Offense steals the show at Huskies spring game
Seattle Times staff reporter
The estimated 4,000 fans who showed up for Washington's annual spring game yesterday probably recognized more players in the stands — such as past and maybe future UW quarterbacks Marques and Matt Tuiasosopo — than on the field.
But while these may be no-name Huskies — after the loss of the likes of wide receiver Reggie Williams and quarterback Cody Pickett — they resist the theory that they are also no-game Huskies.
"There's not a lot of big names," said linebacker Scott White. "Not a lot of egos. Everybody is going to have to play this year."
Including, maybe, all three quarterbacks.
Those who showed up yesterday might have been hoping to see UW's quarterback quandary solve itself. Instead, the issue might have gotten only more confusing as all three QBs took their turn in the spotlight in leading an offense that finally came to life after being dominated by the defense much of the spring.
Officially, the offense beat the defense 49-20. That score, however, includes 19 points for gaining first downs (the defense got points for stopping first downs and creating turnovers) as UW coaches came up with a creative scoring system since injuries prevented the Huskies from splitting up their roster and playing a real game.
Still, UW's offense scored four touchdowns — two on long passes — a week after scoring only one in a similar length scrimmage.
"It was probably the best the offense has looked in terms of big plays," said UW coach Keith Gilbertson.
Each of the three quarterbacks competing for the job — Casey Paus, Isaiah Stanback and Carl Bonnell — threw touchdown passes.
Paus, who remains No. 1 on the depth chart, though by the slimmest of margins, threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Quintin Daniels. Isaiah Stanback threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to running back Chris Singleton.
There were other stars, however, notably Singleton, who hadn't done much all spring while trying to recover from a broken foot that held him out of last season. He said the foot still bothers him and he isn't 100 percent. But he was fast enough to sneak behind cornerback Derrick Johnson, in a formation in which he was split out wide, and catch the long pass from Stanback.
"D.J. was slacking a little bit and we got him," Singleton said. Singleton had 10 carries on the day, though he might have wished he'd only gotten nine. He suffered a broken nose on his final carry — which was also the last play of the day.
Offensive coordinator John Pettas said the improved offense was due in part to a better performance up front. UW lost its top two centers to injury two weeks ago and had to scramble to put a line together for last Saturday's scrimmage.
"We were able to settle the line this week, and that helped," Pettas said.
White, meanwhile, said the defense made some mental errors that led to the big plays.
That the offense was able to finally get the better of the defense, White said, "shows we have quality on both sides of the ball."
That, obviously, won't really be known until next season. A year ago at this time, the Huskies also had high hopes, only to see the firing of Rick Neuheisel disrupt everything.
"A quiet summer would be great for our team," said Paus, who plans to stay in town and lead offseason workouts. "I think everyone this year is pretty content on staying focused."
White agrees, saying he felt the team begin to come together as the spring progressed.
"It just feels tighter," he said. "Last year, we had this group of guys over here, this group over here, the seniors over here. Everything was kind of erratic and chaotic. This year is much more closer. It just feels a lot better."
• Five captains for next season were named after a vote of players — Khalif Barnes, Zach Tuiasosopo, Charles Frederick, Derrick Johnson and Joe Lobendahn.
• The only significant injury, fittingly enough, was suffered by an offensive lineman, walk-on guard Jens Jellen, who dislocated a toe in the early going.
• Gilbertson was pleased to hear of the selection of Williams by Jacksonville with the No. 9 overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft. Gilbertson felt it proved that all the predraft talk about Williams' work habits was overblown. "I'm also excited about the large Tyee donation he's about to make," Gilbertson said.
RUSHING — Kenny James 5-35, Louis Rankin 4-27, Isaiah Stanback 3-19, Shelton Sampson 5-18, Chris Singleton 10-17, James Sims 2-10, Felix Sweetman 1-9, Zach Tuiasosopo 3-2, Carl Bonnell 4-2, Casey Paus 2-(minus-6).
PASSING — Paus 6-11-0, 112 yards, 1 TD; Stanback 4-10-0, 103 yards, 1 TD; Bonnell 5-11-1, 61 yards, 1 TD; Sweetman 3-5-0, 46 yards.
RECEIVING — Bobby Whithorne 2-38, Sonny Shackelford 2-30, Dash Crutchley 2-27, Mike Rohrbach 2-22, James 2-15, Singleton 1-69, Quintin Daniels 1-59, Anthony Russo 1-25, Corey Williams 1-24, Jon Lyon 1-6, Rankin 1-4, Charles Frederick 1-3, Craig Chambers 1-0.
PUNTING — Evan Knudson 3-35.3 average; Sean Douglas 2-37.5 average; Hans Rasmussen 1-41.
FIELD GOALS — Knudson 1-1 (46 yards).
TACKLE LEADERS — Tahj Bomar 7, Kyle Trew 4, Jordan Reffett 4, William Murphy 3, Casey Tyler 3, Brian Tawney 3, Chris Hemphill 3, Josh Okeobor 3, Derrick Johnson 3, B.J. Newberry 3, Tim Galloway 3, Brandon Ala 3.
SACKS — Newberry 1-9.
INTERCEPTIONS — Trew 1-2.
TOUCHDOWNS — James 17-yard pass from Bonnell; Daniels 59-yard pass from Paus; Tuiasosopo 1-yard run; Singleton 69-yard pass from Stanback.
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