SEATTLE — What coaches often cite as one of the biggest benefits of qualifying for a bowl is the extra work younger players get in the practices leading up to the game.
And for the Washington Huskies, the bulk of that work took place the past two weeks as UW conducted six practices in which a majority of the snaps went to players who don’t regularly see the field.
That phase of UW’s bowl practice schedule ended Sunday. Washington will now be off until Thursday, when it will begin serious planning for its Dec. 22 game against Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said the practices the past two weeks have “been really competitive. The spirits have been high by those guys to get in and show what they can do and how they have improved even over the last two weeks.”
Among the younger players getting a lot of work were redshirt freshman quarterback Derrick Brown and true freshmen quarterbacks Cyler Miles and Jeff Lindquist. Brown has been the only quarterback other than starter Keith Price to play this season. But once they are off redshirt status next year, Miles and Lindquist will also join the quarterback competition in earnest.
“I think they have all shown some real glimpses of hope and excitement of what they could potentially do,” Sarkisian said.
“They also have shown their youth and inexperience at times with some of the mistakes they make. But these practices are invaluable.”
Sarkisian said there is no real pecking order behind Price.
“We’re not worried about that right now,” he said. “We’ve got a long time before those guys potentially are playing for us right now, so it was just good to get them reps, to get them motivated for the offseason and get them ready for spring practice.”
The recent practices also gave Washington coaches one of the first chances to really take a long look at one of their more intriguing newcomers, cornerback Travell Dixon, who transferred in from Alabama in September.
Dixon is redshirting this season but will be a junior next year and expected to contend for playing time with Desmond Trufant graduating.
“He’s still learning the scheme,” Sarkisian said. “This was good for him. One of the keys for him that we want to see out of him is that competitive nature show up consistently. He’s a talented guy. He can run.”
Another young player who has caught the eye of coaches is true freshman Dwayne Washington, who was slated initially to be a receiver but has since been moved to running back. Washington, listed at 6 feet 1, 205 pounds, didn’t join the team until September after some final academic hurdles were cleared.
“You’re talking about a 6-1, 6-1-and-a-half, 215-pounder (who could) end up being a 220- 225-pound running back,” Sarkisian said. That’s something we don’t have on our roster right now.
“Also, with his background playing wide receiver, his ability to do some things catching the ball out of the backfield is unique, as well.”
Trufant wins Guy Flaherty Award
Trufant was named as UW’s Guy Flaherty Award winner Sunday night when the team held its season banquet.
The Guy Flaherty Award honors the team’s most inspirational player as voted on by the players and is considered the team’s most prestigious honor.
Trufant also was named the team’s defensive Most Valuable Player.
Winning honors as the offensive MVP was tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, while safety Justin Glenn was named the special teams MVP.
• Washington had eight high-school players in on official visits this weekend. There were no reports of any committing. However, UW did reportedly receive a commit from another player, linebacker Azeem Victor of Pomona, Calif. Listed at 6-4, 225 pounds, Victor initially committed to San Diego State before switching to UW. He is the 20th known commit for UW’s Class of 2013.