Passing game improves too
With injuries to receivers, the Washington Huskies passing game suffered in 2017. In fact, it was a career low for quarterback Jake Browning in term of passing yards. While he maintained a solid 19 TD to 5 INT ratio, and improved his completion percentage by six points, the Huskies’ passing game seldom felt in-the-groove.
In 2017, the passing game was one part Dante Pettis, one part tight ends, one part running backs, and one part “all others”. That “all other” category includes the three game totals of Chico McClatcher. Much of the struggle was the turnstyle of players falling to injury and new players stepping up on the offense. In 2018, the team will lose both Pettis and Dissly. But the team gets both McClatcher and Bryant back from injury. And with their return, the team recovers the production of Pettis and Dissly in the passing game. But that does nothing to up the ante.
New faces, higher places
That is where the three receivers of Marquis Spiker, Austin Osborne, and Devin Culp make a serious play for playing time and receiving yards. All three are quite capable, pending a solid spring training and preseason workouts, of getting solid playing time in this offense. One receiver, Marquis Spiker, is already projected to be a huge addition for the team by Husky Haul’s own Cody Tyo. And he could very well be correct.
If one of the three (or more) show up in a big way, this passing game can recover to those 2016 levels as well. Ultimately, the Washington Huskies simply did not have the horses to compete in 2017 shootouts. But from the perspective of February 2018, and with no expectation of repeating injuries, the Huskies appear to be loaded offensively. That changes the outcomes of the three losses. A solid running game with confidence in the offensive scheme wins at Arizona State and Stanford. A rejuvinated passing game beats Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl, much like the USC come-from-behind victory over the Nittany Lions. The Huskies are loaded. The team appears to have a strong hand heading into 2018. I say it’s a winning hand.