Perkins Gets ‘Back In The Groove Of Things’

By Mason Kelley

When Josh Perkins stomped into the end zone in the first quarter of Washington’s win against Cal, he was relieved.

“I finally got the ball!” the tight end thought after scoring his first touchdown of the season.

For the junior, it was more than an opportunity to cross the goal line. The pass provided his first reception of the season.

“It was great,” he said. “I was finally able to get back in the groove of things. That was fun.”

After suffering an injury in the season opener against Hawaii, Perkins was forced to miss the next two games. It wasn’t the way he wanted to start his season.

He came into fall camp primed to assert himself at tight end. He put on weight. He worked on his run blocking. He improved his communication with the offensive line.

“He’s a really natural pass catcher,” Washington tight ends coach Jordan Paopao said. “I think that’s something he does extremely well and he’s really bought into the fact that he needs to put on a bunch of weight. He had a set goal and achieved that one and just has to maintain his body weight to be able to play tight end.”

Then Perkins suffered the setback. He had to get healthy. His touchdown against the Golden Bears served as a step in the right direction.

“It was something that helped his confidence tremendously,” Paopao said. “Hopefully it’s something that jump-starts his confidence and gives him a little bit more of what he’s capable of on a consistent basis.”

Now that Perkins’ confidence is where he wants it, the next step is getting through a full game after being forced to sit out the first half against Oregon last week due to a targeting penalty in the Cal game.

“I’m just finally trying to finish a game,” Perkins said. “Hopefully I can get that done this week.”

Perkins’ pass-catching ability is a valuable asset in Washington’s offense. But, while he would like to haul in a few against Arizona State this week, his goal is to help the Huskies’ ground game get untracked.

“Just like coach Pete talks about, it’s the little things, the details,” Perkins said. “We’ve just got to focus on the nuances of the game plan and just execute.”

With Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the NFL, there has been consistent competition among the Huskies’ tight ends all season. Perkins’ mix of talent and experience has led to a spot on the field.  

“Darrell (Daniels) has played well, but Josh just has the edge in terms of age and experience,” Paopao said. “He’s played a lot more than everybody else, and I think that’s served him tremendously up to this point.

“He’s very capable of playing at a high level, and I think we’re going to see a lot more out of him.”

When asked to look ahead to Saturday’s matchup with the Sun Devils, Perkins said the game is an opportunity for the Huskies to show something. It is a chance to prove this group is capable of pushing past adversity.

“You’ll learn a lot about the team this week,” he said. “I think we’ll come out with our hair on fire and show everybody it was just a bad week.

“We’ll come out ready for Arizona State.”

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