They did a little bit of everything on Wednesday, from some work coming out of the end zone - including punting - to some full team ‘live’ scrimmaging at thud tempo to finish the two hour-plus practice.
One noticeable element to Wednesday’s practice was Chris Petersen, who seemed to be everywhere. He ran into Husky Stadium to watch the specialists work, then ran back to the east field to see how the defensive backs were doing under Jimmy Lake.
During a ‘live’ period where the offense was buried deep in their own territory, Petersen was all over it, throwing a flag for a hold in the end zone, ruled a safety.
And then he was always working with the returners during their period to catch punts. Wednesday he had Dante Pettis, Andre Baccellia, and Chico McClatcher catching punts with a football already in one arm. Sometimes he likes to use softballs in both hands, but today it was footballs.
Petersen didn’t let down for a moment all practice, as he left his most poignant moments for the final team period. Azeem Victor and Darrell Daniels seemed to get into a scuffle, which Petersen pulled Victor out of that drill. From Petersen’s body language and Victor’s reaction, it may have been a personal foul or something worse - shades of Azeem’s unfortunate targeting penalty that saw him ejected in the Huskies’ 17-12 win at USC.
It was hard to see what exactly instigated it, but what wasn’t hard to decipher was Petersen’s reaction. He was not a happy man.
There weren’t a ton of big plays on either side of the ball Wednesday. Probably the biggest could be attributed to sophomore running back Jomon Dotson, who had a couple of decent-sized runs during the final team period to give the offense strong field position.
With K.J. Carta-Samuels running the two offense, Dotson’s run and a first down pass to Forrest Dunivin set up the Huskies with a first down near the defense’s 20. But great reads by Darren Gardenhire and D.J. Beavers denied the offense a chance to score.
At the receiver position, John Ross, Dante Pettis and Chico McClatcher are still running with the ones, while Andre Baccellia, Dunivin, Nik Little, and Connor Griffin got most of the two reps.
One of the more interesting drills spotted today was courtesy of UW WR Coach Bush Hamdan. Hamdan, working on twin routes (meaning two receivers in roughly the same area), was having the receivers actually slap hands as they would go by each other, creating better timing and understanding of how close they need to be in order to gain separation after the slap. It was fascinating to watch just how detailed Hamdan would get in making sure the slap took place at the exact area on the field he wanted and on the right time for the quarterbacks to fit the passes in.
There’s no question that between Hamdan and GA Kirby Moore, the receivers are getting coached up in a serious way. And when they get Brayden Lenius, Isaiah Renfro and Quinten Pounds back, that full compliment of receivers could surprise some people.
On the offensive line, Kaleb McGary’s absence meant Andrew Kirkland ran with the ones at right tackle for the second-straight day, pushing Jared Hilbers in behind Trey Adams at left tackle.
No Ben Burr-Kirven Wednesday meant Beavers got even more work with the twos alongside Sean Constantine, backing up Victor and Keishawn Bierria. Outside, it was a good day for Tevis Bartlett, who had a couple of sacks unabated, while Connor O’Brien has been running as his bookend behind Joe Mathis and Psalm Wooching.
And there was a lot of rotating along the defensive front. At one point there was a front three of Damion Turpin, Vita Vea, and Shane Bowman. Redshirt frosh Benning Potoa’e is still mostly working with the twos and threes so far, while the front of Elijah Qualls, Greg Gaines and Jaylen Johnson appears to be the ones that Pete Kwiatkowski is rolling with so far.
Along the secondary, safety Trevor Walker was in yellow, so that meant Taylor Rapp got some of the full team work with Ezekiel Turner behind Budda Baker and Jojo McIntosh.
At cornerback, it’s looking more and more like Darren Gardenhire and Brandon Lewis are being asked to work a lot inside, either as nickel or dime backs, while Sidney Jones, Kevin King, and Jordan Miller are the main lockdown corners out wide. Obviously Gardenhire and Lewis are getting work out on the sidelines too, but they seemed to be getting a ton of reps inside against the slot receivers.
On special teams, all four of the specialists - Cameron Van Winkle, Tristan Vizcaino, Van Soderberg, and walkon Sebastian Valerio - made field goals ranging from 29 to 40 yards. They were a combined 5-6, with the only miss coming from Van Winkle, whose 42-yard attempt sailed just wide left.
Punting from out of the end zone, Vizcaino averaged roughly 40 yards a boot on four punts, while Soderberg, in his lone attempt, nearly got hit by an up back but was able to adroitly miss the block while at the same time making contact with the ball. It wasn't a great punt, but still a very athletic play from the true freshman.