UW completed its first spring practice of the Kalen DeBoer era inside Husky Stadium Wednesday, working for roughly two hours in jerseys and shorts.
Of course, it’s hard to glean too much from a one-hour viewing window and minimal physical contact. But let’s dive into observations nonetheless.
Though UW offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Grubb made it clear on Monday that the Huskies’ three scholarship quarterbacks will receive equal starting reps in the first four practices, Dylan Morris took the opening first-team snaps on Wednesday. His first pass was an accurate deep ball that clattered through wide receiver Rome Odunze’s hands for an incompletion.
Besides Morris, UW’s starting offense comprised running back Camden Sirmon (yes, you read that right), wide receivers Odunze, Jalen McMillan and Ja’Lynn Polk, tight end Devin Culp, left tackle Troy Fautanu, left guard Nate Kalepo, center Corey Luciano, right guard Victor Curne and right tackle Matteo Mele.
The inclusion of Sirmon — a walk-on who just converted from quarterback to running back — may seem surprising on the surface, but it’s less so when you consider that Richard Newton, Cameron Davis, Sam Adams II and Emeka Megwa are all dealing with various injuries. Redshirt freshman Caleb Berry didn’t appear present on Wednesday either. The only running backs who received significant reps were Sirmon, New Mexico transfer Aaron Dumas and redshirt freshman Jay’Veon Sunday.
There was also intrigue on the right side of the offensive line, where Curne slid to right guard after starting the last 16 games at right tackle. Returning right guard starter Henry Bainivalu was present but may have been limited in some capacity.
The Huskies’ second-team offense included quarterback Michael Penix Jr., running back Aaron Dumas, tight end Quentin Moore, wide receivers Lonyatta Alexander Jr., Giles Jackson and Taj Davis, left tackle Julius Buelow, left guard Gaard Memmelaar, center Geirean Hatchett, right guard Myles Murao and right tackle Roger Rosengarten.
UW’s starting defense consisted of defensive linemen Tuli Letuligasenoa and Kuao Peihopa, EDGE rushers Bralen Trice and Jeremiah Martin, linebackers Carson Bruener and Alphonzo Tuputala, cornerbacks Mishael Powell and Elijah Jackson, Husky Kamren Fabiculanan and safeties Alex Cook and Asa Turner.
While we’d expect Pitt transfer linebacker Cam Bright to eventually settle with the starters, he only arrived at UW last week and thus likely needs time to adjust. EDGE rushers Zion Tupuola-Fetui and Sav’ell Smalls, defensive linemen Jacob Bandes and Voi Tunuufi, linebacker Daniel Heimuli and Husky Dominique Hampton all worked with the second team.
A Kirkland cameo and other injury issues
Jaxson Kirkland sure looks like he’s still a Husky.
The two-time All-Pac-12 left tackle — who dropped out of the NFL draft after requiring right ankle surgery, re-enrolled at UW and is awaiting the results of an NCAA waiver to play in 2022 — watched Wednesday’s practice in his typical purple No. 51 jersey with a boot on his right foot.
As for other injuries, running backs Richard Newton and Cameron Davis, defensive lineman Faatui Tuitele and linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio all watched practice from the sideline. Wide receiver Jabez Tinae wore a yellow jersey, meaning he hasn’t been cleared for contact. Running back Caleb Berry and Emeka Megwa and safety Julius Irvin didn’t appear to be present.
- Morris’ first significant completion in scrimmage drills was a deep post to Rome Odunze caught in tight coverage in front of cornerback Mishael Powell. Morris pumped his fist after Odunze hauled it in.
- In a 1-on-1 drill, husky Dominique Hampton dived to knock a pass away from Jalen McMillan, then bounced to his feet to high-five former teammate Kyler Gordon. Hampton was also one of several players to catch punts on Wednesday. The 6-3, 216-pounder (who now wears No. 7) may be able to do it all.
- Former UW cornerback Kyler Gordon and tight end Cade Otton attended Wednesday’s practice.
- A pair of local three-star 2023 offensive linemen, Ferndale’s Landen Hatchett and Kennedy Catholic’s Micah Banuelos were also in attendance on Wednesday.
- UW safety signee Tristan Dunn attended and was introduced to the team after Wednesday’s practice, receiving a loud ovation. Hatchett and Banuelos received the same treatment.
- Though he didn’t practice due to his injury, Ulofoshio addressed the team following Wednesday’s work.
- Associate head coach and wide receivers coach JaMarcus Shephard’s energy cannot be overstated. Shephard’s voice is a constant and piercing presence at practice.