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What's goin' on: Washington spring practice begins

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March 28th marks the (relatively late) start to spring practice for the Huskies.

Taniela Tupou will be graduating, but otherwise the Dawgs lose few players.
Taniela Tupou will be graduating, but otherwise the Dawgs lose few players.
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports


Sorry again. He-Man doesn't know what's going on anyway. That's why he keeps on effing asking.

But here's our best take...

Let's begin with the early enrollees: UW has three freshmen who have been there since January - QB Daniel Bridge-Gadd, S Taylor Rapp, and DE Myles Rice. And although he wasn't enrolled in January, P Van Soderberg  graduated early from Capital High School in Olympia and enrolls spring quarter, making him eligible to participate. Other than that, DE Amandre Williams said at the time of his commitment that he planned on enrolling in January but for whatever reason that didn't happen. As of right now it's unknown if he's enrolling for spring quarter, but I'll update this as soon as we have an answer.
Update: Good news - Williams is listed on the spring 2016 roster, meaning he'll be taking part in practices this quarter.

Of these five, it seems that the most likely to see game time this season would be Soderberg and Rapp, the latter of whom hits like a semi-truck and had one of the best scores in the Husky Combine's pro agility test. Not bad for someone who's essentially a high school senior. And although the secondary is already stacked, SS Brian Clay is one of three departing seniors on the defense so it wouldn't surprise me for Rapp to be on the field in 2016 and maybe make the two deep by the end of the season. Less intriguing is Soderberg becoming the punter, which I think is almost certain; with 2015's Korey Durkee having graduated, the only competition would be Tristan Vizcaino, who already handles kick offs.

More things to consider...

Aside from the freshmen additions, some other things to follow include the saga of Jeff Lindquist. An Elite 11 alum out of Mercer Island High School, Lindquist was named the Semper Fi All-American Bowl MVP in the class of 2012 - this on a team that included DeForest Buckner, Jeremiah Allison, and Todd Gurley. Lindquist was supposed to be the quarterback of the future for UW when he enrolled. He was the local dual-threat who emanated everything Pacific Northwest: tough but understated, devoted to a place that is so often all but forgotten by the rest of the country.

And then he was beaten out by a quarterback from Colorado. And when that guy took a medical retirement, a bright record-setter from a northern California prep powerhouse battled his way into becoming the first true freshman quarterback to start a season opener in Husky history. And now we're here.

I'm about to digress. Apologies.

UW fans are generally quite happy that Jake Browning brings stability to the quarterback position for the first time since Keith Price. I am. But many, in the back of our minds, lamented that the local boy, who was amiable and whose loyalty never wavered in an era of constant transfers, never was able to earn the starting spot.

Enter good news for the locals' sentimental favorite - first arising as a rumor from the Husky Combine, it's now been confirmed on the Dawgs' spring roster that Lindquist has officially moved over to tight end. Who knows if he'll make any meaningful contributions there. Perhaps not. Though as I'm about to explore in, like, three sentences, the unreliability of pass catchers last season may present Lindquist with the opportunity to break through.

But before that, one last thought about Lindquist: some argue that his value lies solely in the sentimentality of his narrative, with the implication being that football isn't about sentimentality. Football is about winning. But the 2001 UW team that lost only one game and beat Drew Brees' Purdue in the Rose Bowl is now more remembered for a roster ridden with criminals than beating a future Hall of Fame quarterback. Depending on whom you ask, the Belichick-Brady dynasty is just as closely associated with the tuck rule, Spygate, and Deflategate as it is with their six Super Bowl appearances. (On a separate note, can we please stop applying "-gate" to every scandalous-ish incident? It's getting old.)

As much as we like to think otherwise, winning is a detail. We remember the resilience of Marshall's 1971 football team. They went 2-8. Warren Moon's success as a pioneering black quarterback. Jake Locker being the sole beacon of light for a team going through its worst stretch in program history. Deontae Cooper's persistence in the face of multiple season-ending injuries. (Good luck at SJ St., Coop! The purple and gold love you!) Heck, Washington State's fans are some of the most devoted people in all of sports, in spite of (or because of) their roller coaster history that's left them with an all-time record not even at .500. And if you do win while being someone worth rooting for, there exists a whole new sphere. Hence the scale of reactions to Manning or Lynch or Megatron or Hasselbeck's retirement, or the cult of Don James, or the background of Kevin Hogan vs. Notre Dame.

In short: however he contributes, on or off the field, I'll be rooting for Jeff.

Whew, that was a bit longer than I expected. And yeah, so I lied that this next bit was only three sentences away.

More 'more things to consider'...

Lindquist may or may not be a TE now, but that won't make or break the TE/receiving corps. What will is whether new receivers coach Bush Hamdan is more effective than 2015's Coach Pease. (God I hope so.) Particularly in cases of blocking and dropped passes (but not to discount the general lack of separation) the receiving corps in 2015 was... underwhelming. That being said, there have been glimpses of individual talent. Like this. Then again, I look forward to a day where the route running is consistently good enough to not need crazy plays like that.

But seriously: Browning and the O-line kept improving over last season, and the off-season strength training for Browning should improve the zip off his passes, something that was understandably mediocre in 2015. The running game also is becoming a constant distraction for opposing defenses. This means that, really, the receivers only need to become average in order for the passing game to function consistently. And it really does seem like there's talent buried underneath the drops.

Speaking of the O-line...

What's the ceiling on Trey Adams' glorious mullet? Does it go to 11? Is it really insured for $3.4 million? Stay tuned for more hard-hitting journalism, here at Pacific Takes.

'Til next time: do good things; don't do bad things. Go Huskies. Bow down.