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Spring Preview Notes & Observations

Some thoughts from Washington’s spring preview scrimmage

NCAA Football: Portland St. at Washington Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

Huskies win!!! Huskies win!!!

The offense ultimately took the W in a 34-33 comeback victory with a modified scrimmage format. Both the 1st and 2nd team offenses threw interceptions over the first several drives before they settled in to ultimately put together 5 TD drives. On several of those scores though the defense made them work for it with 10+ plays necessary to get in the end zone. Here are some of our notes and observations from the scrimmage period.

  • Denzel Boston stood out as the big winner for me. He scored on a 6-yard direct snap end around that apparently wasn’t supposed to be a direct snap and just had poor timing. But he made the broken play work. Boston also scored on a deep shot from Dylan Morris where he was wide, wide open due to a blown coverage from someone. In between though I noticed a couple nice catches in traffic. He also badly beat expected #1 corner Jabbar Muhammad on a go route and Muhammad literally tackled Boston to prevent a big gain for one of the more obvious DPIs you’ll ever see. I don’t know how much of Boston we’ll see on the field this year because of UW’s wide receiver depth but he looks like a potential stud when we get to 2024.
  • That wide receiver depth was also on display with nice games from Giles Jackson and Germie Bernard. They each caught the best thrown balls by Michael Penix Jr. and Dylan Morris respectively. Each long throw of ~35 yards was dropped in a bucket over the shoulder against tight coverage just before the sideline. Giles Jackson also caught a few tough throws into traffic and held on despite taking a big hit. Rome Odunze had a couple of nice catches while it was a mostly quiet day for Jalen McMillan.
  • Washington has to get their hands on more balls than they did last year and that got off to an early start. Jaivion Green and Elijah Jackson each had an interception. There was a 3rd pick but it came on a free play due to a ZTF offsides and Penix just threw a jump ball into double coverage to Rome Odunze with that knowledge. A shout out to Jacob Bandes who twice in the same series batted down passes from Dylan Morris at the line of scrimmage.
  • Last year the UW pass rushers often had trouble bringing QBs all the way to the ground despite getting a hand on them. There was no chance to tell if that’s still a problem as the QBs were not to be touched as part of the rules for the spring preview. That led to several sacks called by the refs on plays that might not have been sacks in real life. If a defender got within about a yard of the QB it was pre-emptively blown dead which negated a few potential completions. Although it’s tough to know if they would’ve gotten the throw off with a pass rusher pulling up instead of going full speed.
  • Despite no contact there was an early scare for Michael Penix Jr. as Bralen Trice bull-rushed RT Roger Rosengarten into the pocket and Rosengarten accidentally stepped on Penix’s ankle. He limped around a little bit but appeared to be find and finished practice.
  • With the offense struggling, they turned to Cam Davis to turn things around. On UW’s first scoring drive he gained about 7 yards on 3 or 4 plays running it straight up the gut. With incoming transfers Dillon Johnson and Daniyel Ngata not available today (plus Richard Newton) the RB order went roughly: Cam Davis, Will Nixon, Sam Adams, Tybo Rogers, Aaron Dumas.
  • In these type of games with constantly rotating lineups plus being in person it’s sometimes tough to tell who is having a great game on defense. I noticed a few nice plays from Zach Durfee though on a “sack” and beating his man on a run play to make contact in the backfield. Mishael Powell had several nice tackles near the line of scrimmage including a TFL on a quick flare pass to Rome Odunze. As noted above, Jacob Bandes had a pair of pass break ups getting his hands up at the line of scrimmage.
  • The ultimate goal for this is to avoid injuries. Some players though who appeared to get shaken up at points during the game included: CB Jabbar Muhammad, S Asa Turner, and TE Quentin Moore. Some players not participating in the scrimmage to start with included: RBs Dillon Johnson, Daniyel Ngata, and Richard Newton, DL Elinneus Davis, TE Jack Westover, Edge Lance Holtzclaw, and likely a few others I didn’t note.
  • Finally, shout outs to walk-on QB Alex Johnson and walk-on WR Owen Coutts who connected for a touchdown on the final play of the scrimmage. It was the only drive led by Johnson and he worked the ball downfield and found the 6’4 Coutts up the seam and put it in a place where only he could go up and get it right on the goal line. That throw gave the offense the win.