Petersen kicks off first practice at Washington

Petersen kicks off first practice at Washington
New Washington head football coach Chris Petersen, right, blows his whistle on the first day of spring NCAA college football practice, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
SEATTLE -- Chris Petersen was hired as the new head football coach at the University of Washington in December. Since then, he's done everything but coach football.

That all changed when the Huskies opened spring practice on Tuesday.

"This is the normal part," Petersen said. "Once we get to coach the guys, once we get to practice, once we get to play, that's the stuff that everyone likes to do. That's why we're all here. Today felt really good."

The players agree. After losing one head coach and bringing in another, it's nice to just get back on the gridiron.

"It feels great," said wide receiver Jaydon Mickens. "Lifting, power cleaning and all that stuff is good, but playing football is what we all came here to do."

Playing football is the easy part for these guys, but the anticipation leading up to practice was not.

"We had no idea what this practice was going to be like; how we're going to stretch, what routes we're going to do, or how it's going to operate," said quarterback Jeff Lindquist. "I think it's nice to have the first one out of the way so we know what to look forward to. I think guys transitioned to it pretty well."

No one said that transition was easy, though. The Huskies, especially upperclassmen, were used to Steve Sarkisian's approach.

"I spent four years with the last staff," said offensive lineman Ben Riva. "At the end of the season, I started to feel like I was finally dialed in to exactly what they needed.

"Now, here come new coaches, and they're like, 'No, do it this way.' (That means) breaking old habits, and opening your mind and your heart to what (the new staff) has to say, and really trying to apply it on the field."

Today was the first of 15 spring practices, so this is just the start for the Huskies. They wrap-up drills with the spring game on April 19th, and then pickup practice again in the fall.