#21 Washington Football 2014 Preview

Washington Huskies

Overall Rank: #21
#6 Pac-12

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There is a new era in Seattle.  That should not imply that Washington is in any sort of rebuilding mode.  They finished third in the Pac-12 North with a 9-4 record.  If only they did not have to be in the same division as Stanford and Oregon.  This team was offensively potent.  Former head coach Steve Sarkisian really pooled a lot of talent and it showed.  He has since left for USC.  Enter Chris Petersen, the man every major program has been trying to pry away from Boise State for the last decade.  It looks like the fit is right for both program and coach.  The Huskies do not plan on skipping a beat.

2013 Record: 9-4, 5-4
2013 Bowl: Fight Hunger Bowl (W 31-16)
Coach: Chris Petersen (0-0 at Washington, 92-12 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Jonathan Smith
Defensive Coordinator: Pete Kwiatkowski

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Dwayne Washington, RB, 332 yards
Passing: Cyler Miles, QB, 418 yards
Receiving: Jaydon Mickens, WR, 681 yards
Tackles: Shaq Thompson, LB, 78
Sacks: Hau’oli Kikaha, LB, 13.0
Interceptions: Marcus Peters, DB, 5

Other Key Returnees: WR Kasen Williams, LB John Timu

Key Losses: RB Bishop Sankey, QB Keith Price, DB Sean Parker, WR Kevin Smith

Washington can hang with just about anyone offensively.  The tandem of Keith Price and Bishop Sankey fueled a high powered offense that scored nearly 38 points per game.  They no longer have those key guys, but there is still a lot of skill position talent on that side of the ball.  Outside of a question at quarterback, the offense returns Jaydon Mickens, the second leading wide receiver last season.  The rushing reigns now belong to Dwayne Washington and his mates in the backfield.  Last season with Sankey, Washington averaged 239 yards on the ground.  They may not duplicate that total, but they have some experienced backs that can help them maintain a strong running game.  More importantly, they return their entire starting offensive line.  That should give Chris Petersen peace of mind.  The Huskies were excellent at protecting the football, losing only 13 turnovers last year.
The biggest issue for the Huskies is losing star power in Keith Price, Bishop Sankey, and Kevin Smith.  Losing three stars at important positions is going to affect your offense in some regard.  They have experience on this roster, so Petersen has something to work with.  Replacing starters will be difficult, but at least there are options.  Washington’s discipline was questionable at best last season.  Petersen will have to work on cutting down the penalties going into the 2014 season.  Washington racked up 105 penalties over the course of last year.  That could cost them some games and some momentum moving forward.  

The Bottom Line:
It looks like a perfect situation for Petersen and Washington.  The timing was right for both.  Petersen will look to make a splash at an AQ program after years of speculating when he might make the jump to a more “traditional” football school.  Not having the three offensive stars from last year will be a tough hurdle to overcome, but Petersen has found plenty of ways to defy the odds in seasons past at Boise State.  The Huskies may have some trouble putting up the same strong numbers as they did in 2013.  They likely will not make a play for the Pac-12 North title.  They still look like they have the ability to strive for another nine win season.

Projected Bowl: San Francisco Bowl

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 239.0 (15th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 260.3 (36, 6)
Total Offense: 499.3 (13, 2)
Scoring Offense: 37.9 (18, 3)
Rushing Defense: 161.3 (60, 5)
Pass Defense: 107.42 (10, 2)
Total Defense: 388.5 (55, 6)
Scoring Defense: 22.8 (29, 4)
Turnover Margin: 0.54 (24, 4)
Sacks: 3.15 (4, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 2.31 (82, 7)

Madness 2015 NFL Draft Rankings:
#53 Shaq Thompson
#55 Kasen Williams
#80 Marcus Peters

Madness 2014 Recruit Rankings:
#81 Bishard Baker


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