have out of the triple option and wants to make that a more effective part of the offense this season, saying all of it has to get better, including blocking on the perimeter and the timing of the quarterbacks and running backs.

The Huskies may also need to get better at practicing the triple option. Nate Williams hit Curtis Shaw pretty hard after one run (it wasn't a full-contact drill) getting a little reminder from UW coach Tyrone Willingham "to take care of our guys'' as the coaches are stressing the importance of getting through the spring in good health. A play or two later, freshman LB Kurt Mangum then tripped up Jake Locker, thought Locker quickly regained his feet.

The hits, however, seemed in line with a practice that appeared to have a pretty fast tempo to it after Willingham had told the media earlier that he hadn't like what he saw on Tuesday. Willingham appeared to be giving a pretty enthusiastic talk to the team just as it wrapped up conditioning and then split into groups for the beginning of full practice.

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April 10, 2008 2:58 PM

Thursday Willingham notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

We actually weren't expecting to get anything from UW coach Tyrone Willingham today as he wasn't scheduled to meet with the media.

But he walked briskly into the media room about an hour and 15 minutes before practice, sat down and said those in attendance would get "a little bonus.'' So we got some time with him today after all.

Willingham said the team continues to do pretty well in the injury department.

Of players not already out for the spring, four may miss practice today --- safety Darin Harris (knee), CB Jordan Murchison (ankle), WR Devin Aguilar (muscle strain) and WR Tony Chidiac (combination turf toe). Willingham said all but Chidiac could be back soon, if not today, especially Harris and Aguilar. Murchison, he said, may still be out another day or so. He said Chidiac is likely out an extended time, which sounds like probably the rest of the spring.

Willingham, however, said he wasn't happy with practice Tuesday calling it "very average at best'' and saying he hoped the team would "really step it up this afternoon.'' He said the team "just didn't execute and perform up to the standard.''

Willingham said he thinks the installation of the playbook might have had something to do with it, causing some players to think too much but that "the mature team doesn't have to deal with that. They come out ready to go. When you have installation, it makes the wheels churn a little but so there's probably more thinking going on than needed to be and we've just got to get ourselves in a position where we are lining up and playing.''

A few other notes:

--- Willingham said safety Jason Wells, out for the spring rehabbing a knee injury, "looks really good running'' and is on pace to return in time for fall camp.

--- Willingham said the team hasn't done a lot of kicking yet, so it's too early to judge any of the kicking battles. He said most of the work early on has been with the punt team since "that's the one that has the most liability with it'' and that the other kicking units will begin getting more week the following two weeks.

--- Asked how the transition of Johnie Kirton to the defensive line is going, Willingham said "I thought it was good. But obviously you can see where the absence of being away adds another period of time that took away from potential learning (of a new position). That's what you see.'' That's a reference to the trip to South Africa Kirton took over the winter quarter.

--- Also taking that trip was fullback Luke Kravitz. Willingham said he "looks pretty good'' but that the fullback position also hasn't gotten a lot of use yet so it's hard to completely judge. Kravitz said he weighs about 230, which he said is about 5-7 pounds less than last year. But he said he likes that weight and wants to play at it feeling he was too heavy when he got up to 250 a few years ago.

--- And there apparently remains no change in the status of J.R. Hasty and E.J. Savannah though we'll check to make sure at practice a little later.

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April 10, 2008 10:00 AM

Frederick on ESPN2 Monday

Posted by Bob Condotta

A quick note that a game featuring former Husky Charles Frederick and the Kansas City Brigade of the Arena Football League will be televised live on ESPN2 Monday night. The Brigade will play the Chicago Rush in a game that will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Frederick was the AFL Rookie of the Year last season and judging by the photo here, still hasn't cut his hair since before enrolling at UW, something he claimed throughout his Husky career.

Frederick is one of four former Huskies on active rosters in the AFL, according to this list here from the league's official web site.

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April 9, 2008 3:29 PM

Reviewing past spring games

Posted by Bob Condotta

So you can't say we don't at least try to please here on the HFB (Husky Football Blog).

In response to the question about past Husky spring games, I did a little archive searching and came up with a few.

But again, I caution that I personally wouldn't draw any conclusions out of any of it since these are rarely like real games. The coaches are so wary of giving anything away that they run almost nothing; QBs are always off-limits to contact; scoring rules are sometimes jimmied with, etc. What they tend to be most useful for is evaluating personnel in specific situations, not necessarily what the team as a whole does.

Still, here;s what I found and I've attached the links to the stories we wrote at the time.

--- Last year, the No. 1 unit beat the No. 2's, 44-7. (That could have been a precursor of defensive depth issues that helped mar the season).

--- The starters beat the backups 24-3 in 2006.

--- In 2005, he coaches split up the teams evenly and the result was a 3-0 game. They also used a running 12-minute clock and did little but run the ball up the middle or throw basic routes, which is actually fairly common for these things.

--- In maybe the most misleading spring game score of all time, the 2004 game ended 49-20. That, obviously, was the offense that turned out to be maybe the worst in modern school history. However, the spring game score is misleading in and of itself as that was the year the coaches simply pitted the offense against the defense and came up with a scoring system awarding points for first downs and the defense getting points for turnovers and stopping first downs. You'll also note how optimistic people were heading into a season that turned into the worst in school history.

--- The 2003 game, Rick Neuheisel's last game at Husky Stadium as UW's coach, was a 21-19 affair with the teams split up evenly. This one did foreshadow a lot of what was to come as the Huskies couldn't run the ball, which would be a problem for years.

--- The 2002 game ended 27-17, another misleading score since some players played for both teams. Cody Pickett was coming off an injury and didn't do much.

--- The 2001 game ended 28-10 with Pickett having a big day and Roc Alexander scoring TDs for both sides.

--- In 2000, the starters beat the reserves 41-3 in a game in which Marques Tuiasosopo didn't do any running with QBs, as is almost always the cast, off-limits to contact.

--- To go back a bit, I couldn't find stories on the 90 or 91 games. But the 92 game ended 36-20 with Billy Joe Hobert leading the first offense against the backup defense while Mark Brunell led the backup offense against the first defense.

--- And the 1993 game ended 34-6.

--- Finally, as one of you pointed out, the spring game used to have a little more meaning when it matched the current team against a squad of alums. I wrote a story about the history of that game two years ago that you can find here.

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April 9, 2008 1:05 PM

Cody Ellis named to Hampshire Honor Society

Posted by Bob Condotta

Former UW receiver Cody Ellis was named today to the National Football
Foundation & College Hall of Fame Hampshire Honor Society, which is comprised of college football
players from all divisions of play who each maintained a 3.2 GPA or better.

According to a press release, a total of 439 players from 226 schools qualified for membership in the society's second year, an increase of more than 25 percent from the inaugural class in 2007.

Qualifications for membership include:

--- Being a starter or a significant substitute in one's last year of eligibility at an accredited NCAA Football
Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III, or an NAIA college or university;

--- Achieving a 3.2 cumulative grade point average throughout entire course of undergraduate study; and

--- Meeting all NCAA-mandated progress towards degree requirements.

More info can be found here.

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April 9, 2008 9:29 AM

Reviving the special teams

Posted by Bob Condotta

The special teams, and more specifically new special teams coach Brian White, was the focus of my story today, which you can find here.

As you may be able to tell from some of the quotes in the story, White is quite energetic, which by even the most casual observation is a stark contrast from former ST coach Bob Simmons. How much difference that will make we won't really know until next season, but as White says near the bottom of the story, he hopes the change in the play of the special teams unit next fall is "dramatic.''

As would be expected of a coach early in his first spring practice, he said it was too early to really discuss who will be doing what in much detail, especially returners.

"We probably won't know that until the end of spring or halfway through camp to really solidify that,'' he said. "But there are some nice choices and some interesting choices there. ... We've got a lot of nice, athletic-type special teams players. The pool to choose from is there.''

If you read the story, you'll see White using a phrase I'd never really heard before --- "Create the crowd.'' White means that it's up to the special teams to get the crowd into the game since it is the first one on the field for every game.

"Your most explosive plays on special teams are in the return game,'' he said. "Those are your most explosive opportunities for big hits, big returns and big plays. They are the wild plays. And so we have to continue to coach through that and figure out which guys are going to create the crowd.'' In a quote that didn't make the story, White at one point vowed that "we are going to create the damn crowd on Aug. 30'' (when the Huskies open the season at Oregon).

White said that just about every spot on every special teams is up for grabs and that he won't be averse to using starters if need be. "Everybody is going to get plenty of opportunities, so now we have to take advantage of them,'' he said. "We are going to play the best guys, the most productive guys. ...

"Our job (as college football coaches) is pretty unique in that after three-and-a-half hours, everybody knows our business. There are not any funny, creative ways you can spin the accounting in competitive athletics. So we have to do a great job of putting the best players on the field that will give us the best opportunity.''

As the story indicates, White said there will be some subtle changes to the schemes. But he said he's most concerned with creating a new attitude.

"We are going to attack defensively and get off blocks and we are going to dislodge the football from people in coverage units,'' he said. "It's attitude and productivity. I think we are going to be able to provide some new tools (for the players) but I don't think the schemes are going to be drastically different. The biggest thing people need to understand is that schemes don't win football games. They really don't. It's execution and fundamentals, and that's what the whole goal is.''


AND BY THE WAY... I'll research some of those old spring game scores and get them on here a little later.


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April 8, 2008 4:39 PM

Practice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Overcast skies but no real rain at the beginning of UW's practice Tuesday.

Aside from the injured players listed in the earlier blog (Harris, Murchison) also sitting out practice were WR Devin Aguilar (with an unspecified injury --- he did do some running around catching passes but wasn't in pads) and WR Tony Chidiac (wearing a boot on his left foot).

J.R. Hasty and E.J. Savannah were again in attendance but not in pads.

Each did take part, however, in a teamwide tackling drill that kicked off practice. This is the second straight practice UW has done this and it's not something they did last year. The entire team split into groups of two and traded off acting as ball carrier and tackler working on technique. They didn't tackle to the ground, just wrapped up. But it seems obvious teaching tackling and the technique of tackling is an emphasis this spring. (And just to make clear --- I'm in no way saying I've never seen them do tackling drills before, not just this drill in this manner at this time of the practice with everyone on the team, OLs, QBs, etc.).

The part of practice we saw concluded with a two-minute drill led by No. 2 QB Ronnie Fouch who again seemed a little off with his accuracy, as was also the case in Saturday's scrimmage. Fouch appeared high with a few of his throws though again, we saw two possessions today so it's not a huge sample size.

RESPONSE TO THE GUY WHO ASKED THE SPRING GAME QUESTION --- There was a guy who wanted to know the scores of a lot of the spring games of the past 15 years or so. I could look it up, and I will if he tells me why he wants to know --- I'm simply curious since I don't think there's anything to judge out of spring scores since they have sometimes played ones against ones, ones against twos, altered the scoring rules (awarding defensive points), not played a number of guys, etc. I would also say that you could simply go to our archives and search for them there, as well. But I'm happy to search it out if you tell me what you're looking for.

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April 8, 2008 3:33 PM

Tuesday Willingham notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are some notes from Tyrone Willingham's meeting with the media here today:

--- Still nothing new on the E.J. Savannah-J.R. Hasty front as the two remain suspended from spring practice. Willingham said "we will monitor their progress. So far, it's been pretty good.'' But he didn't elaborate on that and didn't address further questions on the topic only to say that he was "very'' disappointed in the two "because it's a wonderful opportunity'' for them to show their wares during the spring. When one reporter (not me) persisted in asking about the issue, Willingham said he wanted only to talk about players currently with the team.

--- Willingham said the injuries to Darin Harris and Jordan Murchison were "minor'' and that their status is "day-to-day.'' He said Murchison suffered an ankle injury and Harris a knee injury.

--- Asked about the offensive line Willingham said that it has to be a strength for the Huskies this season because '"we do have some experience at the position. ... We want to lean on that experience and those skill sets so they can be a leader of our football team. ... Their impact on our football team will be tremendous.''

--- Willingham said he thought the scrimmage Saturday was "pretty good'' and that he was impressed that "we have a lot of guys who were having fun playing football.'' Players he singled out for praise were LBs Mason Foster and Donald Butler, safeties Victor Aiyewa and Tripper Johnson, QB Jake Locker and WR D'Andre Goodwin. Willingham said Locker "looked solid'' for a third day of spring practice and that he liked the physicality of the linebackers and safeties.

--- Asked specifically about Tripper Johnson, Willingham said it's too early to say whether he has a chance to play this season and that "we'll let time determine that'' but noted that he has a good resume based on his high school experience. But he said that Johnson "is doing an excellent job with as much time as he's missed'' and talked about the open field tackle Johnson had on RB Brandon Johnson.

--- Asked about the running backs, Willingham said it was too early to really assess the position because the team hasn't really asked the backs to do any pass blocking yet this spring, something that will start today.

The team will practice a little later --- its fourth of the spring --- and I'll check in with a report afterward.


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April 8, 2008 11:07 AM

Former UW offensive coordinator now working for former UW assistant

Posted by Bob Condotta

Thanks to Vince Grippi at the Spokesman-Review for locating and linking a story that some of you longtime Husky fans may find interesting, as well.

It's the news that Bill Diedrick, who was UW's offensive coordinator in 1994-95 and then QB coach in 1996-97, is now the offensive coordinator at Indiana State working for Trent Miles, who was Washington's running backs coach the last three years before taking over at ISU.

Diedrick and Miles were each assistants at Notre Dame under Willingham but Diedrick was not asked to come to Seattle with Willingham and spent the last three years working in the CFL. Diedrick says in the story that Marques Tuiasosopo started as a freshman at UW and I guess he's right, though there were some extenuating circumstances.

As you may recall, Tui started the Oregon game that year when Brock Huard was injured against USC. That was the only game he started, making him still the only true freshman to start a game at QB for the Huskies (Carl Bonnell got a couple starts as a redshirt frosh in 2004 and Jake Locker all of last season as an RS-frosh, as well).

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April 7, 2008 7:53 PM

Montgomery to WSU

Posted by Bob Condotta

James Montgomery, the running back who committed to UW in the summer of 2005 then decommitted and signed with Cal, is now headed to Washington State.

Here's a story on his new plans from the Sacramento Bee.

Tyrone Willingham envisioned Montgomery as a centerpiece of his first full recruiting class at UW, hoping he would team with Jake Locker to form the Husky backfield of the future. But after being a UW commit for six months or so, Montgomery changed his mind and decided to stay near his home of Sacramento and attend Cal. He played last season, then decided to transfer. He'll have to sit out 2008 and then have two years of eligibility remaining.

Here's a Seattle Times story from 2006 detailing UW's recruitment of Montgomery and here's his bio.

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April 7, 2008 4:11 PM

Around the Pac-10

Posted by Bob Condotta

A quick look at some news and notes around the Pac-10 with the Huskies taking the day off.

--- UCLA appears to have a three-man QB battle brewing between holdovers Ben Olson and Pat Cowan and JC transfer Kevin Craft.

--- Mark Sanchez appears set as USC's starting QB but Arkansas transfer Mitch Mustain had a good scrimmage Saturday.

--- The Oregonian has this look at the first week of Oregon's spring noting that one of the revelations has been 235-pound JC transfer running back LaGarrette Blount who also visited Florida State before singing with Oregon. Could be the answer to Jonathan Stewart's departure.

--- OSU offensive lineman Jeremy Perry, an All-Pac-10 pick two years ago, is still recovering from a broken foot.

--- ASU had 16 penalties, eight false starts, in its first scrimmage Saturday. But QB Rudy Carpenter, who the team wants throwing more quick passes this year, also had some good moments.

--- Arizona has just a week left of spring and coach Mike Stoops is worried about his team's depth. This story also says the offensive line has been the surprise of the spring.

--- Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley are still neck-and-neck for the QB job at Cal.

--- Gary Rogers says he likes WSU's new no-huddle offense and appears to be solidifying his hold on the starting QB job.

All for now.

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April 7, 2008 9:16 AM

Middleton scores four in NW Shootout

Posted by Bob Condotta

Future Husky tight end Kavario Middleton scored four points in the Northwest Shootout all-star basketball game last night in which a team of Washington high schoolers came from behind to beat Oregon. Here's our story and one from the Oregonian.

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April 6, 2008 3:49 PM

Future Huskies prepping for All-Star games

Posted by Bob Condotta

A couple of quick notes on some All-Star activity ahead for some future Huskies.

--- First, Kavario Middleton is playing tonight at 6 p.m. in the Northwest Shootout all-star game featuring a team of Washington players against a team from Oregon. There are no future UW basketball players in the game.

--- Also, five future UW football players have been selected to play in the East-West All-Star football game in Spokane on July 3. The five are Johri Fogerson, Demetrius Bronson, Drew Schaefer, Justin Glenn and Senio Kelemete.
Here are complete rosters.

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April 5, 2008 1:50 PM

Saturday practice report

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington's first full pads practice of the spring Saturday included a lot of drill work and a little bit of scrimmaging highlighted by some nice moments in the passing game.

Jake Locker hit D'Andre Goodwin for a touchdown over the middle on a third-and-goal play from the 6-yard-line in leading the No. 1 offense to a score against the No. 1 defense the first time it had the ball.

That was the only score of the day other than in situational work at the end of the practice, but the offense often moved the ball well on what was an overcast and usually windy, but dry, practice that lasted about two-and-a-half hours.

"You can see we are at a stage where the offense is a little bit ahead of us and rightfully so,'' said new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.

Nevertheless, Donatell liked a lot of what he saw in what was the first time he had seen his players in full-pads action.

"Some good popping, some good hitting, guys were laying it out,'' Donatell said.

The Locker-to-Goodwin connectioin was fitting as the two hooked up several other times during the practice for big gains in passing drills and during the live scrimmaging. Locker, in fact, seemed to be making progress in his spring goal of becoming more accurate with intermediate throws (there weren't a lot of deep balls thrown today). He connected on five in a row at one point during a drill that featured short and intermediate passes.

"I felt pretty good,'' Locker said. "No balls sailed on me today or anything.''

Goodwin was the receiving star, but a number of receivers got into the act with Anthony Boyles, Devin Aguilar, Curtis Shaw and Chris Polk all getting a few catches (Boyles standing out the most of that group). (Also, simply forgot to include Alvin Logan in the earlier writeup but he had a good day, as well, making a couple of nice catches in traffic).

Locker said he thought the receiving corps was backing up the praise he had lavished on it when talking with reporters earlier in the week.

"I think they are showing glimpses of that through the first three days of practice and I know it's only going to get better,'' he said.

Brandon Johnson got the majority of the carries and had a couple of nice runs, including a 19-yarder in which he powered over defensive end Darrion Jones, who crumpled to the ground in what momentarily looked like a bad injury. But after sitting out a few plays while trainers looked at his left leg, Jones returned to the field and there were no serious injuries on the day.

Johnson also scored a touchdown from about 25 yards during a situational drill working against the No. 2 defense.

"I thought we were physical today,'' Locker said. "I felt like we ran the ball pretty well. There are some things we need to shore up but overall for a first day, I thought it was good.''

Asked what the team needs to shore up, Locker said "I think we could get a little more crisp on our timing routes and just every once in a while we were standing up inside the hole and we were bouncing it outside too often. If we can take care of those things we'll be all right,''

The two-deep appeared pretty much unchanged other than Tyrone Duncan stepping in as a starter at one DT spot ahead of Jovon O'Connor and alongside Cameron Elisara. Johnie Kirton got a lot of looks with the No. 2 defense alongside Nick Wood at tackle. O'Connor didn't appear to get much, if any, action.

The defensive line is a big question mark with only one real experienced player back in end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim. But Donatell said he sees some encouraging signs.

"New guys are going to have different developmental patterns,'' he said. "But I can say I've seen something I like out of everybody. Darrion has sown some good things through the week where a lot of his strength is now transferring to playing technique. Kalani (Aldrich, playing backup DE), and Johnie have shown a couple of things. Tyrone has shown a couple of things. We've see one bright spot here and there, and now we have to make it to where it shows more often. Cameron and Nick are brand new to this kind of thing and they show some positive signs.''

The only injuries that sidelined anyone for any length of time were suffered by safety Darin Harris and cornerback Jordan Murchison, who each missed much of practice (Harris almost all of it). UW coach Tyrone Willingham said the injuries were minor.

Still, they further depleted the depth in the secondary and had Tripper Johnson, in his first week with the football team after having played minor league baseball the last eight years, working with the second unit at one safety spot.

Johnson seemed to hold his own, at one point making an open-field tackle of Brandon Johnson.

"It was awesome,'' he said. "It's been a while (since he's played football) but that was probably the most fun I've had in a long time. I got a lot of reps today and was pretty lost at some times, probably most of the time. But it's coming. I'm starting to figure things out slowly. I know it's going to take some time and I'm going to struggle. I know that. But I can just get better. I feel like I'm getting better every day.''

Other notable defensive performers included:

--- Vonzell McDowell, who had two interceptions (both of passes thrown by backup QB Ronnie Fouch, who didn't have his best day). Said Donatell: "It's nice to see him get some confidence. He seems like a kid really into things and really thriving right now.''

--- Victor Aiyewa, a sophomore who got a lot of time at strong safety with Harris out and impressed Donatell with his physicality. "The guy was physical out there and that's something we want in our defense. If he continues to grow through the spring and master his assignments, the guy is going to be a candidate.''

--- LBs Donald Butler and Mason Foster, who each had a few big hits.

HERE ARE SOME ADDITIONAL NOTES:

--- Walk-on WR Charles Hawkins didn't participate after arriving from a funeral.

--- Punters seemed to struggle, doing a lot of their kicking into a typical April breeze. Still, there were a lot of shanks,probably due in part to this being the first full pads day.

--- Players who were working as punt returners were Goodwin, Boyles, McDowell, Aguilar and Matt Mosley.

--- Tripper Johnson on his tackle of Brandon Johnson: "It's been a while since I've done that. But I had Brandon in open space and I just tried to break down and get him to the ground any way I could. He made a move on me and I just stuck with it and made the tackle.''

--- Walk-on fullback Tobias Togi is not practicing at the moment while dealing with some academic issues, Willingham said.

--- Donatell on Tripper Johnson: "He's a nice athlete and a nice kid. You do have to qualify it a little bit because he's been doing something else for a few years. But I've always liked baseball guys because there's something something that transfers from their eyes that enables their ability to play a ball.''

--- Donatell on what is different about the system he is implementing: "There's some terminology. The secondary will be played a little bit differently. There will be more man-to-man, that style of press will be a little different. But it's really more the culture, developing a culture and a presence as a defense. It isn't drastically different.''

--- Donatell on the attitude of players: "These kids are eager. The look in their eyes. I haven't seen as deep a look as I have here in a while, and it's a good look.''

--- Walk-on kicker Zach Gerasin of Irvine, Calif., has apparently left the team.

--- About 150 high school coaches attended the clinic this weekend, many also watching practices the last two days. Most were from Washington but some came from California and Idaho.

--- The Huskies are off until Tuesday.

UPDATE --- One of you asked if there was anything new on E.J Savannah and J.R. Hasty. No. They did not practice today and spent the time running the stairs with Hawkins and Jason Wells. When there is something new I will definitely post it.

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April 5, 2008 10:18 AM

Gage stepping up

Posted by Bob Condotta

For my story today I wrote about linebacker Joshua Gage, who has gone from walk-on to scholarship player to -- at the moment, anyway --- starter.

Here's the link.

The Huskies hit the field for their first full pads practice today at 11:30 and the practice is scheduled to be open to the media, so I'll have lots more afterward.

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April 4, 2008 4:36 PM

Friday P.M. notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

After yesterday's sun it was more like football weather for the Huskies today as they began day two of spring drills under cloudy skies and occasional rain.

There were also 100 or so high school coaches in attendance, here as part of the annual spring coaches clinic hosted by the school.

And once again, there was E.J. Savannah and J.R. Hasty running steps, no change in their status as of yet. UW coach Tyrone Willingham said before practice that he would let us know when there would be a change, which he has said could happen at any moment. Willingham was spotted talking to each of them, a conversation that appeared pretty amicable, shortly before practice began.

Anthony Boyles did not accompany them in their stair running today, having apparently served his penalty on Thursday.

WR Curtis Shaw sat out some of the early drills, possibly nursing an injury of some kind --- Willingham didn't mention anything before practice.

Jason Wells led the team in its final Husky jack drill that concludes conditioning, looking like he's moving pretty good, though he's not expected to take part in any contact this spring.

We only get to see the first 25 minutes of practice, but early indications are that new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell is a little more hands-on than his predecessor, who tended to take more of a CEO approach to things.

The team was again in helmets, shells and shorts and will put on full pads for the first time this spring tomorrow for a practice that starts at 11:30 a.m. That one is open to the media so we'll hopefully have some more detailed reports.

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April 4, 2008 3:03 PM

Friday Willingham notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham wrapped up his pre-practice press briefing for today saying he was pleased wiith a lot of what he saw the first day of practice on Thursday but that he's hoping to see some quick progress from his group this spring.

"The thing I like again is there seems to be good energy,'' he said. "Hopefully that's a sign of some confidence and I still say yes, we are maturing, but we need to mature more because we are young and learning in a lot of places and we have to change that quickly.''

A lot of offensive work Thursday revolved around deep passes, something Willingham said seemed to excite a lot of the players on that side of the ball.

Asked why there was an emphasis on deep passes, Willingham said "it was just based on really the installation that was placed in yesterday called for us to do a little bit more of those than we've probably done in the past. But we also think that's one of the areas we are excited about improving in our passing game being able to throw the deep ball better because we know that our quarterback has the ability to do it and has done it excellent on occasion. But we need more consistency and it's also an area we feel features the skills of our young receivers, so that combination of installation, talent coming in and something we need to work on probably led (to working more on the deep ball Thursday).''

A few other notes:

--- WR Anthony Boyles was indeed running steps for some unspecificed disciplinary reason, but Willingham said "it's over and done with'' and that Boyles is taking part in practice.

--- There were no new injuries of note.

--- Willingham said the first couple days of practice "are always more mental'' than physical, but maybe more so this year because of the addition of new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. "We've got a different system, we are learning a different language and when you are speaking a different language you are a little more tentative. So our guys are going through that mental process as much as anything else. And it was our first day, so you are getting back into it, kind of getting a feel for things. It's nice to do all the drills in the winter, but there is nothing like playing football, so we are back to playing football.''

--- Willingham said linebacker Donald Butler appears to be in good health after battling knee problems most of last season. "I think there's still going to be some effects of it, but he started camp in excellent shape. There were some things able to be remedied and able to get done in his knee that didn't require surgery that seem to have helped him tremendously and may be a chance he may be injury-free with that knee.''

--- Asked about the condition of Johnie Kirton and Luke Kravitz, who spent the winter quarter studying in South Africa, Willingham said "being away is different, and they would be the first to tell you.'' While he said there are some drawbacks to such trips, notably missing off-season conditioning, he also said he generally would encourage such trips. "I think they grew, and that's always a good thing,'' he said.

--- Kirton said he weighs 280 pounds and Willingham said that's fine with him. "I just want him to make plays, that's all,'' he said. "The biggest thing he's got to do right now is just learn, and there's a lot to learn. And in the process we don't want him to lose the aggressiveness.''

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April 4, 2008 10:39 AM

Friday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few links for today:

--- Here's my story for today on the beginning of spring ball. I focused on a new face (Tripper Johnson) and an old face in a new place (Johnie Kirton) along with a couple of other notes at the bottom. CalDawg asked on the earlier thread about Tyrone Willingham's explanation for having the guys who spent the winter quarter in South Africa start at the bottom of the depth chart. His reasoning was simply that since they missed all the off-season work, that's where they would start. Simple as that. According to Kirton, the players knew going into it that that was likely to happen. I would agree with another poster who said that pre-spring depth charts are pretty fluid. They are best written in pencil since they tend to change pretty drastically. Most important is where they are on the depth chart in the fall.

--- Rick Neuheisel said he saw "eight million thousand mistakes'' during UCLA's first practice Thursday (not something I could ever envision Willingham saying, by the way). Also looks like the Bruins have a three-man race at QB.

--- Scott Wolf of the LA Daily News says Taylor Mays is one of three USC players named to the Playboy All-American team (others are linebackers Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga meaning the Trojans look to be pretty good on defense again). Mays is a former O'Dea High star.

--- Here's a brief Rivals.com breakdown of the Huskies.

--- Ted Miller, a former colleague on the UW beat, is now at ESPN.com and churning out lots of good Pac-10-related stories, such as this piece on new WSU coach Paul Wulff. He also has this Pac-10 notebook which includes his take on the move of Johnie Kirton to DL.

--- The Eugene Register-Guard reports Oregon is doing a lot of tinkering on its defensive front seven.

--- Arizona State is preparing for its first spring scrimmage tomorrow with RB Keegan Herring, the leading returning rusher in the Pac-10, struggling with a back injury.

More later today from UW's practice.

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April 3, 2008 4:32 PM

Spring ball kicks off

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies were greeted by clear skies and a nice spring-like afternoon as they finally kicked off spring practice today at 4 p.m.

The team was in helmets, shells and shorts for the first workout --- full pads aren't allowed until after two practices. Media is again restricted to viewing just the first 25 minutes (however, at least two complete practices are scheduled to be open later in the spring, including Saturday) so there isn't a lot of news to report.

What might have been most notable was the sight of E.J. Savannah and J.R. Hasty standing on the sidelines watching as the rest of the team took part in warmups and conditioning drills. The two remain essentially suspended for not fulfilling certain team responsibilities, thought to be related to off-season conditioning and possibly missing classes.

When conditioning was complete and the team split up for drill work, Savannah and Hasty began running steps at the stadium (Anthony Boyles ran with them though it's uncertain why --- could have been an equipment issue or something).

UW coach Tyrone Willingham says the two could return "at any time'' and obviously the fact that they are attending practice, though not taking part, indicates they are remaining close to the team.

Otherwise, everything looked as expected.

Among the players on the field was true freshman linebacker Kurt Mangum, who talked briefly before practice about the whirlwind of the last few months graduating from high school and enrolling in college early. He arrived at UW Friday and began classes this week.

Mangum said he plans to go back to high school to talk in graduation ceremonies but otherwise is ready to leave high school behind.

"Really, it's all about the future,'' he said. "High school is the past for me right now, so I'm moving forward.''

Mangum said he is learning the middle linebacker and strongside linebacker positions.

There is no access to players or coaches afterward (and no coaches were available before practice today since they had met with us Tuesday) so there likely won't be anything new to report until tomorrow when the team will hold its second practice.

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April 3, 2008 3:07 PM

Kirton happy with switch

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few of us just wrapped up talking with former UW tight end Johnie Kirton who is now officially a defensive tackle.

And he said it's a move that is just fine with him.

"It just came down to just asking coach what did he need from me,'' he said. "I made the switch to tight end (from running back in 2005) because they needed it, so it's just something we lack there (bodies on the defensive line) from what the coaches made it sound like, so I made the switch.''

Kirton said he played a lot of defensive end at Jackson High School and that some teams recruited him as a defensive line --- it was discussed when he came to UW. He said he has never played defensive tackle but thinks he'll be able to make a quick adjustment.

"On offense you have to think a lot more,'' he said. "Not that I can't think, but defense is more you can just go wherever. Just go get the ball, go take the ball, then you've done your job. Technique is the only thing I have to pick up.''

Kirton said he thinks he'll be helped by the fact that Ed Donatell is in his first spring as the team's new defensive coordinator which means all the players are learning some new things. "So everybody is on the same page,'' Kirton said. "Which is a good thing because we can all learn.''\

Kirton said he weighs about 280 pounds and thinks he is in good shape despite having missed the off-season conditioning program while studying last quarter in South Africa. Teammates Luke Kravitz and Desmond Davis and Erick Lobos, a senior last season, all made the trip as part of a group headed by former Husky Anthony Kelley.

Because of missing the off-season program, Kirton and the others are listed at the bottom of the depth chart at their respective positions. But Kirton said it was worth it.

"It's one of those experiences you can't let go,'' he said.

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April 3, 2008 2:05 PM

Radovich named new PA announcer

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington has named Eric Radovich as its new public address announcer for football.

Here's the release from GoHuskies.com.

Radovich replaces Lou Gellerman, who retired midway through last season.

Radovich has been the PA man for UW women's basketball since 1989 and men's basketball since 1995 and filled in for Gellerman the final five games of last season.

He was selected from a pool of 45 applicants and five finalists.

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April 3, 2008 9:45 AM

Thursday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Spring ball begins this afternoon and we had a couple of stories today to kick things off

--- First is a look at new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell as well as an accompanying depth chart and glance at the spring. The Donatell story might seem short in specifics about his plans for the defense, but that's to be expected right now before he has conducted his first practice. So I concentrated on some of his overall thoughts about taking on the job here.

In a quote that didn't make the story, Donatell said "I've always said nothing is as bad as it seems, nothing is as good as it seems. I just believe that. So the big thing is to get in there and roll up your sleeves and start teaching. The first thing is there are no short curts to build a foundation. There are absolutely none. It's going to take efficient working. In this conference you've got to have a great fundamental base, regardless of your talent. Then you can work in any adjustments or anything else you are going to do to create deception.''

In another quote that didn't make the paper, I asked Donatell if he had any concerns about returning to college after being in the NFL since 1990.

"The Pac-10 is the most like the NFL of any conference because of the quarterback play, so that's an advantage to be in something that is more parallel. You're going to see a more high-level passer week in and week out, so that does relate.''

---- Next is this column from Jerry Brewer on Tyrone Willingham as he enters the most pressure-packed year of his UW tenure. As Jerry writes, Willingham doesn't plan on changing any of his core beliefs about who he is and how he does thing. He's going to do it his way.

---- And here's Jerry's blog where he writes more about his column on Willingham.

IN OTHER NEWS

--- Interesting story out of Eugene about Oregon basketball player Frantz Dorsainvil turning out for the football team.

--- The Register-Guard also has this good position-by-position look at the Ducks, UW's first opponent this season.

--- UCLA will hold the first spring practice of the Rick Neuheisel era today.

--- And if you missed it, UCLA did some schedule shuffling yesterday and will now play Tennessee on Labor Day on national TV.

--- Here's a good look at Oregon State's QB situation.

--- The Sporting News recently ranked Pac-10 coaches and Willingham didn't fare so well.

All for now.


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April 2, 2008 9:48 PM

Tormey talks linebackers

Posted by Bob Condotta

I had a chance to talk a little bit with linebackers coach Chris Tormey during Tuesday's press luncheon.

It's a position that could be the strength of the defense this season, especially if E.J. Savannah makes it back from his current exiled status for what coach Tyrone Willingham says is a failure to fulfill team responsibilities. Willingham says Savannah (and RB J.R. Hasty who is enduring the same punishment) could be back at any time.

"It is what it is,'' Tormey said. "We'll deal with it and go on from here.''

Assuming Savannah eventually returns, this could be the most experienced and deepest group of linebackers UW has had since Tormey returned as a coach in 2004.

"I think so,'' Tormey said. "We were talented but inexperienced a year ago. I think the experience is going to really help us this year. What we really need to do is play faster, and the experience will really help with that.''

Tormey went on to say that "we've got, I think, pretty good depth at that position. We played a lot of guys last year. Donald Butler, Trenton Tuiasosopo played a lot and Josh Gage really came on and played a lot for us at the end of the year. Mason Foster is an emerging guy and Kurt Mangum is coming in (as a true freshman) so I think we've got some answers there.'' He then realized he hadn't mentioned Chris Stevens and said he's in the mix as well. "He had a really good winter,'' Tormey said, saying Stevens, who has continually battled problems putting on weight, is at about 215 pounds right now.

Butler, listed as a co-starter in the middle with Tuiasosopo, had his season truncated a year ago by a knee injury that limited him to eight games.

"He's really battled through a lot of issues with that knee, but right now he appears to be healthy,'' Tormey said. "So you've really got two capable players at that position and we'll probably rotate them through this spring.''

Of Tuiasosopo, Tormey said: "He had a good winter, he's moving well. I think the experience that he gained last year will really help him. The more he plays the better he will react and the faster he will play.''

With Savannah currently out, Gage, a former walk-on now on scholarship, is the starter at one spot (the strongside slot held last year by Dan Howell) backed up by Matt Houston, who Tormey said "is really athletic. He has a chance to help us this year.''

Foster is listed as the starter at weakside linebacker backed up by Stevens.

The wildcard in the mix is Mangum. Tormey said he was initially recruited to play in the middle but that "he has the versatility to play outside so we will look at him both inside and outside.''

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April 2, 2008 3:42 PM

Bonnell having fun in Austria

Posted by Bob Condotta

I wrote a few weeks ago about former Husky quarterback Carl Bonnell heading overseas to play in Austria.

He played his first game there this weekend for the Cineplexx Blue Devils (here's a roster) and led his team to a 40-7 win over the Carnithian Black Lions, a team that apparently had scored 52 points against the Blue Devils last season. In an e-mail, Bonnell wrote that he threw for 450 yards and five touchdowns ("probably my best game ever stats wise,'' he wrote). Not a bad debut for a team that went 0-7 last season.

Bonnell is living in the small town of Hohenems and has been able to travel through Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain and Germany, as well as Austria. "It's been pretty sweet so far,'' he wrote.

Here's a home page for the league in which Bonnell is playing that includes a schedule and links to team rosters.

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April 2, 2008 2:06 PM

Subtle switch in secondary

Posted by Bob Condotta

The unveiling of an official depth chart yesterday revealed one subtle change in the secondary ---- Mesphin Forrester is now listed as the starter at free safety and Darin Harris at strong safety.

The two officially played the other positions last season --- Forrester was listed as the starter for all 13 games at strong safety and Harris the starter of the last eight games at free safety after Jason Wells was sidelined with a knee injury.

However, the two actually switched roles late last season, with Harris playing primarily strong safety the last three games and Forrester primarily at free.

It's not a big change as UW secondary coach J.D. Williams views the two spots as fairly interchangeable, though there are some differences in responsibility. The strong safety typically plays closer to the line and has more responsibility in run defense while the free safety plays further back and has more responsibility in the passing game.

For now, however, the change is official. Wells, out for the spring while continuing to rehab, is still listed as a free safety and it will be interesting to see exactly how it all sorts out when he returns in the fall.

Nate Williams is listed as Forrester's backup at free safety while Victor Aiyewa is the backup at strong safety.


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April 2, 2008 9:24 AM

Locker feeling confident

Posted by Bob Condotta

For my main story today I wrote about Jake Locker and his hopes for showing improvement in his passing during his second spring practice as a Husky.

Locker says he thinks being more comfortable in the offense --- which means less thinking about where he's going with the ball --- as well as simply throwing more passes and getting more repetitions will lead to more consistency with his throws.

Locker said he isn't changing anything in his mechanics, though offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said there are a few tweaks being made.

"We're trying to get him pushing the ball up and over the top,'' Lappano said. "He has a tendency sometimes when he gets in trouble that he overstrides on that and it sails out. We've studied that time and again over the winter and he's very aware of what he needs to do. He's worked extremely hard this winter.''

Locker said he can tell a difference in his comfort level entering his second spring.

"I'm excited,'' he said. "Last year I didn't really know what to expect going into spring ball. Now I know what it's all about, I have an idea and have a year under our belts, and I can be a little bit stronger of a leader this year throughout camp.''

Locker said he has a much better understanding now of the things he needs to work on having gone through a full season.

He said there were many pass routes UW used last season that were new to him.

"We never really had thrown intermediate (routes) in high school,'' he said. "It was more three-step or play-action downfield, so the 12-20 yard routes where you've got to put a little more touch on them and can't just throw it as hard as you can I had to learn how to throw. Just getting the repetitions in the off-season I think will hopefully in a higher percentage this spring.''

Locker said it took him about a month to recover fully from the bumps and bruises suffered during the season but that he feels as good as new now --- he said he weighs about 230 pounds.

The hits he took last season, he said, have made him realize he needs to "be smarter'' in how he runs and he says he will pick and choose his battles more carefully next season.

Locker also talked about his summer baseball plans saying again they won't interfere in any way with football. He'll said he'll get a schedule of summer football workouts and then get with his baseball coaches and figure out what games he can play.

I also wrote this notebook for today that covered the Savannah-Hasty situation as well as a few other topics.


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April 1, 2008 10:57 PM

Updated depth chart

Posted by Bob Condotta

We now have an official depth chart for the Huskies, and while I linked to it earlier today I also thought I would present it here.

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK:
Jake Locker, So.
Ronnie Fouch, RFr.
Taylor Bean, RFr.

TAILBACK
Brandon Johnson, So.
Willie Griffin, RFr.
Brandon Yakaboski, RFr.

FULLBACK
Paul Homer, Jr.
Austin Sylvester, RFr.
Tobias Togi, RFr.
Luke Kravitz, Sr.

TIGHT END
Michael Gottlieb, Sr.
Chris Izbicki, RFr.
Walt Winter, Sr.
Romeo Savant, RFr.

OFFENSIVE LINE
LT Ben Ossai, Jr.
Mark Armelin, RFr.

LG Jordan White-Frisbee, Sr.
Scott Shugert, RFr.

C Juan Garcia, Sr.
Matt Sedillo, So.

RG Casey Bulyca, Sr.
Morgan Rosborough, Jr.

RT Cody Habben, So.
Skyler Fancher, RFR.

RECEIVER
WR D'Andre Goodwin, So.
Charles Hawkins, Sr.
Anthony Boyles, TFr.

WR Curtis Shaw, So.
Alvin Logan, RFr.
Devin Aguilar, TFr.

SB Chris Polk, TFr.
Tony Chidiac, Jr.

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE LINE

DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Jr.
Darrion Jones, Jr.

DT Cameron Elisara, So.
Nick Wood, RFr.

DT Jovon O'Connor, Sr.
Tyrone Duncan, RFr.
Johnie Kirton, Sr.

DE De'Shon Matthews, So.
Kalani Aldrich, RFr.

LINEBACKERS

OLB Mason Foster, So.
Chris Stevens, Sr.

MLB Donald Butler, Jr./or/
Trenton Tuiasosopo
, Sr.

OLB Joshua Gage, Jr.
Matt Houston, So.

SECONDARY

CB Byron Davenport, Sr.
Jordan Murchison, Sr.
Quinton Richardson, RFr.

CB Matt Mosley, So.
Vonzell McDowell Jr., So.
Marquis Persley, RFr.

SS Darin Harris, Sr.
Nate Williams, So.

FS Mesphin Forrester, Sr.
Victor Aiyewa, So.

SPECIAL TEAMS

PK Ryan Perkins, Jr.
Jared Ballman, Sr.
Erik Folk, RFr.

P Jared Ballman, Sr.
Ryan Perkins, Jr.

SNAP Danny Morovick, Jr.

NOTE --- FS Jason Wells out for spring recovering from knee surgery and LG Ryan Tolar out for spring recovering from shoulder surgery.

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April 1, 2008 9:49 PM

Polk to be used like Bush?

Posted by Bob Condotta

One of the more interesting nuggets of news today was Chris Polk's listing as the starter at slot back on the pre-spring depth chart.

It speaks in part to UW's lack of experience at receiver due to the loss of five at that spot to graduation.

But it also speaks to the potential and ability of Polk, a native of Redlands, Calif., who may be the most highly touted of all the Class of 2008 recruits and has been on campus since January.

While he's listed as a slotback, however, the Huskies also envision using Polk as a running back, as well, as he rushed for 2,561 yards as a senior.

Asked today how Polk will likely split his time between the two spots, UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said "50-50.''

"I think you're going to see him back there (at running back) quite a bit and at slot quite a bit,'' Lappano said.

He later characterized the way the Huskies might use Polk as "like what (USC) did with Reggie Bush.''

"I've seen a lot of good running backs who can't catch or run a route,'' Lappano said. "What this guy brings to the table is his ability to be a receiver as well as be a bonafide runner back there. I think one thing that limited us a year ago a little bit was when you bring guys in at the slot, how many times they really run the ball inside the tackle box. This guy gives you that ability.''

While the Huskies also have an opening at running back with the graduation of Louis Rankin, Lappano said he didn't think Polk would end up playing that position full time.

"I don't think we'll have to go there,'' Lappano said. "He's going to have enough touches back there anyway and we'll have someone in that tailbacks-by-committee who can run the football, so I'm not even worried about that. We're going to have enough back there that we're not going to have to say 'Polk, you're the man (at running back).' I don't see that happening. We'll be able to get him the ball enough back there by moving him around.''

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April 1, 2008 3:07 PM

Taking a look at Florida

Posted by Bob Condotta

It's common for football coaches during the off-season to visit with other coaching staffs around the country, and the Huskies were no different.

UW offensive coaches recently visited Florida where they exchanged ideas on the spread offense with coaches there.

"We just studied some things,'' UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said today. "We went down there and exchanged some ideas with coach (Urban) Meyer for a couple days. It was good.''

Lappano said he was also able to study Florida QB Tim Tebow, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, and that he thinks Jake Locker is in the same class.

"He's right there, believe me,'' Lappano said, comparing Locker to Tebow. "He's right there. He's not far away.''

UW coaches also visited Missouri, apparently looking primarily at the defense of the Tigers, which improved drastically last season after Missouri coaches simplified the scheme a bit. Missouri runs a 4-3, and indications are that at the moment the Huskies are likely to stick with a 4-3 base while sprinkling in some 3-4 looks from time to time. UW's depth chart released today shows a 4-3 defense and coaches didn't mention lineups using a 3-4 in conversations with media today.


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April 1, 2008 12:57 PM

Kirton moves to D-line; Savannah and Hasty essentially suspended

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few more notes from Tyrone Willingham's press conference today:

--- Johnie Kirton is indeed being moved to defensive tackle. Willingham said it was a mutual decision made in part to shore up depth on the D-line. He is listed at the bottom of the depth chart at the moment due to having spent the winter quarter studying in South Africa (Luke Kravtiz and Desmond Davis also took part in that trip and unable to participate in off-season conditioning which is why Kravtiz is also listed at the bottom of the depth chart).

"What we're tryying to do is fine ways to strengthen our football team and Johnie is a young man that we think has some athletic ability and some explosion in his play so we are trying to find ways to best service our football team and at the same time best service Johnie so he can take the next step to the next level,'' Willingham said.

D-line coach Randy Hart pointed out that Kirton was originally recruited as a defensive linemen as well as a running back and thinks Kirton can make the transition.

Offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said he is not worried about the depth at the tight end spot, especially with Kavario Middleton coming in this fall. "I think we'll be fine there,'' Lappano said.

--- Willingham said E.J. Savannah and J.R. Hasty "will not at this date be involved in spring practice'' because "they have not lived up to all the responsibilities of the football team. They are eligible and could be back at any time.''

Willingham said the issues are not legal or academic, seeming to confirm rumors that the two have not been as diligent with their off-season work as coaches expected. Willingham said the window is still open for both to come back to the team and contribute.

Savannah would be more of a loss at the moment than Hasty as he would be expected to be the starter at strongside linebacker. With Savannah currently out of the mix, the starter is junior Josh Gage, a former walk-on who is on scholarship, backed up by Matt Houston.

--- Guard Ryan Tolar will be limited in spring drills after undergoing off-season shoulder surgery. So that means Jordan White-Frisbee is listed as the starter at that spot, backed up by Scott Shugert. O-line coach Mike Denbrock said White-Frisbee has had a really good off-season and said "I'm looking forward to him making a major step forward.'' Also in the depth at guard is Morgan Rosborough. Denbrock also lauded his off-season work and said "I think he's in the best position since he's been here to contribute.''

Tolar is expected to be fully recovered by next fall.

More later.


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April 1, 2008 10:54 AM

Official depth chart released

Posted by Bob Condotta

In conjunction with the beginning of spring ball UW has released an official depth chart and there are a few interesting moves.

Notably, Bellevue High products E.J. Savannah and J.R. Hasty are not listed on the depth chart appearing to confirm rumors that they are not exactly in the good graces of coaches right now.

We'll hopefully find out more at today's press conference.

Both remain on the roster so it's not as if they are not on the team, but neither is listed at their position.

Also, Johnie Kirton is listed fifth at tight end. The rest looks about as advertised.

You can find the depth chart here.


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April 1, 2008 8:42 AM

Johnson officially enrolled at UW

Posted by Bob Condotta

Former Newport High star Tripper Johnson, who spent eight seasons playing minor league baseball, is officially enrolled at UW in his attempt to change careers and now play college football.

Johnson enrolled in school this week and plans to walk-on and play defensive back.

Here's Johnson's bio from GoHuskies.com which lists him as a junior. Johnson had hoped to have a full four years of eligibility but there are apparently some questions about his eligibility due to having apparently been briefly enrolled in college at some point.

Here's a story I wrote on Johnson two months ago as well as the blog entry that went with it.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham will meet with the media today at 11 a.m. to preview the beginning of spring football Thursday and we'll have full reports here and in the paper. Spring practice begins Thursday.

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