April 23, 2005
A 41-yard field goal in the fourth quarter by Evan Knudson was the lone score of the 2005 Husky Spring Game as the Purple team downed the Gold team 3-0 in front of 5,000 fans at Husky Stadium on Saturday. Despite the low score of the game, Head Coach Tyrone Willingham was not overly concerned. Willingham is more concerned about improving between now and the season opener against Air Force on Sept. 3.
"Overall, the biggest concern I have walking off the field is our transition from practice to game," says Willingham. "We have to play a lot faster and a lot more assertive. I think some of that is due to the fact that is a new system. Not making excuses, but it is a new system so therefore you are not getting the same fluidness that you have if you've done it over and over. We've got to bridge that gap because the season will be a lot faster than the game."
"The game was indicative of what we've consistently said all spring," continues Willingham. "We see some good plays and then we see some plays where some things were missed, reads were missed, throws didn't get made. That is the same with protection, same with our route running, same with our backs. We're fighting and battling to see if we can get to the point where I don't say those things."
The game consisted of four 12-minute quarters and was completed in just over an hour and a half. There were only two scoring threats during the afternoon as the defense remained stout for the majority of the game. The four quarterbacks were in yellow jerseys and off limits to tackling, leading to a combined 10 touch-sacks by both squads.
Spring started with the starting quarterback job up in the air and will end in the same state. Sophomore Johnny DuRocher statistically led the quarterbacks, completing 8-of-12 passes for 75 yards for the Gold squad. Carl Bonnell and Isaiah Stanback each completed 4-of-6 passes and 51 and 49 yards respectively for the Purple team.
"The quarterbacks are still battling," says Willingham. "It's still very tight and it's difficult to distinguish who did that much better than the other young men out there. That's why there's no pecking order."
Quarterback isn't the only position that jobs remained unsettled. With several of last year's regulars out due to injuries, there are still many questions as the Huskies search for their identity and a solidified depth chart as fall camp nears.
With starting linebackers Joe Lobendahn and Scott White out of the game, it gave others a chance to shine. Walkon Brian Tawney led all defenders with seven tackles for the Purple team, while Kyle Trew led the Gold team with six tackles, including two tackles for a loss.
No new injuries emerged from the Spring Game and for Willingham that was not only good news, but a goal.
"We want to be able to start this next period of training healthy," says Willingham. "I think for the most part we're going to start it that way. There was another goal in mind and that is to have a healthy football team because that serves us better for the fall."
Besides entering fall relatively healthy, another way Willingham and the Huskies will make strides between now and fall is by staying in Seattle during the summer and working out.
"We can't get better unless we work together, talk together, unless we spend that time together," says Willingham. "I'm hopeful that all our guys will be here this summer."
Durocher shared Willingham's sentiment and believes that most players will stick around Seattle to work out together.
"I think we've got to get a lot of guys to stay here and a lot of them are," says Durocher about his summer plans. "It's not enough just to stay here, we've got to get stuff done. The attitude with these guys is that they want to stick around and it's not like we're forcing them to be here. We've got the right attitude and then it becomes fun in the summer."