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Midweek Debate: Igniting the UW offense; how do they do it?

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Not the ideal spread offense: Spread the Blame

NCAA Football: Washington at Arizona State
“Don’t puke coach, we’ll get better.”
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It’s as simple as this: The Husky offense has to start playing better, and it has to happen now.

Not so simple: How do they do it?

Jake Browning and the rest of his offensive teammates have been efficient this season, one of the most efficient offenses in all of college football. But even as the Huskies rolled over inferior opponents in the first six games, there was trepidation about the way the offense looked, and a fear that one of these slow starts would end up costing Washington dearly.

Yep.

The bye week came at a good time. Two weeks to figure out the new offensive line with LT Trey Adams injured. Two weeks for Jake Browning to look at film and convince himself that he is an accurate QB with talent around him. Two weeks to allow competition at the skill positions, and see if there are better options.

X’s and O’s:

Chris Petersen and Jonathan Smith deserve blame whether play calling has been a problem or not. Jake Browning is developing bad pocket habits, and the coaches need to help him get back on track. Petersen’s passing offense is timing based, and the timing has been lousy on too many occasions. Back to the drawing board. Back to trusting pre-snap reads. Back to basics.

Jimmys and Joes:

...and Tys and Salvons and Hunters...

Does Washington simply need better play at the skill positions? It looked as though Browning had found a new deep target in sophomore Quinten Pounds who hauled in a long TD against Colorado and followed with a nice first quarter grab good for 40 yards in the OSU game. Since then, just four catches for 26 yards from Pounds. Brayden Lenius has nine catches this season for an average of less than 10 yards per reception. Lenius is a decent possession receiver, but his tendency to stop when he catches the ball over the middle rather than using his big frame to angle between defenders and simply fall for extra yards is maddening.

Three intriguing true freshmen may be UW’s best hope for replacing the departed John Ross and the injured Chico McClatcher & Andre Baccellia (having Baccellia back would be big for the offense, probably the shiftiest of Washington’s receivers after McClatcher). Salvon Ahmed and Hunter Bryant have shown they are ready to contribute, and it stands to reason their rolls will continue to increase.

The second half of the Fresno State game was pretty uneventful, but one significant happening was when Ty Jones lined up wide right and carried out a block on a running play. What that said to me (as his redshirt went up in flames) was that this kid is in the plans going forward, and though he may not have been ready to play meaningful snaps so far, the bye week has hopefully allowed him to get the reps he needs to be a trusted cog in the passing game. Jones is an explosive player; not the fastest, not the strongest, but a nice combination of size and burst. We haven’t seen much of him at the college level so far. Cal attempted to jam him at the line of scrimmage and he was not having that, absorbing the blow and running a wide open dig route. KJCS never looked his way, but it was a very good sign to me.

Jake F. Browning:

This guy just needs to play better. You know it. I know it. He knows it. For lack of a better word, Browning looks a little scared out there. I don’t mean to imply that his is scared; not at all. But he doesn’t look like the confident leader we have come to know and love. The timing throws are not being uncorked, and without those, he is not playing to his strength, and the strength of the UW offense.

Rhythm:

Where’s the up-tempo? Uptempo can’t happen on a sack, or a throw away, or a run that loses 3 yards. Three and outs can’t get you into up-tempo. Nice gains on first down get you in a position to run uptempo, and that’s something we haven’t seen until the second half of most games. Which largely falls on the...

Offensive Line:

Like Browning, these guys need to play better. I don’t want to see Nick Harris getting pushed backwards as if he is playing against Alabama at 268 Lbs.. I dont want to see Kaleb McGary chasing defensive ends into the backfield and jumping on fumbles. This group was supposed to be a strength of the team and it simply has not been. Somebody light a fire under these men and challenge them to be great. The talent is there.

So many factors are contributing to the struggles of the offense: Running backs have picked the wrong hole. Browning has failed to read what the defense is doing. John Ross doesn’t live here anymore.

There is more than one single thing that has been an issue, but we want to know what the biggest problem has been in the eyes of our readers.

Poll

What is the key to the offense improving? (Pick the one that you think is the biggest factor)

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Better coaching
    (157 votes)
  • 11%
    Better play from receivers
    (118 votes)
  • 17%
    Better play from Jake Browning
    (170 votes)
  • 9%
    More up-tempo
    (93 votes)
  • 45%
    Better O-Line play
    (447 votes)
985 votes total Vote Now