#13 Washington Football 2019 Preview

Washington Huskies
Overall Rank: #13
#2 Pac 12
 Washington Logo
Washington has won ten plus games over the course of the last three seasons and the level of talent is continuing to rise thanks to a nice uptick forward on the recruiting trail. However the Huskies, despite winning the Pac-12, still have a knack of losing games that they shouldn’t like against Auburn and Cal where turnovers were a problem in both games. They also lost to hated rival Oregon in overtime thanks to a missed game-winning field goal by Peyton Henry at the end of regulation. The schedule is favorable, but there is a lot to replace especially on the defensive side of the football.
2018 Record: 10-4, 7-2
2018 Bowl: Rose Bowl vs. Ohio State (23-28 L)
Coach: Chris Petersen (47-21 at Washington, 139-33 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Bush Hamdan
Defensive Coordinator: Jimmy Lake, Pete Kwiatkowski
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Salvon Ahmed RB, 608 yards
Passing: Jake Haener, QB, 107 yards
Receiving: Aaron Fuller, WR, 874 yards
Tackles: Myles Bryant, DB, 61
Sacks: Myles Bryant, DB, 3.5
Interceptions: None
Other Key Returnees:  OL Jared Hilbers, OL Luke Wattenberg, OL Nick Harris, OL Jaxson Kirkland, TE Cade Otton, WR Ty Jones, OLB Benning Potoa’e, DB Myles Bryant, TE Hunter Bryant, OL Trey Adams, DT Levi Onzwuzurike, CB KEITH taylor, CB Elijah Molden, ILB Brandon Wellington
Key Losses: FS Taylor Rapp, RB Myles Gaskin, CB Byron Murphy, CB Jordan Miller, DT Greg Gaines, QB Jake Browning, LB Ben Burr-Kirven, LB Tevis Bartlett, TE Drew Sample
The 2018 season was one to forget at times on the offensive side of the ball for Washington as they were limited by a quarterback in Jake Browning that continuously regressed as a senior. Thus, Coach Petersen and offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan were forced to the ride Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and the running game down the stretch last season. Jacob Eason is a local kid from Lake Stevens who transferred back to the Huskies prior to the 2018 season and, after sitting out, should win the starting job and energize the fan base. Eason will also be the first truly legit NFL caliber quarterback that Petersen has had at UW and should allow the offense to take the training wheels off to attack opposing defenses more often in 2019. Trey Adams, Nick Harris and Jaxon Kirkland will anchor what should be a strong offensive line unit that will buy time for Eason and the skill players to come together. Salvon Ahmed and Sean McGrew are the top two retuning running backs and will have plenty of opportunity to claim the starting running back job and run with it. Aaron Fuller, Ty Jones, Hunter Bryant, and Cade Otton are going to be the core of the passing game along with Chico McClatcher and the key for those guys is to find a way to make plays and stretch the field enough to keep opposing defenses honest.
There is plenty of emerging young talent for the Huskies on defense despite only returning two starters in Myles Bryant and Benning Potoa’e. The defensive line is loaded with young talent as Tuli Letuligasenoa and Levi Onzwuzurike will be matchup problems every week for opposing offensive coordinators. The secondary should be led by Keith Taylor, Elijah Molden, and standout freshman Kyler Gordon at cornerback as all three of those guys have the ability to ease the loss of guys like Taylor Rapp and Byron Murphy to the NFL. Linebacker is a concern as there is a need to replace 176 tackles by Ben Burr-Kirven last season. Brandon Wellington is a senior that will have to lead this group all year long provided he can stay healthy. Joe Tryon is a guy to watch at outside linebacker as he showed some flashes of his potential in the win over Washington State.
The Bottom Line:
Eastern Washington, California, and Hawaii visit Seattle to start the 2019 season which should set up the Huskies for a 3-0 start. A trip to BYU follows on September 21st and that should be win number four. The majority of the tough conference games are at home as USC, Oregon, and Utah all come to Seattle. Road trips to Stanford and Arizona are a concern not because of a talent disadvantage but the fact that this program tends to lose a game every year it shouldn’t, and those two games are prime candidates for that to happen in 2019.  Overall, Washington should be right there in the mix for a New Year’s Six Bowl bid or a conference title if Eason rises to the occasion at quarterback. If Eason struggles a little bit, then it will be a trip to San Antonio for the Huskies in 2019.
Projected Bowl: Alamo Bowl
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 176.3 (55th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 238.4 (61, 8)
Total Offense: 414.6 (55, 5)
Scoring Offense: 26.4 (88, 8)
Rushing Defense: 116.1 (15, 2)
Pass Defense: 190.1 (25, 2)
Total Defense: 306.2 (12, 1)
Scoring Defense: 16.4 (5, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.21 (50, 5)
Sacks: 1.71 (100, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 1.71 (37, 5)
Madness 2020 NFL Draft Rankings:
#9 Trey Adams
#73 Jacob Eason
Madness 2019 Recruit Rankings:
#80 Faatui Tuitele
#91 Jacob Bandes
#150 Trent McDuffie
#151 Laiatu Latu
#166 Dylan Morris
#184 Puka Nacua