The Huskies are off the practice field after their first spring work under new coach Steve Sarkisian.
Their primary impression afterward was that everything was speeded up. The word spoken most often was "tempo" -- everything happening at a quicker tempo.
Jake Locker looked healthy. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim is getting a lot of inside work along the defensive line. Senio Kelemete was not only on the offensive line, but apparently running with the No. 1 unit at guard -- for this season: He said the coaches expect him to grow into a tackle by next year.
It's obvious that this staff wants athleticism, not the lumbering Husky lines of recent seasons.
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Former guard Ryan Tolar was at center. Kelemete at right guard. Former tackle Ben Ossai was at the left guard. Redshirt freshman Drew Schaefer ran with the ones at right tackle, opposite returning tackle Cody Habben.
"That's a very athletic group up there that went with the ones for the most part," Sarkisian said. "We had some guys sprinkled in, but we're athletic, we're quick; and hopefully when we get the pads on that will show up even more. … Ben is obviously a pretty athletic guy - he's dropped quite a bit of weight. To bring him inside allows us to stay athletic on the edge and stay athletic on the inside."
The defensive line also took on a new look as Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, who was second-team all-Pacific-10 Conference last season at defensive end, was moved to tackle.
"We're starting him inside," Sarkisian said. "He creates a lot of havoc when he's internal because he is so quick. And our defense likes to move and slant so much that when he's on big guys in there he can create a lot of problems, like he did for our (offense on Tuesday). He was in the backfield a few times right at the snap of the ball."
Sarkisian also singled out linebacker Donald Butler and free safety Nate Williams on defense and tight end Chris Izbicki on offense.
Meanwhile, player after player said they liked practicing in front of their fans.
"I love this atmosphere," senior linebacker E.J. Savannah said. "I want people to come out here and check us out."
Fans and media didn't have much to compare this practice to, since practices were closed under previous coach Tyrone Willingham. However, players remarked on the enthusiasm of the coaching staff – most notably the energy and booming voice of defensive coordinator Nick Holt -- and the quicker tempo of the work.
"I enjoyed it, and I think you guys saw it was up-tempo and it was fun," quarterback Jake Locker said, adding that his thumb feels fine. "Everybody was moving and always doing something and always being coached. It was a good atmosphere. (This staff is) a little younger, a little more energy and stuff. It's just a different style, something that is new to all of us I think. It's exciting and we're looking forward to it. The whole tempo of the practice was upbeat. I personally didn't have a time when I was really standing around not doing a whole lot. And we're always doing something, always being coached on something."
The Huskies will return to the practice field at 4 p.m. Thursday, once again without pads. They will practice in shoulder pads for the first time Saturday and then in full pads on Monday.