Tyrone Willingham met the media today, talking about spring drills, which begin Thursday.
He made it clear that he believes these Huskies should make their first bowl game since the 2002 Sun Bowl. That means at least six wins in the 12-game season, which begins Sept. 2 with a visit from San Jose State.
&bullSpring practices will again be closed to the media (except for the first one Thursday) and to the public (except for the spring game).
&bullThe spring game will be at 12:45 p.m. April 22.
&bullJunior college players enrolled in time for spring drills include long snapper Danny Morovick, safety Jordan Wells, cornerback Jordan Murchison and defensive end Anthony Atkins. Walk-on players include offensive lineman Erik Berglund, who left the program in 2004 and has returned, and tight end Tim Harris of Tacoma who played at Bellarmine Prep and College of the Redwoods. The lone new face on the coaching staff is secondary coach J.D. Williams, who replaces Steven Wilks, who left for the NFL.
&bullFormer defensive tackle Jordan White-Frisbee has been switched to the offensive line. Scott White, the only returning starter at linebacker, could play either inside or outside. No other veterans have been moved to completely new positions. Johnie Kirton will remain at tight end and Dashon Goldson at safety.
&bullCornerback Clarence (Dre) Simpson is not on the spring roster amid reports he has left the team. However, Willingham said he had no announcement on Simpson's status.
&bullCornerback Josh Okoebor suffered a "fairly serious" knee injury during winter conditioning and is out for spring. Also out are nose tackle Dan Milsten (ankle) and defensive tackle Jasper Henry (undisclosed back problem). Free safety Darin Harris (back) will be "slowed." Players who underwent off-season surgery but are expected to participate in spring work include Kirton (foot), fullback Durrell Moss (knee), and cornerback C.J. Wallace (shoulder).
&bullWillingham said sophomore linebacker Trenton Tuiasosopo and redshirt freshman linebacker E.J. Savannah are both cleared to play after sitting out last season with injuries.
&bullAll positions are open, and the quarterback position is "as open as they come," Willingham said, despite the return of senior Isaiah Stanback, last season's starter. Stanback said that is fine with him, because he plans to practice and prepare the same way regardless of where he is on the depth chart.
&bullSpeaking of depth charts, here are the listed starters heading into spring practice:
OFFENSE: WRs Sonny Shackelford and Anthony Russo; LT Nathan Flowers; LG, Stanley Daniels; C, Juan Garcia; RG, Clay Walker; RT, Chad Macklin; TE, Robert Lewis; QB, Stanback; FB, Mark Palaita; RB, Louis Rankin.
DEFENSE: DEs Donny Mateaki and Greyson Gunheim; DTs Wilson Afoa and Donny Mateaki (Willingham said listing Mateaki starting at two positions is his error); LBs White, Tahj Bomar and Chris Stevens; CBs Matt Fountaine and Roy Lewis; SS, Wallace; FS, Goldson.