Evaluating Washington's depth chart after watching open practices
Who appears set to start, and who is still pushing.
For the most part, one needs only to scan Washington’s 2022 statistics, and then its 2023 roster, to correctly predict most of the Huskies’ starters this season.
Washington, after all, is a preseason top-10 team for a reason. But after six open camp practices and several conversations with coaches, we have a little better idea of what the depth might look like behind all those returning starters, and the positions at which players are still battling. And, of course, don’t ever rule out the possibility of a depth-chart surprise, come the first game week. These closed practices leading up to the opener always seem to produce a revelation or two.
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After watching six open practices, here is my best guess at where the depth stands so far. UW has another practice open to media tomorrow (Tuesday), and one more next Wednesday (Aug. 23).
Starter: Michael Penix Jr.
Backup: Dylan Morris
No. 3/redshirt: Austin Mack
With Penix resting his arm for a few practices last week, Morris moved up to take No. 1 reps and Mack took all the reps with the No. 2s. That’s a lot more action than I would have anticipated for the high-school-aged true freshman. It seems coaches want Mack to feel like he’s part of things this year, even if he’s still a ways from contributing in a high-leverage situation. His upside is already apparent. Expect him to travel and suit up for every game as he learns behind Penix and Morris while redshirting. San Diego State transfer William Haskell also is on scholarship, but did not taken any snaps during open practices. Walk-on JUCO transfer Alex Johnson took No. 3 reps during the spring and is an option if something happens to Mack.
As for Penix’s sore arm early in camp? It’s something to keep in mind as the season draws nearer, but does not appear to be cause for major concern. He returned to take No. 1 reps at Washington’s scrimmage over the weekend. We’ll let you know if anything changes.