Picking up 96 days after the Spring 2022 preview, Washington Football kicked off its first official fall season under head coach Kalen DeBoer last Thursday.
Over the next four days, practices played out like any other UW preseason in recent memory: three quarterbacks all taking reps, short scrums and small player updates throughout. week long.
DeBoer noted that one of the biggest adjustments this week was the shift to consistent practices. After a three-month hiatus, fall workouts pivoted players to a full six-day week.
“We never had back-to-back practices,” DeBoer said. “Because this spring we went there every other day, so playing the sequel was the first challenge.”
Nothing groundbreaking happened in Week 1 – which was to be expected with a very uncertain quarterback situation and players getting into the thick of it after a break – but the first four practices nonetheless were littered with outstanding games.
If the coaches were looking for a quick and easy conclusion to the quarterback conundrum, the first week of practice may have only complicated the staff’s outlook. Redshirt freshman Sam Huard showed flashes of his potential, including commanding the offense Friday with long touchdown passes to sophomore Jalen McMillan and redshirt freshman Jabez Tina.
Sophomore Dylan Morris turned to Loon on Saturday, and he did just that with long touchdown passes to junior Devin Culp, junior Jack Westover and rookie Denzel Boston.
In keeping with DeBoer’s commitment to split reps evenly across three quarters to begin fall camp, every caller had a chance to shine in the first week.
But if early practice has made one thing clear, it’s that the battle for quarters remains a three-way battle, with Michael Penix Jr., as well as Huard and Morris, yet to separate from the peloton.
Penix Jr. has embraced the competition, but knows what it will take to finally snap the first shot for Washington on Sept. 3.
“I just have to be consistent,” said Penix Jr. “Every day, come here and be a leader. Show these guys the way and work with the younger ones too. We have a lot of young guys who can perform, just making sure we do more in the theater and stuff like that is what it will take to be successful.
Penix Jr., Morris and Huard have worked together over the summer, and offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb has already seen it pay dividends for each quarterback.
“They’ve gotten more offensive reps with PRPs and understand the flow of the game and our expectations, so I think their eyes and overall understanding of offense has definitely increased over the summer,” Grubb said. .
But when it comes to naming the starter once and for all, Grubb hasn’t given an inch on when the decision will be made.
“You must have [a decision] during game week,” Grubb said. “Ideally it should be done a week before that, but we don’t put hard tasks into it.”
Important Notes from Week 1
The week’s only early-season injury announcement came on Thursday, with DeBoer announcing that junior linebacker Edefaun Ulofoshio would miss “half or more of the season.”
Sixth-year left tackle Jaxson Kirkland, who has been out with a right ankle injury for months, missed the second half of practice Saturday but returned Sunday morning.
“If he’s a little sore in one area, we’ll make sure we take precautions,” DeBoer said of Kirkland on Sunday.
Grubb got his first glimpse of graduate running backs Wayne Taulapapa and redshirt rookie Will Nixon, continuing his assessment of a crowded running backs squad.
The Huskies will have the day off Monday, before returning to practice every day Tuesday through Sunday.
Contact sportswriter Sydney Nash at [email protected] Twitter: @sydneym_nash.
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