Azeem Victor pointed and yelled across the practice field, agitated after being removed from the final 11-on-11 period of Washington’s Wednesday practice due to an apparent late hit.
On the next play, after stopping tailback Myles Gaskin in the backfield on a fourth-and-short carry, defensive tackle Elijah Qualls took off his helmet and shouted in celebration.
It was an impressive stand for the defense, which more or less had its way with UW’s offense during Wednesday’s workout. But it didn’t sit well with the Huskies’ coaches. Both Victor and Qualls would have been penalized for their transgressions if they had occurred during a game, and so both were held by coaches after practice, apparently for disciplinary purposes. Qualls was seen doing up-downs.
“It always gets heated when the defense is dominating,” linebacker Keishawn Bierria said. “We like it. But definitely guys have got to keep their poise. Even though it’s just practice, we’ve got to treat it like it’s the game. Just keep your poise but still bring that edge. We live life on the edge playing defense, but we try to just make sure you know your position and know what you’ve got do. And you’ve also got to have your mind into it. You can’t be out there throwing punches. We can’t have that in the game. But it’s what we do – things get hot when you’re competing at a high level.”
Junior safety Budda Baker also emphasized poise.
“It’s all love. Some of the guys need to keep their poise sometimes,” he said. “We had a little argument out there. One guy made a bad hit or something and then the defensive guy retaliated, and the refs are always going to get the second guy. There was a fourth down, we made a stop, guy took off his helmet, that could be another flag, another first down. So just keeping your poise throughout this whole practice is what the defense really needs to work on.”
They at least had reason to be excited. When UW’s quarterbacks weren’t being sacked they were often scrambling. During one four-play, 11-on-11 series, the defense “sacked” K.J. Carta-Samuels three times -- once each by Darren Gardenhire on a corner blitz, Tevis Bartlett off the left edge and Jaylen Johnson.
Jake Browning proved to be a bit more elusive, though he was forced from the pocket and had to scramble four times during the final two 11-on-11 periods of practice. His final series concluded with the fourth-down stop and subsequent celebration by Qualls.
The most success the offense had was during the final series of practice, with Carta-Samuels leading the second-team offense inside the 20-yard line. Jomon Dotson began that possession with a 25-yard run followed by another rush for a first down. After being sacked by Vita Vea, Carta-Samuels converted a third-down with a completion to Forrest Dunivin to the 20-yard line, though the drive stalled after Gardenhire came over to break up a pass intended for Chico McClatcher.
After that, UW’s four kickers took turns attempting field goals of varying length. Van Soderberg made from 29 yards, Cameron Van Winkle hit from 32 and missed from 42, Tristan Vizcaino made from 32 and 40, and Sebastian Valerio connected from 35.
Some other notes ...
--- Players who were either limited or not participating: WR Brayden Lenius, WR Quinten Pounds, DL Jared Pulu, DL Jason Scrempos, DB Austin Joyner, DB Brandon Beaver, LB Ben Burr-Kirven (who wore a large brace on his left knee) and OL Kaleb McGary (who also wore a large brace on his left knee). DB Trevor Walker, who sat out of Monday’s practice, wore a yellow, no-contact jersey but participated in team sessions.
--- The first-team offensive line featured Trey Adams, Jake Eldrenkamp, Coleman Shelton, Shane Brostek and Andrew Kirkland. The second-team offensive line consisted of Jared Hilbers, Michael Kneip, Matt James, Jesse Sosebee and Devin Burleson.
The first-team defense also looked mostly the same, and played mostly nickel, with Kevin King, Sidney Jones, Darren Gardenhire, Jojo McIntosh and Budda Baker on the field together. Joe Mathis, Victor, Bierria and Psalm Wooching continue to work at linebacker, with Qualls, Greg Gaines, Shane Bowman and Johnson mixing in with the first team.
--- Good as the defense was, it forced only one turnover -- an interception by Brandon Lewis off third-string quarterback Tony Rodriguez.
--- The Huskies practice again at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple