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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 27, 2014 at 1:56 PM

UW’s Chris Petersen defends offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith

Jonathan Smith (center) works with the UW offense in the spring. (John Lok/The Seattle Times)

Jonathan Smith (center) works with the UW offense in the spring. (John Lok/The Seattle Times)

Washington ranks last in the Pac-12 in total offense, and much of the criticism of the Huskies’ back-to-back losses has been directed at offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith.

UW coach Chris Petersen, when asked how he evaluates his offensive play-caller, came to Smith’s defense Monday.

“I think he’s doing a good job, I really do,” Petersen said. “Is it translating on the field? Hey, it’s not what anybody wants — it’s not what he wants, it’s not what I want, it’s not what anybody (wants). But, you know, sometimes coaching can be a little overrated. When things are going good you’re the greatest coach in the world. So we’re trying to get that right combination and get our run game going. (If) our run game starts to block a little bit better, all of a sudden we’re little bit better coaches and our quarterback plays a little bit better and all those type of things.”

Smith, the former Oregon State quarterback, is in his first season as an offensive coordinator at the FBS level. He was the coordinator at Montana in 2010 and 2011 before serving as the quarterbacks coach under Petersen at Boise State the past two seasons.

“He’s a smart guy, he knows football, he knows quarterback play,” Petersen said. “Like I said, it’s not going to be a snap of the fingers. They’re all brand-new quarterbacks who’ve never played a snap of college football. We’re talking about replacing a three-year starter (in Keith Price) and an All-American running back (in Bishop Sankey) … there’s a lot of little factors that go in there. But we’ll get there. We’ll get there eventually.”

Redshirt freshman quarterback Troy Williams made his starting debut for the Huskies (5-3, 1-3 Pac-12) in Saturday night’s 24-10 loss to No. 14 Arizona State, in which the offense accounted for just three points. Williams was the third starting quarterback for UW in eight games, something Petersen said he’s never had to do.

“No, I’ve never had this situation,” Petersen said. “On offense … you’re always trying to make that guy as successful as possible. So what are we talking about there? We’re talking about the run game, we’re talking about how the receivers help out — all those things. Because it’s such a hard, complicated position, so if everybody else is playing at a high level, then it’s going to make his job a lot easier. And certainly we’re not there in the run game or the receiver game. Nobody’s got it where we’re in a good groove there. We’re all just working hard, trying to get better.”

Petersen said he doesn’t put much stock into Saturday’s game because of the severe weather conditions, featuring steady rain and heavy winds that limited offensive play-calling for both teams.

“I’m not getting hung up on this last game,” Petersen said. “Go look at (ASU’s) offensive stats. They’ve got one of the best offenses around … and the stats were almost identical. Everybody loves to pile on when it’s not all good.”

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