Junior Adams works with UW’s wide receivers
Day 4 of Washington’s fall camp ran a little differently.
Instead of the outdoor practice field, the Huskies moved over to Dempsey Indoor on Monday. And instead of spending close to two hours practicing, they went through a pad-free practice that lasted just more than an hour.
Afterward, while speaking to the media on the field at Husky Stadium, head coach Chris Petersen said he just wanted to give the team a change of venue.
“It was a different type of practice we had out there today which was very good, very mental but still getting a few things done,” Petersen said, “and execution always breeds excitement and you saw it out there.”
A strong finish
Some of the excitement Petersen referenced came from redshirt senior Chico McClatcher, who had another strong practice in an overall solid fall.
McClatcher, who took time away from football for personal reasons midway through last season, made one of the best plays of the day on the second-to-last play of practice. After Jacob Sirmon launched a pass deep to McClatcher along the sideline, he made a leaping catch to snatch the ball away from Alex Cook and Isaiah Gilchrist.
“He’s been doing a nice job, he really has,” Petersen said. “Chico always practices hard and all those type of things. Since he’s been back it’s been great.”
Petersen also praised the younger receivers on the Huskies roster. With three veterans receivers — Ty Jones, Aaron Fuller and Quinten Pounds — missing all or most of spring practice with injuries, the less-experienced receivers saw their reps increase.
Petersen said that’s making a difference in how they’ve performed early in fall.
“All those guys look a different to me again from the spring,” Petersen said. “They got to try to get these calls into their blood. There is a lot of thinking. They’re starting to react more than think more and they’re starting to play a little better.
“And then I think the older guys that we have that kind of know what they’re doing and can play at a fast speed … I think that helps those guys see that how it’s supposed to look and I think that accelerates their learning as well.”
As has been the case for all of fall practice, both Jake Haener and Jacob Eason took snaps with the No. 1 offense. Eason was the first quarterback to take snaps with the first team.
Petersen said he’s been happy with the play from all four quarterbacks.
“I think there’s a lot of really good learning going on,” Petersen said. “I think all of them are playing better than they did in the spring and that’s what we were hoping when we came back from summer. (We hoped) that they had not only thrown enough balls — we knew they were going to do that — but just really studied. You can study forever in the film room and sometimes that doesn’t translate to field but we’ve seen it.
“You can tell the mistakes that they make, they’re good mistakes. They’re learning mistakes. They’re small mistakes. They’re still mistakes and we’re getting them cleaned up but I think there’s really good progress to be made at that position for sure.”
Petersen said he’s been particularly impressed with freshman Dylan Morris. Morris had a strong end to practice on Monday. His best throw was a deep pass to Puka Nacua along the sideline with Dustin Bush in tight coverage. Nacua was able to haul in the pass over his shoulder and keep his feet in-bounds as he was pushed to the sideline. Morris also had a 15-yard completion to Marquis Spiker after rolling to his left and finding Spiker near the left sideline.
“I thought he did a really nice job in spring when he should still be in high school and really how quickly he picked everything up,” Petersen said. “You might not have seen it on the field so much but you can see it with decisiveness with throws out there. You can see it. He’s as comfortable as anyone.”
Along with McClatcher’s catch, some other plays stood out from UW’s two 11-on-11 periods on Monday.
- Isaiah Gilchrist came up with the day’s only interception during the final series. Sirmon was under pressure when he launched a desperation pass into traffic. The ball was tipped by Linebacker MJ Tafisi and Gilchrist dove to grab it before it could hit the ground.
- Haener had a few nice throws, including hitting McClatcher over the middle while working with the second-team offense. He also found tight end Devin Culp over the middle while under pressure.
- Working with the No. 1 offense, Eason threaded a pass to Cade Otton in traffic. But Eason also overthrew Austin Osborne and Richard Newton on back-to-black plays deep among the right sideline. Tafisi earned big cheers from the defense for keeping pace with Newton in coverage.
- Freshman defensive back Asa Turner had an impressive pass breakup. Morris targeted redshirt junior Fatu Sua-Godinet down the left sideline. He appeared to have the ball in his hands before Turner reached in and knocked it away.
True freshman outside linebacker Laiatu Latu got to Eason for a touch-sack on Eason’s final snap.