Washington Huskies

After a strong end to 2018 Huskies’ wide receiver Andre Baccellia is chasing consistency

Washington wide receiver Andre Baccellia (5) makes a catch in the first quarter. The Washington Huskies played the Washington State Cougars in the Apple Cup at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash., on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.
Washington wide receiver Andre Baccellia (5) makes a catch in the first quarter. The Washington Huskies played the Washington State Cougars in the Apple Cup at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash., on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. joshua.bessex@gateline.com

As wide receiver Andre Baccellia addressed reporters after Washington’s spring practice on Wednesday, one word kept coming up over and over again.

Consistency.

It’s been on Baccellia’s mind since the 2018 season ended and he started to prepare for his final year with the Huskies. He can’t say for sure what clicked for him down the stretch of last season — he had 25 catches for 263 yards in UW’s final three games — but he wants to hold on to it. And then he wants to build on it.

Ask offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan about Baccellia and he’ll talk about consistency, too. Around the midpoint of last season, Hamdan said the coaches realized just how reliable a player Baccellia had become.

It’s been the same story during spring practice. Even new wide receivers coach Junior Adams has noticed.

He used that word, too.

“I will say this: When he comes to practice, he’s been pretty consistent,” Adams said. “He comes to work every day. I want to say pretty much every day he’s made a play, some sort of explosive play and he’s been blocking his butt off.”

Baccellia played a role in the offense’s two biggest plays during open practices this week. On Monday, he made a one-handed grab on a deep ball from Jacob Eason along the right sideline. Then, on Wednesday, he caught a 60-yard Eason pass in stride for a touchdown.

Baccellia finished last season with 55 receptions for 584 yards. His last game — a 12-catch, 109-yard performance in the Rose Bowl loss to Ohio State — was his best. It was the first time all season he eclipsed 100 yards in a game.

“The last kind of half of the season, those last four or five games, they felt really good,” Baccellia said. “I don’t know what it was, whether it was schematically or the way roles kind of shifted and changed. I don’t know, but things started falling in place more for our offense and it felt good.”

This season, UW’s wide receivers have a new coach in Adams and will be catching passes from a different quarterback. The Huskies did return all three starters in Baccellia, Aaron Fuller and Ty Jones but for most of spring practice, Baccellia has been the only one participating.

Fuller underwent a minor procedure and he has yet to practice. Jones injured his arm early in the month and has been sidelined since. Quinten Pounds, who caught eight passes for 166 yards last season before tearing his ACL, has also been out.

That’s left Baccellia to guide UW’s young receivers, a responsibility he takes seriously.

“He’s a really well-respected guy and I think it always starts there,” Hamdan said. “Guys know what he’s been through here, his work ethic, battling back and I think he’s certainly one of the leaders on this offense.”

Baccellia wouldn’t describe himself as overly vocal — “I try not to be like this ‘rah-rah’ leader,” he said — but he wants to set the right tone, whether that means showing up first or sticking around for extra work after practice.

“Kind of just lead by example,” Baccellia said. “Show these guys what it is to work hard.”

On Saturday, Baccellia and the Huskies will be back in front of fans for the Spring Preview at Husky Stadium. Then, it’s back to work preparing for the fall. For Baccellia, that means performing the way he did in the final games of last season — and doing it consistently.

“Deep down,” he said, “I feel like I could take a couple more steps to be that elite receiver.”

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