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What We Learned: Montana

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We took Montana to school, but stilled learned plenty ourselves.

NCAA Football: Montana at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, Husky fans. You may have noticed last week two “The good, the bad, the unknown” articles published on the Pound. Well, much like our beloved Huskies, we at the UWDP had a few kinks to work out after our week 1 coverage.

Thus, here I am with a new post-game review series in which I will ask “What we learned” coming out of each game. As the Huskies played an FCS opponent, not as much can be gleaned from the result than if they had played a conference foe. But let’s speculate anyway.

The running back pecking order is beginning to shape up

The coaches love Salvon Ahmed. It was obvious from the start of fall camp that they want him involved in the offense, as he has the speed to really stretch defenses. We saw what the pure speed of John Ross could do to soften up a defense, and the coaches are attempting to inject more speed into this year’s offense. Against Montana Ahmed caught a pass for 8 yards, had a few carries at running back, and took a reverse 21 yards, showing off that signature speed. Clearly Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman are 1-2 at running back, but Ahmed is the 3 right now. However, the way the team uses running backs means the #1 back might not be on the field for the offense’s first possession. In any case, we’ll see how long the rotation lasts - it didn’t take long last season for the running back rotation to essentially boil down to just two - Gaskin and Coleman.

Also worth noting that Ralph Kinne got carries before Kamari Pleasant, who did not get a touch. Is he buried in the depth for now? Or were the coaches rewarding a walk-on with play time against an FCS foe? Whatever the case is, that Sean McGrew got 6 carries and Pleasant got none is an indication that after the Gaskin-Coleman-Ahmed trio, McGrew is the next man up.

True freshmen TEs will play this year...a lot

Coming into the season TE was one of the deepest groups on the team. Turns out we needed that depth as David Ajamu got injured in fall and was lost for the season. Then Drew Sample was hurt in the 1st half of the Montana game. It doesn’t appear too serious but the circumstances lead to Jacob Kizer and Hunter Bryant seeing a lot of the field on Saturday. A lot depends on Sample’s health, but knowing how the coaches love to utilize the TE position, expect to see much more Kizer and Bryant as the season goes on.

It’s only been two games, but it does not take a critical eye to see the Huskies are not quite where they want to be regarding the downfield pass game. Hunter Bryant is a pass catching specialist at the TE position so I would expect the coaches to put as much on his plate as they think he can handle as a freshman. Not to mention the leading receivers in the first two games have been TEs, so perhaps the entire unit is being asked to do more catching passes.

Dante Pettis is one of the Pac-12 greats

It didn’t take long for Dante Pettis to emerge as a punt returning threat for the Huskies in his freshman year, in 2014. His first career punt return TD broke an 11 year year streak at Washington without taking a punt to the house. Three years later, with two in two games this year, Dante Pettis has 7 career return TDs and has broken DeSean Jackson’s Pac 10/12 record. In fact, he’s only one away from tying the national record at 8, currently held by Texas Tech’s Wes Welker and Oklahoma’s Antonio Perkins. With the incredible skill position talent that this conference has seen over the years, it’s really amazing what he’s accomplished. Last season likely cemented him as an all time great punt returner in UW history, and now he’ll go down as one of the conference’s best.

Husky fans - what did you learn?