Defense pitches a shutout in team drills and keeps offense out of the end zone again.
Who: Full-squad workout for spring practice No. 5 on east field next to Husky Stadium.
Gear: Helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.
Weather: Overcast and 54 degrees.
— The Huskies began Week 2 of spring practice Monday. After today’s workout, just 11 remain before the April 23 Spring Preview. Washington’s defense looks every bit like the unit that allowed the fewest points and yards in the Pac-12 last year. Meanwhile, the offense continues to struggle in team drills to sustain drives and get into the end zone. So far, the defense has allowed just one touchdown during team drills in practices that were open to the media.
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— No significant personnel changes on either side of the ball. Andrew Kirkland stepped in at left tackle with the offensive starters due to the absence of Tre Adams, who sat out. Jordan Miller also received a few reps at cornerback with the No. 1 defense. Both appeared to fare well.
— Safety Budda Baker spent a couple of drills playing what looked like a hybrid linebacker position. He moved all over the place and his command of the defense was clearly visible as he barked out audibles.
— Sophomore WR Chico McClatcher made a few eye-catching plays and had perhaps his most productive spring practice.
— Backup quarterback Daniel Bridge-Gadd continues to work primarily with the reserves and his one of his strongest assets is an ability to scramble out of the pocket and throw on the run.
— The special-team specialists appear to be falling in line. Here’s a look. Kicker for PATs and FGs (Cameron Van Winkle and Tristan Vizcaino), holder (Jeff Lindquist), kicker for kickoffs (Van Winkle), punter (Vicaino), kick returners (John Ross, McClatcher, Baker, Jomon Dotson and Andre Baccellia), punt returners (Baccelia and Dante Pettis).
— Interesting to note, coach Chris Petersen worked with the punt returners and had them hold a softball in each hand while fielding punts. Pretty clever.
— Receiver Dante Pettis engaged in a little playful banter with Miller after a difficult catch against the sophomore cornerback.
— Practice ended with Kaleb McGary fielding a punt that seemingly saved the offense from a conditioning drill.
— Practice began with a lot of promise for the offense as quarterback Jake Browning threw into the wind and connected with McClatcher on deep pass over cornerback Darren Gardenhire during a team drill.
— However, it was a productive day for the defense in terms of turnovers and making plays. A deluge of turnovers began with Joe Mathis showcasing speed and strength while eluding a block on the right side of the line and closing in on Browning. Mathis tipped the ball out of the quarterback’s hands and Jaylen Johnson snagged it midair before running for a touchdown.
— In the final team drill, safety Trevor Walker picked off Bridge-Gadd during a pass drill and LB Ben Burr-Kiven intercepted a throw from K.J. Carta-Samuels during a team drill.
— On the next drive, the offensive and defensive starters took the field. Browning and McClatcher hooked up for a sizable gain on the first play. After four runs, the offense faced a fourth-and-five situation. Browning scrambled left and threw deep to the right sideline where cornerback Kevin King outjumped Pettis for an interception.
— Adams sat out of Monday’s practice, which was the first time he’s missed a workout that’s been open to the media.
— Sophomore WR Isaiah Renfro continues to be a no-show at spring drills for undisclosed reasons.
— The other players who didn’t practice or were limited included: DB Austin Joyner, DB Brandon Beaver, WR Quinten Pounds, DL John Clark and DL Jason Scrempos.
Next: The Huskies are back on the field 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. The defensive players are scheduled to be available to the media for interviews.