As the Washington Huskies prepare for the 2010 campaign, they take their first steps with the spring practices running from March 30th to April 30th.
These practices have two objectives— to get the current starters reacquainted and to begin the process for any of the folks vying for starting roles.
The second goal is really for both new recruits, redshirts and any player trying to get ready for prime time.
In head coach Steve Sarkisian's second year, the spring practices have the additional value of him getting another chance to enhance the team's understanding of the approach that he and his coaches are trying to implement.
This spring, fans should see some additional wrinkles in the system on both offense and defense, since the Dawgs only lost a few senior starters.
From an offensive standpoint, the Huskies have lost a couple folks on the offensive line, but for the most part, return the same nucleus they had last year. The practices should focus on repetition and consistency, so that QB Jake Locker can build the relationships with his top wide receivers— Aguilar, Kearse and Johnson. In addition, the initial look at the battle to back up Chris Polk should get interesting.
On the defensive side, players will start doing the work to take over for LB Donald Butler and DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim. In addition, with the recent issues for DE Andru Pulu, an opportunity exists for someone else to step up on the defense. The defensive backfield will be largely the same as last year, so defensive coordinator Nick Holt can continue the process of building a championship caliber defense.
In addition to the areas above, it looks like the Huskies could have as many as five of their 2010 recruits at practice, including RB Deontae Cooper and some QB prospect named Montana. For both of them, the early work will definitely make their freshman years go a little easier. They should both be redshirts, but the benefits of the additional work will show when they are starters in the fall of 2011.
If you haven't been to a spring practice, it's a great chance to get much closer to the field and players than most folks can on game day. Plus, a sunny day at Husky Stadium is worth the drive any chance you get.