Washington camp primer: Storylines, position battles, dark-horse candidates
What to know about the Huskies as they prepare for Wednesday's camp opener.
As the fate of the Pac-12 twists in the realignment winds, it might be easy to forget the Washington Huskies commence preseason camp Wednesday morning.
OK, so it’s not that easy to forget. But it is happening, and it is happening free from the Zoom boardroom(s) where the conference’s future will be decided.
The workout is one of eight open to the media in its entirety (not counting the program’s annual Picture Day scheduled for Aug. 13).
If you missed it — or are a new subscriber — make sure you check out my ranking of Washington’s 22 most important players; nine players I’m interested to watch; a multi-faceted breakdown of UW’s roster; and some updates from coach Kalen DeBoer at Pac-12 Media Day.
I’ll be at every open practice and media availability throughout preseason camp. Grab a paid subscription to read everything I write.
1. Penix for Heisman
We’ll see what the school’s campaign looks like for Penix, who enters the season as UW’s most-hyped quarterback since … Jake Browning in 2017? Jake Locker in 2010? And neither of those guys returned after setting the school’s single-season passing record. For what it’s worth, Browning and Penix are the only players ever to return to UW after a top-10 Heisman finish. I sat down with Penix for a few minutes at media day in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago. He said he thinks he has a better connection with UW’s receivers than he did at this time last year, noting that everyone else was playing in the system for the first time, while Penix had essentially been in it for four years. With so many returning offensive stars, that knowledge gap is shrinking.
McMillan recently told Pro Football Focus: “Last year, we didn’t even scratch the surface.” I asked Penix about that.
“I have the same mindset as Coach (Ryan) Grubb. I’m in meetings with him every day,” Penix said. “But the receivers — they were comfortable in the offense, but they can obviously become more comfortable and continue to grow, (and) make sure our connection is much more accurate and better.”
This spring and summer, Penix said, “everything looks so much smoother.”