The Washington defense snared five interceptions on Friday, but the offense did break through with its first touchdown during team drills of fall camp.
Chris Petersen kicked off his post-practice interview Friday with something of a riddle.
“On one phase — offense, defense, special teams — one phase is looking pretty good, and the other two we’ve got some work to do,” the fifth-year Washington head coach said. “You guys watch practice so I’ll let you figure out which side looks good and where we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
OK, no one said it was a good riddle, and this one’s pretty easy to unwind. The UW defense again dominated Friday, as four players snagged a total of five interceptions. The leader in that category was true freshman defensive back Julius Irvin, who added a pair of picks to an already impressive fall camp. The first interception came early in practice, when the 6-foot-1, 183-pound Irvin jumped a short out-route from quarterback Jacob Sirmon and galloped untouched along the sideline for a touchdown. Irvin victimized Sirmon again on an eerily similar play roughly an hour later.
“He’s been doing a nice job,” Peterson said of Irvin. “So has (freshman cornerback) Kyler Gordon. I don’t see a difference with all three of those (freshman defensive backs, Dominique Hampton being the third). “Those guys are all playing at a really good level. Those are fun guys to watch, but those are guys we’re really playing close attention to.”
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Defensive backs Taylor Rapp and Byron Murphy and linebacker Jake Wambaugh picked up the Husky defense’s other three interceptions. On the flip side, Sirmon finished with three interceptions, while Jake Browning and Colson Yankoff had one each.
The good news, for Washington’s offense, is that there actually was good news. The offense scored a touchdown against the defense in team drills for the first time in six open practices, as senior tailback Myles Gaskin capped a 71-yard march with a 2-yard touchdown plunge up the gut on the final drive of the day.
Of course, that plunge wouldn’t have been possible if not for a pair of fourth-down conversions. Earlier in the drive, Gaskin took a carry along the right side for a 2-yard gain on fourth-and-one, and Browning later scrambled for a 12-yard gain on fourth-and-11. He also completed an 18-yard strike across the middle to wide receiver Andre Baccellia to move the chains.
Odds and ends
— The offense’s most impressive play of the day came via redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Haener, who lofted an arcing 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ty Jones in a two-minute drill. The 6-4, 209-pound Jones used his size and leaping ability to sky over the smaller Elijah Molden, box him out and pull it in.
Browning also found wide receiver Alex Cook along the left sideline for an acrobatic catch and a 45-yard gain, but the play was wiped out because of a penalty.
— Senior left tackle Trey Adams participated in team reps for roughly half of the practice Friday before being replaced by junior Henry Roberts. The 6-8, 316-pound Adams is being eased back into the rotation while recovering from a knee injury that ended his 2017 season.
— Defensive lineman Greg Gaines and outside linebackers Benning Potoa’e and Myles Rice were all productive Friday, repeatedly penetrating the offensive line and picking up a sack apiece.
— Wide receiver Quinten Pounds, Baccellia and Gaskin were the designated kick returners Friday.