Practice Report: Huskies spreading wealth

Even after losing quarterback Jake Locker, Washington has been able to incorporate more players into its offense this season.

LOS ANGELES – Last season the Washington offense consisted almost entirely of quarterback Jake Locker, running back Chris Polk and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.

Those three accounted for 32 of the Huskies' 34 offensive touchdowns last season, with Locker throwing for 17 and rushing for another six.

But with Locker drafted eighth overall by the Tennessee Titans and sophomore Keith Price succeeding the four-year starter, Washington has been able to diversify its offense, especially in the passing game.

With three regular season games and a bowl left, six players have already caught 20 or more passes and three or more touchdowns this year. In 2010, only four Huskies topped 20 receptions, with Kearse and D'Andre Goodwin accounting for 16 touchdowns.

That newfound versatility should be familiar to USC fans, given Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian's seven years on staff with the Trojans.

"They have got a lot of good receivers and they do a good job spreading the ball around," secondary graduate assistant Sammy Knight said. "Sark has done a great job of really controlling that and they find the open man. That's always been what their system has been about. It's up to us to cover those guys and make sure they don't get anything done."

The development of true freshmen Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been a big reason for the change. Williams, a five-star recruit from Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline, and the 6-foot-6 tight end Seferian-Jenkins have combined for 42 catches, 565 yards and seven touchdowns.

Knight, the longtime NFL safety, is duly impressed with Seferian-Jenkins.

"He's a big athletic guy that can hurt you in the red zone and make plays across the middle," Knight said. "He's a great failsafe for the quarterback when plays break down. You can always go to big No. 88."

The development of Seferian-Jenkins and Williams has cut into the production of Kearse, a second-team All-Pac-10 selection each of the past two seasons.

But Sarkisian is being creative with the 6-foot-2 senior, using him more from the slot.

"I see that they try to get him open in the easiest ways possible so he can make a big impact on the offense," corner Nickell Robey said.

The big change is the reliance on the shotgun even after losing Locker, USC head coach Lane Kiffin said.

"He has moved ever since he left here into more spread out and more shotgun, not as much NFL-style offense," Kiffin said.

Game-Time Decisions
Defensive tackle DaJohn Harris (ankle) and cornerback Torin Harris (shoulder) will be game-time decisions, Kiffin said.

Freshman defensive tackle J.R. Tavai would see an increase in reps to help keep Christian Tupou and George Uko fresh.

"He would rotate in there at both spots," Kiffin said.

Quick Hits
-Linebacker Dion Bailey (concussion) has been fully cleared, Kiffin said.

Bailey and Hayes Pullard (neck) will start against Washington. Top Stories