The Washington Huskies Football Team is almost halfway through Fall Camp and pressing forward towards the start of the season on August 31st.
With the media only being granted access to the first five practices of camp, the usual in depth analysis of a lengthy camp has been cut short.
Throughout the beginning of camp, the team practiced in jerseys and shorts during the first few practices and then moved on to shoulder pads for the last couple of practices.
Practices consisted of massive drill work with an emphasis on fundamentals, technique and scrimmaging. Players received a ton of reps while getting back into the full swing with football.
Even in the limited time we were able to view the team, some glaring observations stood out about the makeup of this year’s team.
Here are five observations that stood out at Fall Camp…..
The Huskies Have Massive Size
It is clearly visible that this version of Chris Petersen‘s Huskies surely pass the eye test when it comes to size. This could be the biggest team that Petersen has had since being at the controls at Washington. There is size all over the field and the size is most notable in the trenches. The beef on the interior defensive line is humongous and it’s no secret that Petersen and his staff have made that aspect a priority in recruiting as of late. What is extremely noticeable is the true freshman on both sides of the line are already coming in at massive numbers. Strength and conditioning coach guru Tim Socha will have fun turning that size into muscle and speed as their careers continue to grow. This size is what many believe will take the Huskies to that next step as an overall program.
The Quarterbacks Room Looks Very Talented
Obviously all eyes are on junior Jacob Eason as many Husky fans have been awaiting the start of his era on Montlake. While Eason is no doubt talented and has tremendous upside, the other quarterbacks on the roster have some talent of their own. Sophomore Jake Haener is deeply entrenched in a quarterback battle for the starting position and he has full command of the offense. One thing that really stands out about Haener is the zip he puts on the ball for such a short quarterback. Freshman Jacob Sirmon has improved from Spring Camp to Fall Camp and has retooled his accuracy and touch. What has been impressive is true freshman Dylan Morris and his ability to adapt to the speed of college football so quickly. The kid just has that “it” factor to him. The future is bright!
Peyton Henry Seems To Have Control of the Placekicking Competition
With only five practices to watch, it is premature to anoint anyone a starting position but it seems like sophomore Peyton Henry has distanced himself in the competition. True freshman kicker Tim Horn may be the biggest field goal kicker size wise we’ve seen in years but struggled with his field goal attempts. While both kickers were not perfect, Henry was definitely the most consistent placekicker during practice with converting a majority of his kicks. The one thing that has always stood out about Henry is his massive leg and strength he possesses. When he kicks the ball, they clear the uprights without any doubt. While a lot can change throughout the rest of Fall Camp, chalk this first “leg” to Henry as he was clearly in front of the pack.
There Will Be No Drop-off In The Secondary
Many would expect that with the departure of so many starters and key players from the secondary, that a drop-off would ensue. Make no mistake about it..there won’t be! The Huskies are loaded with talent in the secondary and the next era of players will continue to perform at an elite level. Senior Myles Bryant will be looked upon to anchor the secondary with his experience and leadership. He will be the guy the young players look up to throughout the season. With important and key players like Taylor Rapp, Jojo McIntosh, Byron Murphy and Jordan Miller gone, the perception is that the Husky defense will take a step back. Coach Jimmy Lake has done an outstanding job preparing the next group for greatness and that was fully on display during camp.
Chico McClatcher Is Fully Back And In Midseason Form
Maybe the biggest aspect and observation from Fall Camp has been the resurgence of wide receiver Chico McClatcher! Throughout the first five days of practice, Chico has clearly set the bar for wide receiver play and may have been the best player in camp. Last season, when Chico left the team, the Huskies deep ball threat ability took a hit and so did the offense. McClatcher was seen throughout camp making catch after catch in traffic, over defenders and playing with a supreme confidence. The impact of Chico is insurmountable as he is so beloved by his teammates. His infectious attitude and smile is back and that spells doom for opposing Pac-12 defensive coordinators. Look for McClatcher to have a big breakout season and be an integral part of the offense.