The 10th true freshman to appear in a game for the Washington Huskies this season was also the biggest.
And while 6-foot-7, 302-pound offensive tackle Trey Adams might not be competing for a starting job just yet, the Huskies’ willingness to play him in the second game of the season indicates that they plan to play him plenty more.
Adams, a true freshman from Wenatchee, made his collegiate debut in the third quarter of Saturday’s 49-0 victory over Sacramento State, filling in as the Huskies’ second-string left tackle.
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That’s a spot to which he was elevated during the end of fall camp, after senior offensive guard Dexter Charles retired due to injury, Jake Eldrenkamp slid inside from left tackle to left guard, and Coleman Shelton took over as the starting left tackle.
UW coach Chris Petersen said he has never played a true freshman offensive lineman before — not as a starter, not as a backup, not ever — but Adams possesses some qualities that make him an ideal fit as Petersen’s first.
Such as: He’s 6-7. And he weighs 302 pounds.
“That,” offensive line coach Chris Strausser said, “and his athleticism. He’s not just a big guy. At 6-7, 300 (pounds), he is a big guy, (but) he’s extremely athletic.”
Strausser said Adams “bends his knees well and moves his feet.” But as with any freshman, “he’s just not there yet” in terms of playing a significant number of snaps. The Huskies hope he gets there sooner rather than later.
“We obviously don’t want to pull a guy’s redshirt year off and have him be a backup the entire year,” Strausser said. “So we’ll see how that shakes down in the future.
“… When you’re playing a young guy like this, it really is day to day. He’s not to the point where he’s truly in the mix to be a starter quite yet. So for him, if he can get mentally a little sharper every day, I think that’s going to help him in the long run. And if we can find a way to get him in there at some point this year, we’d love to do that, to truly get him in there.”
Petersen said Adams’ performance grade from his debut might be “a little nit-picky,” but that overall, “I thought he played pretty well. I look at the big picture there and see progress.”
Adams displayed a healthy mean streak during a few camp practices, initiating brief skirmishes with defensive teammates on occasion. That’s a welcome attitude for any offensive lineman, but especially a true freshman who already has a strong enough build to play right away.
On Saturday, UW offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith said, Adams “did some good things. He’s come a long ways. Just breaking the ice for him. Going to kind of continue to do that, force the issue with him because he’s got some talent. He can help us if he settles in and knows what he’s doing. But it was fun to see him out there.”
Petersen generally does not make freshmen available for interviews, so Adam wasn’t available to answer questions this week. Shelton, UW’s starting left tackle, said he’s impressed by the freshman’s ability to learn the playbook, even if that remains a work in progress.
“Everything’s just so brand new and it’s so hard to learn, but he’s doing well, and he’s learning the plays real well,” Shelton said, “and that’s tough to do coming in off of scratch, not knowing anything about this offense.”
Smith said the Huskies got a laugh out of quarterback Jake Browning’s trip-up that prevented him from turning a first-down run into a touchdown during Saturday’s game. On fourth and 1 at Sacramento State’s 17-yard line, Browning kept the ball on a read-option and gained 6 yards before he apparently tripped and fell. “We pointed it out a couple times, obviously in our quarterback room,” Smith said, “and then I pulled it out in front of the offense so we could get a couple laughs.” … Smith said that despite Myles Gaskin’s 14-carry, 146-yard, three-touchdown performance against Sac State, no decisions have been made yet about the depth chart. “We haven’t said, ‘Hey, it’s 1-2-3’ at all,” Smith said. “Each of them are going to get their opportunities Week 3, Week 4, and then if someone really separates in the middle of the season then we might make more of a pecking order.”
SATURDAY: Utah State (1-1) at UW (1-1), 2 p.m., Pac-12 Network, 1000-AM, 97.7-FM