UW Spring Practice No. 13 Marked by Pete, Beat and Bizarre

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The 13th and final University of Washington spring football practice in a regular mode came and went on Monday, with the Huskies spending two and a half hours in Dempsey Indoor, wisely anticipating the weather, which went from sunny at the outset to a torrential downpour by the end.

All that remains for Jedd Fisch’s team is basically a walk-through session on Wednesday, that is open to the public, in advance of the spring game on Friday night in Husky Stadium that is expected to draw a large gathering.

While practice No. 13 was fairly routine much of the time, luminaries again were in attendance, with one of the world’s richest men, former Microsoft CEO and current Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Balmer, standing behind a Dempsey end zone and watching the activity alongside former Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

Later, Carroll kiddingly was told how he looked familiar: Wasn’t he that Pacific safety that played in Husky Stadium in 1972?

Impressed by this reporters’s recall, Carroll told how he was disappointed in having a chance meeting with the great UW quarterback Sonny Sixkiller in the tunnel only to find out he was injured and not playing in that game. Otherwise, it was a memorable experience for the defensive back turned Super Bowl-winning coach.

“We almost beat them,” Carroll said of a 13-6 defeat to the Huskies 52 years ago.


The Huskies run through a Dempsey Indoor practice.

Even in dealing with their only Monday practice of the spring, made to line up the schedule with the Friday spring game, the Huskies came out with plenty of energy, fueled by music played over a sound system as loud as possible. To begin warm-ups, a team disc jockey, or deejay, spun a couple of heavy beat songs arranged by musician Kirk Franklin and called “Revolution” and “Stomp” that had players and coaches breaking out in little dances, even normally stoic place-kicker Grady Gross.

At one point, three coaches and/or staffers got together and face-timed someone, presumably a recruit, and let that person hear the practice music and see them gyrating and having fun to the music. The message: UW football is a happening place.

Meantime, the Huskies were putting finishing touches on their offense, with quarterbacks Will Rogers and Demond Wiliams Jr. repeatedly firing passes downfield or handing off in a hurry-up fashion.

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Players move from dril to drill with the Dempsey Indoor lakeside doors open.

The most amazing play of the afternoon came when converted tight end Owen Coutts was doing a crossing pattern, running to his left, and a Williams pass hit him in the hands, bounced away and wide receiver Keith Reynolds, running to the right, zipped past almost on cue, snatched the ball out of the air, raced up the sideline and scored on a play that covered 40 yards, as if it was all planned.

While Reynolds, a redshirt freshman and noted speedster from Adelanto, California, ran back to the huddle laughing and accepting slaps on the back for the bizarre play, Coutts was beside himself, clapping his hands in frustration for not making the catch. He’s a walk-on who was encouraged to change positions after spring ball got started to give him a chance to play, so any mistakes won’t help his cause.

Yet the 6-foot-4, 217-pound Coutts, a big man who can really run, redeemed himself a few minutes later when he slipped behind the Husky defensive backs, made a difficult catch on the dead run and scored from 40 yards, as well.

For the latest UW football and basketball news, go to si.com/college/washington

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