The offense is peppered with question marks in 2016 with the exception of Myles Gaskin, who, as a true freshman, ran for 1,300 yard and 14 Td’s while only getting 10 carries total against Boise State and Cal. The real questions are: Can Lavon Coleman spell Gaskin for 7-10 carries a game? Can Jomon Dotson be counted upon if either of Gaskin or Coleman were to go down? With Dotson’s limited game action and brief moments in the spring scrimmage last year, I am not sure he can fill a void at running back if needed. Does Sean Mcgrew bust onto the scene to demand reps at RB? Or will Brandon Wellington get a long look carrying the rock versus trying to strip it?
The RB rotation at this moment is sketchy at best. There won’t be a dry eye if Gaskin were to miss any extended period of time in the backfield. The bottom line is, Coleman needs to turn the corner this season and become a viable backup.
UW lists a whopping seven tight ends even after moving Connor Griffin to wide receiver. Tight ends are as follows: Darrel Daniels, Drew Sample, Amaju, Linquist, Neal, Dissly, and Hunter. Daniels needs to realize his potential and show up game in and game out. He has all the tools to be mentioned in the long line of successful tight ends at Washington. This staff needs to figure out how to get Daniels heavily involved this fall. Will Sample and Dissly allow for three tight end sets for Gaskin to disappear behind, only to reappear 20 yards down field? This position group is a bit murky and needs to clear up in a hurry to take advantage of an underutilized and over populated position group.
We have beaten the WR position to death, so we will leave it alone. The addition of John Ross must mean two wins, right? Along with Pettis finding his true freshman it might be all this offense needs at wide receiver.
The O-line is tanned, rested, and ready to have a breakout season with mountain-sized bookends in Trey Adams and Caleb Mcgary. The interior of the line has experience, but they need a road grader to step up and tap into the ghosts of Frank Garcia and Olin Kruetz. This group appears to be stabilizing with incoming players finally showing the proper measurables to develop into a competitive line that will leave behind the memories of being overmatched for the last 15 years.
Lastly, it has been famously said by this coaching staff that they don’t run an offense; they just call plays. As a result, UW has shown up ninth and tenth the last two years in total offense in the conference. Just calling plays isn’t a philosophy, its grasping for straws.
Pete is all about systems. Built for life, OKG’s, the process and so forth. It is hard to believe Pete doesn’t have a system that he relies upon for the offense.
To be fair, Coach Pete has mentioned in the past that it’s about balance. He wants balance between rushing and passing, which essentially sounds like media coach speak.
For me, it’s all about running the ball first, running the ball second, and running the ball third. After repeatedly running it down the opposing defenses’ throats, the offense can shift to the play action pass, keeping the defense guessing. This team needs to dictate the game offensively and establish it early in the game, and never let up.
And while peering deeper into 2015, UW didn’t lose when running the ball 35 times or more a game with the exception of the Utah game which we all saw Dwayne Washington inexplicably lose a head scratching fumble adding to the three fumbles lost that game. (I always knew D Wash had a fumbling problem)
While it could be argued there were run heavy totals late in the season to hold a lead as they pounded WSU for 52 carries and Oregon State for 59 they did have spurts in other games where the run game wasn’t on track early and they stuck with it. This staff still has a young QB and there is no need to force him to do more than he can. Put the offense in the hands of a budding offensive line and a back that has already proven he can handle the heavy sledding of 25 plus carries a game. Let Browning grow into a lethal play action passer with a skill player that can truly to stretch the field in Ross and an extremely athletic tight end to move the chains in short yardage situations.
Continue the trend of late 2015. Run early, run often, run relentlessly. That should be Pete’s philosophy for 2016.