NCF Nation: D'Andre Goodwin
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Reviewing the first half in South Bend, where Washington leads Notre Dame 17-16:
Turning point: Just when it seemed Notre Dame would go into the half with the lead, Jake Locker completed two long passes -- including a great catch in traffic by D'Andre Goodwin -- and Washington drilled a 40-yard field goal as time expired to regain the upper hand in a back-and-forth battle.
Best player in the half: Notre Dame's Golden Tate. He has a 67-yard touchdown catch in which he outsprinted three Huskies defenders and a 31-yard rush on a reverse. All told, he has 140 yards and is proving too difficult for Washington to contain.
What Notre Dame needs to do: Score touchdowns. The Irish had to settle for three points instead of seven on three different drives, which is why they're trailing instead of enjoying a comfortable lead. Washington's defense is leaving huge holes, and the Irish need to take advantage unless they want yet another game to go down to the last minute.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Every team enters spring practices with at least a couple of personnel questions, even those with their starting lineup returning nearly intact.
Sometimes those questions don't get answered. Other times they do.
Such as ...
Arizona: The Wildcats lost two of their three starting linebackers, but coach Mike Stoops said he believes they will be better at the position in 2009, with junior Vuna Tuihalamaka making a special impression in the middle this spring.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils lost middle linebacker Morris Wooten, but the LB position looks like it could run six-deep in 2009, particularly with the expected arrival of super-recruit Vontaze Burfict in the fall. The return of former starter Gerald Munns, who left the team for personal reasons, helps as does the emergence of young players whose speed upgrades are intriguing.
California: Not to get stuck on a linebacker theme, but most previews of the Bears will raise questions about them losing three longtime starters at linebacker. Hanging around this spring, however, you get the feeling this position will be fine. In fact, a couple of touted incoming JC transfers will make the fall competition intense. Look for Mike Mohamed and Mychal Kendricks to make a play for All-Conference honors.
Oregon: The Ducks lost three of four starting defensive linemen, including end Nick Reed, so this seemed like as big a question mark as the offensive line entering spring. Apparently not, at least according to coach Chip Kelly. Will Tukuafu should emerge from Reed's shadow as one of the conference's best ends, and tackle Brandon Bair and end Kenny Rowe stepped up. There's still competition at one tackle, but the Ducks' recruiting class included six defensive linemen, at least a couple of whom figure to see action.
Oregon State: The Beavers lost receivers Sammie Stroughter and Shane Morales, but by the end of spring that didn't seem like a problem, even with James Rodgers sitting out with a shoulder injury. Junior Darrell Catchings broke through and redshirt freshman Jordan Bishop lived up to high expectations and others flashed potential.
Stanford: The passing game -- on offense and defense -- has been a problem for Stanford. For the offense, redshirt freshman quarterback Andrew Luck was just short of spectacular this spring. For the defense, the insertion of Delano Howell at strong safety and Michael Thomas at cornerback upgrades the secondary's athleticism.
UCLA: The secondary began spring needing two new starters, but a handful of guys stepped up to complement cornerback Alterraun Verner and free safety Rahim Moore. While Aaron Hester and Glenn Love are the favorites to start at corner and strong safety, respectively, sophomores Courtney Viney and Tony Dye and redshirt freshman E.J. Woods will get extended looks in the fall.
USC: Lose three elite linebackers? Find three more. Malcolm Smith, Chris Galippo and Michael Morgan might not have the experience or pedigree of their predecessors, but they are faster and may end up being nearly as good.
Washington: A lot was made of how well quarterback Jake Locker adjusted to a pro-style offense this spring -- and rightfully so -- but that pro-style passing attack needs targets, so perhaps that part of the pass-catch equation is being undersold. D'Andre Goodwin, Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar give the Huskies three respectable receivers, and tight ends Kavario Middleton and Chris Izbicki are solid.
Washington State: One area where the Cougars have quality starters and quality depth is running back, with Dwight Tardy stepping up to the challenge of California transfer James Montgomery this spring, and Logwone Mitz and 220-pound Marcus Richmond adding depth.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Much of the talk during spring practices is about guys who are raising eyebrows, pushing for starting jobs or are on the cusp of breaking through.
Here are some of those guys.
Conan Amituanai, Arizona, OG: This 335-pound junior played well this spring and is expected to give the Wildcats flexibility up front as they fill some gaps. Most particularly, his emergence allows Mike Diaz to move out to left tackle, where he'd replace Eben Britton.
Clint Floyd, Arizona State, FS: This sophomore saw action in 2008 -- when he wasn't hurt -- and he's the guy who will replace the invaluable Troy Nolan.
Alex Lagemann, California, WR: Fellow receiver Marvin Jones got a lot of attention for his strong spring, but Lagemann also opened eyes. The sophomore could emerge if returning veterans don't rise to the challenge.
Eddie Pleasant, Oregon, LB: New coach Chip Kelly raved about his linebackers this spring, and Pleasant earned kudos for stepping in for the departed Jerome Boyd.
Suaesi Tuimaunei, Oregon State, S: The Beavers are rebuilding their secondary, with all four 2008 starters gone. While there are concerns at cornerback, Tuimaunei and sophomore Lance Mitchell are an upgrade athletically at the two safety spots, and some believe this position will be stronger next fall.
David DeCastro, Stanford, OG: This redshirt freshman earned good reviews and is almost certainly going to start on one of the guard spots.
Aaron Hester, UCLA, CB: Hester will need to show mental toughness because teams are going to target this redshirt freshman opposite Alterraun Verner.
Tyron Smith, USC, OT: The Trojans welcomed back all five 2008 starters on their offensive line. Smith wasn't one of them. The true sophomore is just too talented to sit.
Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington: The Huskies need a receiver to emerge to complement D'Andre Goodwin. Kearse, a sophomore, could be the guy. Or maybe it will be fellow sophomore Devin Aguilar. Or both.
Skyler Stormo, TE, Washington State: The redshirt freshman had the best spring of any Cougar at the position and caught a couple of passes in the spring game. Showed promise blocking, too.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
We had no idea who Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was at this time last year. Heck, he hadn't even signed, much less played for the Ducks.
Masoli didn't step out of the shadows, though. He was immaculately conceived.
We're thinking about guys taking the step up from being a good player to being a star player.
We're thinking about guys stepping out of the shadows and into the light and, to paraphrase the immortal words of Norma Desmond, saying, "All right, College GameDay, I'm ready for my close-up."
- WR Delashaun Dean: The junior will form a solid tandem with senior Terrell Turner. At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, he's got the size that makes things easy on a first-year starting quarterback. Caught 13 passes for 173 yards with two touchdowns in the Wildcats' season-ending wins over Arizona State and BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl.
- WR Kyle Williams: The senior ranked fourth in the nation in punt returns last season (17 yards per return) and sixth in the conference in all-purpose yards, but he needs to break out as a receiver in 2009. While he only ranked sixth on the Sun Devils with 19 receptions last year, four of those went four TDs and he averaged over 19 yards per catch.
- DE Cameron Jordan: He stepped into the starting lineup when Rulon Davis got hurt, and he didn't play like a sophomore. He finished with 11 tackles for a loss, four sacks and an interception. He and the underrated Tyson Aluala might be the best DE tandem in the Pac-10.
- FS T.J. Ward and DE Will Tukuafu: These two seniors played well last year but mostly in the shadows of rover Patrick Chung and DE Nick Reed. Ward led the Pac-10 in solo tackles (64) and is a lights-out hitter, while Tukuafu recorded 7.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for a loss (fifth most in the conference).
- LB Keaton Kristick: Sure, he was second-team All-Pac-10, but it sure was hard for a LB outside of USC to get much attention last season. Kristick, a senior, had 14 tackles for loss among his 82 total stops in 2008. He will lead an LB corps that should be the strength of a rebuilding defense in 2009.
- LB Chike Amajoyi: The junior regressed a bit last year after hanging up impressive numbers as a freshman, but he has all the physical tools to be an outstanding linebacker. He's expected to step in for Pat Maynor at weakside linebacker.
- FS Rahim Moore: Moore ranked fourth on the Bruins' defense last year with 60 tackles and tied for the team lead with three interceptions as a true freshman. There's no doubt who the Pac-10's best free safety is -- USC's Taylor Mays -- but Moore may be the second-best guy as a sophomore.
- WR Damian Williams: He's hardly unknown -- he was the Trojans' leading receiver last year -- but Williams was merely honorable mention All-Pac-10 in 2008. In 2009, the junior transfer from Arkansas will be the best receiver in the Pac-10.
- WR D'Andre Goodwin: Sure, he was the Huskies' leading receiver last year. But that's like being the leading scorer for the Washington Generals. But with a new pro-style offense being installed and the return of a healthy Jake Locker, Goodwin should see more balls and get more opportunities to show his stuff.
- LB Louis Bland: The undersized freshman -- he's listed at a cornerback-like 5-foot-10, 203 pounds -- was second on the team with nine tackles for loss, and he played a key role in the triumph over Washington in the Apple Cup. His quickness will make him a playmaker on the Cougars' defense in 2009.