Washington just wrapped up its first fall camp practice of the season, contested in helmets only, and held under clear skies inside new Husky Stadium.
“It was so awesome,” UW coach Steve Sarkisian said of the first practice in the renovated stadium. “I intentionally came out really early just to kind of get my fix of looking around and taking it all in. It was great to be home.”
Senior quarterback Keith Price was sharp throughout, connecting with favorite targets Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins regularly.
In the initial warmups with the No. 1 offense, Price caught the first two snaps within 10 seconds of each other. That probably won’t happen often in a game, but it does go to show you that there is some serious emphasis on the up-tempo attack.
Redshirt freshman QB Cyler Miles, after a slow start, was hot late, connecting with Marvin Hall on several passes and throwing a beautiful, over-the-shoulder pass to Kendyl Taylor for a long touchdown.
Jaydon Mickens had one of the plays of the day when he dived and hauled in a deep pass in the middle of the field.
“It was good. Just like anything, we’ve got work to do,” Sarkisian said of the offense. “We had a couple procedural penalties. I thought we missed a couple big-play opportunities, but we created some too, which has been an emphasis of ours. There’s definitely some work to be done, but I was encouraged. I was encouraged by the way our backs ran the football and their intent to run downhill and in an aggressive nature. I was really impressed with the first two quarterbacks, Keith and Cyler. So there was a lot of positives, but I’m going to go look at the film and I could tell you in three hours all the stuff we need to work on.”
Defensively, outside linebacker Travis Feeney — out all spring after shoulder surgery — seemed to be all over the field. He skied to intercept a Miles pass early in practice, then later deflected a Price pass intended for Seferian-Jenkins deep down the field.
Practice ran about 20 minutes long because Sarkisian said he wanted to give the new freshmen a few extra reps.
“We wanted to focus on our young players, so we gave them more reps than they’ve gotten early in camp,” he said. “We’re trying to find out so much information on those guys (and) the best way to find out information on those guys is to let them practice and go through the growing pains and let them make so mistakes on the field and then get better. That caused us to go just a little bit longer.
“I think they look good. I think we found out a little bit about fatigue and how it affects some of them, which is not a bad thing. It gave them a dose of reality of what kind of condition they need to be in and why they to take care of themselves. …I thought John Ross really showed some things for us today catching the ball. I thought Lavon Coleman for a first day running the ball in this system; he wasn’t lining up on the wrong side, he was going in the right direction and ran the ball pretty effectively. I felt like I noticed (cornerback) Jermaine Kelly; I felt like there at the end (defensive end) Elijah Qualls had a couple good pass rushes.”
The only guy not seen on the field was offensive lineman Erik Kohler, who suffered a foot injury late in the summer. The guys coming back from major knee injuries — Deontae Cooper, Colin Tanigaway, Lawrence Lagafuaina, Jesse Callier and Ryan McDaniel — all participated at least some.
Callier wore a brace on his right knee and worked mostly on individual drills. Cooper, coming back from his third ACL tear, took one hand off during a team drill — and he said he did it with a smile.
Here’s how the first-string offense looked for much of the day (Note: This is not an official depth chart):
QB: Keith Price
RB: Bishop Sankey
OL (left to right): Ben Riva, Dexter Charles, Mike Criste, James Atoe, Micah Hatchie.
TE: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
WR: Kasen Williams, Jaydon Mickens, DeAndre Campbell
DL: Andrew Hudson, Evan Hudson, Danny Shelton, Josh Shirley.
LB: Travis Feeney, John Timu, Shaq Thompson
CB: Marcus Peters, Greg Ducre
S: Sean Parker, Will Shamburger
NOTE: Having some technical issues on my end, but hope to post a few videos later tonight.