Well, they’ll probably only be offensive if you disagree with me. Ha. But really, here are five statistical predictions for the 2013 season on the offensive side of the ball. To be clear, the numbers below aren’t all numbers that I’m predicting. They are starting points, some I’m predicting will appear in 2013, some that appeared in 2012 that I think will change in 2013.
25 Touchdowns: The mark I believe Keith Price will either reach or surpass in his senior season. He had 19 last season and 33 the year before. I don’t see him being nearly as mediocre as he was last season but it also seems foolish to assume he’ll recapture that 2011 magic. So 25 is somewhere in between, and if he keeps the interceptions down to around 10 (he had 11 in 2011 and 13 in ’12) it should be a number Husky fans are happy with, especially if Bishop Sankey chips in 15+ scores like he did last season.
250 Carries: That’s about as many carries as I expect to see out of feature back Bishop Sankey in his second year in a starting role. He was handed the ball 289 times last season, and he handled that heavy workload extremely well, averaging 5.0 yards per carry on the year. But the very injury that gave Bishop a shot at the workhorse role, the ACL tear to Jesse Callier, also left the Huskies without a proven backup at the position. Kendyl Taylor, a converted wide receiver who was technically Sankey’s backup for much of the year, was next in line with only 35 carries. With Jesse Callier and perhaps even Deontae Cooper recovered from knee injuries and redshirt freshman Dwayne Washington competing for backup carries, there are plenty of talented runners to spell Sankey from time to time. Expect Bishop to tote the ball 20-25 times a contest, but it probably won’t be necessary for him to carry 34 times against Utah or 30 times against Boise State like he did in 2012.
64.3% FG Accuracy: This is the exact rate of conversion for Washington’s field goal attempts last season. Travis Coons had a pretty mediocre season, especially given his missed field goals in both the Apple Cup and the bowl game against Boise State. Highly ranked kicking prospect Cameron Van Winkle was expected to compete for the job, and has, but neither player has shined in camp. Reading camp notes, it seems as though both players have been very uneven, some days missing several short attempts. I could certainly be wrong, but I don’t expect this percentage to improve by too much regardless of who is kicking the field goals, a mediocre veteran or an inexperienced freshman.
38 Sacks: Yep, Keith Price was smacked to the turf 38 times over 13 games, good for just under 3 sacks a game. I don’t see that happening this season. Last year, he felt pressure that led to a hit or a heave over to the sideline far, far more often. The jury is still out on whether or not the offensive line will be an above average unit, but in my mind there is no question that they will be better. I know, I know, you’ve heard this before, but in spring of last year, the offensive line was supposed to be a veteran unit. Then just about all of those veterans got injured, meaning that the 2012 season featued an offensive line that was largely green beyond now-graduated center Drew Schaefer. Now those young starters that were thrown into the fire in 2012 are benefiting from that early experience, and combined with the depth provided by now-healthy veterans, improvement is almost a given. At the very least, I figure that Price will be pressure at a more typical rate. Let’s say more ike 25-30 sacks?
>0: The number of rushing yards I expect out of Keith Price. Seem laughable? Well, he managed -34 yards in 2012. Sacks count as negative rushes in college football, so Price’s rushing numbers were already going to be doomed by the 38 sacks. But he also lacked any confidence in his teammates and even in himself, causing Price to move in and outside of the pocket with great hesitance. His ball security was also extremely poor when he did try to scramble. Price was always sold as a dual-threat player when really he is just a pocket passer with above average mobility. He isn’t going to run for 500 yards and 8 touchdowns. But with confidence and some decisiveness to go along with an improved offensive line, there’s no reason he can’t manage positive rushing numbers and improvise for a few scores on the ground.