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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 8, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Huskies streamline offensive approach entering first Pac-12 road game

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Washington offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith wasn’t sure that “simplify” was the proper word, but there were some adjustments made to the offense during UW’s bye last week.

“Definitely tighten and clean up some details, that was definitely a goal,” he said Wednesday, adding: “Some concepts we feel good in and we’re not that far way … so keep on building on those. We did eliminate a couple of things that hopefully streamlines some of the stuff we will call.”

The Huskies offense managed only one touchdown and 179 yards in the 20-13 loss to Stanford two weeks ago. Many outsiders questioned the play of sophomore quarterback Cyler Miles, who is 11th among the conference’s 12 regular quarterbacks with a QB rating of 135.13.

“That’s how this profession is — a lot of things start and end with the quarterback. He gets too much credit and too much blame. I do think as a group we can improve in a lot of ways, not just the quarterback.

Miles has not been available for media interviews since after the Stanford. Smith said a priority with Miles has been “the details in regards to how we’re reading plays.”

“We’re hoping for more consistency, just in general, not just last week but over the five games,” Smith said of the offense. “I think we can play at a really high level and then a level that’s just too low. So we’ve got to find some consistency, and that’s what we’re shooting for. Been pleased with the two weeks of work here, week and half now, and hopefully it plays out like we want on Saturday.”

The Huskies (4-1, 0-1 Pac-12) face a Cal defense ranked among the worst in the nation in their first conference road game Saturday (3 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). The Bears (4-1, 2-1), in first place in the Pac-12 North, have allowed 99 plays this season of 10 yards or more, most in the Pac-12. Those type of “explosion” plays have been lacking for UW this season, though:

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Those graphics courtesy of

“They’ve given up some big plays,” Smith said of the Cal defense. “Points are going to go up when big plays happen, and hopefully we can make some.”

Sophomore receiver John Ross III would figure to play a big role in that. Ross, by the way, said his knee is just fine this week.

“We’ve got to help the quarterbacks out more,” Ross said. “It’s just about the details in our routes and stuff like that. When we catch the ball, explosives can come from a 3-yard hitch (route), so we have to create more opportunities to create bigger plays.”

UW tight ends coach Jordan Paopao said junior Josh Perkins, limited this season by an unspecified injury, had a “phenomenal” practice on Tuesday and could have a bigger role in the offense going forward.

UW’s three tight ends — Darrell Daniels (8), Michael Hartvigson (1) and Perkins (0) — have combined for nine catches in five games.

“The biggest thing is understanding that our routes are what they are and we’re running them as best we can right now,” Paopao said. “It’s just that the coverage dictates it one way or the other. The balls haven’t necessarily been flying to us, but I think with the practices we’re having our role is going to increase.”

Smith was asked after practice what the issue has been with senior receiver Kasen Williams, who has just six catches for 47 yards this season.

“I can’t really pinpoint it,” Smith said. “If we could, we’d fix it. He’s working. It’s not lack of effort. There’s probably a lot of factors.”




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