Updated Oct 14, 2012 - 11:14 pm
University of Washington Huskies Blog
Saturday, March 8, 2014 @ 3:52pm
By Brent Stecker
If his spring practice workload is any indication, John Ross is going to be all over the field for the Huskies in 2014.
John Ross, primarily a kick returner in 2013, will figure in more at receiver and even defensive back in 2014. (AP)
Washington's speedy sophomore made a name for himself as one of the team's primary return men in 2013, but he figures to also be a big part of the passing game as a receiver in head coach Chris Petersen's offense in 2014. And as if that wasn't enough, his ability to play defensive back – which he did a few times last season – is still very much on the table.
Ross worked out at all three spots over the Huskies' first week of spring practice (though his time on defense was brief), and even he's surprised at how easily he's taken to handling the multiple roles.
"I feel like after being a year in now, I kinda adjusted to (juggling three positions) faster than I thought I would," Ross said after practice Saturday afternoon.
'Faster' is always the operative word with Ross, though it's usually because of his lightning-quick foot speed, which is the reason why Washington is looking to use him in so many different ways. It's also the reason behind the signature play of his UW career thus far, a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against BYU in the Huskies' Fight Hunger Bowl victory.
In addition to seeing reps at each position, Ross is getting a little more attention at receiver, where it's less crowded this spring as senior Kasen Williams continues to work his way back from a broken leg and sophomore Damore'ea Stringfellow is indefinitely suspended.
Similarly, the quarterback position is thinner for the Huskies than originally anticipated, as sophomore Cyler Miles was suspended at the same time as Stringfellow. As a result, sophomore Jeff Lindquist and redshirt freshman Troy Williams are getting a ton of snaps as the only two quarterbacks in action this spring.
"They're fired up," Ross said of the quarterbacks. "I love their energy. They come out every day and they're just very excited to throw the ball to us, and they're taking advantage of every opportunity."
So is Ross.
He worked regularly with Lindquist and Williams last year, and his familiarity is allowing him to make the most of his chances.
"Last year I was always rotating in and out with those guys, so our chemistry level is just only getting better," Ross said.
That chemistry, combined with Ross' speed, should spell trouble for opposing defenses next season, as Ross explained.
"It's getting dangerous."
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 @ 10:35pm
Suspending three players before the first spring practice certainly wasn't how Chris Petersen wanted to begin his career at Washington.
"I've been doing this long enough to know that it comes with the job. It's part of the job," Petersen said. "These guys are still young guys that are developing and trying to figure things out, and that's our job is to try to help educate them. As we know and through our experiences, guys are going to make mistakes. Part of the thing is helping these guys figure it out and mature and do things the right way and mature.
"But it's a hard, painful process at times, no question."
The absences of quarterback Cyler Miles and wide receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow didn't come as a surprise as Washington began spring practices Tuesday. That of linebacker John Timu, however, did. The three-year starter and two-time defensive captain was suspended for the first two weeks of spring ball after he was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of vehicle prowling, which were deferred in King County District Court last month.
Petersen did not comment on the specifics on Timu's suspension, though he noted that the alleged crime took place well before Washington's current coaching staff arrived.
"So we deal with it how you're supposed to and you move on," he said.
Miles and Stringfellow, meanwhile, remain indefinitely suspended for their alleged involvement in an assault that took place last month near UW's campus. Neither player has been charged, and Petersen indicated that he'll wait for the legal process to play out before making a decision on their statuses with the team.
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.
Monday, March 3, 2014 @ 3:34pm
By Brent Stecker
Entering Washington's spring football practices, the excitement around the arrival of new coach Chris Petersen has been matched only by the uncertainty surrounding indefinitely-suspended quarterback Cyler Miles and wide receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow.
Quarterbacks Jeff Lindquist (pictured) and Troy Williams will get plenty of work during spring practice with Cyler Miles suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules. (AP)
"There's been no talk about those guys," Petersen said of Miles and Stringfellow, who were suspended Feb. 6, four days after two Huskies players allegedly assaulted a man near campus after the Seahawks' Super Bowl win. "They haven't been here, we've moved on, and we're going. And it's not about those guys, it's about the guys in the room. That's the message."
And it's loud and clear.
Miles was expected to be the front-runner to start at quarterback in 2014, but since he won't be participating this spring, there will be plenty of reps for Washington's two other signal-callers – sophomore Jeff Lindquist and redshirt freshman Troy Williams.
"They're gonna get more work than they ever probably dreamed," Petersen said. "We don't have any starters at that position for sure, and so we'll just get them a lot of work. And guys need to not worry about their rank in the depth chart; they just need to get better each day."
It's much more likely for a team to have three or four quarterbacks in the spring than two, so Petersen has some different expectations for Washington's.
"(I just want) a guy to come back for the second day and not have his arm thrown off 'cause we only have two quarterbacks," Petersen joked. "Two guys is great for them – they're gonna get all kinds of reps, but you probably would like a little more depth as a coaching staff."
Petersen was known to take advantage of any player with ability to play on both sides of the ball during his time at Boise State, and it sounds like he's going to keep that going with the Huskies.
"We might have some guys doing some double-duty. We'll just kinda see how that goes down the road," he said. "We have to maximize our talent. ... We've just had decent success over the years of using some guys in certain packages."
Petersen made mention of a few players that could play both ways.
"John Ross has played a little bit of defense," he said of the wide receiver/kick returner. "I know Shaq (Thompson) was a heck of a running back in high school, but he's a pretty good linebacker too. ... (Defensive back) Jermaine Kelly's already been lobbying for receiver, and I've seen him play in high school and he's not bad, so we'll see."
• WR Kasen Williams – who suffered a broken leg and displaced ligaments in his foot Oct. 26 against Cal – will not see any action on the field this spring, Petersen said. OL Dexter Charles and WR Taelon Parson will also be out. Five Huskies will be limited: OL Micah Hatchie, DB Kevin King, LB Scott Lawyer, LB Cory Littleton and TB Ryan McDaniel.
• Petersen said K Cameron Van Winkle – who was sidelined for most of 2013 with a back injury – is good to go this spring: "He's pretty good. He's been kicking a little bit, so he's completely on track and really ready to do some kicking."
Monday, March 3, 2014 @ 9:43am
By Brent Stecker
The Chris Petersen era is upon Washington.
The Huskies set to begin their first spring practice Tuesday under the former Boise State mentor, who brings a 92-12 career record, numerous former Broncos assistants and a reputation for intensely-focused practices to Montlake. But for as much hoopla and hype Petersen brought to the program with his hiring, there are some pressing matters from this offseason that will be at the forefront this spring.
Here are the five biggest questions as Washington begins spring practice:
1. Who is the quarterback?
Sophomore Cyler Miles was the odds-on favorite to replace the graduated Keith Price as the starting quarterback, but his indefinite suspension for a violation of team rules threw a giant wrench into those plans. Miles was suspended Feb. 6 along with wide receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow, four days after two Washington players allegedly assaulted a man near campus on the night of the Seahawks' Super Bowl win. Jeff Lindquist, a 6-foot-3, 236-pound sophomore, and Troy Williams, a 6-2, 200-pound redshirt freshman, will battle it out to be Washington's signal-caller come Tuesday.
2. Is the rocky transition to the Petersen era over?
The suspensions of Miles and Stringfellow weren't the only negative headlines the Huskies made after Petersen replaced Steve Sarkisian as Washington's head coach last December. In between Petersen's hiring and UW's Fight Hunger Bowl win last December, defensive-line coach Tosh Lupoi and the Washington program were investigated by the NCAA over allegations that Lupoi paid for a recruit's tutoring. Though the NCAA closed the case in February and said no penalties would be handed out, Lupoi is no longer associated with the school after a $300,000 separation settlement was reached. Even with Lupoi out of the picture, it's yet to be seen if Petersen and his influx of new assistants have turned a completely new leaf for the program.
3. What kind of offense will Petersen be running?
The Huskies had a fair amount of success in their first season of an up-tempo, no-huddle offense in 2013, but with Sarkisian gone and Miles' familiarity with it not part of the equation at the moment, Petersen's options are seemingly wide open when it comes to what system he'll look to run. For what it's worth, Petersen also ran an up-tempo offense last season with Boise State, though he's well-known for building an offense around the skills of his quarterback. And when it comes to that, refer back to question No. 1.
4. Will Dwayne Washington emerge as Bishop Sankey's replacement?
With Bishop Sankey busy climbing up NFL draft boards, the Huskies are on the lookout for their new workhorse running back to follow in his record-breaking footsteps. Washington, a freshman in 2013, rushed for 332 yards and four touchdowns on 47 carries, including a breakout 141-yard performance against Oregon State. He'll certainly have competition, but spring practices will be his chance to establish that it's his job to lose.
5. Will John Ross seize a golden opportunity?
Expect a lot of eyes to be on John Ross, the wide receiver/kick returner who was regarded as the fastest Husky throughout his freshman season in 2013. His receiving stats weren't exactly notable – 16 receptions, 208 yards, one touchdown and just two games of 50 or more yards – but his electrifying 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Fight Hunger Bowl established him as a player to watch when spring rolled around. His spot as a returner won't be in question, but with Stringfellow missing and Kasen Williams likely to take it easy coming off a broken leg and displaced ligaments in his foot, will Ross take it as a chance to prove he's a viable starting receiver?
Friday, February 28, 2014 @ 10:12pm
SEATTLE (AP) – The Huskies knew DaVonte Lacy was going to be able to score against them; they just weren't going to let the rest of the Washington State roster follow suit.
Washington State shot just 31 percent from the field and Washington held them without a field goal for the final 13:03 of the game in cruising to a 72-49 victory over the Cougars on Friday night.
"He's a pretty good shooter," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said of Lacy. "...They depend on him so much and if he gets it going he can knock some down. That's really what ended up happening. We did not want those other guys to beat us."
Lacy scored 25 points to lead the Cougars, but the Huskies (16-13, 8-8 Pac-12) kept the rest of the lineup in check. Lacy was the only player to reach double-figures for Washington State.
"We just, plain and simple, did not hit shots," Lacy said. "We had some wide open looks, especially in the second half and we just didn't hit shots."
Washington never trailed as they controlled the game from the opening tip.
Nigel Williams-Goss had 17 points and 12 rebounds with four assists and no turnovers to lead Washington. Andrew Andrews added 16 points and nine rebounds.
"We're not having one guy show up now," Romar said. "Multiple guys are showing up on the same night."
Lacy was the only consistent scoring option for the Cougars (9-19, 2-14) in the first half. Lacy scored 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting while the rest of the roster shot just 5 of 16 before the break.
"We knew that DaVonte was their best player and when he kind of gets going the other will feed off him," Andrews said. "DaVonte was going to take his shots so we were focused on really trying to limit the other players from getting going."
After Lacy's 3-pointer brought the Cougars within 53-44, Washington answered with a decisive 9-0 run to shut the door.
Williams-Goss picked off a lazy pass from D.J. Shelton and coasted for a breakaway dunk. After a Mike Anderson 3-pointer and layup from Perris Blackwell, Darin Johnson delivered a two-handed slam after a steal to give Washington a commanding 62-44 advantage.
The 3-pointer by Lacy was the last field goal the Cougars would convert in the game.
"We did not play confident at all down the stretch," WSU coach Ken Bone said. "I will try to get these guys to believe that they're better than they're performed tonight and hopefully we can go into that homestretch, those last two games, and play better basketball."
Andrews attacked the hoop and forced the action as the Huskies slowly extended their lead early. He caused Lacy to pick up his second foul with four minutes left in the half. Lacy remained in the game but had to play cautiously to avoid picking up a third foul before the break.
"It's nice when you have a supporting cast making you look good," Bone said. "And tonight (Lacy's) supporting cast just wasn't very productive."
Lacy converted a breakaway layup in the first half to cut the Washington lead to nine, but Wilcox drilled a wide open 3-pointer to give the Huskies a 36-24 lead at the break.
Washington continued to maintain the cushion early in the second half despite the Cougars finding some offensive rhythm. Lacy made a 3-pointer to open the period. Royce Woolridge and Shelton followed with a pair of three-point plays to cut the lead to 40-33, but the Huskies countered every blow.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Friday, February 28, 2014 @ 2:28pm
By Brent Stecker
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the former Washington Huskies tight end and an NFL Draft prospect, underwent surgery to stabilize a stress fracture in his left foot Friday in North Carolina, according to CBS Sports.
Seferian-Jenkins was held out of athletic drills at the NFL scouting combine last weekend because he wasn't medically cleared after doctors discovered a pre-existing injury. He opted for surgery to repair the injury after deliberating with his family and agents, according to CBS Sports.
Recovery time is expected to be eight weeks for Seferian-Jenkins. The NFL Draft is less than 10 weeks away, on May 8.
Seferian-Jenkins won the 2013 Mackey Award, given annually to the best tight end in the NCAA. He's ranked third among tight ends and 45th overall on NFLDraftScout.com's prospect list.
Despite the injury, Seferian-Jenkins showed up to the combine in good shape. He measured in at 6-foot-5 and 262 pounds, which is 14 pounds less than he was listed on the Huskies' roster last season.
Saturday, February 22, 2014 @ 3:35pm
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - With a jumper, a 3-pointer and a layup in a row against Oregon State, Washington senior C.J. Wilcox busted out of his slump.
Wilcox, the Huskies' captain who was averaging 18.8 points a game, had finished three of the last four games in single digits. On Saturday, he finished with 23 in Washington's 86-62 rout of Oregon State.
He announced his return with the series of first-half baskets that sparked an 11-0 run and pulled Washington into a 30-25 lead that the Huskies never surrendered.
"It felt good," Wilcox said. "It's always nice to hit the shots you make."
With the outburst, Wilcox moved in front of Jon Brockman for second on the Huskies' all-time career points list with 1,814. Chris Welp (1984-87) holds the record with 2,073 career points.
The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak on the road and a two-game overall losing streak for Washington (15-13, 7-8 Pac-12), which was coming off a 78-71 loss at Oregon on Wednesday. It was the Huskies' final regular-season road game.
"I knew we were capable of doing it," Wilcox said about the decisive win in what has been a roller-coaster season. "It was just a matter of doing it the whole game."
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak at Gill Coliseum for the Beavers (14-12, 6-8), who were coming off a 76-75 overtime victory over Washington State on Thursday night.
Roberto Nelson, who led the Pac-12 with an average of 21 points per game, had 17 points to lead the Beavers. Oregon State trailed by as many as 25 points.
"We have every right to be stunned. That was a poor performance," Nelson said afterward.
The Huskies downed the Beavers 87-81 in Seattle in late January. In that game, freshman guard Nigel Williams-Goss had 32 points, an all-time high for a Washington freshman. He had added 14 points and 10 assists on Saturday against Oregon State.
Asked whether he takes more pleasure in the 32 points in the first game against the Beavers or the 10 assists in the last, Williams-Goss replied: "I get pleasure out of winning"
Angus Brandt hit a 3-pointer to put the Beavers up 17-13 midway through the first half, before Olaf Schaftenaar hit another to keep the Huskies at bay, 20-17. Nelson made consecutive layups and a free throw to put Oregon State up 25-19.
Wilcox answered for the Huskies with his breakout series _ a long jumper, a 3-pointer and a layup _ that sparked the 11-0 run capped by Andrew Andrews' jumper to give Washington a 30-25 lead.
"I think we just got comfortable or something like that," Brandt said. "We let our foot off the gas and it snowballed and we didn't reel it in."
The momentum stayed with Washington through the rest of the game and Wilcox pushed the margin to 42-31 with a late layup. The Huskies led 44-33 at the break.
Wilcox made a jumper that put the Huskies up 55-39 early in the second half and the game began to slip away for the Beavers. His alley-oop dunk pushed the lead to 59-40.
The Beavers rallied with a 9-2 run that narrowed the gap to 61-49. But Wilcox, with 14 points in the second half, consecutively hit a 3-pointer, a jumper and a dunk to put the Huskies up 80-55.
The Huskies play their last three games _ against Washington State, UCLA and USC _ at home before the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas.
Oregon State visits the Trojans and the Bruins before returning home to face Arizona State and No. 4 Arizona in the regular-season finale.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Friday, February 21, 2014 @ 3:03pm
By Danny O'Neil
INDIANAPOLIS – Run, don't walk to the NFL draft.
It was the best path for Bishop Sankey after his junior season at Washington for any number of reasons.
Bishop Sankey's predecessor, Chris Polk, was an example of the risk running backs take by returning to school. (AP)
Good. Better late than never is no way for a running back to approach the draft. Just ask Chris Polk, who could have left Washington after his junior season but chose to return in 2011 and then fell out of the draft entirely largely because of concerns about the condition of his shoulder.
That's not to say Polk made the wrong decision. Draft position is hardly the only concern when it comes to a choice about leaving college. In fact, it shouldn't necessarily be the most important concern.
But returning to school isn't going to help a running back's draft prospects, either. And for running backs, it can often hurt it given the punishment that is absorbed at that position. Sankey said Friday at the scouting combine that the concern over the physical toll of playing running back was a consideration.
"I think that may have played a small part," Sankey said. "It wasn't the main reason why I came out."
Just where he will be picked is an intriguing question. Last year, not a single running back was chosen in the first round, and in fact, there were only five picked over the first two rounds of the draft.
There's no consensus first-round pick among this year's class of running backs, either. Sankey is considered one of the top five backs available, though a bit below Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey and Auburn's Tre Mason.
Sankey is a physical, between-the-tackles runner with good lateral quickness, and is likely to be chosen in the first three rounds, which probably explains why he was right to be in a bit of a hurry to get to the NFL.
Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that only two running backs were chosen in the first four rounds of last year's draft.
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