Although many players have been a pleasant surprise so far in 2013, Husky coaches and fans alike will look to familiar faces to help the UW get out of their two-game snide Saturday in Tempe. During the rough stretch versus Oregon and Stanford, the names that usually stand out the most seemed to be buried at the bottom of the stat sheet. Two players specifically, Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, haven’t put up the numbers Husky fans have come to expect. In order for the UW to take down the Sun Devils and avoid a three-game losing streak, a feat the Huskies have accomplished for nine straight seasons, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Kasen Williams, and the rest of the household Huskies will need to exert their dominance.
At the halfway point of the season, Williams is nowhere close to matching his numbers from last season. In 2012, Williams was able to haul in 77 passes for 878 yards and six touchdowns with a less than effective Keith Price. In 2013, Williams has caught 24 passes for 374 yards and only one touchdown. In UW’s new offense, you would think Williams would have more opportunities but he has failed to put up the numbers.
The emergence of Jaydon Mickens and John Ross in the slot, as well as UW’s emphasis on feeding Bishop Sankey has definitely hurt his production, but Williams should be a go-to target whenever the Huskies are in need of a big play. Williams is a physical specimen who possess great speed, making him an ideal target for any quarterback. With Price returning to his old form this season, it’s shocking that Williams hasn’t done more. Against ASU’s less than stellar defense, Williams should be getting targeted multiple times whenever UW is in the red zone or in need of a big play.
Easily the biggest disappointment of the whole season, Seferian-Jenkins hasn’t played up to his potential since returning from his suspension. Going into the season, ASJ was a potential All-American candidate and top-10 NFL draft pick after catching 69 passes for 852 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012. Although he has a caught team high three touchdowns, ASJ has been unproductive in many games, and hasn’t always made the plays when counted on. At 6’6 and 276 pounds, ASJ should be a nightmare for all opposing coaches and players. He has the ability to be too quick for linebackers, and too strong for safeties or corners. UW should look to go to ASJ early and often against the Sun Devils, making a point to establish his presence as soon as possible. In the red zone, just throw it up to him and I think everyone trusts that ASJ can leap and make the catch. UW’s offense must take advantage of its primetime players and ASJ must step up for the Huskies to bring home a ‘W’ in Tempe.
In a must win game for the Huskies, familiar faces will need to step up and make the plays that Husky fans and coaches have become accustomed too. Sankey (149 ypg rushing) will continue to be the emphasis against a suspect Sun Devil defense, and Keith Price will continue to be efficient, but the absence of ASJ and Williams must end. Easily their most talented receiving threats, UW recruited these players to make big time plays, and their time has come in 2013.
Steve Sarkisian must make an emphasis to get them involved early on and show the nation who is the more talented team on the field. If the Huskies are able to get these players involved, they will have no problem taking down the Sun Devils, but if they remain absent, this could come right down to the wire. Although it’s a treat to see new players emerge, I’m ready for the familiar faces to prove why they deserve All-American hype and assert their dominance on way to a Husky win.