Again wearing shoulder pads and other clothing, the Washington Huskies practiced for about two and a half hours Tuesday morning at Husky Stadium.
Here are a few notes and observations from what was a pretty spirited session.
--- Budda Baker, who missed the Huskies’ first practice due to illness, wore pads on Tuesday and was a full participant. He even appeared in the offensive backfield on one play during an 11-on-11 red zone drill, though he didn’t touch the ball.
--- Speaking of that red-zone drill, the offense fared relatively well. The highlight was probably K.J. Carta-Samuels’ nicely thrown fade pass to Brayden Lenius for about a 3-yard touchdown. The throw was accurate and Lenius easily caught the ball over shorter cornerback Darren Gardenhire.
Later, a scoring opportunity escaped when Jake Browning threw behind tight end Drew Sample, who was open – but on the next play, Browning rifled a touchdown pass to Sample under much tighter coverage. The freshman quarterback showed maybe more emotion after that play than we’ve seen from him so far, throwing his hands in the air and quickly running to celebrate in the end zone with the rest of the offense.
Jeff Lindquist also accounted for a touchdown during the drill, keeping the ball on about a 7-yard touchdown run up the middle.
--- The final 11-on-11 period was pretty interesting. Lindquist took the first series with the first-team offense against the first-team defense – starting at the defense’s 30-yard line – and immediately completed a 20-yard pass to Pettis. Lindquist threw his next pass out of bounds amid pressure, then Lavon Coleman carried for a short gain before Lindquist kept the ball and picked up about four yards.
On 4th-and-goal from the 3, Coleman took a handoff up the middle, but linebacker Azeem Victor popped him in the backfield – it’s not full-contact, remember – and the play was blown dead.
Carta-Samuels was next up with the second-team offense against the second-team defense (again starting at the 30), and he capped a successful possession by throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Renfro on third down. The redshirt freshman quarterback also picked up eight yards on a keeper to begin the series, and moved the ball to the 2-yard line with a 4-yard pickup before freshman linebacker Tevis Bartlett thumped him to the ground. (Dwayne Washington lost three yards on the next play to set up 3rd-and-goal from the 5.)
Working with the third-team offense against the third-team defense, Browning completed consecutive passes to Jomon Dotson, Jamon Jones and Drew Before to move the ball to the defense’s 8-yard line. Two plays later, he found Andre Baccellia for a three-yard gain and a first down at the 5-yard line, despite a big hit from freshman cornerback Jordan Miller.
DJ Beavers stuffed Dotson on the next play for a 2-yard loss, then Browning flicked a swing pass out to Gavin McDaniel that might have been a touchdown if this had been a full contact session. Instead, McDaniel was marked down at the 1. The walk-on tailback was given the ball on the next play, too, but Connor O’Brien and Benning Potoa’e blew the play up in the backfield.
On fourth down, Browning scrambled to the right pylon and was ruled … down? In? Not really sure, as there was no signal and practice ended on that play. Didn’t look like he got in the end zone, though.
--- Today’s first-team offensive line: Jake Eldrenkamp, Dexter Charles, Siosifa Tufunga, Shane Brostek, Coleman Shelton. Shelton also saw some time at left tackle, with Eldrenkamp moving inside in place of Charles, and Matt James filling in at right tackle. Think the coaches want to be careful with Charles, who missed spring due to injury and as a fifth-year senior is obviously the most experienced member of that group.
Second-team offensive line: Andrew Kirkland, Dane Crane, Michael Kneip, Jesse Sosebee, Kaleb McGary.
--- Remember yesterday, when coach Chris Petersen said Tony Rodriguez had been the team’s most accurate quarterback so far? The junior-college transfer has indeed looked pretty sharp in his limited opportunities against UW’s third-string defense, but he threw his first interception of camp during an early 11-on-11 period when his pass to tailback Ralph Kinne out of the backfield was picked off by safety Trevor Walker and returned about 50 yards for a touchdown. It was the first big play of camp for Walker, who tore an ACL in October and missed all of spring practice.
--- Petersen continues to work with the team’s punt returners, which on Tuesday included Dante Pettis, Chico McClatcher, Quinten Pounds and Budda Baker.
--- Deontae Cooper and Brian Clay are still absent while finishing their graduate degrees.
--- Had to laugh during a pass-protection/pass-rushing drill early in practice, when freshman defensive lineman Benning Potoa’e lined up against redshirt freshman tailback Jomon Dotson. The drill wasn’t supposed to begin on the whistle, but instead when the offensive player began to move. Well, being a freshman at his fourth college practice, Potoa’e went on the whistle. The coaches quickly reminded him that he wasn’t supposed to go until the offensive player moved, so he lined up for another rep … and this time, after a proper start, he grabbed Dotson with two hands and tossed him aside like a rag doll. It seemed a perfect juxtaposition of both the growing pains inherent to being a freshman, and the potential the 6-foot-3, 270-pound Lakes High star possesses.
--- Same time, same location tomorrow: 10:30 a.m, Husky Stadium.
Christian Caple can be reached at email@example.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple