Washington edge Zion Tupuola-Fetui (front left) and teammates take part in the team’s fist preseason practice on Thursday at Husky Stadium in Seattle. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times via AP)

Washington edge Zion Tupuola-Fetui (front left) and teammates take part in the team’s fist preseason practice on Thursday at Husky Stadium in Seattle. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times via AP)

Fall returns to Husky Stadium as UW opens preseason camp

Under a slight mist, the Washington football team holds its first preseason practice under new head coach Kalen DeBoer.

By Mike Vorel / The Seattle Times

If you disregard the lack of fans in the stands, or the fact that the players weren’t wearing pads, or the obvious absence of an actual opponent …

It felt like a fall Saturday inside Husky Stadium.

That’s because the first preseason practice of the Kalen DeBoer era was greeted with a sudden bout of Pacific Northwest weather, as rain spitted on the turf inside Husky Stadium Thursday. But that didn’t bother junior quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who took the vast majority of snaps with the starters and made a collection of impressive completions.

Penix — who enters August locked in a quarterback competition with sophomore Dylan Morris and redshirt freshman Sam Huard — dropped a rainbow into the waiting arms of redshirt freshman wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk for a 45-yard touchdown, despite cornerback Mishael Powell being draped on Polk’s back like a cape. The 6-foot-3, 213-pounder and Indiana transfer was certainly UW’s most consistent quarterback Thursday, adding a pair of 40-yard completions to wide receiver Rome Odunze as well.

Morris took the majority of second-team snaps and surrendered a pair of interceptions — an impressive pick that freshman safety Tristan Dunn leapt to snare in a one-on-one drill, followed by an underthrown deep ball that cornerback Davon Banks came down with in front of wide receiver Jabez Tinae along the sideline in a scrimmage session.

Huard — the 6-2, 193-pound second-year freshman and former five-star recruit — was the clear No. 3 in the quarterback pecking order, even working with the scout team on a separate field during some first- and second-team scrimmage drills. But DeBoer emphasized after Thursday’s practice that it remains a three-man race and each quarterback will share first-team reps at least through the first week, when the coaching staff may reassess if contenders start to separate themselves.

Here are some other observations from Thursday’s practice:

Starting lineups

The primary starters on each side of the ball were as follows:

QB: Michael Penix Jr.

RB: Wayne Taulapapa

LT: Jaxson Kirkland

LG: Troy Fautanu

C: Corey Luciano

RG: Henry Bainivalu

RT: Roger Rosengarten

TE: Jack Westover

WR: Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, Ja’Lynn Polk

DL: Tuli Letuligasenoa, Ulumoo Ale

Edge: Bralen Trice, Jeremiah Martin

LB: Cam Bright, Alphonzo Tuputala

CB: Mishael Powell, Jordan Perryman

Husky: Dominique Hampton

S: Alex Cook, Asa Turner

It’s worth noting that running back Cameron Davis and right guard Geirean Hatchett took a few snaps with the starters as well.

Meanwhile, UW’s second-team offense consisted of quarterback Dylan Morris, running back Will Nixon, wide receivers Taj Davis, Giles Jackson and Junior Alexander, tight ends Devin Culp and Quentin Moore, left tackle Julius Buelow, left guard Nate Kalepo, center Matteo Mele, right guard Geirean Hatchett and right tackle Victor Curne.

The second-team defense featured defensive linemen Voi Tunuufi and Kuao Peihopa, edges Zion Tupuola-Fetui and Sav’ell Smalls, linebackers Kristopher Moll and Carson Bruener, corners Elijah Jackson and Davon Banks, husky Kamren Fabiculanan and safeties Cameron Williams and Julius Irvin.

It’s certainly worth noting that UW’s first- and second-team running backs — Taulapapa and Nixon, respectively — were transfers participating in their first UW practice, although Richard Newton’s limited availability clouds that picture some. Newton wore a yellow “limited” jersey Thursday and DeBoer said that will remain the case for a week or two.

It will also be interesting to see if right tackle Roger Rosengarten, linebacker Alphonzo Tuputala and defensive lineman Ulumoo Ale take advantage of their starting opportunities. Moll will likely overtake Tuputala once the UAB transfer settles in at UW, while Ale will have to hold off Tunuufi, Peihopa, Faatui Tuitele and more.

It’s hard to discern why Tupuola-Fetui continues to take primarily second-team reps, something he also did for the majority of the spring. It could be that edge coach Eric Schmidt truly considers Trice and Martin to be more capable options, but time will tell.

Extra points

— On the injury front, Newton is still limited after tearing his ACL last season, while New Mexico running back transfer Aaron Dumas didn’t appear to be a full participant either. Linebackers Edefuan Ulofoshio and Demaro King and defensive lineman Armon Parker did not participate on Thursday and are expected to miss fall camp. DeBoer noted that Ulofoshio in particular will miss at least the first half of the season with an injury sustained last winter.

— Wide receiver Giles Jackson made one of the plays of the day, ripping a would be interception out of cornerback Dyson McCutcheon’s hands on an ill-advised floater from Huard.

— Odunze, Jackson, McMillan, Nixon and walk-on wide receiver Brennan Holmes all returned punts Thursday.

— Edge Jeremiah Martin was credited with the first sack of fall camp, breaking through the line to corral Penix.

— Hampton — a 6-3, 221-pound husky — overwhelmed a block to swallow McMillan for a tackle for loss on a wide receiver screen. From a physical standpoint, few inside Husky Stadium are more impressive than Hampton.

— A scout from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — who have drafted Joe Tryon and Cade Otton in the previous two cycles — attended Thursday’s practice and stood on the sideline.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Brazilian skater Kelvin Hoefler jumps over the SLS sign during a Street League Skateboarding event. (Photo provided by SLS)
Ready to get radical in Everett

Street League Skateboarding is bringing some of the world’s top skateboarders to Angel of the Winds Arena this weekend.

Runners participate in the first annual Run For Your Life Suicide Awareness Run/Walk in 2021. (Photo provided by Austin Johnson)
Suicide awareness run/walk returns to Lake Stevens

Snohomish County native Austin Johnson developed the event to provide support for people battling mental-health struggles.

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodriguez after his one run RBI double against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 29, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Mariners reinstate All-Star Julio Rodríguez from 10-day IL

Seattle also activates new catcher Curt Casali, options outfielder Jarred Kelenic to Tacoma and DFAs catcher Luis Torrens.

Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch warms up before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Vegas police: Marshawn Lynch was asleep in car before arrest

The former Seahawks’ vehicle was in “undriveable condition,” with no tire on the driver’s side front wheel, according to a report.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Late rally comes up short, AquaSox lose to Dust Devils

Everett gets the tying run to second in the ninth, but falls to Tri-City 3-2.

A korfball hits the edge of the basket Thursday evening at Mukilteo Beach on September 9, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Community roundup: Kamiak trio set for beach korfball worlds

Plus, Cascade grad Aubrey Peterson helps Great Britain earn softball silver and much more.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith, center, passes as head coach Pete Carroll, left, and assistant quarterbacks coach Kerry Joseph, right, look on, during NFL football practice Saturday, July 30, 2022, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Smith to start at QB in Seahawks’ preseason opener

Veteran Geno Smith remains in front of Drew Lock in the key position battle, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox hold off Dust Devils to snap 6-game skid

Mike Salvatore and Dariel Gomez provide key hits in Everett’s 4-2 win.

FILE - Serena Williams reacts after beating Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, in the championship match at the 2012 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in New York. Saying “the countdown has begun,” 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams announced Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, she is ready to step away from tennis so she can turn her focus to having another child and her business interests, presaging the end of a career that transcended sports.AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Serena Williams says she’s ready to step away from tennis

The 23-time Grand Slam champion indicates in an essay that she will stop playing after this month’s U.S. Open.

Most Read