After averaging 41.8 points per game during the 2016 College Football Playoff run, Washington football’s offense has regressed down to 26.4 PPG in 2018. What needs to change?
Washington football had a juggernaut offense in 2016, and sure losing John Ross to the NFL didn’t help, but the drop off the offense has seen over the last two seasons isn’t encouraging. Now, the Huskies have a new quarterback coming in, a talented crop of receivers, and the best tight end in America healthy and ready for a full season.
Jacob Eason should be the starting quarterback. Sure he looked inaccurate at times during the spring game, but he has incredible arm talent and can make throws that very few other people in college football can make. Jake Browning was a great quarterback during his time at UW, but he couldn’t truly open up the offense due to his lack of arm strength.
Mix it up
Chris Petersen said after the Rose Bowl that the Huskies are an “old-school football team,” and there’s no issue with that. Myles Gaskin had huge success as a Husky, and the offense worked with him carrying the load. But he’s gone now, and the Huskies are probably going to use a committee approach in the backfield for at least the first part of the season. There’s no issue with handing the ball off 20-25 times a game, but they need to capitalize on play action and let Eason throw the ball downfield.
The receivers are ready to make plays, and this group is oozing with potential. Aaron Fuller and Ty Jones will probably start on the outside, and Austin Osborne should start in the slot. He was the most impressive receiver at the spring game, and after a year of playing on the scout team with Eason, the two should already have built up some chemistry. Behind those three, we should see a lot of Marquis Spiker and Trey Lowe this year, two other highly talented players who sat on the practice squad for most of last season. The coaching staff will probably end up giving Andre Baccellia and Chico McClatcher snaps too, but the younger guys need to see a major uptick in playing time. And you can’t forget Puka Nacua, the top 50 recruit who will arrive on campus this summer and will definitely push the guys ahead of him for playing time.
Use the tight ends
Cade Otton had an excellent freshman campaign, and while he might be the primary blocking tight end, he’s a weapon that can be used in the passing game. And there’s also the superstar that is Hunter Bryant, who should lead the Huskies in touchdown catches this year. His reputation speaks for itself, and Husky fans saw his true freshman campaign, and what he can do when fully healthy. We might see more of Devin Culp this year too, who’s an exciting player to think about with a very high ceiling. This group of tight ends are matchup nightmares and need to be utilized by Bush Hamdan and co. in every way possible.
As a whole, the tight ends in 2018 caught 75 passes for 672 yards and seven touchdowns. If utilized properly, Bryant could match those last two numbers by himself. Bryant should be the primary guy that Eason looks to when he needs a third down conversion.
The Huskies are in for a big year, but some reform is needed on offense this year, and Jacob Eason could be the answer to some of the recent offensive woes, and can get the Dawgs over the hump and back to the College Football Playoff.