The volume of the music was lower, the attention to detail heightened when Washington kicked off the Chris Petersen era with its first spring practice Tuesday.
“The coaching staff’s way different,” senior center Mike Criste said after the 2-hour, 15-minute workout in the Dempsey Indoor Facility, adding: “(They) are a lot more focused on the tiny, tiny, tiny details instead of the big picture.”
For new offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith, those tiny, tiny, tiny details at the start of the 8 a.m. practice involved him diving onto his belly on the FieldTurf, in slow motion, to recover a fumbled ball. Smith then offered a step-by-step movement of how to secure the ball on the ground as his two quarterback pupils, Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams, watched a few yards away.
Smith then rolled the ball away as the young quarterbacks took turns sliding and recovering the fumble.
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As Smith and the new UW staff evaluate the quarterbacks — and everyone, for that matter — every detail, it seems, will matter.
“We’re expecting mistakes to be made so we can learn them, and we got, I’m sure, some of them today,” said Smith, also the quarterbacks coach. “It’s not going to be knee-jerk reactions off one or two days. It’s going to be a long process.”
Petersen had promised that a vast majority of spring would be dedicated to the basics, and that certainly held true Tuesday.
“A lot of this is fundamentals, kind of getting comfortable with the playbook and the new staff and the new operation of the team,” said Lindquist, the sophomore from Mercer Island.
“At first, guys were kind of shocked at how sudden the transition was (in December),” Lindquist added. “But once we got settled with the new guys and working with the strength coaches … it’s felt pretty comfortable for most of us.”
Lindquist and Williams, a redshirt freshman, looked comfortable at times during team drills. At other times, they were inconsistent and out of sorts. That’s to be expected on the first day of spring for two young quarterbacks whose reps were limited last fall.
“Way too early to really evaluate. I thought they threw some good passes and threw some bad passes,” Petersen said of the quarterbacks. “But that’s why we’re out here working.”
As the only two quarterbacks participating in spring, at least for now, they will split reps 50-50, Smith said. Sophomore Cyler Miles, the projected starter for 2014, remains suspended.
““It’s just the situation we’ve been put in,” Lindquist said, “so we’re going to do the best we can and see what happens.”
So thin at quarterback are the Huskies that former UW great Damon Huard, now the program’s chief administrative offer, stepped in during one drill to lob some passes to receivers.
As spring rolls on, Smith will try to limit the quarterbacks’ use, so as not to overtax their arms.
“In a lot of ways, it’s a real positive,” Smith said. “It’s a lot of turns for those guys to get, a lot of chances for them to go through the reads and all of that. We look at it as a positive.”
UW senior linebacker John Timu, a two-year team captain, has been suspended for the first two weeks of spring practices, Petersen announced Tuesday, eight days after Timu appeared in King County court to face a misdemeanor charge of a vehicle prowling.
The charge stemmed from incidents on campus last fall, when Timu admitted to stealing two E8 parking passes from two UW athletic department employees. Timu then sold the parking passes to teammates Josh Shirley and Erik Kohler, according to a UW police report.
Timu admitted to stealing the parking passes “because he needed the money very badly,” according to the report.
Last week, a King County judge deferred the charges, which will be dismissed in 12 months if Timu stays out of further legal trouble, among other conditions, according to court records. Timu was ordered to spend two days on a work crew and ordered to pay $500 in restitution — $250 each to Shirley and Kohler. He was also ordered to pay $150 in court fees and issued a no contact order with two UW employees.
“John is doing what he has to do for what he did, and he’s trying to put it behind him,” said Michael Hunsinger, Timu’s attorney. The incident, Hunsinger added, “is totally out of character for him.”
Kohler, an offensive lineman who opted to take a medical retirement from the program in December, said he does not hold a grudge against Timu.
“Timu is a great guy,” Kohler said. “This isn’t a reflection of who he is.”
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364
On Twitter: @a_jude