By Brent Stecker
With a new regime for a college football program comes a fresh start, and that means for everybody.
The Washington Huskies’ veteran players are experiencing that exact fact in their first spring practices under head coach Chris Petersen and his staff, which they are now three-fifths of the way through.
For Danny Shelton, a senior defensive lineman from Auburn, he knows his job is far from guaranteed with an entirely new set of coaches in place.
“It’s basically fair game, so me being a senior, I could easily get my spot taken by a freshman or a sophomore,” Shelton said earlier this week. “You tend to get that when new coaches (are) switching and transitioning into a new system.”
The coaches themselves know full well that the players are thinking about what they have to do to impress them, too.
“It’s a new system and it’s a new coaching staff. You gotta take a new approach,” defensive line coach Jeff Choate said. “It’s now, ‘I gotta go show myself all over again and improve myself all over again.'”
The intensity of practices have started to ramp up, especially since the Huskies came back Tuesday from two weeks off.
“I think those guys were feeling us out for the first couple weeks,” Choate said. “We made it very clear what we expect when we came back from break, and I think they’ve responded extremely well.”
Even though the intensity is picking up, the defense is still keeping things simple being that it’s relatively early in the Petersen era.
“We’re trying to get fundamentals, lay that groundwork down, and at the same time, teaching them concepts,” defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said. “The minutiae, the detail, the fundamentals, that is where we’re spending a lot of time with these guys. And in that process, they’ve been awesome. Wide-eyed; the energy level’s there.”
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