It's always hard to tell whether a low-scoring spring game indicates a strong defense or a weak offense. In my mind, it doesn't indicate much of anything since in these type of affairs like these I keep an eye on the individual performances rather than the scoreboard.
Both teams really played vanilla because, as offensive coordinator Tim Lappano pointed out, there were Oregon scouts in the stands. Also, the running clock made for fewer offensive plays than a typical game. Willingham worked it like a typical scrimmage stretching the rules here, and there to give his team the opportunity to work on what he thought was important.
One thing I noticed which was positive was the mood of the head coach, you can tell he likes what he is starting to see out there. Ty seemed relaxed, but excitied on radio, and he wasn't monotone at all which is something we all enjoy when he departs that mode.
Kudo's to the UW athletic department for showing the live video at the website, and of course KJR for having a full blown Honks show before the game, and excellent play by play during.
From my view I thought the young receivers responded well, and Chris Izbicki made a couple nice grabs at the TE spot that we haven't seen in quite awhile.
Goodwin, Logan, and Polk are probably going to end up being the starters next year base don what I saw. Goodwin still has work to do, but he is by far the most complete player out there. Logan can catch well and lay some lumber, it is good to see a WR with size that can block well.
Polk will only get better as time goes on. He was impressive running inside at TB, and he had a good day catching the ball.
Shaw, Aguilar, and Boyles showed that they belong. Aguilar in particular made some very good grabs. I think the WR position will be just fine. Give these kids the Summer to work with Jake and it will all start coming together. Unlike the old group these kids have a high ceiling which isn't close to being touched yet. They will get better every week.
I like all three RB's including Polk who is listed at WR. Chris got some carries and is going to be very good. Johnson was a little dinged up, but he sucked it up and played most of the day. The workhouse, and one of the players of the game was Willie Griffin who had very good day out there. Nobody busted a long one, but getting positive yards on almost every carry may be more important.
I thought the defensive backs played well on Saturday. All the corners are improved, and Quinton Richardson looks like he is going to stick as a starter. Byron Davenport had a good day along with Forrester, McDowell, and Mosley. Keep an eye on Persley, he had a good day too, and you have to love his great size. McDowell is a lot bigger than he was last Fall, and I think that will really help him in 2008. I think Donatell, and Williams have solidified this unit.
It is good to see a healthy Donald Butler, he was laying some lumber along with Tuiasosopo, Foster, and Savannah. I don't have any worries about the LB's as long as they stay healthy. Butler is a completely different player when he is healthy, he is going to be a good one. EJ had a great game, and will have a great 2008 if he dedicates himself to the work out schedule.
I thought both of the ends played well. Jones, and Teo Nesheim are a very good pair. I think Jone is ready to do some good things. He played right away as a frosh LB, then he got hurt, he redshirted the next season, and played sparingly last year because of the depth, and his gimpyness. Aldrich is coming on, if he can keep adding weight he will be just fine.
Inside nobody really distinguished themselves, but they were not blown out either as they all held their own. Matthews played some inside as the Huskies experiment with using different size and speed lines situationally. I kept an eye on Johnnie Kirton, he blocked a FG, and made a few tackles, I think he has the potential to contribute some quality time with his speed. We need some size.
Noble, Ta'amu, and Kelemente are all going to get a shot next season to play early. The Huskies need the beef in the middle, and I would say that Ta'amu may be the guy who gets the call because he is your ideal NT.
The kicking game was cut back for the game to avoid injuries, but despite returning the same players from last year it wasn't a good day as the Huskies missed numerous FG attempts. Ryan Perkins doesn't have a lot left in the tank, he already announced this will be his last season. Folk is finely healthy, and we all know what to expect out of Ballman who had a great year punting the ball in 2007.
Grading It Out
QB -B - I thought Locker and Fouch both played very well. Neither had a chance to use their speed, or much of the play book, but what they did, they did well. Locker had a very high percentage of completions, and Fouch would have been right there if the receivers on his side didn't get the dropsies. Jake is still making too many mental mistakes, but you hope that continues to decrease over the Summer. Those mistakes of course are magnified when he can't run to correct it.
RB -B - All four kids did well at TB, they all get positive yards. We didn't see any big gains on the ground, but since the dimension of a running QB was removed that took away most of the mystery for the defense. Paul Homer, Luke Kravitz, and Austin Sylvester make up a great trio at FB. Willie Griffin showed me quite a bit yesterday, and obviously was the best back out there with Johnson banged up. Did you see the way Polk slashes at the line of scrimmage? Rankin had better speed than anyone despite maybe Polk, but these kids turn it up field so much better, no dancing!
WR -B - We have more potential and talent at these positions than we have had in a decade. Goodwin is ready to go, and Polk is going to add some serious dimensions to what the offense can do. As a whole they need to get better at running routes, gaining seperation, and most importantly holding on to the ball. Hawkins kept getting open, but he dropped way too many balls which means he will likely fade out of the rotation this Fall if he does not correct it.
TE - B - Was this the awakening of Chris Izbicki? He had two very nice grabs with something we haven't seen out of a TE in years, yards after the catch. I was hoping to see more of Savant. Gottleib was banged up, but we know what he can do. Walt Winter got to play a little.
OL - C+ - The pass protection was just ok, the defense got too many sacks, but how many of those sacks would have been turned around if the QB's could have run? The absence of Garcia, and Tolar is being felt. If Tolar proves he can snap the ball this summer he will likely line up at center if Garcia doesn't get his miracle. We will know at the end of May whether that miracle will happen for Juan. Sedillo did a good job filling in with a bad ankle. On a whole these guys should have done a better job against a second string undersized defensive line.
DT - C+ - Way too small up front, and not enough penetration. I think guys like Kirton, and Matthews can help during different situations, but we need a run stopper to emerge. Can't tell you what I think of Elisara because I didn't get a chance to focus on him, but I never heard his name called. Nick Wood had his name called a couple of times for jumping off side, at first glance he looked smallish which really sums up our interior at this point.
DE - A - Jones and Teo'Neshiem are going to fine out here backed up by Matthews and Aldrich. All four of these guys did well yesterday, but DL of the day was Jones who was everywhere. This kid is ready to make an impact.
LB - A -I saw solid LB play for the first time in a couple of years. A healthy Butler, and Tui, flanked by Foster, and Savannah will be one of the better units on the coast next year. Cheers to the backups who all played well. It is hard to imagine UW not going with four LB's a majority of the time next year.
CB - B - I saw some good things out of every kid in this group. Everyone is improved, and Byron Davenport most likely has locked in a starting spot if he stays healthy. Quinton Richardson will only get better, and I like the addition of Forrester who was always a safety in a CB's body. forrester does best as a nickle back. I think this group will do well against the run next year, and thank god Donatell is not a cushion guy.
S - A - These kids can hit, man they can hit. Aiyewa is a freak, and Williams gets better every snap. Wells of course will come back in the Fall and claim one of the starting spots, but the future is bright in the Husky defensive backfield.
Kicking - F - All the guys are back from last year, but they didn't have a very good day. Perkins is a kid that is hanging by a thread. It is obvious that he is having physical problems that are getting worse every day he is out there. Falk has great bloodlines and a strong leg, but the accuracy wasn't there. Ballman hasn't punted well this spring, but he had a great 2007 so you have to think he will be good to go in the Fall.
Returns - I - To prevent injuries the Huskies were not focusing on this part of the game during the scrimmage. D'Andre Goodwin, Curtis Shaw, and Chris Polk are the kids you need to keep an eye on this Fall. They want the ball in Polk's hands, so expect him to be one of the KO return guys. As for punt returns you want the kid with the surest hands, and fortunately the kid with the surest hands is one of the fastest on the team in Goodwin. The "I" stands for incomplete.
Huskies Stroke Past California
The top-ranked Washington men's varsity eight defeated California on Saturday in the annual dual regatta between West Coast rowing powers. The undefeated Huskies opened a boat-length lead midway in the race and won by open water, covering the 2,000-meter course in 5 minutes, 42.11 seconds. Cal's time was 5:48.71.
The 15th-ranked Huskies women's varsity eight suffered its third consecutive dual-regatta defeat, losing to top-ranked Cal. The Huskies had lost home dual regattas to Washington State and Oregon State after being the surprise winner at the San Diego Crew Classic.
This weeks meet shows that the Washington Men's Crew is ready to defend it's national Championship this June in the IRA. For the Women it shows how much work Bob Ernst has left to do to rebuild what was once the preeminent power in women's rowing.
Rosey Niell drew a based-loaded walk with two outs in the 10th inning to lift No. 7 Stanford past No. 22 Washington, 2-1, on Friday night in a Pac-10 Conference game at Boyd & Jill Smith Stadium. After the Huskies rallied in the seventh to tie it at 1-1, the game went into extra innings. Neither team threatened again until the 10th, when Stanford got two of its four hits and benefited from two walks issued by UW starter Aleah Macon.
A change in the batting order is just what Jace Williams needed. With only two hits in her previous 15 at-bats, Williams went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs on Saturday afternoon to lead No. 22 Washington past No. 21 California, 6-5.
Junior starter Jorden Merry held UCLA to two runs on four hits over eight innings, tying his career-high with nine strikeouts, as the Washington baseball team opened a three-game series with a 5-2 win over the Bruins Friday night at Husky Ballpark. Merry, a right-hander from Pasco, improved his spotless record to 6-0 on the season. Washington got a two-run homer from Troy Scott and a solo shot from Kyle Conley to account for their first three runs.
UCLA first baseman Casey Haerther went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a three-run homer and starter Charles Brewer limited the Washington baseball team to one run over six and one-third innings as the Bruins beat the Huskies, 8-1, Saturday at Husky Ballpark. A crowd of 1,743 on a sunny day watched as the Bruins (21-17 overall, 5-6 in the Pac-10) drew even in the three-game series with the UW (25-15 overall, 5-6 in the Pac-10). The Huskies won the opener, 5-2, on Friday.
The final Washington men's tennis players were eliminated from competition today on the semifinal day of the Pac-10 Championships at Libbey Park. David Chu and the doubles duo of Tobi Obenaus and Martin Kildahl both lost in the invitational draws. Chu, a junior from Vancouver, B.C., saw his three-match win streak end against fourth-seeded Wes Miller of Arizona State. Miller advanced to the final with a 6-3, 6-1 win, where he will now play California's Bozhidar Katsarov. Obenaus (Waidhofen, Austria) and Kildahl (Oslo, Norway) made a strong run for a pair of freshmen making their first Ojai appearances, but the fourth-seeds fell to USC's Jack Levis and Jason McNaughton, 8-5.
The Husky women's tennis team posted a couple victories in doubles today but at the end of the evening they were ousted from the Pac-10 Championships at the Ojai Athletic Club.
Washington freshman Anya Alvarez led the Husky women's golf team on the final day of the Pac-10 Championships, shooting a 4-over 75 to finish in a tie for 14th on the individual leaderboard.
Washington men's golf will head to Fairfax, Calif., for the 2008 Pac-10 Championships, Monday, April 28, through Wednesday, April 30. The tournament, hosted by the University of California, will be held at the par-71, 6,686-yard Meadow Club. The three-day tournament includes a 72-hole format with 36 holes to be played Monday and 18-hole rounds played on Tuesday and Wednesday. Teams will consist of six players with the five low scores counting towards each 18-hole score. Both team and individual champions will be crowned at the conference tournament.
Track and Field
A career day for junior Falesha Ankton and the debut of Washington's top men's relays highlighted an impressive showing by the Husky track and field team at the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field. On the final day of the two-day meet, the Huskies posted four new NCAA Regional qualifying marks, bringing their total number of qualifying marks to 25 with several weeks to go until the West Regional meet in Northridge, Calif.