You don’t high-step on the Huskies.
That’s a lesson redshirt freshman running back Jay’Veon Sunday learned the hard way on Saturday, in UW’s first open practice of the spring. With a couple hundred fans watching from the Husky Stadium stands, Sunday took a hand off and burst through the left side — gliding and high-stepping as he hit the second level. That all stopped, of course, when senior safety Alex Cook violently collided with the 210-pound tailback — easily the loudest pop in a practice conducted in shoulder pads and shorts.
On the next play, Sunday dropped a pass from graduate student quarterback Patrick O’Brien — inducing a chorus of cheers and trash talk from the UW defense. Sunday was personally separated from the defense by Husky head coach Jimmy Lake (though he later scored a short touchdown with the fourth-team offense).
As for the starters, redshirt sophomore tailback Cameron Davis took the majority of reps with the first-team offense. The 6-foot, 205-pound Davis scored a pair of touchdowns in scrimmage drills with the second team as well.
The most explosive run of the day came from senior Sean McGrew, who burst up the gut with the second-team offense for a 34-yard gain.
Unsurprisingly, UW’s third practice of the spring — its first in front of fans — included significantly more scrimmaging. And, same as on Wednesday and Friday, returning starter Dylan Morris worked as the first-team quarterback, with O’Brien leading the second team and early enrollee freshman Sam Huard guiding the third team.
After it was over, Lake took a microphone to thank the fans in attendance.
Here are a few more things those aforementioned fans saw on Saturday.
UW’s starting defense impressed again on Saturday, consistently besting the first-team offense. Outside linebackers Zion Tupuola-Fetui and Ryan Bowman and inside linebacker Jackson Sirmon each claimed sacks against the Huskies’ starting offensive line, which surrendered just one sack in four games last season. Defensive lineman Tuli Letuligasenoa and inside linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio also combined for a tackle for loss, prompting a roar and fist pump from Ulofoshio.
Morris threw the only interception of the day, when a 40-yard heave into the end zone was picked by leaping backup safety Makell Esteen — who out-jumped redshirt freshman wide receiver Rome Odunze.
Junior cornerback Kyler Gordon made one of the more athletic plays of the day, diving to the sideline to bat away a pass from Morris to redshirt freshman wideout Jalen McMillan. Unsurprisingly, Gordon and junior Trent McDuffie seem to be establishing themselves as the starting corners.
But there are still positions up for grabs in the Husky secondary, where nickelbacks Kamren Fabiculanan and Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles each worked with the starters on Saturday. The safety combinations of Dominique Hampton and Julius Irvin and Alex Cook and Asa Turner worked in with the first team as well. It will be interesting to see who ultimately claims those spots, with safeties Cameron Williams and Jacobe Covington also factoring into the conversation.
Tuimoloau in attendance
Eastside Catholic defensive lineman J.T. Tuimoloau — the No. 1 recruit in the 2021 class, who opted not to sign with a program last February — attended Saturday’s practice, watching from the stands. The 6-5, 277-pound defensive lineman’s final five are Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, USC and Washington. The Huskies have not been considered a favorite to land Tuimoloau’s services.
- Huard’s most impressive completion of the day was a rope to McMillan for a 22-yard gain. It’s worth noting that Huard did fumble a snap under center for the third consecutive practice. After working exclusively in the shotgun in Kennedy Catholic’s air raid offense, it’s going to take some time to adjust to snaps under center.
- Junior Richard Newton missed his second practice of the spring Saturday for unspecified reasons, a day after he participated on Friday. Redshirt freshman tight end Mason West also sat out his third consecutive practice, though he attended and watched from the sideline.
- Senior kicker Peyton Henry connected on both of his field-goal attempts during scrimmage drills on Saturday, with junior Tim Horn make his only attempt as well.
- Junior cornerback Trent McDuffie again served as UW’s starting punt returner Saturday.
- UW athletic director Jen Cohen attended Saturday’s practice.