1. What were the core questions that you had hoped would be answered by Spring Practice? Were conclusions reached?
The biggest question was -- and still is -- who would end up earning the starting QB job. No conclusion was reached, and it's as much a question now as it was before Spring began; Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams have both had their ups and downs, while Cyler Miles (who is the most "Chris Petersen-y" of the three) still remains suspended.
(CGB Note: Since answering this question, Miles was officially reinstated to the team.)
2. Any major style changes coming our way in the fall? New offense or defense installed?
Despite the coaching change, the offensive and defensive schemes aren't changing too much. First time offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith (you may remember him from his time quarterbacking the Beavers) has opted to continue with a spread no huddle attack, while defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski coached under Justin Wilcox at Boise State.
3. What players emerged on offense? On defense?
James Ato'e on the offensive line looks like he might overtake somebody for a starting spot, despite all five starters returning. Darrell Daniels has made the transition from WR to TE and looks like he could become a real weapon to replace Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Cory Littleton and Travis Feeney on the edges of the defensive front are guys that played a ton as underclassmen, and should be ready to take the next step.
4. What are your biggest worries coming out of spring ball for the fall?
The QB position. Chris Petersen has a pretty good track record here, so I wouldn't say it's a worry too much, but as long as it's unsettled there's going to be some anxiety.
The other thing is finding the three guys to play in the secondary with Marcus Peters. Right now it seems like there are a lot of Indians but no chiefs, as nobody has really stepped up and laid claim to those spots.
5. Project your season. Contender? Pretender? Middle of the pack?
I see a contender. With the talent the Huskies have returning and looking at the schedule, I see 12 of 13 games where the huskies could be favorites. Of the perceived toughest games on the schedule -- Stanford, Oregon, UCLA, and Arizona State -- only Oregon is played away from Husky Stadium. This is a team that has everything set up for them to win double digit games.
6. Any frosh you can't wait to get on campus?
Budda Baker, defensive back out of Bellevue High. The Huskies have vacancies in the secondary, and Baker has the potential to step in and start from the first game of the year.
7. Who will you miss the most from last season? Who will be stepping up to fulfill those shoes?
It's tough to choose between Keith Price -- the most productive QB in program history -- and Bishop Sankey -- the most productive RB in program history -- but I lean toward Sankey. If Sankey had come back for his senior year with all five of his offensive linemen also coming back he'd likely be a first team All American and in Heisman conversations.
Replacing him is likely going to be a committee of backs. Lavon Coleman, Jesse Callier, Dwayne Washington, and Deontae Cooper are vying for carries but as of yet nobody has separated themselves in a meaningful way.
8. Any particular Pac12 match-up/rivalry you are looking forward to this Fall?
Not particularly. UW has long losing streaks to both Oregon and ASU that would be nice to end, but there's no one game on the schedule I'm looking forward to above the others.
9. What are the specific injury concerns coming out of this spring?
The team stayed pretty healthy through Spring, with no new major injuries. Kasen Williams continues to recover from his broken leg he suffered during the 2013 season, but all accounts are that he should be back by the start of the season. The receiving corps is pretty thin so getting the #1 guy back is a must, but with as weak as UW's nonconference schedule is (Hawaii, Illinois, Georgia State and Eastern Washington) they can ease him along if he's not 100% to start the year.
I would lump "suspension concerns" in here as well. Damore'ea Stringfellow and Cyler Miles are both still away from the team, and prior to their suspensions you could have penciled both in as opening day starters for 2014. Stringfellow will be watching some games from the bench, but it's still a matter of debate whether Miles will or not
10. Based on what you've seen, who is ready to take a major leap this fall?
Hau'oli Kikaha, not so much in his play, but in his recognition. He enters the season as the nation's returning sacks leader from a year ago with 13, which is something that I didn't even realize until recently. If there was contact to QB's allowed in UW's spring game, he would have had in the neighborhood of 4 sacks, and he seems poised to have an even bigger year this season than last.
11. What do you need to see in Chris Petersen's first year to consider him a good hire?
I would like to see him continue the upward trend set by his predecessor. With seven returning starters on both sides of the ball, top end talent defensively, solid depth at most positions, and a Charmin-soft nonconference slate the ingredients are there for the 2014 team to have an uptick in the win column from 2013. If they can get there, I'll be happy. If they don't, I'm going to have some questions.
12. Did Chris Petersen do anything during the spring to change your assessment of his hire?
Nope. So far he has been exactly who we thought he would be.
13. Whom do you want to punch in the face?
Eight game conference schedules.