Let’s start with the good news.
Early enrollee freshman quarterback Sam Huard threw his first touchdown pass of the spring Monday, finding tight end Devin Culp — who was w-i-d-e open, thanks to a busted coverage — for a 40-yard score in a scrimmage drill.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound freshman also threw a pair of picks on tipped passes — one that should have been caught by running back Kamari Pleasant but was snagged by safety Julius Irvin, and another that sailed high, wide and into the arms of cornerback Kasen Kinchen. Still, Huard — who offensive coordinator John Donovan emphasized is learning “a whole new language” this spring — looked consistently more accurate Monday, particularly on deeper routes that he often overthrew last week.
For an early enrollee who was starting for his high-school team last month, this will be a gradual process. So it’d be wise not to overanalyze results in the short term.
And yet … that’s what we do here, isn’t it? For the fourth consecutive practice, redshirt sophomore quarterback Dylan Morris took the entirety of the starting reps, with graduate transfer Patrick O’Brien working with the second team and Huard leading the third team. Morris’ most impressive pass of the day was a picturesque deep ball to wide receiver Terrell Bynum over the shoulder of trailing nickelback Kamren Fabiculanan in a one-on-one drill (video below). Morris also threw an unfortunate interception to Oklahoma nickelback transfer Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles, on a slant, when Bynum fell down before the ball arrived.
The most impressive drive of the day can be credited to O’Brien, who led the second-team offense on a touchdown march near the end of practice. The 6-5, 245-pound quarterback from Colorado State stacked up impressive completions over the middle to wide receivers Sawyer Racanelli and Ja’Lynn Polk, as well as Culp, before redshirt freshman running back Jay’Veon Sunday thundered up the gut for a short score.
Besides the quarterback play, here are some other observations from Monday’s practice.
Tinkering with rotations
Many of Washington’s starters have remained the same throughout the first four practices, but the coaches have continued to tinker at several spots. At running back, perhaps the most competitive position on the team, seniors Kamari Pleasant and Sean McGrew took the majority of the starting snaps — with McGrew breaking several impressive runs. Redshirt sophomore Cameron Davis, who saw many of the starting snaps last week, worked primarily with the second team.
There also are several intriguing competitions in the secondary, particularly at safety and nickelback. Asa Turner and Dominique Hampton served as the starting safeties Monday, though Cameron Williams and Julius Irvin have gotten first-team reps in the past week. At the nickel spot vacated by the NFL-bound Elijah Molden, Brenden Radley-Hiles and Kamren Fabiculanan saw time with the starters.
And, though Zion Tupuola-Fetui and Ryan Bowman seem set as UW’s top two outside linebackers, redshirt sophomore Bralen Trice — who co-defensive coordinator Ikaika Malloe said “will probably be better than Joe Tryon” — sporadically spelled them with the starters.
At wide receiver, where five offseason transfers leave Washington with just six scholarship players this spring, the starters continue to be senior Terrell Bynum and redshirt freshmen Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan, with Sawyer Racanelli, Ja’Lynn Polk and Taj Davis working with the second unit.
- After missing practices Saturday and Wednesday for an unspecified reason, junior running back Richard Newton participated Monday — working primarily with the second and third teams. The 6-0, 215-pounder practiced Friday as well.
- Though tackling was technically not allowed in shoulder pads and shorts, redshirt sophomore inside linebacker Daniel Heimuli filled a gap to put a good lick on walk-on running back Capassio Cherry.
- Washington’s kick returners were Davis, McGrew, Pleasant, Newton and Kyler Gordon. The team’s punt returner was wide receiver McMillan, after cornerback Trent McDuffie took on those duties last week.
- Redshirt freshman tight end Mason West watched his fourth consecutive practice from the sideline.
- Washington returns to Husky Stadium at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday for its second of 10 open practices that fans are encouraged to attend.