9 players I'm interested to watch when Washington begins preseason camp
Four on offense, five on defense.
You can only watch Michael Penix Jr. throw so many practice touchdowns to Rome Odunze before you start to focus on the less-heralded — but nevertheless crucial — portions of Washington’s depth chart.
The running-back rotation?
The backup safeties?
The third cornerback pushing for a starting job?
UW’s spring practice schedule provided some answers about who might start at certain positions, but there’s still plenty to sort out when preseason camp begins Aug. 2.
So here are nine players — four on offense, five on defense — who I’ll be interested to watch once practices start.
For the most part, I tried to avoid duplicating any names on my 22 Most Important list, though I did make one exception for a guy we haven’t really seen practice much in a UW uniform.
(And don’t worry. I’ll also be watching the kickers.)
QB Austin Mack
Kalen DeBoer spoke before the spring about needing to identify a No. 3 quarterback, and junior-college transfer Alex Johnson, a walk-on from Seattle, took hold of that spot by the end of April. So when the time comes for the No. 3s to take reps during preseason camp, will it still be Johnson behind center? Or might we see Mack, the four-star 2024-turned-2023 signee, get a look during some live periods?
If not, I’m still interested to see how Mack navigates his first college training camp, considering he should be preparing for his senior year of high school. Even if Mack is mostly watching and learning from Michael Penix Jr. and Dylan Morris, I’m curious to see how the ball comes off his hand, and how much time offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb or other coaches might spend with him. As far away as Mack’s college debut probably feels at the moment, it’s at least possible we could be talking about him competing for the starting job a year from now.
I’ll be interested to hear DeBoer and Grubb evaluate him after a couple weeks of practice.
“He has it internally,” DeBoer said in March. “He also has the physical skillset and the size to where he’s pretty explosive, or just really far along in his development as a football player and a quarterback. We’re going to be careful with how we try to groom him, but it’s an awesome opportunity for him to come sit in the room with Ryan Grubb, Michael Penix (and) Dylan Morris and just really grow and learn and soak it all in.”