While the Washington football team has gotten off to a 4-0 start, averaging 41.2 points per game, many Husky fans (myself included) have been wondering why senior wide receiver Kasen Williams hasn't played a bigger role in the UW's offense this season.
The former five-star recruit and Parade All-America National Player of the Year has recorded just five catches for 33 yards and a touchdown in four games this season. Even though Williams is still recovering from an injury that forced him to miss the final five games of last season, many expected the Sammamish native to be a key component in the UW's offensive attack, not a name buried at the bottom of the stat sheet.
In the eight games he played last year, Williams recorded at least three catches in every game except against California, where he suffered a leg/foot injury that ended his season.
Why isnt Williams being more productive during his final season in the purple and gold? Is he not getting open? Is the new coaching staff not utilizing him? Many questions remain unsolved about Williams' final as a Husky.
One question that won't go unanswered
How can the Huskies get Williams more involved in the offense during his final year in the purple and gold?
Change Up Routes
Besides his three yard touchdown catch on a screen pass against Georgia State, the last two balls I can remember being thrown Williams' way were straight go routes that resulted in a pass interference, a defensive pass interference against Illinois and a offensive pass interference on Williams against Georgia State.
While this route is needed to give the Huskies a big play threat and keep opposing defensive on their toes, the UW needs to let Williams run more routes than a screen and a simple go route. Williams is a good enough receiver to run a multitude of routes that will allow him to be open in more spots and draw more defenders
In my opinion, the Huskies have yet to utilize the middle of the field in their passing game and Williams is the perfect receiver to start with. At 6'3, 217 pounds, Williams has the size, strength and toughness to run over the middle and catch the tough routes that some receivers fear. Williams has the versatility to take a big hit over the middle and still hold onto a clutch third down conversion, or stretch the middle the field and win a jump ball over the safety. The middle of the field has been absent in the UW passing game and if it remains that way, the offense may have a hard time scoring against the Pac-12 schedule.
I'm tired of seeing Williams run the same two routes all game and never get the ball thrown his way. If the Huskies passing offense is going to be effective in conference play, Williams needs to get the ball and mixing up his routes will have defenses running in scrambles.
Move Him Around
Even though Williams is bigger,stronger and the majority of the time faster than most corners he faces as an outside receiver, imagine him lining up in the slot against a nickel corner or safety, or coming out of the backfield against a linebacker. The easiest way to get Williams open may be to line him up in some new spots that defenses haven't seen this season.
Williams should be doing most of his work at the outside receiver, and most of his production should be coming from that spot, but lining him up there every play clearly hasn't done much for him this season. I believe he is a good enough route runner and has enough speed and strength to work from multiple spots on the field.
Looking for a play on third down, four yards to go? Line Williams up in the slot against a smaller corner for a curl route. Second down and long? Motion Williams into the backfield for a screen pass, hoping he can slip a defender for a big play.
What he is doing now isn't working so mixing up his alignment looks could add a new dimension to Williams' game as well as the UW's offense.
Early and Often
Williams has expressed his frustrations to the media this week and clearly wants the ball.
"I'm not satisfied by any means," Williams told the Seattle Times. "...You look at our last four games, nobody is doing anything in our pass game besides Jaydon (Mickens)."
He has even said he thinks the play calling is part of the problem.
"But, I think that (it's) the play calling as well. I'm not hating on anybody because we're winning every game and we're putting up 45 points every game, so it's hard to be mad over that," Williams told the Seattle Times. "But you know...we do run the ball a lot."
Is Williams selfish for what some would say is calling out the coaching staff? Maybe. But can you blame him? He once played a huge role in the UW offense and now in his senior season, the most critical year of his football career, he has caught just five passes for 33 yards in four games.
The Huskies need to utilize Williams early and often in Saturday's matchup against Stanford. If I had the first playcall, I am throwing Williams a screen and hoping he can make a big play and get the crowd fired up.
Remember when Williams took a Keith Price screen pass 35 yards for the game winning touchdown in the UW's 17-13 upset win over Stanford two years ago? They say history repeats itself.
Husky fans and coaches are waiting for a big game from Williams, and Saturday's game would be perfect timing for the senior to return to prominence in the Husky offense. Williams caught 10 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown against Stanford two years ago and has the potential to do the same against a vulnerable Cardinal secondary on Saturday.
Is Williams not being utilized well enough by the coaches or is he the reason for his poor stats? Can the Husky offense score against Stanford without him? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.