The “core four” in the backfield for Washington remains, but sophomore Dwayne Washington and redshirt freshman Lavon Coleman are expected to get the bulk of the carries for the Huskies in their Aug. 30 season opener at Hawaii.
Seniors Deontae Cooper and Jesse Callier remain in the mix, UW coach Chris Petersen said.
“We’re going to see all those guys (play),” Petersen said. “I think you’re going to see Dwayne Washington out there — he’s going to get a good opportunity. I think Lavon Coleman you’re going to see out there. You’re going to see Jesse and Coop, as well. All four of those guys are going to see the field.”
Elsewhere, Petersen said that the competition for three starting jobs in the defensive secondary is ongoing. Junior cornerback Marcus Peters is the lone returning starter in the secondary, with redshirt freshman Jermaine Kelly almost certainly in line to start at the other corner.
Sophomore strong safety Trevor Walker and sophomore free safety Brandon Beaver worked almost exclusively with the No. 1 defense in the first two weeks of fall camp, but they’re getting a strong push from sophomore Kevin King and freshman Budda Baker.
Petersen said he defers to position coaches — in this case, defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake — on those competitions. “Those are the guys that coach them every day,” Petersen said. “I know (Lake) is kind of shuffling some guys, and I know we’ll see some young guys in the mix. Whether they’ll be starting out there Snap One is to be determined, but you’ll see them out there.”
Lake has said that at least four or five true freshmen will play for him in the secondary: cornerbacks Naijiel Hale, Sidney Jones and Darren Gardenhire, and safety Jojo McIntosh, plus Baker.
In the return game, Petersen said junior receiver Jaydon Mickens will open as the primary punt returner.
“Jaydon, he’s been one of the guys — not just as a punt returner but as a wide receiver — he’s been very consistent and has not missed a beat,” Petersen said. “His energy, his focus has been great day in and day out.”
Sophomore receiver John Ross (well, duh) will be the primary kickoff return specialist, with “a handful” of other guys — including Baker — likely to get a chance to return kicks, too.
“Budda’s doing so many different things — not only on defense but on all of our special teams,” Petersen said. “… We can’t water him down too much.”
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