Quentin Moore and Jalen McMillan were busy Monday.
Washington’s 12th practice of the spring was by far the best for the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Moore — a sophomore junior college tight end — who snared a pair of touchdown catches and piled up impressive plays. The touchdowns came on back-to-back plays in a 7-on-7 drill, with graduate transfer quarterback Patrick O’Brien leading the UW offense.
O’Brien first found Moore up the seam for a 10-yard score, then hit Moore’s back shoulder for an athletic and contested grab from 5 yards out.
The O’Brien-to-Moore connection paid dividends again in an 11-on-11 scrimmage drill, when the quarterback found his silky tight end sprinting up the seam for a 25-yard gain. A little later, he threw a bit behind Moore, but the Kenmore product reached behind his body and pulled the ball in with his right hand for a 9-yard gain.
Moore’s size and speed are undeniable, but his hands have been somewhat of an issue this spring. If he can catch the ball consistently — as he did Monday — Moore will add yet another threat to a tight end room that already includes three potential contributors in senior Cade Otton, junior Devin Culp and redshirt freshman Mark Redman.
Like Moore, McMillan has been somewhat inconsistent — but had no such issues Monday when he effectively wrecked the UW defense. The 6-1, 190-pound wide receiver found the end zone on a 59-yard strike from O’Brien, in which he lost his defender on a crossing route roughly 25 yards down field and outran everyone else to pay dirt. He also hauled in a 62-yard reception on a double move, via a perfectly thrown deep ball from sophomore quarterback Dylan Morris.
A redshirt freshman, McMillan added a 25-yard deep out from Morris as well.
As for the quarterbacks, both O’Brien and Morris impressed Monday. While splitting time between the first and second team, O’Brien completed 7 of 10 passes and threw three touchdowns (two of which came in 7-on-7 drills). Morris, who worked exclusively with the starters, went 11 for 13 — and though he failed to find the end zone, Morris’ deep ball to McMillan immediately set up a 9-yard touchdown run by Sean McGrew. (Redshirt freshman wide receiver Rome Odunze dropped a potential 20-yard touchdown from Morris in a 7-on-7 drill as well.)
Early enrollee quarterback Sam Huard had a more consistent performance Monday, completing 4 of 6 passes with a touchdown and an interception while working with the third team. He tossed a perfectly placed 15-yard touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Taj Davis, who lunged to snatch the ball and stay in bounds in the corner of the end zone. (The 6-1, 200-pound Davis has had three consecutive strong practices.) Huard also hit redshirt freshman wideout Sawyer Racanelli up the seam for a 25-yard gain.
Unfortunately, Huard’s interception was thrown directly to sophomore outside linebacker Bralen Trice — who made the easy grab and ran roughly 70 yards in the other direction after the play was blown dead to celebrate.
Here are some other observations from UW’s 12th practice of the spring.
Washington redshirt freshman outside linebacker Sav’ell Smalls returned to practice Monday, though he did not participate in scrimmage drills. That’s still an improvement for the 6-3, 255-pounder and former five-star recruit, who did not participate in any of the previous four practices.
Right tackle Victor Curne, safeties Asa Turner and Alex Cook, and tight end Mason West all continue to watch practice from the sideline. Redshirt freshman running back Jay’Veon Sunday also sat out Monday, and he did so with a walking boot on his left foot. Sophomore inside linebacker Alphonzo Tuputala was not in attendance, as has been the case for the past several practices.
In Curne’s place, junior Matteo Mele continues to take the starting reps at right tackle. With Smalls sitting out the scrimmage drills, UW’s starting outside linebackers Monday were senior Ryan Bowman and Trice (with Jeremiah Martin and Cooper McDonald working in behind them). Early enrollee running back Caleb Berry also appeared to be limited and did not participate in contact drills.
- Besides the interception of Huard, Trice — a 6-4, 255-pound sophomore — also chased down O’Brien for a sack near the end of practice Monday. His fellow starting outside linebacker, Bowman, added a sack of O’Brien as well.
- In the wake of junior outside linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui’s torn Achilles tendon, UW has started to give some of its inside linebackers reps rushing off the edge — particularly on passing downs. That was the case for junior Edefuan Ulofoshio on Monday. When Ulofoshio slid outside, the Huskies’ starting inside linebackers were Jackson Sirmon and Daniel Heimuli.
- As UW’s secondary shuffle stretches into its fourth week, the starting safeties Monday were juniors Dominique Hampton and Cameron Williams.
- Junior cornerback Kyler Gordon — who has had an excellent spring and appears primed for a breakout season — bolted around the edge to claim an impressive tackle for loss on McGrew.
- Redshirt freshman walk-on defensive back Meki Pei had a nice practice, picking off Camden Sirmon on a tipped ball along the sideline and leaping to break up a pass in the end zone intended for redshirt freshman tight end Mark Redman (who is seven inches taller than Pei).
- Redshirt freshman wide receiver Rome Odunze did a casual back flip at one point, apparently just to remind everyone of the 6-3, 200-pounder’s elite athleticism.
- Junior kicker Tim Horn went 2 for 2 on field-goal attempts, connecting from 34 and 39 yards out. Senior Peyton Henry failed to convert his only attempt, a 45-yarder. With Horn coming on in recent practices, it’ll be interesting to see if he gets a legitimate opportunity to supplant Henry — the established starter. That might turn into more of a competition than anyone expected.