As always, here are some notes, quotes and observations after Washington's first full-pads practice of the spring ...
--- Your daily personnel update: WR Kasen Williams, OL Dexter Charles, OL Micah Hatchie (yellow jersey), RB Ryan McDaniel, LB Scott Lawyer (yellow jersey), DE Cory Littleton (yellow jersey), S Kevin King (yellow jersey) and RB Dwayne Washington were either not in pads or limited in some way. Washington, you'll recall, injured his left leg during a no-contact drill on Thursday, though it didn't appear to be serious.
DE Jarett Finau was relegated to the sidelines after suffering what appeared to be some sort of left leg injury. He had a noticeable limp as he walked around afterward.
In addition to Washington being out, RB Jesse Callier also sat off to the side and didn't participate in any 11-on-11 team sessions, as UW was reduced to just two scholarship running backs -- Deontae Cooper and Lavon Coleman.
WR Marvin Hall also left the field and was seen on the trainer's table with an ice pack on his left foot/ankle.
--- Kasen Williams did some light jogging during practice, and seemed to be moving fine.
--- There was a lengthy 11-on-11 red zone competition later on in practice, with the ball being snapped from inside the 5-yard line (though the goal line was actually the 10-yard line due to limited space in the actual end zones inside Dempsey). It was probably some of the most heated action of the spring, especially with players wearing full pads.
Troy Williams made a few pretty nice touchdown passes -- two to DiAndre Campbell and another on a fade route to tight end Michael Hartvigson that was well-played all the way around -- and Jeff Lindquist also had his moments, throwing touchdown passes to receivers Kendyl Taylor and Jaydon Mickens, as well as one early to tight end Josh Perkins.
The offense didn't commit any turnovers during team competition sessions -- meaning no airhorn from coach Chris Petersen -- so the defense had to run three gassers after practice.
"I’m in a no-win situation every day at practice, because when something really good happens, part of me is thinking that’s really bad on the other side," Petersen said. "Like the airhorn. So awesome job by the offense, ball security in pads. But part of me thinks that’s not very good by our defense. We’ve got to get some turnovers.
"... That’s why I think practice can be kind of miserable sometimes for a head coach because when you’re going against each other the whole time, you have a tendency to say ‘we’ve got to get this fixed’ more so than ‘this is really good right now.’ That’s why we always say we’ve got to go look at the tape. Because maybe it was just great by the offense today. But I always think this, in the turnover thing that you’re speaking about, the defense has to create turnovers. The offense will give you some now and again, but good defenses create turnovers."
--- The first-team groups during 11-on-11 sessions continued to look more or less the same, though Colin Tanigawa has been taking some snaps at center behind Mike Criste. Defensively, Jermaine Kelly and Marcus Peters continue to see the first-team reps at cornerback, with Brandon Beaver and Trevor Walker at safety, Shaq Thompson, John Timu and Kieshawn Bierria at linebacker and Hau'oli Kikaha, Evan Hudson, Danny Shelton and Andrew Hudson along the defensive line (that last group continues to be pretty fluid).
"There’s certain guys out here that are running with 1s or 2s that won’t be when it’s time to play," Petersen said. "Both good and bad. Some guys are going to continue to improve and beat guys out, some other guys aren’t going to step up. So we’re kind of really for the most part analyzing individuals.”
--- In an attempt to create better team chemistry, Petersen has matched players in groups of three and requires them to learn about each others' backgrounds. Then, during the team huddle at the end of each practice, he calls on certain players to stand up and tell the team what they've learned about the guys they've been grouped with.
Asked about this after Saturday's practice, Petersen said: “I think we all, including you all, have been on teams that maybe had some talent, and at the end of the day thought you were going to do really good and for whatever reason couldn’t put it together. I always go back to the chemistry and unity things, and I think we’ve all been on teams where you think eh, we might be OK, but you have those special seasons and you think really, at the end of the day, it’s because I respected and liked that guy. Those are magical situations. Those are some of the best memories we all have. So we’re always trying to recreate that great team and be a really good teammate.”
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple