The Washington Huskies returned to the east practice field on Friday, running through drills for the second time this spring. And, on another cold and breezy day on the shores of Lake Washington, the defense largely dominated.
Here are some observations from UW’s second spring practice.
The quarterback competition
This may come as a surprise, but UW’s quarterback competition hasn’t been decided just yet. For the second consecutive practice, redshirt sophomore Dylan Morris took the entirety of the starting reps, with graduate student Patrick O’Brien working with the second team and early enrollee Sam Huard working with the third team.
And, of the three scholarship signal callers, Morris was the only one who didn’t throw an interception on Friday (though he did serve up passes to cornerbacks Trent McDuffie and Elijah Jackson that could’ve been picked). There were few explosive plays to choose from, but Morris did display plus-arm strength with a deep out in tight coverage to wide receiver Terrell Bynum. He also showcased underrated scrambling ability with a 12-yard scamper for a first down in a team scrimmage period.
In a half-field scrimmage drill, junior safety Julius Irvin jumped a route to intercept O’Brien. A little earlier, Huard was forced to step up in the pocket by a Zion Tupuola-Fetui pass rush, then delivered a pass into double coverage that was intended for tight end Devin Culp and intercepted by redshirt freshman corner Kasen Kinchen instead.
It was a difficult practice for Huard, who overthrew wide receivers Jalen McMillan and Rome Odunze on deep balls and also slung a pass wide of tight end Mark Redman on a short out route. In his first two practices at UW, Huard — who operated exclusively out of the shotgun in Kennedy Catholic’s air raid offense — has also fumbled several snaps under center.
In between series, Huard often huddled with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach John Donovan. It’s important to remember that this is merely the second college practice for a prospect who should technically still be a high school senior. It will be interesting to monitor how Huard progresses throughout the spring.
UW’s starters didn’t deviate on Friday. Here’s a look at the starting lineup.
QB: Dylan Morris
RB: Cameron Davis
TE: Cade Otton, Devin Culp
WR: Rome Odunze
WR: Jalen McMillan
WR: Terrell Bynum
LT: Jaxson Kirkland
LG: Ulumoo “MJ” Ale
C: Luke Wattenberg
RG: Henry Bainivalu
RT: Victor Curne
DL: Tuli Letuligasenoa
DL: Sam “Taki” Taimani
OLB: Zion Tupuola-Fetui
OLB: Ryan Bowman
ILB: Edefuan Ulofoshio
ILB: Jackson Sirmon
CB: Trent McDuffie
CB: Kyler Gordon
Nickel: Kamren Fabiculanan
S: Cameron Williams
S: Dominique Hampton
At the tight end spot, junior Devin Culp occasionally lined up at the H-back spot often frequented by Jack Westover with the starters.
The second-team offensive line consisted of left tackle Troy Fautanu, left guard Nate Kalepo, center Corey Luciano, right guard Julius Buelow and right tackle Matteo Mele. The third-team offensive line featured left tackle Roger Rosengarten, left guard Gaard Memmelaar, center Geirean Hatchett, right guard Myles Murao and right tackle Samuel Peacock. It’s worth noting the shift to right guard for Murao, who arrived at UW in 2020 as a highly touted center.
Wide receivers Ja’Lynn Polk, Sawyer Racanelli and Taj Davis worked with the second team, as did tight ends Quentin Moore and Mark Redman.
Defensively, Jacob Bandes and Faatui Tuitele rotated in with the first-team defensive line. The starting safeties were juniors Cameron Williams and Dominique Hampton — with returning starter Asa Turner participating in position drills but sitting out scrimmage sets. The backup safeties were Alex Cook and Julius Irvin.
Don’t be surprised if redshirt freshman Jay’Veon Sunday works his way into the running back rotation this fall. The 6-foot, 210-pounder — who rushed for more than 5,000 yards and 80 touchdowns in a prolific prep career at Connally High School in Waco, Texas — missed last season with an injury, but has looked explosive and shifty this week. From a far, Sunday certainly seems like a running back who craves contact — but he’ll have to wait to take on actual tacklers.
And with Sean McGrew, Kamari Pleasant, Richard Newton and Cameron Davis all returning, there are only so many carries to go around this fall. But Sunday has separated himself as an intriguing young talent. On Friday, he pulled in a juggling, acrobatic catch out of the backfield as well.
- Speaking of Richard Newton, the 6-0, 215-pound junior running back participated in practice Friday after missing Wednesday’s debut for an unspecified reason. Newton largely worked with the third-team offense, but did get snaps with the starters during scrimmage drills.
- The most disruptive defensive play of the day was made by junior defensive lineman Taki Taimani, who busted up the gut to sack Morris on third-and-long during a scrimmage drill. The sack was immediately followed by an enthusiastic fist pump.
- Unsurprisingly, junior outside linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui racked up at least one sack and multiple pressures in an impressive practice.
- Junior cornerback Trent McDuffie returned punts with the starters during Friday’s scrimmage drills.
- Redshirt freshman tight end Mason West sat out his second consecutive practice Friday, but he did watch from the sideline.
- UW returns to practice inside Husky Stadium at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.