Devon Butler had reservations about the Huskies’ first practice in pads on Saturday.
He didn’t know how the first hit would affect him or if he’d be back to normal after he fully recovered from a gunshot wound that threatened his life last April.
That first hit came and went, and Butler found out that nothing is different.
“I was a little anxious about today. I was curious about being in it and going through it,” Butler said. “Nothing has really changed. Still the same motions, I still have the same reactions to a lot of stuff, so I felt good.”
Things are getting back to normal for Butler. The first-string middle linebacker’s practice was highlighted by a diving deflection of a Jordan Lynch pass followed by an interception just a few minutes later.
“Chandler [Harnish] used to kill me with that little stick route they run, but I jumped on it, and it fell into my hands,” Butler said. “I’m real confident right now.”
Nobody is going easy on Butler, either. He was forced to do extra conditioning after practice because he was late for a meeting.
“I know it’ll benefit me in the long run,” Butler said with a slight smile, “but I’ve got to be on time.”
The Huskies went through four possessions starting at the 50-yard line at the end of the practice, with officials spotting the ball after each play.
The first string offense scored on one of their two possessions, with Tommylee Lewis making a diving catch in the end zone. Lewis received first-team reps throughout practice.
The second string offense, led by redshirt freshman quarterback Matt McIntosh, didn’t fare so well. It mustered a first down on its second drive but nothing more. As expected, the defense looks much deeper and more polished than the offense.
Both Tim Semisch and Luke Eakes made several nice catches, and coach Dave Doeren singled them out as having good days. Doeren was also happy with defensive ends Sean Progar and Alan Baxter.
Quotable: “We had good energy. We started blitzing a little bit today, and that changed things against the offense. I thought some of the receivers made some nice plays.” – Doeren