Pac-12 Networks preview: Washington
This post is one in a series of 12 as we visit each Pac-12 school on the Pac-12 Networks Football Training Camp tour. Check Pac-12.com in advance of each school's Football Training Camp stop for a quick season preview ahead of that night's show.
The Washington Huskies will have to take a break from “hanging ten” to hang some points on the board when UW meets Hawai'i in Honolulu on Saturday, Aug. 30. It’s a new era in Seattle as Chris Petersen takes the reins and attempts to lead the Dawgs to a fifth consecutive bowl game. Washington returns 14 starters from a 2013 team that won nine games. That’s something a Husky squad hadn’t done since our guy Rick Neuheisel led them to 11 wins and a Rose Bowl victory in 2000. (Please start the vid at 2:05:35 unless you're willing to wait over two hours for the clip.) Here we go #UDUB!
- Before we get to what UW has coming back, let’s note who the Huskies lost to graduation and the NFL. For the first time since 2010, Washington’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (75) and passing efficiency (143.2) Keith Price will not be the signal caller. Also missing this season is UW’s single-season rushing king Bishop Sankey (Tennessee Titans), who carried the ball a school-record 327 times for 1,870 yards in 2013 and set a school record for career rushing TDs with 37. Finally, departed tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who broke all the receiving records for a tight end at UW (146 receptions, 1,840 yards, and 21 TDs), is off to the NFL as well with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That’s a lot of brilliance to replace, but the Huskies have the rest of their studs coming back in their “Pursuit of Excellence.”
- They don’t have their quarterback, running back and tight end returning, but the Huskies have a great foundation coming back as they return their entire starting offensive line this season. Left tackle Micah Hatchie, left guard Dexter Charles, center Mike Criste, right guard Colin Tanigawa and right tackle Ben Riva are all back, ready to protect the new QB and lead the way for the new tailback.
- It’s a three-man quarterback competition among sophomores Cyler Miles (37 for 61 (61 percent) for 418 yds, 4 TDs, and 2 INTs in 2013) and Jeff Lindquist as well as redshirt freshman Troy Williams. The battle to replace Sankey at running back consists of four guys who carried the ball in 2013 and perhaps one that hasn’t played on offense in his first two seasons in Seattle. Dwayne Washington, Deontae Cooper, Jesse Callier and Ryan McDaniel combined for 148 carries, 862 yds (5.8 yards per carry), and 10 TDs in 2013. The wildcard in the running back mix is junior linebacker Shaq Thompson, who is rumored to possibly do his best Myles Jack impression and play both ways this season. Thompson is no stranger to the RB position as he rushed for for 1,134 yards and 15 touchdowns on 120 carries in his senior season at Grant High School in Sacramento, California. Last, but definitely not least, the Huskies bring back one of the deepest receiving corps in the Pac-12. The group includes 2013 leading receiver Jaydon Mickens, a reenergized Kasen Williams, who is coming off of a broken left fibula and a fractured foot, and speedy John Ross.
- On the defense, UW brings back seven starters and seven of its top 10 tacklers from a 2013 unit that ranked fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, allowing 22.8 points per game. The Huskies lost three starters in the secondary, but return six of their starting front seven, including second-leading tackler Shaq Thompson, veteran leader and third-leading tackler linebacker John Timu and defensive end Hau'oli Kikaha, who burst onto the scene in 2013 to record the second-best sack season in UW history with 13. If the defense can make another leap forward this season then it'll have all the UW fans saying “I ruv youuu,” Washington defense.
- The Chris Petersen era begins with much excitement because most are familiar with his amazing 92-12 record in eight seasons at Boise State. People might also know that Coach Petersen is the only two-time winner of the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award (also known as the national coach of the year award), that he led the Broncos to two unbeaten seasons (13-0 in 2006 and 14-0 in 2009) and two BCS bowl berths, and that he won five conference titles and posted a 57-6 record in conference play, but how many people know that he’s also a pretty funny guy?
The Husky became Washington’s official mascot in 1922, but it wasn’t the original nickname for UW’s athletic teams. What was the first University of Washington nickname?
A) The Vikings B) The Donkeys C) The Sun Dodgers
Tweet me the answer @RyanMcGrady and I can congratulate you on your correct response, talk ball and talk about talking Husky dogs.
(Credit: Washington Sports Information Department. Jeff Bechthold and Brian Tom are the guys behind the guy and do an awesome job.)