Washington football was embarrassed by Stanford on Saturday night, and the lack of offensive efficency is becoming clearer and clearer every week
After the 23-13 loss at Stanford, Washington football needs to re-establish their identity on offense. While the defense didn’t play much better, every defense has had a few bad games over the course of the year, and if there’s anyone who can make adjustments and fix it, it’s Pete Kwiatkowski and Jimmy Lake.
Offensively, Jacob Eason, while he didn’t have his best game, struggled to find any receivers that were able to get any seperation from Stanford’s defensive backs. If I were to say something along the lines of, Paulson Adebo blanketed Aaron Fuller, that would be one thing, as Adebo is projected by a lot of draft experts right now to be a first round pick.
Instead, Adebo spent most of his night lined up across from Andre Baccellia, who was held to one catch, for one yard. He also had at least two drops on the night, as did seemingly every other pass catcher on the team.
There are several issues with this. One, Aaron Fuller received 18 targets on Eason’s 36 attempts. That’s half of all his pass attempts. Two, here’s the stat line for everyone else who caught a pass that night. Cade Otton 2/16, Terrell Bynum 1/9, Hunter Bryant 1/8, Sean McGrew 1/3, Salvon Ahmed 1/-2.
Clearly, whatever the Huskies wanted to do against the Cardinal defense (which has been nothing short of horrific this season) wasn’t working, yet there seemed to be no adjustments made at halftime, and the offense is as complex as ever, which is the reason Chris Petersen gives for not having highly touted young receivers like Austin Osborne and Marquis Spiker on the field. And while we’ve seen Puka Nacua play in every game, he seems to be out there for running plays only (even though the only target of his career turned into an incredible touchdown catch).
The Huskies need to find ways to get the talented players like Nacua, Osborne, and Spiker on the field more. Whether it be simplifying the playbook, or even simply giving them a shot to go out and perform, something needs to change. We’ve barely seen any of the redshirt freshmen this year, even in the blowouts against Hawaii, Eastern Washington, and BYU, who were rumored to have been kept on the scout team all of last season so that they could build chemistry with Jacob Eason, so the simple question is, where are they?
Chris Petersen has said he needs to see more out of them in practice, so how big is the gap between them and the starters if this is what we’re seeing in games? The playbook needs to be simplified, it shouldn’t take almost two years to see any production out of these highly touted four star receivers.
Look what happened when Nacua got a shot to make a play, he did it. Especially with the way the receivers were physically dominated against Cal’s defensive backs, the backups deserve a shot, because what’s the worst thing that can happen? They look the same as the starters and we say, “Oh, Coach Pete is right, they aren’t ready,” but without an opportunity to do that, this conversation is going to keep being brought up every single week.
We haven’t seen any real changes to the depth chart prior to the Arizona matchup, but maybe, just maybe, we’ll see some different personnel out there.