The first practice of the fall is over and the first thing to report may be that there is nothing significant to report.
No injuries, no significant personnel news of note.
The obvious focus on the first day is the newcomers, and the most eyes today were on receiver Kasen Williams, the Parade Magazine Player of the Year who finally made his UW debut, wearing his father’s old No. 2 jersey —- which had been retired in honor of Chuck Carroll the last few decades but is again in action in the final season of Husky Stadium.
Williams was thrown right into the mix with the starting unit at times, playing almost solely at split end, or X, the same spot where Jermaine Kearse also usually lines up. He made a nice catch in the end zone in a seven-on-seven session but a couple balls his way in the team sessions ended up incomplete (and one that appeared overthrown intercepted by Sean Parker). On another occassion he was bumped hard by Desmond Trufant and fell to the ground — no doubt a different type of coverage than he’s seen previously in his career.
Coaches said they saw what they expected out of Williams for a first day.
“All the hype with his physical tools is absolutely right on,” said receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty. “He’s got a ton of physical talent. He was pretty good in terms of the mental stuff today and like I told him, I wasn’t holding back with him. I was throwing him out there with the one huddle and you guys saw it, he was getting a lot of reps, and I wasn’t having to reallly hold his hand that much, either. He was doing it on his own. The key thing with him is just staying motivated but also at the same time being realistic. He’s just been so used to making plays, that’s all he’s ever known, having a ton of succcess. Whereas if a guy makes a play on the ball and knocks the ball down, next play. Go to the next play and stay positive. It’s a process and as long as we are going this way (up) and getting better every day, that kid is going to be fine. He’s got a ton of talent, he’s going to be great.”
Said UW coach Steve Sarkisian: “I thought he showed the things we hope he can do. He went up and made a nice play on a deep ball in seven-on-seven. He showed some real hand-eye coordination, strong catcher. But again, first day you are swimming and so I think as he grows through this first week of kind of trying to get two feet on the ground and not thinking too much he will only get better. But it’s going to take a little bit of time.”
Williams also impressed some of his new teammates. “He’s going to be real good,” said cornerback Quinton Richardson. “That’s a good athlete coming in. He’s going to be really good. I can see him doing very big things in this new stadium they are going to be building. … He passes the eye test, for sure. He can jump out of the building. He’s a good athlete. He’s smart. He doesn’t get outside of himself, so I think he’s going to be really good.”
Another newcomer who caught eyes today was quarterback Derrick Brown, who was 3-3 passing in one team session and along with throwing accurately also seemed pretty assured in the pocket.
“Yeah, he’s a pretty talented kid,”’ said Sarkisian. “It’s hard. First day of practice, quarterback, true freshman — it’s not easy. But he showed some true flashes today and one of the things I was most encouraged by besides his physical tools was just his presence. He didn’t get rattled. He botched a couple calls and different things but that didn’t affect him the rest of the day, he was able to bounce back. That was encouraging.”
Asked general impressions of the freshmen class, Sarkisian said: “Just in general this freshman class is a little bigger and longer. It’s a long, athletic group whether you are talking about Kasen or Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) or a (Travis) Feeney at safety or Scott Lawyer. Go inside with Danny Shelton, Tani Tupou, Jaret Finau on the edge, it’s just a taller group. Taller, longer, bigger.”
In a couple of other observations from Sarkisian. …
— He said of the overall practice: “I thought it was good. We have a lot of guys — we were running threes, which we haven’t done really since we’ve been here. So a lot of guys, a lot of reps. I thought as practice went on I thought our tempo got better. It’s always a little challenging at first when you are not in pads and practicing, but I thought as we started to get going they started to understand the pad level and the finishing part of it, so I thought they got better as practice went on.”
— And on the quarterbacks: “I think the one thing I was impressed with Keith (Price) today is there were a couple of plays he didn’t make today that he normally will make as we move forward, a couple kind of gimmees. But what I was impressed with is when a guy feels he is really competing for the job those plays can sometimes harbor and affect the rest of your practice. I thought Keith missed a couple of throws but that didn’t ruin his day.He made some other plays and did some good things, so I think that is the mentality you get when you feel like you are the starter. That this one play isn’t going to make or break my career so you can move on from it.”
— And of Nick Montana, he said: “I thought Nick had a tremendous day today. I thought he had a great day and thew the ball well and made plays.”
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— The starting DL generally consisted of Hau’oli Jamora and Talia Crichton at end with Everrette Thompson and Alameda Ta’amu at tackles, Thompson moving inside to help fill in the depth there with others out. Danny Shelton got a lot of work with the twos and had some nice moments in the individual drills, which appeared to mostly be won by the defense.
— The starting LBs were Cort Dennison inside and Princeton Fuimaono and Garret Gilliland at the other two spots.
— And the secondary was Desmond Trufant and Quinton Richardson at corners with Nate Fellner and Parker at safety.
— The starting OL generally consisted, left to right, of Senio Kelemete, Colin
Tanigawa, Drew Schaefer, Colin Porter and Erik Kohler. The No. 2 OL was usually, left to right, Micah Hatchie, Nick Wood, Mike Criste, James Atoe and Ben Riva.
— The players who took part in the return drills were Johri Fogerson, Willis Wilson, Williams, Devin Aguilar, Kevin Smith, Bishop Sankey, Jesse Callier, Cody Bruns, Sean Parker, Marcus Peters and Trufant.
— Sankey had some nice runs and an initial impression is that his purported speed may be pretty legit.
— Dezden Petty sat out a little bit late in practice with what Sarkisian said was leg tightness. No other injuries were visible.
— The one defensive player who got a couple of looks at fullback, as Sarkisian said earlier might happen, was walk-on LB Nick Holt, son of UW’s defensive coordinator.
We’ll have some video from practice a little later