Overcast skies greeted the Huskies this morning as they took the field for their second practice of fall camp. Once again, the morning session was for veterans, and the afternoon session will be for newcomers. This is the second and final day that UW will split its squad between two practices. Here are some notes and observations from this morning’s workout.
--- The personnel was a little different today, with quarterback Tony Rodriguez working out with the veterans instead of the newcomers, and a few veterans -- such as linebacker Azeem Victor and cornerback Darren Gardenhire -- not in attendance. Not sure why that is. Perhaps the coaches want to mix personnel and work some older guys in with the rookies. We’ll see.
--- The defense continues to give the offense a lot of trouble when they go 11-on-11. Sidney Jones had the first interception of the day, a diving pick of a pass thrown by Jake Browning. Later in practice, with Browning at quarterback behind the first-team offensive line against the first-team defense, safety Brandon Beaver came over the top to intercept a pass near the right sideline that was intended for John Ross, who was being covered tightly by sophomore cornerback Jordan Miller.
So that’s now six interceptions in two days for the defense, and that’s just counting the veterans practices.
--- I counted at least three touch sacks during the final 11-on-11 period -- one each by DJ Beavers, Psalm Wooching and Greg Gaines. Redshirt freshman linebacker Jusstis Warren also had a touch-sack of Rodriguez.
--- The first-team defense during the final period featured Gaines, Elijah Qualls and Vita Vea together along the defensive front -- all three of those guys played nose tackle last season, and man, that is a massive trio to have on the field together -- with Keishawn Bierria, Ben Burr-Kirven and Joe Mathis (buck) at linebacker, and a nickel package that included Beaver, Jojo McIntosh, Budda Baker, Kevin King and Jordan Miller in the defensive backfield.
--- The No. 1 offensive line looked the same -- Trey Adams, Jake Eldrenkamp, Coleman Shelton, Shane Brostek and Andrew Kirkland -- and the No. 2 offensive line was also the same as yesterday with Jared Hilbers, Michael Kneip, Matt James, Jesse Sosebee and Kaleb McGary.
--- Walk-on tight-end-turned-receiver Connor Griffin has had a nice couple of days. He caught a pass from Browning on a slant route and turned it into about a 25-yard gain during the final 11-on-11 period, one of the few highlights for the offense. But on the next play, Qualls tore through the offensive line, batted a Browning pass attempt back into Browning’s arms, then engulfed him for a loss of several yards.
--- Other defensive line groupings I saw: Vea, Shane Bowman and Damion Turpin; Gaines, Qualls and Jaylen Johnson.