Andre Baccellia made perhaps the offensive play of the spring on Monday.
Late in Washington’s 12th April practice, quarterback Jacob Eason took a snap, looked to his right and lofted a deep ball in Baccellia’s direction along the sideline. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder — who was running step-for-step with redshirt freshman cornerback Kyler Gordon — stuck his right hand out in front of his body.
Luckily, the football stuck.
The one-handed grab — and the perfect touch pass that made it possible — resulted in a roughly 40-yard gain for the offense. Baccellia pulled the ball into his body before his momentum carried the streaking senior out of bounds.
On the whole, Eason completed 13 of 20 passes during 11-on-11 scrimmage drills Monday. The 6-6, 228-pound junior was particularly sharp on his final two drives, completing 10 of 12 passes while orchestrating a pair of sustained marches into enemy territory. It’s worth noting that one of those incompletions was a drop by tight end Cade Otton.
Eason’s final drive ended with a 1-yard Salvon Ahmed touchdown run, the only score the offense registered during team drills.
Eason struggled to find his mark early on, completing just three of his first eight passes before finally catching fire late.
Sophomore quarterback Jake Haener — who received the team’s first starting snaps during scrimmage drills Monday — also struggled to sustain drives, completing 6 of 13 passes without a touchdown or an interception. And in his only series with the starters, redshirt freshman Jacob Sirmon completed just 1 of 3 passes and nearly threw an interception to early enrollee freshman Cameron Williams, who jumped a route across the middle.
Sirmon later threw the only interception of the day in a seven-on-seven drill when cornerback Kyler Gordon anticipated a crossing route and cut in front of the receiver.
Here are some non-quarterback observations from practice Monday.
A freshman in the starting lineup?
Believe it (for now).
Early enrollee freshman safety Cameron Williams — who Husky head coach Chris Petersen has previously called his most impressive player this spring — lined up with the starters when the defense was in frequently-used nickel coverage Monday. Junior Brandon McKinney was the other starter, which moved senior Myles Bryant back to nickelback and Elijah Molden to corner. The other starting corner was Keith Taylor, and talented freshmen cornerbacks Kyler Gordon and Dominique Hampton worked with the second team.
The 6-0, 185-pound Williams made the most of his opportunities, nearly intercepting a crossing route from Sirmon and sprinting from the middle of the field to the sideline to break up a deep ball from Eason that was intended for wide receiver Terrell Bynum.
After Williams and Molden combined to bat the ball away, defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake sprinted over from the opposite end of the field, yelling, “Way to go, Cam! Hell yeah, 1-6!”
Lake emphasized after practice that the coaching staff is simply continuing to rotate different players into different spots … but Williams’ debut appearance in the starting unit is noteworthy nonetheless.
Washington’s experienced starting offensive line probably allowed more pressure than it would like Monday. A blitzing Myles Bryant earned a sack of Haener on the first play of team drills, and redshirt freshman linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio and sophomore outside linebacker Joe Tryon each earned sacks off the edge as well. Haener wasn’t the only victim, as Eason was repeatedly flushed out of the pocket and also took a sack where he was essentially engulfed by the Husky defensive linemen.
Further down the depth chart, junior outside linebacker Myles Rice earned a sack of redshirt freshman quarterback Colson Yankoff during an 11-on-11 drill.
The following players did not practice Monday because of an injury: wide receivers Aaron Fuller, Ty Jones, Quinten Pounds and Fatu Sua-Godinet, defensive lineman Jacob Bandes, offensive linemen Troy Fautanu and Matteo Mele and running back Jamyn Patu.
Safety Julius Irvin, center Nick Harris, defensive linemen Levi Onwuzurike and Sama Paama and linebacker Miki Ah You were all limited.
Harris — who has been limited with a minor injury throughout the spring — did take the majority of the starting reps at the center position in team drills, but sophomore Cole Norgaard spelled him late in practice.
— Senior wide receiver Chico McClatcher took some reps with the starting unit Monday, the second practice with media availability where we’ve seen him crack the top rotation.
— Aaron Fuller (who technically didn’t practice), Terrell Bynum and Myles Bryant caught kickoffs.
— Incoming freshman walk-on cornerback and Seattle O’Dea High School standout Mishael Powell attended practice again Monday, as did recently departed UW tight end Drew Sample.
— With Cameron Williams working with the starting unit, junior Isaiah Gilchrist — who has also played cornerback and nickel this spring — was back with the second team at safety, beside converted wide receiver Alex Cook.