Over 10,000 Purple and Gold clad Husky fans took in the Spring Game Day festivities and got to witness the return of some old faces, a new coaching staff, and a healthy starting quarterback.
From Sonny Sixkiller to Marques Tuiasosopo and Lawyer Milloy to Shane Pahukoa, tons of former Husky players were treated to a 33-0 shutout pitched by the Purple team over the White team.
The weather cooperated and was a balmy 53 degrees at the 1:30 start, and the purple team wasted no time as Jake Locker drove them down and ended up running into the endzone from 10 yards out. Locker finished the day completing 16 of 18 passes for 200 yards with 2 touchdowns and the touchdown run, a crisp and efficient day that saw no injuries on either side.
Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt described his thoughts on Jake’s performance to Bob Condotta of the Seattle times, “He’s gotten a lot better, especially this last week of spring. He has a real working knowledge of the offense and is comfortable with what they are trying to get done. He’s always been an excellent athlete and how he’s really developed into quite the quarterback and he’ll only get better now.”
Coach Sark also had positive thoughts about Locker’s day: “I thought Jake was really sharp. He’s playing much more relaxed that he was early in spring. He’s just delivering the ball, he’s comfortable. I thought a little bit there in the third quarter he got stuck in the pocket a couple of times. We’ve been hammering home to him, ‘Stay in the pocket, stay in the pocket.’ Now we’ve got to let him go a little bit and let him play football. But I thought he had a nice game.”
“They want me to give the routes a shot, but at the same time they never told me they want to take away my ability to run the ball,” Locker told the Seattle PI. “I’m just comfortable in the offense. I know what I’m doing and I know where I’m going. I’m confident.”
The notable stars of the day other than Locker was Willie Griffin, who scored a 29 yard touchdown on a short pass from Locker (sprung by a great block by Devin Aguilar), Chris Polk, Jermaine Kearse, and Demetrius Bronson. Anthony Boyles also looked solid, running some good routes and making some nice catches for the white team. On defense, Donald Butler and Mason Foster had good games, with Foster registering a couple of sacks, and on the white team Trenton Tuiasosopo was all over the field making tackles.
The game ended with a final drive that was highlighted by a 25 yard gain by Chris Polk (one play after coming down awkward), a 19 yard gain by Polk, and finally a 8 yard touchdown catch by Jermaine Kearse. It was a great way to end the day and Spring Camp.
The game acted as a first glance of the new coaching staff for many Husky fans, and the days events were just the start of what fans can grow to expect with the new regime’s open-door philosophy and focus on fan involvement. “It was like a breath of fresh air”, said Jerry Pugnetti, a long time Tyee season ticket holder who experienced the Spring Game for the first time. “It feels like a dark cloud has been lifted and that we get to start over from scratch. I’m excited.”
The new uniforms were unveiled in the east endzone on mannequins, and had a mostly positive reception. Numerous fans stopping by to check them out really liked the clean look to the retro-inspired jerseys with the block numbers and the stripes down the legs. On display were the traditional home purple jerseys with gold pants and the away white jerseys with the gold pants. A third ensemble was a new one: all white uni’s with purple lettering. The helmets did not change.
There are many other articles describing different points of view on the Spring Game:
Nick Daschel of Buster Sports.com quips that if “Locker is this sharp, the Huskies have a chance in 2009.”
The Tacoma News Tribune echoes that Locker’s performance was a good sign for the Huskies.
Players seeing game action:
1st Team Offense: Locker, Bruns, Izbicki, Griffin, C. Polk, J. Polk, Kelemete, Kearse, Aguilar, Middleton, Bronson, Habben, Ossai, Tolar, Schaefer, and Fancher
1st Team Defense: Butler, Foster, Glenn, Williams, Mosley, Richardson, Fogerson, Ta’amu, Huppert, Te’o-Nesheim, Elisara, Matthews, Jones, Walker
2nd Team Offense: Fouch, Boyles, Sylvester, B. Johnson, Shaw, Chidiac, Togi, Freeman, Leonard, Ikehara, Hayes, Rosborough, Christine, Scott, Shugert, Armelin, Savant, Kanczugowski
2nd Team Defense: Aiyewa, Persley, Gobern, Logan, Amosa, Houston, Galbraith, Wood, T. Johnson, Long, Ferleman, TJ Poe, Noble, Remington, Duncan, Tuiasosopo, Roussel
Note: Please stay tuned for pictures to be loaded, which will be found on the “Gallery” page of this website.