2013 Washington Huskies Football Preview
Head Coach: Steve Sarkisian
2012 Record: 7-6 overall, 5-4 Pac 12 North
2012 Bowl Result: Lost 28-26 to Boise State in Las Vegas Bowl
2013 Returning Starters: 10 offense, 8 defense
Odds to win 2014 BCS Championship: 135/1
Odds to Win 2013 Pac 12 Championship Game: 15/1
Odds to win 2013 Pac 12 North Division: 7/1
Regular Season Wins: under 7.5 -135 / over 7.5 +105
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For three straight seasons the Washington Huskies have finished 7-6. I suppose it is good to have a winning record, but 7-6 doesn’t impress the boosters much. It is time for the Washington Huskies to show some improvement, and with 18 returning starters, including 10 on offense, they should improve somewhat.
Last year was a roller coaster season for the Huskies, as they started off 3-1 with the loss coming in a 41-3 rout at LSU. The Huskies also upset eventual Pac 12 champ Stanford 17-13 in Seattle in that stretch. The Huskies would then lose 3 straight games to Oregon, USC and Arizona all by double digits. Washington then won 4 straight against then #7 Oregon St, Cal, Utah, and Colorado. Washington was upset in the Apple Cup by rival Washington St in overtime, and then lost 28-26 to Boise St in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Here is a look at Washington’s offense, defense, special teams, and schedule.
Sarkisian and offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau want to install an up-tempo no huddle offense. Despite having so much talent on offense, the Huskies were 90th in points scored at 24 points per game last year.
Senior quarterback Keith Price was an All-Pac 12 quarterback in 2011, but struggled somewhat last season. Part of it was bad decision making on his part and part of it was bad blocking from the offensive line. Keith needs to play at the level he did two seasons ago or the offense will struggle again. Price completed 60.9% of his passes for 2,728 yards with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and he also had a rushing touchdown. Price was sacked 37 times last season. Compare that to 2011 when he threw 33 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and passed for over 3,000 yards. It is hoped the new faster tempo will help Keith put last year behind him. Sophomore Derrick Brown and freshmen Cyler Miles, Jeff Lindquist, and Troy Williams are locked in a tight battle for the back-up.
Junior running back Bishop Sankey proved a more than capable replacement for Chris Polk last year. Sankey had 289 carries, 1,439 yards, and 16 touchdowns, along with 33 catches for 249 yards. The powerhouse proved tough to tackle on first contact. Sophomore Kendyl Taylor, redshirt freshman Dwayne Washington, and junior Jesse Callier who missed most of last season with a torn ACL will compete for the few carries not given to Sankey. Taylor only got 35 carries last year which was third on the team behind Sankey. (Price officially had 68 but 37 of those were sacks.) Redshirt freshman Psalm Wooching will be the fullback and could snag a few carries or catches from the backfield.
Junior tight end Austin Seferian-Jackson was All-Pac 12 last season with 69 catches, 852 yards and 7 touchdowns. However, in July he pleaded guilty after a March DUI arrest. He was sentenced to one day in jail, but has not been suspended for any games as of this writing by the team. However, he had surgery last week to repair a broken right pinkie and his status for the season opener against Boise St is in doubt. Josh Perkins and Michael Hartvigson will rotate at tight end if Seferian-Jackson can’t go. Junior receiver Kacen Williams had 77 catches, 878 yards and 6 touchdowns and was honorable mention All-Pac 12. Sophomores DiAndre Campbell and Jaydon Mickensa nd senior James Johnson will also get some targets. A great class of recruits at receiver that includes Damore’ea Stringfellow, John Ross and Darrell Daniels could make an impact as well.
Eight linemen with starting experience return, but they struggled badly in pass protection last year. They were decent at run blocking, but if they don’t do a better job of protecting Price, then it could be another mediocre season for the Huskies. Junior Mike Criste moves from right guard to center. Sophomore Dexter Charles started 11 of 13 games last year at left guard. Junior James Atoe will start at right guard. Junior Ben Riva starts at right tackle after breaking his arm in the season opener last year. Junior left tackle Micah Hatchie started every game at left tackle. Veterans Shane Brostek, Erik Koehler, and Colin Tanigawa will add depth but all are recovering from injury and might not be ready for the season opener.
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Last year, coordinator Justin Wilcox transformed a Washington defense that had finished #106 in total defense in 2011 to the #31 ranked unit in 2012. Now 8 starters return, and expectations are higher than the Space Needle that the Huskies could have one of the best defenses in the Pac 12.
As good as the defense was, they didn’t generate much of a pass rush. They should be better this year. Junior tackle Danny Shelton was honorable mention All-Pac 12 with 41 tackles, including 4 for loss. Junior end Andrew Hudson had 47 tackles, 9 stops for loss, and 6.5 sacks. Junior tackle Josh Shirley forced four fumbles last year. Josh Banks will start at the other end after playing a little bit last year. Connor Cree, Sione Potoa’e, Hau’oli Jamora, and four star recruits Elijah Qualls and Joe Mathis add depth to the rotation.
Junior middle linebacker John Timu had 91 tackles, 3.5 for loss, 2 sacks, four pass break-ups, and 2 picks last year. Sophomore Travis Feeney missed four games last season but still had 76 tackles, 6 for loss, and 4 sacks. He missed spring practice with a shoulder injury. Sophomore Shaq Thompson is kind of a hybrid safety/linebacker. He had 74 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 3 interceptions and 2 sacks. Seniors Princeton Fuimaono and Thomas Tutogi add depth to the unit.
The Huskies must replace star cornerback Desmond Trufant and safety Justin Glenn. Senior strong safety Sean Parker does return for his third year as the starter after making 77 tackles, forcing 3 fumbles and making to picks. Senior Will Shamburger will start at the other safety after starting two games last year. Sophomore corner Marcus Peters started 8 games last year and made 44 tackles, broke up 8 passes, and made 3 picks. Greg Ducre will likely start at the other corner, but junior Travell Dixon and redshirt freshman Cleveland Wallace could be in the mix as well. Taz Stevenson, Tre Watson, Brandon Beaver, and four star recruit Jermaine Kelly will also add depth.
Senior Travis Coons handles both the kicking and punting duties, but he wasn’t spectacular at either job. He averaged less than 40 yards per punt, and made only 9 of 14 field goals. He missed key field goals against Washington St and Boise St that cost the Huskies both games. He also was 101st in kickoff average at 59 yards. True Freshman Cameron Van Winkle was the #7 ranked kicker nationally and will compete for that job with Coons. Sophomore punter Korey Durkee averaged 36.5 yards per punt last year on 15 punts. He will challenge for the punting job though.
Jaydon Mickens and Marvin Hall will handle kick and punt returns but neither were great last year.
Washington opens at home with a bowl game rematch against Boise State. Then comes a road game at Illinois and a home game against Idaho St. The conference schedule opens with a tough stretch that includes home games against Arizona and Oregon and road games at Stanford and Arizona St. Then comes home games against Cal and Colorado, followed by a road trip to UCLA and Oregon St. The Huskies host rival Washington St in the Apple Cup to close out the regular season.
Besides Idaho St, there isn’t another gimme win in the first 7 games of the season. Washington has the talent to take care of business against a rebuilding Illinois team even on the road, but the rest are toss-ups at best. Washington will be heavy underdogs against Oregon and Stanford. Let’s give the Huskies the benefit of the doubt and say they beat Boise and Illinois, and then split with the Arizona schools. That looks like a 4-3 start. Wins against Cal and Colorado seem likely, and they should beat Washington St, but you never know in a rivalry game. Even if they get a split at UCLA and Oregon St that is only 8 wins. It is better than 7 but i can’t see more wins than that, and that is only if everything goes their way.
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