Maybe we’ve got a quarterback competition after all.
After sophomore returning starter Dylan Morris took the entirety of Washington’s first-team reps throughout his team’s first eight practices this spring, Morris and graduate transfer Patrick O’Brien both received reps with the starters on Wednesday. Early enrollee Sam Huard, meanwhile, alternated between the second and third teams.
It was also the best practice yet for O’Brien — a 6-foot-5, 245-pounder who previously quarterbacked at Nebraska and Colorado State. The sixth-year senior threw a total of three touchdown passes (though one of them came in a goal-line drill), showcasing his significant arm strength with a series of downfield shots.
The touchdowns came via a 30-yard deep in to wide receiver Jalen McMillan, a 10-yard seam through traffic to tight end Cade Otton and a three-yard dump-off to tight end Quentin Moore in the aforementioned goal-line drill. He notched a 27-yard completion to wide receiver Terrell Bynum and a 32-yarder down the seam to wideout Rome Odunze as well.
Even so, Morris had his moments as well. The 6-0, 200-pounder from Puyallup zipped a 15-yard touchdown up the seam to McMillan in a 7-on-7 drill, and also found a wide-open Otton via play-action for a goal-line score. His day was marred by one significant mistake, as Morris took a deep shot to McMillan and was intercepted by defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles in the end zone instead.
The highlight for Huard — whose consistency has lagged behind both Morris and O’Brien — was a 15-yard touchdown on an out-route to redshirt freshman tight end Mark Redman.
It wasn’t the best day for freshman walk-on quarterback Camden Sirmon, who served up a trio of interceptions — a pop-up that safety Dominique Hampton successfully centered under, a comeback route in a 1-on-1 drill intended for Odunze that cornerback Kyler Gordon jumped, and a floating pass that nickelback Kamren Fabiculan snagged with one hand.
To this point, UW’s quarterback competition seems to be centering on Morris and O’Brien.
But here are some other observations from the Huskies’ ninth practice of the spring.
Lake announced on Wednesday that standout outside linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui will miss 6-10 months with a torn Achilles tendon, and redshirt freshman Sav’ell Smalls watched his second consecutive practice from the sideline with what appears to be a minor injury as well. In their place, Ryan Bowman, Bralen Trice and Cooper McDonald worked with the starters at outside linebacker on Wednesday.
Starting right tackle Victor Curne was also limited for his fifth consecutive practice, which allowed junior Matteo Mele to work with the first team at his spot.
Junior cornerback Trent McDuffie sat out scrimmage drills for the fourth consecutive practice, and sophomore walk-on Mishael Powell took the starting cornerback reps opposite Kyler Gordon — batting away multiple passes on the day.
Redshirt freshman tight end Mason West has sat out every practice this spring, but senior safety Alex Cook returned to work on Wednesday after missing several practices of his own.
- UW’s starting running backs on Wednesday were sophomore Cameron Davis and senior Sean McGrew, as position coach Keith Bhonapha continues to mix and match this spring. McGrew impressed with a 10-yard touchdown up the middle. Junior Richard Newton worked with the second team.
- Here’s a new wrinkle: junior inside linebacker M.J. Tafisi was occasionally inserted in the first-team defense on Wednesday to rush off the edge (while Edefuan Ulofoshio and Jackson Sirmon occupied the typical inside linebacker spots on the second level). Without Tupuola-Fetui to provide a pass rush, it’ll be interesting to see if that continues on passing downs.
- In the ongoing UW secondary shuffle, the starters on Wednesday were nickelback Brendan Radley-Hiles and safeties Cameron Williams and Julius Irvin.
- UW’s third-team defense turned in back-to-back safeties of Huard in a drill where the offense was asked to operate out of the shadow of its goal line.
- Sophomore inside linebacker Josh Calvert picked up a sack of Huard on Wednesday.
- UW’s punt returners on Wednesday were Rome Odunze, Kyler Gordon and Taj Davis.
- UW placekicker Tim Horn converted all four field goal attempts, while Peyton Henry went 2-4.
- The Huskies return to action at 8:30 a.m. on Friday.
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