By Brent Stecker
There are opportunities all over the Huskies roster as coach Chris Petersen starts his tenure at Washington, but there are perhaps no bigger shoes to fill than at tight end.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins set records at UW before declaring for the NFL Draft after his junior season in 2013, which left names like Joshua Perkins, Michael Hartvigson and Darrell Daniels to battle it out for the starting gig in 2014.
That culture of competition has worked well for the five tight ends on the roster this spring, as Petersen explained Tuesday that he’s seen a lot to like from the position group.
“I think they’ve done a nice job. I’ve been impressed with that group,” Petersen said. “I think they’re very focused. I think we made good progress. I think there’s some talent there, and if we stay healthy there, that’s gonna be a real good group.”
That’s a good sign for a position that doesn’t have much experience – only Hartvigson and Perkins have had notable playing time at tight end for the Huskies.
The way Petersen talked about the position, it sounds like tight ends will have a big role in his offense.
“We like to use those tight ends. They’re hard to find, those big bodies that can run, catch, block, (help in the) run game,” he said. “And when we find guys, we find ways to get them the ball.”
Quarterbacks keeping even
Petersen still hasn’t made much distinction between the quarterback duo of Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams, who have shared all the snaps this spring, but he’s been pleased with their progress.
“I don’t think they’re doing certainly any worse than anybody else out here, and they probably have more on their plate than most guys by just playing that position,” Petersen said.
The Huskies mentor said from Day 1 that accuracy and decision-making are the two most important things for a quarterback in his system, and as far as those traits go, one is ahead of the other with his signal-callers.
“I think their decision-making is actually pretty darn good. It could maybe be a little bit quicker at times. I think where we need to take the next big step is accuracy,” he said. “It’s gonna be a lot of reps on their own time.”
Saturday’s final practice open to public
The Huskies will wrap up their spring practices with a session open to the public starting at 1 p.m. Saturday in Husky Stadium, though a lack of roster depth will prevent them from playing a traditional spring game.
“It’s more of a spring practice,” Petersen said. “We will get some scrimmaging in. â€¦ Try to get the best of all worlds.”
The day will also feature a a fan-fest on the East Practice Field at 10 a.m. and a team autograph session and photo opportunities from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
• Petersen is hoping to see more from senior RB Deontae Cooper, who has the unfortunate history of three ACL injuries. “He’s getting good reps, he’s making progress. I would like to see him cut loose a little more,” Petersen said.