On Friday, it was Sam Huard’s turn to audition for the starting quarterback job at the University of Washington. It didn’t start well, but his time in the pocket probably couldn’t have ended any better.
On his second snap of the extended scrimmage in fall practice No. 2, Huard was intercepted by Dominque Hampton, the Husky hybrid, who made a veteran move over the middle and stripped the ball from Ja’Lynn Polk.
The UW defense vociferously celebrated Hampton’s aggressive, turnover-inducing style. That chorus didn’t last long.
On the very next play, Huward lined up and launched a high-arcing strike to the left to Jalen McMillan, who caught the ball in stride just beyond cornerback Michael Powell’s reach for a 57-yard score. The game was stunning because of the instant turnaround it caused.
Later, the redshirt quarterback found Reem Odunze jostling and jostling with cornerback Jordan Perryman down the right sideline before they separated and Huard handed the ball off to Odunze, who scored from 56 yards out despite defenders claiming he was the first. out of bounds.
Still later, Huard threw another high, looping ball that former high school teammate Jabez Tinae ran under and caught behind safety Cam Williams and cornerback Davon Banks for a 71-yarder. Banks, by the way, wears number 10 instead of 16.
While the Huskies had to be pleased with their young quarterback’s passing, the long balls over a rebuilt UW secondary were a little disconcerting.
“Think about it, this is actually our second time with our guys going into the scheme and obviously we’re early in camp and guys are going to make mistakes,” co-defensive coordinator Chuck Morrell said. “We have young guys in certain positions who have to learn – and that’s the fastest way to learn.”
At their expense, Hurd learned how to bounce back from his own disaster in the blink of an eye.
The quarterback competition, which includes Indiana transfer Michael Penix Jr. and returning starter Dylan Morris, continues to be closely watched.
The more mobile and experienced Penix is seen as the leader going into this battle for positions which will be played out over two weeks. Still, coach Cullen DeBoer and his team are keeping a close eye on everyone’s representatives. In fact, DeBoer stood close to his QBs to watch and then moved well downfield for a long corner.
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Unlike the first day, when the rain dampened things a bit, sunshine and a light breeze prevailed throughout the morning and training without pads.
Starting tight end Ryan Otten and rusher Jake Jennings were the first casualties of fall camp, both left to watch on the sidelines with possibly minor ailments from day one.
Nebraska transfer Will Nixon, a redshirt freshman, looked a little annoyed when he was knocked off his feet hard by a giant rubber ball in passing practice. The balls are used by coaches to make players change direction or fall.
Penix and Nixon similarly mishandled a handoff that rusher Sav’ell Smalls picked off and ran into the end zone 14 yards for a score.
Huskies hybrid backup Kamren Fabikulanan dove and intercepted one of Penix’s passes amid several heads-up plays on his behalf. The player known as Kam Fab celebrated his steal of a pass with Hampton by both flailing their arms and hips, which was a rarity for DeBoer’s practice but has proven common during Jimmy Lake’s tenure.
Edge rusher Zion Tupuola-Fetui had his moments and was credited with Morris’ touchdown sack on back-to-back plays. Still, the lively one was heard exchanging words across the field with several offensive linemen after the other guys allegedly tackled him on a previous play. Shortly after, the ever-lively player known as ZTF was heard singing as he walked along the sideline.
Practice ended with players climbing into large gray plastic tubs and sitting in ice baths in the shade on the south deck.
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