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Notes and observations from Washington’s seventh practice at Husky Stadium on Sunday:
Quarterback quick reads:
The good: The throw of the day again goes to redshirt freshman Troy Williams, who has showed a nice touch on deep balls. He did it today against the No. 1 defense during the first 11-on-11 drill, when he scrambled to the right and threw a long pass to WR John Ross, who, despite a slight limp, was two steps past CB Marcus Peters and hauled in the easy 53-yard touchdown.
The bad: The rate of interceptions and turnovers has declined since the first few days, but there are still too many. “I think two things: We’ve thrown a lot at them, and I think we’re playing a pretty good defense,” offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith said. (And there are still too many sacks allowed, O-line coach Chris Strausser said afterward.)
Of note: The top three QBs continued to share snaps about evenly. The Huskies are scheduled to scrimmage on Monday (it’s closed to the media and public), and that could be the first chance for one of the quarterbacks to separate himself.
Quotes: Smith, on Williams: “We felt like he could change a couple things to his game through the summer and he’s really done that. He’s dived in and we’re pleased with his progress. He’s always had some physical tools, but now he’s dived into the mental side and feels really comfortable with things. That comes with reps.”
Smith, on sophomore Cyler Miles: “I think Cyler had a chance to really be good, and he’s been working hard. The first couple days, you could see he was raw. But the last couple days, he’s really dialed in.”
Smith, on sophomore Jeff Lindquist: “Every time Jeff gets in there, the ball moves down the field. We’re pretty happy with his ability to move the team dow the field, and he brings a dimension — those other two do, too — but Jeff can run the ball. He’s a bigger kid (at 246 pounds) and we asked him to do that.”
Other practice notes/highlights:
— Miles, in his final team period, led the first-unit offense on a nice 13-play drive down to the defense’s 11-yard line. Williams took over from there and scrambled for an 8-yard touchdown on fourth down.
— Freshman TE Drew Sample, running with the No. 3 offense, had two clutch catches from K.J. Carta-Samuels in the final 11-on-11 drive, the first on third-and-8 and the second on fourth-and-2. Those two seem to have a nice connection already.
— Tristan Vizcaino and Mitch Johnson both made their final field goals, from 37 yards. Cameron Van Winkle missed from that distance, but he had connected from 42 yards earlier (while the other two had missed).
— An entertaining moment during one 11-on-11 period: Ross took a fly sweep and tried to get to the edge, only to have LB Travis Feeney shadow him the whole way, and ultimately push him out of bounds, while Feeney offered a running commentary: “Nooope. Noo. Nooo.”
— Redshirt freshman RB Lavon Coleman fumbled an exchange with Miles, and NT Elijah Qualls recovered.
— On the previous play, redshirt freshman LB Keishawn Bierria had a nice breakp on a Miles pass (thought it should’ve been an interception).
— Freshman Jaylen Johnson (6-2, 254), working as a ‘buck’ outside linebacker with the No. 3 defense, had an interception a fumble-drop by walk-on WR Taelon Parson.
— Marvin Hall, Jaydon Mickens, Kasen Williams, John Ross and Dante Pettis continued to work on punt returns.
— Walk-on DB Hayden Schuh came off the left edge and blocked a Tristan Vizcaino punt.
— Three UW freshmen continue to run with the No. 2 defense: DL Will Dissly, FS Budda Baker and CB Naijiel Hale.
— A good sign for the Huskies was the return of Ross, who was in a boot on Saturday.
— Senior TE Michael Hartvigson, in a sling Saturday, also practiced.
— LB Scott Lawyer was in a regular practice jersey for the first time (not in a yellow no-contact jersey), so that’s a good sign.
— Sophomore DL Joe Mathis was again limited.
— Freshman S Brandon Lewis, freshman CB Aaron Chapman and freshman WR Max Richmond were again sidelined.
Next: Huskies will scrimmage for the first time on Monday, though the practice is closed to the media and public. Wednesday’s practice, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Husky Stadium, is open to the public, with the Picture Day fan event to follow.