The Huskies might need a new airhorn for Thursday’s practice.
The horn sounds each time Washington’s defense forces a turnover during a 1-on-1, 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 period.
On Wednesday morning, it went off five times.
First, senior cornerback Marcus Peters intercepted a pass from Cyler Miles that was intended for Kasen Williams, but Peters was able to snag it when Williams fell to the ground.
Then, during a 7-on-7 period, linebacker John Timu intercepted Jeff Lindquist‘s pass and returned it … well, I guess he returned it for a touchdown, though in a live setting it’s possible Lindquist might have chased him down.
Timu wound up in the end zone later anyway. Miles was pressured on a throw near his own goal line, the ball was tipped near the line of scrimmage, and Timu snagged it and easily covered the short distance between him and the end zone.
That was only a few snaps before freshman defensive lineman Greg Gaines appeared to intercept a pass by freshman quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels, who was pressured and actually knocked down by freshman Sidney Jones on a corner blitz. It looked like Gaines snagged the ball out of the air, though it was difficult to tell whether or not the ball hit the ground. Regardless, it was ruled a turnover.
Speaking of Jones, he probably turned in the most impressive play of the day — and maybe the best play of camp so far — when he leaped to defend a long pass thrown near the end zone by Troy Williams, stuck one hand up, caught the ball and fell to the turf just in front of the goal line. The pass appeared to be intended for Jaydon Mickens, but his No. 4 and John Ross‘ No. 1 can be difficult to differentiate from that distance.
UW coach Chris Petersen said it’s always a good-news/bad-news situation when one side dominates the turnover battle the way the defense did today.
“A couple of them were created, a couple of them were gimmes,” Petersen said. “It doesn’t matter. They need to get them, and the offense needs to tighten things up.”
— Speaking of the offense … Miles took the first snaps with the No. 1 offensive line during early 11-on-11 periods, and had quite a few reps throughout each passing drill. So did Lindquist and Williams, and Carta-Samuels got some work, too. Petersen said not to read anything into who gets reps and when, because offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith might use different criteria each day to determine which quarterbacks take which snaps.
— Miles had a couple of nice throws during the 1-on-1 period — one that he completed to Ross over defensive back Jonathan Kwon, after Ross originally turned the wrong way but righted himself in time to make the play. Miles also connected with Marvin Hall on a deep pass after Hall ran past freshman defensive back Jojo McIntosh.
— Lindquist’s best throw was a deep touchdown pass to Hall, who was being covered by Travell Dixon. Williams threw a strike to Kasen Williams up the left sideline, past the coverage of cornerback Jermaine Kelly, for a touchdown during a 7-on-7 period.
— It wasn’t much, but linebacker Shaq Thompson did take his first few reps of camp as a running back, though not in a live setting. Thompson came over from the defensive practice field to participate in an 11-on-air drill, and simply took a couple of handoffs and ran a couple of short routes into the flat. He also took part in a running backs drill early in practice during positional work.
— The No. 1 and No. 2 offensive lines were again the same — Jake Eldrenkamp, Siosifa Tufunga, Mike Criste, James Atoe and Ben Riva with the first group, and Micah Hatchie, Dexter Charles, Colin Tanigawa, Shane Brostek and Ross Dolbec with the second group.
— The No. 1 defense was also the same, with Evan Hudson, Andrew Hudson, Danny Shelton and Hau’oli Kikaha (technically a buck linebacker, but you get it) up front, Thompson, Timu and Travis Feeney at linebacker, Brandon Beaver and Trevor Walker at safety, and Kelly and Peters at the corners.
— Freshmen defensive backs Budda Baker (safety) and Naijiel Hale each took a few snaps with the No. 2 secondary. DBs coach Jimmy Lake said after practice that he thinks four or five freshmen could play this season in the secondary.
— Freshman DL Will Dissly also took some snaps during the 11-on-11 period with the No. 2 defense, alongside Taniela Tupou, Drew Schultz and Psalm Wooching, with Azeem Victor, Cory Littleton and Keishawn Bierria at linebacker. Again, there’s a lot of mixing and matching and fluid substitutions during these early practices, so it might be best not to read much into some of the personnel groupings.
— At one point, the apparently third-team defensive line featured freshman Jaylen Johnson, third-year sophomore Damion Turpin, freshman Gaines and freshman Shane Bowman.
— Lavon Coleman was the first running back to get carries during early 11-on-11 work, though Deontae Cooper, Dwayne Washington and Jesse Callier mixed in throughout practice.
Of the competition at running back, Petersen said: “I think that running back question is always hard to answer until we really scrimmage, play for real. You don’t really tackle those guys in practice. It’s all kind of tag-off stuff, so we’ll see when they break tackles and those type of things. That’s always another fine-line position as well. You don’t want to get those guys hit too much but they do need to get hit a little bit before that first game. Turn the ball over. See who can run through arm tackles. They fall into a false sense of security. But we’re a ways away from that as well.”
— DBs Aaron Chapman and Brandon Lewis were present but did not participate in the helmets-and-shoulder pads practice.
— Kasen Williams, Dante Pettis, Mickens, Hall and Ross took turns practicing catching punts.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple