No. 1 offense gets close to the end zone but can't break through in final team period.
The Huskies were back on the east field for their fifth practice of fall camp Tuesday afternoon — their first practice in full pads.
Here are some news, notes and observations:
We had our first skirmish of camp.
It happened during an 8-on-7 drill, and it was a lively period. In full pads, linemen got a chance to knock into each other at full speed and defenders got a chance to hit running backs for the first time.
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It was only a small skirmish, and it came after left guard Luke Wattenberg was shoving LB Kyler Manu a bit after the whistle. Manu pushed back and several other players from each side got in the mix, and a little more pushing and shoving ensued. It was quickly broken up.
During the drill, freshman LB Jackson Sirmon had the hit of the day when he flattened RB Kamari Pleasant in the backfield, drawing the loudest cheers from the defense. On another play, Sirmon and Ariel Ngata combined on a tackle for loss.
The No. 1 offense, which as always was matched up for each team period against the No. 1 defense, has yet to score a touchdown in camp.
It got close Tuesday.
In the final team period, junior WR Quinten Pounds out-jumped sophomore CB Byron Murphy to haul in a 30-yard pass from Jake Browning to convert on third-and-12. That set up a first down at the defense’s 15-yard line, the closest the No. 1 offense has gotten to the end zone through five days.
But the offense was stalled after its fourth-and-1 run with sophomore RB Sean McGrew, who was stuffed behind the line, and the defense ran off in celebration.
There were three turnovers on the day: Senior CB Jordan Miller stripped a reserve running back (couldn’t tell which one) and returned the fumble some 20 yards for a touchdown. (After the play, it appeared Chris Petersen nullified the turnover because Miller had hit the running back when that was prohibited.)
Elijah Molden had his third interception of camp, this off of freshman QB Jacob Sirmon, and walk-on CB Dustin Bush added another one against Jake Haener.
The defense overall, and the secondary in particular, continues to make life difficult for the quarterbacks. It’s worth noting: In 2016, the offense didn’t score a touchdown until the end of the first week of camp … and that Browning-led offense went on to set a UW record for points scored in a season (with 585).
“Every year those guys (in the secondary) are locked and loaded, and it’s great to go after them,” offensive coordinator and QB coach Bush Hamdan said. “But I just think the mentality in that (QB) room better be, hey, they’re going to outwork those guys every day and go compete. I hope we keep talking about the DB room, because I think they need to keep hearing that, but that was something in ’16 we made sure of that we were going to get the equal amount of talk.”
Run it up
Running backs Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed, who got limited touches during the first four practices, each had their most productive day of camp.
Gaskin broke through to the second level on his first two carries of the team period. Haven’t seen much of that again this defense in camp. On the next play, Browning completed a pass to TE Drew Sample for a first down. On the fourth play of the drive, Ahmed broke through the line for a gain of about 15 yards.
Haven’t mentioned McGrew much, but he’s had a nice camp and is looking to solidify his role as the No. 3 running back. He’s had more carries than any of the backs so far.
Odds and ends
— For the second day in a row, senior LT Trey Adams got a few early reps with the No. 1 offense during team periods, and then gave way to junior Henry Roberts for the rest of the team reps.
— A good day for the kickers: Peyton Henry made three of his four field-goal tries — all in the 30- to 35-yard range — and Van Soderberg made all four of his from the same spots.
— Despite Molden’s interception, Sirmon had perhaps his best day in a Husky uniform, and he’s looked more and more comfortable each day. During his first team period, he had consecutive completions to freshman WR Austin Osborne and Chico McClatcher, but the drive stalled when he threw too high near the end zone.
— WR Ty Jones made a leaping grab off a Haener pass along the right sideline, but the play was called off after Jones was flagged for offensive pass interference on Molden.
— The Bowman brothers had a nice day: Senior DL Shane Bowman had a touch sack of Browning and another TFL, and OLB Ryan Bowman later had a TFL of Pleasant.
— During 7-on-7, freshman TE Devin Culp made a terrific catch as he fell onto his back near the left sideline, hauling in a 30-yard pass from Jacob Eason over the coverage of walk-on CB Zechariah Brown.
— Austin Joyner, Jared Pulu and Jordan Chin remain sidelined.