Notebook: Morris’ Arm, a Replenished Backfield and More from Day Three of UW Fall Camp

The first three days of fall camp has given an inclining as to how the Huskies see a handful of positions shaking out. Saturday marked the most extensive day for redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Huard with the first and second-team offense while redshirt sophomore Dylan Morris put together the best throw of the morning. 

During a team period in the last hour of practice Morris rolled to his left and found freshman wide receiver Denzel Boston, who got behind junior safety Cameron Williams, for a 71-yard touchdown, the lone score of the period. Boston was one of seven players to catch at least one pass from Morris, along with Ja’Lynn Polk, Rome Odunze, Nick Juran, and tight end’s Quentin Moore, Jack Westover and Zeke Pelluer. 

Both Huard and Morris took the majority of the team reps at quarterback on Saturday while redshirt junior Michael Penix Jr. spent most of the morning on the East practice field working with the scout team. Although the Indiana transfer finished the period completed five of six attempts, the same number of completions as Huard, neither were able to connect for six. 

Coming into fall camp UW head coach Kalen DeBoer made it clear that the coaching staff views the competition as a three-way battle. Offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Ryan Grubb echoed the same sentiment after Saturday’s practice concluded. 

“We don’t put any hard and fast line on it,” Grubb said, when asked about a timeline for when a starter will be named at QB. “You gotta have a little bit of feel and experience and some savy understanding how that process goes. Especially when you have three guys it’s a little bit different when there’s just two. But when you have three true guys competing for that job I think you just got to be smart and understand that the team, the offense has to have that guy defined for game week for sure, which is a little bit longer than normal game weeks because you’re going to have roughly eight practices to get ready for Kent State.”

Grubb noted for all three quarterbacks he wants to see them improve their communication skills and become that alpha in the room. 

While the first rep at QB for September 3 has yet to be determined one position group that has started to find continuity is the offensive line. 

Towards the end of spring practices redshirt freshman Roger Rosengarten made the move permanently to right tackle. Since then both the coaching staff and Rosengarten have felt it was the right decision. Saturday, the second-year lineman got a little trial by fire lining up against redshirt junior edge rusher Zion Tupuola-Fetui, a preseason All-American and Bednarik Award watch list honoree. 

“Roger – he is so into it,” Grubb said. “He’s super aggressive. He’s passionate about football. He’s got to clean up some techniques. Sometimes he just tries to do a little too much. Just needs to be a little more fundamentally sound. (Offensive line) Coach (Scott) Huff will get him squirt away on some of that stuff. But he’s a great kid. He’s got fantastic feet and agility. He’s just got to work on a few things.”

Victor Curne, now a redshirt junior, spent the majority of time as the starting right tackle last season while Rosengarten appeared in four games — against Montana, at Michigan, at Colorado and against Washington State — to preserve his redshirt. Heading into this season the 6-foot-6 and 303-pounder feels ready to take the next step. 

In the spring, UW was without several running backs for either a portion or majority of the 15 practices, including redshirt sophomore Cameron Davis, redshirt junior Richard Newton, and redshirt freshman Sam Adams II. Now all three are back and working their way into full fitness while Lee Marks incorporates a pair of new backs in to the room. 

Wayne Taulapapa, a graduate transfer from the University of Virginia, and Will Nixon, a transfer from Nebraska, have each made their own mark on camp. Taulapapa has shown to be more of the traditional back, able to stay home as an additional pass blocker while finding holes and bursting through them when handed the ball.

Nixon, a 5-foot-11 former running back at Midway High School in Waco, Texas who also played receiver prior to signing with the CornHuskers in the 2020 recruiting class, has been one of the more consistent players in camp. 

“Will is a special athlete,” DeBoer said of Nixon after the first day of camp. “In high school he was a running back – highly regarded and recruited running back. He’s got a lot of understanding what it takes at that position. His last year going to college at Nebraska he was more of that receiver-type. He can catch the ball really well. He’s got a really diverse skill set and that’s what we want in the running back position.

“He’s just a guy that will find his way on the field, I think, because he’s so diverse in those areas and has so many things that he can bring to the table.”

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