The only people watching UW preseason-camp practice Wednesday are coaches and school VIPs.
That is because the ninth practice of fall ball was closed to the media, as well as the public.
With that, it is a good time to review what has transpired as camp has nearly reached its midway point:
THREE STOCKS UP
1. Myles Bryant and Byron Murphy, CB: Honestly, the entire cornerback corps has shown pretty well in the first 10 days, especially the top four im the depth chart.
Bryant, a former walk-on from Loyola High School in Los Angeles, has had the best camp of any defensive back. He has been assignment-sound. He is physical at the point of when passes arrive. And he had enough of an edge to him that he feels no wide receiver can beat him. He appears to have the third cornerback spot locked down, which should translate into seeing plenty of time at the nickel back.
Murphy has been beaten on a few routes, including one for a touchdown Sunday. But he is the type of performer who looks like he will give up a few plays, but will also make more game-changing plays. The guy has a knack for getting at least one hand on oncoming passes, and turning that into a sight to behold.
2. Salvon Ahmed, RB: This rookie has been talked about all camp, and for good reason — he is going to someday be a superstar in the Pac-12.
When that happens is anybody’s guess, but he does a lot of the same things former USC running back Reggie Bush did: He runs with authority for a smaller tailback. He catches the ball and makes people miss in space. And he can return kicks in special teams.
Even locked in a loaded backfield, Ahmed has a skill set that should get him on the field for game action immediately.
3. Jusstis Warren, OLB: Given he hasn’t really contributed greatly in his first two seasons, this former All-Area linebacker from Lincoln High School might be a surprise inclusion on this list.
But not only has he quietly climbed the depth chart — he even saw a comple of snaps at strong-side linebacker Tuesday in place of Benning Potoa’e — he is taking on the baddest dudes on the offense with his own nastiness.
Warren is up to 6-foot-2, 252 pounds. And with questions about the pass rush, he very well could be prominent as a presence off the edge this season.
THREE STOCKS LEVEL
1. Jake Browning, QB: He has made some errant throws in live team work, including interceptions returned for touchdowns, but the coaching staff has been more concerned about how the football is coming out, given that he had offseason shoulder surgery.
So far, so good — Browning has had plenty of zip on the laser throws up the sideline, and he has not lost his accuracy on the timing passes, even with a different cast of receivers.
If I had to get the junior a letter grade so far, it would be a solid ‘B.’
2. Trey Adams, LT: Don’t worry, the biggest, baddest man along the offensive line — the junior is 6-8 and 327 pounds — is still moving even the fastest pass rushers away with relative ease in live work.
But something troublesome developed Tuesday during a late-practice skirmish.
Ranging from feisty to mean, Adams always seems to play with a chip on his shoulder. But he crossed the line Tuesday going after a defensive teammate by leading with his helmet, as if to head-butt him.
It was cheap. That is the sort of stuff that could end up biting the offense in the rear end in a real game.
3. Drew Sample, TE: Good ol’ reliable Sample, who just continues to not only hold down the No. 1 tight end gig by a wide margin, but he just seems to always be doing the right thing.
Sample is good at everything — blocking, route-running and catching passes in the middle of the field. He won’t dazzle you with his moves, but his savviness is a big plus for this offense.
THREE STOCKS DOWN
1. Brayden Lenius, WR: Will that promise from 2014 ever reappear? Lenius is a big, capable target — something frankly this receving corps could utilize in all areas of the field.
But Lenius seems to lose focus at times, drawing silly penalties to go along with the occasional super catch.
2. David Ajamu, TE: Much like Lenius, you continue to wait on the vast potential on this Shelton High School product, who looks to be the No. 3 tight end heading into the season.
This isn’t a flashy group with great pass catchers. Ajamu could be that one experienced big-play threat (along with touted Hunter Bryant, who has also had his struggles as a true freshman), if he limited his in-practice lapses.
3. Any center not named Coleman Shelton: Football 101 — shotgun snaps need to get to the quarterback cleanly.
Except that has not happened very often from the likes of Matt James and Cole Norgaard, who are currently backing up Shelton.