Kasen Williams stopped his route along the sideline, elbowed a defender out of the way and hauled in a Keith Price pass near the end zone during Washington’s first practice of fall camp Monday afternoon.
Price, UW’s senior quarterback, also connected early and often with his other favorite target, 6-foot-6, 276-pound tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Williams, a junior receiver, and Seferian-Jenkins both practiced with the first-string offense after offseason arrests for alcohol-related incidents. Whether the Huskies’ top two pass-catchers are on the field to start UW’s season opener against Boise State on Aug. 31 remains unknown.
UW coach Steve Sarkisian reiterated Monday that he wouldn’t announce a decision before Aug. 31, though he appears hesitant, at the very least, to enforce further punishment on Seferian-Jenkins or Williams.
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“This has nothing to do with gamesmanship,” Sarkisian said. “This how we deal with all of our disciplinary actions on our football team.”
Seferian-Jenkins, 20, pleaded guilty to a drunken-driving charge and served one night in an Issaquah jail last month. Williams, 20, paid a fine for a misdemeanor citation after being pulled over in Chelan County in May. He blew a .059 during a Breathalyzer test, which is under the legal limit of .08 but over the limit of .02 allowable for anyone under 21.
“It’s tough because I built up an image to the public, and I worked so hard on building that image,” Williams said in his first public comments since the incident. “My mom raised me very well, and my dad as well, and it’s a bad reflection on them. But it’s over with, and I definitely learned from it and I never want to be in that situation again.”
Williams, who led UW with 77 receptions and six touchdowns last season, addressed teammates during two separate workouts after the incident.
“It was terrible. It was really bad,” he said of having to address teammates. “I never wanted to be in that situation, and I don’t ever want to be in that situation again. And I told the team that….
“It can be anybody,” he told teammates. “It can be anybody, no matter safe you think you’re being or how you think you’re being, it can happen to anyone at any time. And I told them not to (drink and drive). There’s no reason to, there’s no point to. We have too many positive things ahead of us, and there’s no reason … to risk it.”
Seferian-Jenkins is expected to address the media after practice Tuesday.
The Huskies spent most of the afternoon inside the new Husky Stadium, their first practice there since the stadium’s $261 million renovation, which is nearly completed.
“It was so awesome,” Sarkisian said. “I intentionally came out really early just to kind of get my fix of looking around and taking it all in. It was great to be home.”
It was also the media’s first official look inside the new stadium. For the first 20 minutes of practice, photographers were allowed to photograph the team and the stadium from the field level.
UW worked on deep passing drills throughout the practice, which Sarkisian said is a point of emphasis this season. Price connected with Jaydon Mickens for one long, diving reception, and redshirt freshman quarterback Cyler Miles was sharp late in practice, hitting receiver Marvin Hall for several long plays.
“It was good. Just like anything, we’ve got work to do,” Sarkisian said of the offense. “We had a couple procedural penalties. …There’s definitely some work to be done, but I was encouraged.”
Backs are back
Cooper, who has had three anterior cruciate ligament tears in his knees, participated in one team drill and said he smiled when he got his first carry.
“I’m just happy to be on a field, man,” he said. “We could be on concrete and I’d be happy.”
Callier was UW’s starting tailback last season before suffering his season-ending knee injury in the season opener against San Diego State.
“I felt like I got a lot of good reps in,” he said Monday. “It just feels good to be out there with my team again.”
Three other players coming back from ACL tears — offensive lineman Colin Tanigawa and defensive tackles Hau’oli Jamora and Lawrence Lagafuaina — also suited up Monday.
Starting linebacker Travis Feeney practiced after missing spring ball following shoulder surgery.
In other injury news, offensive tackle Erik Kohler, trying to come back from a knee injury, hurt his foot late in the summer and will be “extremely” limited in fall camp, Sarkisian said.
• Offensive tackles Ben Riva and Micah Hatchie have switched sides, with Riva moving to left tackle and Hatchie shifting to the right. “Not to take anything away from Micah, I just think Ben is really evolving into a guy with the potential to be a relatively elite left tackle, and we want to give him that opportunity,” Sarkisian said.
• Tight end Evan Hudson has moved to defensive end and spent much of Monday working with the first-string defense.
• Derrick Brown, Price’s primary backup at quarterback last season, has shifted to a fullback/H-back role.
• Linebacker Cooper Pelluer has been “medically disqualified” from the team and linebacker Evan Zeger has retired from UW.
• Freshman offensive lineman Coleman Shelton has been added to the roster after initially planning to grayshirt.
• Walk-on punter Zach Grossnickle has been added to UW roster after transferring from Colorado. Wide receiver Caleb Taylor, a freshman from King’s High School, has also been added to the roster as a walk-on.
• Defensive linemen Jaimie Bryant of Tumwater and Andrew Basham of Lynnwood will grayshirt. Sarkisian said Basham still has some academic hurdles to clear before being enrolled in school.