Washington had its first scrimmage fo the year yesterday and two of the obvious stars where RB's Deontae Cooper and Jessie Callier. With Chris Polk limited to non contact drills this spring the two frosh from Southern California showed why they were the two leading rushers in the California preps last season.
It wasn't a long scrimmage so there weren't any monster stats but Cooper and Callier racked up over 100 yards between them and showed the ability to be able to take it all the way to the house. The youngsters still have a lot to learn but if the first game of the season was tommorow they would definitely be in the rotation.
Their emergence this spring is beginning to push Demetrius Bronson over to the fullback position. Bronson who is the lone big back on the roster still has a role but if he can't stop fumbling that role may be more blocking than carrying the rock. Austin Sylvester has been listed as the starter at FB all spring but he has the company of Dorson Boyce, Kimo Makaula, and now Bronson competing for snaps. (I am still waiting for them to move Makaula to DE..it doesn't make sense to have this many FB's with Zach Fogerson arriving in August).
Johri Fogerson had perhaps the best off season of any Husky and remains a solid number two behind Chris Polk. Johri can do a number of things the coaches like. His experience, leadership, and soft hands guarantee him more playing time this fall.
As far as Polk goes the coaches want to lighten his load in 2010 and keep him around 20 carries per game. That was the plan last year too but his dominating performance made it tough to rotate other players into the game.
Cameron Elisara picked up more time at DE during the scrimmage. His play outside will not be his full time position in the fall but with the lack of bodies and the desire for flexibility once help arrives at the position the coaches are trying to acclimate him to the outside as much as possible. Elissara has had a great spring showing well inside and out.
Nick Montana continues to impress this spring at QB. The highly touted frosh is making the most of his reps this spring. In a perfect world he doesn't see the field for a year because a year of eligibility is a terrible thing to waste if you are not starting. If needed though he will likely be the number two is spirit this fall based on the way the roster is currently set.
Over at Linebacker Mason Foster and Cort Dennison have done nothing but cement their starting roles this spring. The coaches love both of these kids and the main goal has been to find a third player to step up and take over the SLB position.
Dennison and Foster are flexible enough to be able to play and of the LB positions. Alvin Logan still seems to have a hold on the third starting spot but keep an eye on Victor Burnett who hasn't done anything this spring to remove him from starting consideration. Logan didn't hurt himself after picking up two sacks in yesterdays scrimmage.
In the defensive backfield S Nate Fellner continues to impress with his ability to lay the lumber and still stay in position to cover. It is going to be very toufh for anyone to knock him out of the starting position he inherited last spring.
Anthony Boyles nearly picked off another pass yesterday and the sophomore continues to press for playing time in the rotation. Boyles has the one thing nobody else has back has and that is height. I can see him being used next season to lock down taller receivers.
Over on offensive line the coaches are sticking with Schaefer at center flanked by Tolar and Ikehara at the guards. Senio Kelemete who is playing his third position in three years looks very solid at left tackle. Skyler Fancher is the other starting tackle with Cody Habben out.
Fancher has a lot of rust to shake off after being injured the entire 2009 season. You can count on him being in the rotation this fall but you can pencil in Habben as the starter in the fall. Skyler needs to have a good summer to keep pace with the upcoming beef that will arrive in August. His return is important at a position that needs experienced depth.
Pete Carroll and his son Brennan were on the sidelines during part of Saturday's scrimmage. Sark was seen spending time with them. I find it amazing that the best and brightest of the USC dynasty has relocated to Seattle over the last two years.
Jake Locker only played two series. The coaches already know what he can do and they wanted to get a longer look at Keith Price and Nick Montana who didn't dissapoint. Neither of the young QB's have been turning the ball over during the first third of the spring.
TE/SB Marlion Barnett is having a good spring and is firmly entrenched behind Middleton and Izbicki. Bennett is a good receiver and is a smaller piece to the puzzle at TE. Look for Sark to find ways to get him on the field this fall to show opposing defense some different looks.
The coaching staff continues to recruit hard. They have had a who's who list of Northwest recruits at the last two practices. Stanwood OL Dexter Charles, Archbishop Murphy DL Taniela Tupou, Taft DT Antwaun Woods, Archbishop Murphy DT Julius Tevaga, plus Husky 2010 signees Colin Porter, Cooper Pelluer and Zach Fogerson were among those who watched Saturdays scrimmage.
Over 2000 fans showed up for the scrimmage. Just another sign that Husky football is back!