With the Huskies having a bye this week, the practices are largely devoted to fundamental work and getting some of the younger players some more reps.
Typically during the season, the younger players spend much of their day running the scout team — which means running the plays of the team UW is playing that Saturday.
But for these practices this week they are back running UW plays, wearing their own jersey numbers instead of those of whichever opposing player they are emulating on the scout team.
“It’s important to everybody’s development,” said UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt. “Those other guys, they are young and they need all the reps they can get. They are a work in progress themselves and every day they get better.”
The youngsters will get their most significant work on Wednesday with what is scheduled to be a scrimmage — and an interesting one at that with only UW head coach Steve Sarkisian in attendance (the rest of the coaches will be on the road recruiting, several having already left). Some of the older players said good-naturedly that they were looking forward to coaching some of the youngsters in the scrimmage Wednesday.
“Everrette’s a better coach,” said Alameda Ta’amu. “He has good patience. I don’t know if I’d have the patience.”
There was no live tackling today, but practice ended with about a 15-20 minute team session that largely featured some of the younger players — true freshmen quarterbacks Derrick Brown and Thomas Vincent got significant work running the offense with Keith Price essentially taking the week off (Nick Montana ran the No. 1 offense).
Asked which young defenders have stood out, Holt said: “Some of the safeties, James Sample even though he’s not redshirting, Sample and Travis Feeney and maybe a couple of the defensive linemen and linebackers. This is a good week for them. There are a couple of guys there that in a couple of years are going to be really good players.” (And in one highlight to mention, on one of the final plays of practice, Evan Zeger picked off a tipped pass.)
Holt also talked a little bit about the defense in general, saying that the defensive line that emerged against Utah — with Ta’amu and Semisi Tokolahi in the middle and Thompson at end — is UW’s ideal.
“First and second down, that’s what we want to do, there’s no question, especially against some of the run teams,” Holt said. “And Everrette does a really good job at defensive end. He even rushes the passer well out there, he’s long and does a good job.”
Holt said it was obvious that Tokolahi made a difference in what was his first significant action of the season.
“He played really solid, but he still can play better, as can a lot of people,” he said. “Everrette did a really good job, a good defensive end and Alameda played really well, real solid. Josh Shirley had some nice plays. Guys just took their turns in doing some nice things. Quite honestly, Josh Shirley could have had three or four sacks, he missed a couple of tackles. We can play better.”
In a couple personnel notes, Taz Stevenson not in uniform and neither was Kasen Williams, who suffered a sprained ankle against Utah.
Here’s video of some of Holt’s session with the media today:
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