Washington offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith with the media after Wednesday’s practice and talked about Saturday’s game against No. 18 UCLA.
Here’s a partial transcript.
(On the offense) “We’re always striving to be more consistent. I think that’s been something that each week we can be talking about, just feeling like we can play a little more consistent. We’ve had some highs, we’ve had some lows. I do feel like our effort’s been good in our approach. We’ve got to find a way to be more consistent from one quarter to the fourth quarter and then week in and week out.”
(Is offense still searching for an identity?) “I think there’s some truth to that. We came in saying we wanted to be a little bit different – a change of pace offense and the core is running the football. We continue to make attempts there and the problem with that is when you struggle at times to run the ball and your identity (is to run, then) you start questioning that. We still feel like we want to change the pace. We still feel like we’re a run the football team. But we need to continue to find ways to be more productive.”
(On Shaq Thompson playing offense) “He’s a huge piece. Obviously last week (and) we’re going to lean on him again this week. He’s just such a difference-maker. And I think some of it, I’ve come to realize, is not just when he’s on the field carrying the ball, but he brings some real leadership to our group that’s added a spark to us that’s been a pleasant surprise.”
(Are you surprised at how effective he’s been at running back?) “Not totally because we got him in practice and getting a lot of turns and it seemed like every time he touched the ball, something was happening in practice even back to when we were doing it in the spring. So, not totally surprised there.”
(On managing Thompson’s minutes offensively so he’s available to play defense) “We have conversations through the week on how. Because the guy does need some rest. He plays even on special teams too. So trying to work that out. I’m selfish though because I like him on our side.”
(What kind of role does John Ross play this week?) “Some of both. He’s done a lot on defense too, because he needs more turns there. He hadn’t been doing it the whole week. So some of both.”
(Why has it been difficult to get him involved offensively?) “I think some of it is other guys have stepped up. A little bit of where the ball has been placed on the reads. We put him in a couple spots and the coverage didn’t dictate for that to go there. Some of all that.”
(On Dante Pettis) “The biggest piece on him is he just works hard every week in practice and just continually got better. You knew last week he made some plays in the game, but that week of practice, he made some plays in practice. And he’s done the same thing this week. We’re hoping for the same thing.”
(On UCLA’s defense) “I just know their last outing was really impressive – watching them against Arizona. I think they’re starting to hit their stride defensively. They’ve got some great athletes. They can cover. They can create some havoc up front. It’s a definite challenge for us.”