The Huskies finished their seventh practice of the spring earlier today. Here are a few notes and such, as always, including news of Budda Baker potentially expanding his role a bit.
--- Your daily personnel update -- WR John Ross, DB Jermaine Kelly, DB Kevin King, DB Trevor Walker, LB Keishawn Bierria, LB Travis Feeney, OL Coleman Shelton, OL Devin Burleson and TE Drew Sample are all sidelined by injury. DB Brandon Beaver and Brandon Lewis are wearing yellow no-contact jerseys but participating. RB Deontae Cooper is still absent.
--- The most newsworthy development on Friday might have been the appearance of sophomore safety Budda Baker with the offense. It was a brief appearance, and we're somewhat limited in terms of what we can pass along about his role and activity, but the takeaway is that Baker could factor into UW's offensive plans this season.
Huskies defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said coaches were hesitant to assign too much work to Baker last year -- he started every game at safety, played special teams and led the team in total snaps -- but that his understanding of the defense is at a point now where he can handle some offensive duties.
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"Now it's like, 'OK, Budda, you go down to the offense for a couple periods, learn a couple of plays, then you can come back.' We have to utilize the talent," Lake said. "We all know he's a talented football player, very, very smart, so tough and competitive. And it's going to be fun to watch him on that side of the ball. But for sure they're not going to get him full time. I know that one."
He's also still spending time catching punts, along with sophomore WR Dante Pettis.
"We’ll get him more involved in that whole thing," Huskies coach Chris Petersen said. "I think he’s a dynamic guy on both sides of the ball, so he will definitely be factored into our return game.”
--- The first-team offensive line, after Dexter Charles left to go to class, again featured, from left to right, Jake Eldrenkamp, Dane Crane, Siosifa Tufunga, Shane Brostek and Matt James.
--- The first-team defense also looked the same as Wednesday, with Taniela Tupou, Elijah Qualls, Jaylen Johnson and JoJo Mathis (buck LB) up front, Scott Lawyer, Azeem Victor and Cory Littleton at linebacker, Baker and Brian Clay at safety, and Sidney Jones and Darren Gardenhire at cornerback. Also, Jojo McIntosh continues to work as the nickel back. And, as always, there is still plenty of mixing and matching, with the No. 2 defensive backs sometimes playing with the No. 1 front seven, etc.
--- The second-team defense again featured Ezekiel Turner and McIntosh at safety, with Naijiel Hale and Sean Vergara at corner, Drew Lewis, Jake Wambaugh and Matt Preston at linebacker, and Greg Gaines, Damion Turpin, Jarett Finau and Will Dissly (buck LB) up front.
--- The defense performed much better today, forcing four turnovers -- two interceptions by McIntosh (one off Jeff Lindquist and one off Jake Browning), another by Gardenhire (off Browning), and another by walk-on linebacker Wambaugh (his third of the spring, also off Lindquist). And Littleton had a fifth interception in his hands but dropped it.
That added up to four gassers for the offense after practice.
"For me as the head coach, those are very hard days, when someone has a really, really good day, because I immediately go to the other side of the ball and think that was a very bad day," Petersen said, referring to the offense's good day on Wednesday. "But then you come back today and you can see the defense rallies with some turnovers."
Huskies offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith said today was a relatively significant installation day, which may explain some of the turnovers and hesitancy from the quarterbacks.
--- The Huskies practice again tomorrow, though it's closed to the media. It won't be a full-blown scrimmage, Petersen said, but there will be a few live periods.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple