The Wide Receivers
Last year, the Huskies were slightly predictable when they threw the ball. It was going to one of two places: Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Kasen Williams. By the time the Apple Cup rolled around, it was clear that Keith Price had no confidence in anybody else. So, the ball was going to one of those guys, or Price was going to hold on too long and take a sack or throw a pick. So went the 2012 season.
Don’t get it twisted; Kasen and ASJ were open a lot and even when they weren’t, they still made plays. The trouble is that that isn’t going to win you a lot of football games. That lack of a third or fourth option manifested itself in bad throws, sacks, broken plays, miscommunications and an overall frustrating and, at times, infuriating offense.
Guys like Jaydon Mickens, Marvin Hall and DiAndre Campbell all had chances last year, but never emerged as that rock solid guy who could be counted on.
Mickens has all world speed, and showed it on several occasions when he got behind the defense on a go route. Unfortunately, he has big issues catching the ball, something that is a prerequisite to being a collegiate wide receiver (one would think, anyway). Hall got on the field for special teams duties, but clearly never showed enough to crack the rotation. Finally, there is Campbell; the guy has oozed potential since he stepped foot on campus three years ago but despite flashes of brilliance, he’s been mostly nondescript. Throw in poor James Johnson, who never even got to step on the field due to an injury from fall camp that kept him out all season, and the reciever position was a mess.
The only reasonable excuse for the maddening inconsistencies was youth. Campbell was a sophomore last year while Hall and Mickens were both freshmen trying to adjust to college football. Now that they all have an additional year within the program, youth is no longer an excuse.
Bob Condotta wrote a great article in the Seattle Times last week about the possible emergence of DiAndre Campbell and how he has (for now at least) passed James Johnson on the depth chart. The jury is still out on Mickens and Hall, while James Johnson is still getting back into football shape.
The most important thing is that somebody, ANYBODY, steps up. Ideally the light bulb goes on for more than just one of these guys because the talent is there. Johnson has been teasing us since the LSU game in 2009 when he scored a TD as a true freshman. Mickens has the speed to be the homerun threat the Huskies sorely lacked, but does he have the maturity and concentration to finish a play?
Lastly, let’s not forget the wildcard in this whole situation. Once fall camp rolls around, three very talented, very big and very highly rated true freshman are going to walk on to campus. Darrell Daniels, John Ross and Damore’ea Stringfellow all have the potential to compete for snaps immediately. There are worse problems to have.