Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pac Ten Alley

Is it just me, or am I starting to sense a lot of apathy out there? How many weeks has it been since somebody posted a comment on this blog? I know people are reading, but I think we have all reached a point where we are losing are active passion for Husky football.

The Huskies had another open scrimmage on Saturday and as I reported on Monday the defense was the story of the day. One thing I am encouraged about is that Williams, and Aiyewa are making their move at Safety and should be the starting duo heading into Fall drills. Wells of course will be back, and is on track to reclaim his starting position, but it is good news that the two young guys will be in the rotation. Harris, and Forrester will be there too, but the seniors are going to lose playing time as the year goes on because the sophomore duo are the future of the safety position.

I wish I could say the same thing at cornerback. We need to really improve that position between now and Fall. If the Oregon game was tomorrow Mosley, and Davenport would be the starters. Richardson is a guy I can see getting a lot of time on obvious running downs during the season as he works on his coverage skills.

Linebacker looks fine, we will be improved over last year. EJ Savannah coming back this week is good news. Kurt Mangum is having a nice Spring, and it should help him get early playing time next Fall. Hopefully EJ can keep his nose clean between now and Fall. I also think we will be fine at defensive end, but the interior really scares me.


We added a new feature this week called Fandome. If you click the link it will give you video highlights of Washington athletics.

Pac Ten Alley

Let's take our weekly walk down the coast and see what the neighbors are up to.

It looks like Oregon has found a power running back to ease the loss of Jonathan Stewart.

Blount didn't disappoint, running for a team-high 68 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. Blount had four runs of 10 yards or more and rarely was tackled by the first defender who touched him. Blount said his high school experience as a linebacker and defensive back likely attributes to his forceful nature as a running back.

BYU wrapped up practice for the Spring and the Cougars just might be a pretty formidable opponent next Fall.

This is what we said was worth watching during BYU spring football. How did these story lines and players to watch turn out?

Oklahoma also wrapped up Spring drills on Saturday.

The Red/White Game usually serves as the end of Oklahoma’s spring practices or drills and everything turns toward the upcoming season. At times, it’s also been a coming out party for players who are ready to seize the spotlight.

Oregon State is trying to fill some holes on defense this Spring.

When Oregon State coach Mike Riley is asked about the most pressing issue facing his football team going into spring practice, he immediately thinks about a defense that lost eight starters.
"We've got holes to fill," Riley said. "Big-time holes to fill."

Stanford has a three man race for QB this Spring.

What looked like a two-man race entering camp (Tavita Pritchard and Jason Forcier) actually turned into a three-man race (Pritchard, Forcier and Alex Loukas). Pritchard is the only contender with game experience (in a Stanford uniform), but he never will be an elite quarterback at the Pac-10 level. The mere fact that he’s not the clear-cut No. 1, with his advantage in experience, speaks volumes.

California also has an open competition at the QB this Spring.

The most indelible image from a quarterback in Cal's first scrimmage of the spring came Saturday from a fourth-stringer who wasn't even playing quarterback. Cory Smits, a junior walk-on who was acting as a scout-team gunner, sprinted about 50 yards, fended off a blocker and tackled returner Nyan Boateng as he fielded a punt. "He may have just won himself a spot on the travel squad," coach Jeff Tedford said. "I'm just kidding. Don't write that." That isn't much insight into the quarterback competition, and that's because there isn't any. As Tedford hinted at before spring drills, the job probably isn't going to be won in the spring, and, now, it's even less likely.

Not a lot of people showed up for the Arizona spring game.

The University of Arizona football team has had great attendance figures over the past several years, but that is about to change. At least the numbers should look completely different if the turn out for the Wildcats Spring game on Saturday at Arizona Stadium is any indication.
They were awful.

Notre Dame is trying to bounce back in 2008, and Irish eyes are on Charlie Weis.

The surgeries are done, the quarterback is set and there are fewer holes to replace than last season. Yet while Notre Dame’s spring practice in 2007 had the intrigue of a quarterback competition and the anticipation of replacing a group that went to two BCS bowl games, this spring might be the most critical of Charlie Weis’ tenure in South Bend.

Washington State wrapped up its first Spring under Paul Wulff.

Somebody had to catch those passes and on this day, the guy who stood out was Michael Willis. Without hesitation, I would say that Willis was the star of the day. After all his injuries and the move from safety to wide receiver, I would not have been surprised if we never actually heard from this guy - but he was incredible today. Gibson didn't play much (when he did, he was money), and Blackledge didn't make much noise, so it was Willis' day and he made the most of it. He caught a beautiful 40-yard seam between a corner and a safety for the biggest play of that 2-minute drill and then capped off the drive with a nice catch for a TD on a ball that was thrown a bit behind him. Proving that there was a reason he started out as a safety, he also laid some hat, with a crushing block on a nice run around the left side. If Willis can stay healthy, look for big things out of him this fall.

Pat Cowan looks like he has won the starting job at UCLA. Funny thing is RN, and Gilby passed up recruiting Pat when he was at UW.

One-third of the way through spring practice and UCLA already has its No. 1 quarterback. Coach Rick Neuheisel on Saturday acknowledged the choice was Patrick Cowan.

Sanchez and Mustain are struggling this Spring at USC. The Trojans still will be the team to beat in 2008, but they will be beatable.

The way USC's top quarterbacks played in Saturday's scrimmage, no one deserves to replace John David Booty. But no progress preserves the status quo, which is good news for Mark Sanchez, the coaches' choice to be the starter. Sanchez did not stand out during the 78-play scrimmage, but neither did his competition, Arkansas transfer Mitch Mustain. Sanchez completed nine of 17 passes for 97 yards with an interception; Mustain completed nine of 18 passes for 112 yards with a touchdown and interception.

The hitting has been intensified the Spring at ASU. The team is starting to take on that Erickson swagger.

The best news out of Arizona State's second major football scrimmage Saturday was that wide receiver Chris McGaha and cornerback Omar Bolden walked away from easily the scariest moment of spring practice. The two starters became entangled after McGaha's 15-yard reception on a fourth-and-1 rollout pass by quarterback Rudy Carpenter. Both were sprawled in pain along the sideline at Sun Devil Stadium for several minutes before leaving the field without assistance, their day done.


GODAWGS said...

I can’t wait to see some defense played. It will be so nice to see a complete game played by the boys in purple. Dos anyone now if Deandre Coleman is planning an early commit to the huskies? Does anyone know why we haven’t offered Eric Smiley?

John Berkowitz said...

Coleman is probably the Huskies to lose if he can qualify. He will likely be the first commit in the class.

Smiley is Coleman's cousin, and the Huskies are still evaluating him. I think they want to find more out about the reasons he left the area. Smiley by the way will qualify.

There won't be a lot of early commits this year.

1. It is a down year in state.

2. Ty's tenure is in question beyond this season.

rickster said...

Hey John,

I read your blog every day and am completely jacked about this up-coming football season. Every morning I wake up and ask myself "What can I do today to help beat the Ducks?" so don't think it's apathy. I think things are at a mellow (not low) point with people pretty settled on how they feel about Ty, opinions expressed about how much we appreciate the Seattle Times series that was eight years in the making (sarcasm), and there really isn't much to talk about recruiting-wise(except perhaps what you just said).

Personally I'm in a state of excitement about this young team with a "wait and see attitude" and probably won't have much to say about football until August. But know that I am scowering the web for all that is Husky and we all appreciate the great work you do to inform about all sports UW and all the football teams that we are going to beat in the fall.

Have you thought of including a link to "Every Day Should Be Saturday?" It's good for a laugh and some $EC infighting.

bigdave967 said...

Sorry I havent had any opposing comments in awhile...been reading regularly but like rickster, I am at a point where its wait and see. We can talk/argue/agree all day but when it comes down to it, this team has to perform. Forget the coaches and forget the media and the fans and the politicians and anyone else...when the whistle blows its those young men on that field that have to play the game and execute. God I need college football...

I also have been spending a lot of time reading up on the Sonics departure. God I hate Stern and Bennett and until yesterday Shultz too. But dont be confused if he doesnt get this team back (which he probably wont) I will hate him again.


DCDawg said...

I'm also excited about the Dawgs; for me the problem isn't apathy, it's just being really tired of all the negativity being directed at Willingham, which makes me not want to engage in any conversations. I'd rather just read news coverage and watch the games. (And John, I do include this blog as "news coverage" -- I just don't usually bother with the comments anymore)

prrbrr said...

johnb, same with me. We will be going up for spring game and practices next week, but we have a lot of personal stuff on our plate. With the lack of news from Montlake, it became easier to ignore. I am very excited with what I have read so far on Donatell (DC) and White on
ST. The Oregon game looms large, if we can win that one we are off to a great season. This is the make or break year. I think many fans are also waiting and watching.

hairofthedawg said...

I feel pretty much the same as the rest of you. For me it's just questions that won't get answered until the games are played. We'll be hoping for a lot from some youngsters this year and for me that's the exciting part, waiting to see if they're up to it. I'm pretty hopeful some will be.

They've got some nice offers out to kids, recruiting's, while not overly exciting, proceeding nicely and there are good reports coming out of practice. I see those reports nearly every year though. Enjoy your trip pb! I'll be looking forward to your observations.

John Berkowitz said...

Every once in awhile I need to take the pulse to see what is going on with you guys.

DC- The Willingham stuff is a downer, I have tried to keep it at a minimum, but he needs to communicate with the fan base better. We feed off of that kind of stuff.

Prrbrr- We have some personal problems going on over here. Our Golden Retriever has been very sick and is going to pass away withing the week. We have been running a doggie hospice over here which is quite sad.

I am really interested in the Spring game. I can see some positive changes going on, particularly on defense. We may not have the horses yet, or the horses aren't mature enough in some cases, but the coaching changes have been positive across the board.

All the new coaches have done a great job assimilating in this Spring.

bigdave967 said...

Sorry to hear about your dog...Its nice to hear that you are making it as comfortable as possible with setting up a dog hospice.