Washington’s football camp officially ends tomorrow, when the players leave their dorms, one of the final steps toward the beginning of the season in just — believe it or not — eight days.
When the Huskies began practice on Aug. 8, there were a few spots everyone thought would yield some stiff competition for the starting role. It wasn’t necessarily thought that free safety would be one of them. But Justin Glenn’s return to full health has enabled him to put up a spirited fight with Nate Fellner for that spot, as I wrote about for my story for today’s paper.
As the Huskies prepare to enter gameweek mode tomorrow, most spots appear set.
It was thought heading into camp that the offensive line might have a battle or two. Instead, the same five have basically held the starting roles from day one — left tackle Senio Kelemete, left guard Colin Tanigawa, center Drew Schaefer, right guard Colin Porter and right tackle Erik Kohler.
There’s lots of competition at the WR spots, but since those positions rotate so much, in some ways it’s a matter of semantics who actually starts — whether the team begins in a two-receiver set, or three-receiver set, etc. More important is getting into that rotation. The top five seem pretty set — Jermaine Kearse, Devin Aguilar, Kasen Williams. Kevin Smith, James Johnson, with DiAndre Campbell and Cody Bruns working in after that.
Tight end is similar in that Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Michael Hartvigson each figure to play a lot. Seferian-Jenkins is the likely No. 1 on the depth chart, but again, Hartvigson figures to play a lot, either as a second TE or rotating in, and Evan Hudson will also see the field. The backfield spots have been pretty set all along other than the disruption caused by Chris Polk’s injury, which will likely have Jesse Callier listed at the top for the first week (with Jonathan Amosa appearing set since the beginning of camp as the starting fullback).
Defensively, the line is another spot where there will be lots of rotating and changing of alignments based on the scheme that week. Hau’oli Jamora at weakside end and Alameda Ta’amu at nose tackle are anchors at their spots, and Everrette Thompson will start somewhere, depending on alignment. Danny Shelton also has worked a lot with the ones of late, and guys like Talia Crichton, Lawrence Lagafuaina, Sione Potoa’e, Josh Shirley and Andrew Hudson will also see the field a lot.
It was thought the linebacker spots would have heavy competition, but it appeared to narrow down pretty quickly, with Princeton Fuimaono and John Timu moving into the first unit and mostly staying there. However, the two changed spots — Timu to strongside and Fuimaono to weakside — about midway through. And Garret Gilliland made a late move at the weakside spot and could rotate in there. Cort Dennison will be the MLB, with Thomas Tutogi having a nice camp to emerge as his backup.
Other than free safety, the secondary would have been set if not for an injury to Quinton Richardson, that now has Greg Ducre and Anthony Gobern battling to be his replacement for as long as he is out. Sean Parker grabbed the strong safety spot — a position that seemed uncertain heading into camp — and hasn’t let it go (and Desmond Trufant is obviously the other corner).
Considering that all of the spots were there is still competition are those where both players could see time, the most intriguing decision left may be at punter, where Kiel Rasp and Will Mahan are battling. Coaches haven’t indicated anything has happened yet to create separation and from what we’ve seen in practice and scrimmages, it’s hard to tell who may be ahead. Remember, neither has a redshirt year left, so that’s not an option.
Soon, the coaches will have to figure out something there — unless they can become the first team in history to just never punt.
IN OTHER HUSKY NEWS. …
— UW is scheduled for a practice today that is closed to the media. It was termed a “mock game” by Sarkisian. The players boarded buses after practice last night and spent the night in a hotel, resembling the procedure for the night before a real game. Today is slated to resemble a real gameday, from the team holding pre-game meetings to wearing their gameday uniforms and then having a scrimmage. The Huskies have done this the last two years, as well, and also have had it closed to the media.
— Official word is that the Raise the Woof celebration tonight will indeed be broadcast on KJR-AM. It is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
— CoachSark’s site has some pictures of Thursday afternoon’s practice that was closed to everyone.
— I helped write a couple of paragraphs for thexlog.com’s season preview of the Huskies.
— ESPN.com’s Ted Miller says to watch out for Cal or Washington as a sleeper team.
— UW’s official site features Trufant.
HUSKIES IN THE NFL. …
— Nate Williams made two tackles in Baltimore’s 34-31 win over the Redskins.
— Here’s a picture of D’Andre Goodwin making a catch in Denver’s practice Thursday.
AROUND THE PAC-12/COLLEGE FOOTBALL
— Oregon State’s Mike Riley says going for two last year at UW was the worst coaching decision he’s ever made.
— Oregon has already paid $60,000 in legal fees related to the Willie Lyles situation.
— Arizona has lost starting cornerback Jonathan McKnight for the season, the latest in a rrash of injuries (and so far, consider UW lucky in that department).
— Pre-Snap Read previews Oregon.