Oregon Game - Position Grades

Washington dropped to 5-2 with a 45-20 loss to Oregon in Eugene. Here's a look at how each position group fared during the game...

Quarterbacks - To blame Cyler Miles fully for the team’s lack of offensive performance would be ludicrous. While Miles missed on a couple of throws and also overthrew a pass that resulted in an interception, the receivers rarely got any separation and the team never really developed a running game. Overall, his performance was below average, but Miles was not the reason the Huskies got blown out yet again by the Ducks. In relief, Troy Williams showed some flashes, including some nice athleticism in his touchdown run, and that has some starting to wonder if it wouldn’t be better to let him take over the reins of the offense. Grade: D.

Running Backs - Aside from Deontae Cooper who looked good as a receiver out of the backfield, the running backs did little to help the offense, especially in the second quarter where they gained just two yards on the ground. Not helping matters was the fact that Dwayne Washington left the game with a rib injury and Lavon Coleman was playing with a bum shoulder. Grade: D.

Wide Receivers - Of the 24 completions on the night, 12 went to running backs and one went to a tight end. Dante Pettis had a decent evening. He only hauled in two receptions, but he made himself available on a couple of plays and converted one for a first down in Washington’s first touchdown drive. DiAndre Campbell had a key drop and Kasen Williams was targeted just once. It’s becoming very obvious that this team is in desperate need of wide receiver help, but unfortunately, that won’t arrive until next summer at the earliest. Grade: D.

Tight End - Josh Perkins had the lone catch of the night for the tight ends and they were pretty much a non-factor in the passing game. Michael Hartvigson provided some nice blocks when called upon, but they really didn’t make their presence felt on a consistent bases whether it was blocking or receiving. Grade: D.

Offensive Line - Miles was sacked twice and he was pressured on several other occasions, but for the most part, the offensive line did a decent job of giving the quarterbacks time to throw the ball. The problem is, they have not figured out how to impose their will on a defensive line and run the ball with physicality. Some of that has to do with the lack of an identity running the ball and some of it has to do with one of their leaders (Ben Riva) being on the sideline pretty much all season. Either way, this was a pretty mediocre performance against what had been a relatively porous Oregon defensive line. Grade: D.

Defensive Line - When Danny Shelton and Hauoli Kikaha were in there, Washington’s defensive line played at a high level, but Shelton got gassed by Oregon’s pace and the fact that the offense was unable to extend drives, putting them back on the field much too quickly. Kikaha had another big game, posting 2.5 sacks and generally he was a nuisance to the Duck offensive line. While spelling Shelton, Elijah Qualls had a solid evening and Joe Mathis also had his moments. Andrew Hudson got pushed around quite a bit, but he also forced some things off the edge and even Evan Hudson got some pressure at times. Overall, this unit played well enough to keep the Huskies in the game and give them a chance to win, but they weren’t difference-makers either. Grade: C.

Linebackers - Just too many missed tackles. John Timu missed an easy interception earlier on, his second drop of a sure interception in three weeks, and Shaq Thompson, Travis Feeney and Cory Littleton all struggled at times to make plays in space. A bright spot was the play of Scott Lawyer who filled in nicely late in the game, but, like the defensive line, none of them were difference-makers on Saturday. Grade: C -.

Defensive Backs - Soft coverage and bad angles doomed this crew to their grade. Sidney Jones was picked on much of the day and he had a few nice plays, but overall he showed his inexperience and Marcus Mariota found him consistently. Kevin King had a bad game, taking several bad angles – Royce Freeman’s 37-yard touchdown run was a great example – but Budda Baker made a couple of nice plays and he is beginning to just pull the trigger and come up hard on running plays. Grade: C.

Punting/Kicking - Cameron Van Winkle made both of his field goal attempts (33, 40) and Korey Durkee was solid, averaging 44 yards on three punts with a long of 50. Van Winkle also put almost all of his kickoffs into the endzone. Grade: B+.

Coverage/Return Teams - Early on, the coverage teams set the tone with physical tackles and they rarely allowed Oregon good field position. Neither John Ross nor Dante Pettis were able to break free for much on their four returns. Grade: B.

Offensive Coaching - Washington’s offense continues to struggle both throwing and running the ball. After taking a couple of steps forward last week against Cal, the offense again looked lost at times. The receivers continue to struggle to get open and the offensive line play was spotty at best. The continuing failure to use the Huskies’ biggest receivers and the inability to establish a running game have been puzzling and are huge detriments to their offensive success. Grade: D.

Defensive Coaching - Pete Kwiatkowski’s guys are playing hard, but they just haven’t been able to be consistent in their tackling and that needs to change. You can get away with that against some teams, but when you face a team like Oregon, it will expose you and keep drives alive. The Huskies have to improve with teams like UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State on the schedule in the coming weeks. Grade: C.

Overall Grade - It’s pretty obvious that the Huskies are still not on the same level as the top-tier teams in the conference. If they play an error-free game, they can sneak up and beat someone, but Saturday’s game against a very good, but not great Oregon team showed how far the Huskies have to go to get to where the coaches, the players and the fans want them to be. With a lack of playmakers on offense and the injuries piling up on the ones they have, the coaches and players have to dig deep for the stretch run of the season. They can still finish strong and get some wins over teams that are battling for the conference crown, but it’s pretty clear they still have a ways to go to be considered elite. Grade: D+.

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