©M. Samek / SCOUT

Mid-Season Grades - Offense

With the bye week in full swing, it's time to give out some grades. Today we'll look at the offense, Saturday we will move to the other side of the ball, and Sunday we'll address special teams. 

QUARTERBACK

USA Today Sports

Where to begin...wow. Jake Browning leads the country in pass efficiency and it's considered, at a minimum, a top-5 Heisman Trophy candidate. It's kind of hard to imagine the season going much better for the quarterbacks right now, or the offense playing at the level they currently are without the quarterbacks killing it. Browning is responsible for an average of 26 points per game on his own, good enough for top-3 nationally. All the statistics are incredible, but according to Browning the only one he's really concerned about (besides wins) is turnovers. His touchdown-interception ratio is pretty ridiculous: 23-2. Just to compare, the next quarterback nationally with the most touchdowns, California's Davis Webb, has seven interceptions to go with his 22 touchdowns. Per Chris Petersen's wishes, Browning has been striving for perfection but has settled for excellence. Not too bad. 

GRADE: A+

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RUNNING BACK

USA Today Sports

Despite a bit of a slow start, the Washington running backs have really come on of late, running for 352, 214, and 378 yards in their three Pac-12 games respectively. That means Washington is averaging nearly six yards a carry, second in the Pac-12 behind Oregon, ironically enough. Myles Gaskin is leading the conference in total rushing yards, while Lavon Coleman is averaging a whopping nine yards a carry on nearly 50 carries so far this year. And his contribution in UW's overtime win at Arizona cannot be overstated. Add Jomon Dotson, who has run for over 200 yards on his own through six games and you have a legitimate three-headed rush attack that is doing lots of damage. Also a special mention to their pass protection pickups. Jake Browning has been sacked less than two times a game, and part of that is because the running backs have done a very good job of picking up blitzes and the like. 

GRADE: A-

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RECEIVER

USA Today Sports

It's hard to ignore the numbers: 26 total receiving touchdowns and nearly a first down every time a Washington quarterback goes back to pass. That's ridiculous through six games. We knew the return of John Ross III would add a dimension the 2015 receiving group was simply lacking, but I think his production through six games would even exceed even the most positive Washington fan's expectations: 11 total touchdowns, including nine receiving scores. Dante Pettis and Chico McClatcher have added 10 more touchdowns combined. That's just crazy. To put those numbers in perspective, Ross's nine receiving touchdowns is more than Troy Williams, Manny Wilkins, Dakota Prukop, Brandon Dawkins, Sam Darnold, and Ryan Burns have thrown so far this year. Only Josh Rosen (10), Luke Falk (16), and Davis Webb (22) have thrown more touchdowns than Ross has caught. I'm not counting Browning in that figure, of course. And again, the receivers also get a bit of a nod for their downfield blocking duties. The outside screen game seems to be much more effective this year than last year, and part of that is because the receivers in charge of blocking have done a nice job of keeping their men covered up.   

GRADE: A

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TIGHT END

©M. Samek / SCOUT

It would be hard to overlook the contributions of Washington's tight end group when you crunch the numbers and see they've only accounted for 15 percent of the total catches and eight percent of the total receiving touchdowns. But as a group, their ability to act as additional blockers to spring the run game has been absolutely essential to Washington's success pounding the rock when they've needed to. And Darrell Daniels does have 11 catches so far, so nearly two a game. That's enough to keep things honest. But Drew Sample is averaging only a catch every two games and that was unexpected. It may be hard to knock the tight ends in the pass game when it's clear the connection between Browning and the big three - Ross, Pettis and McClatcher - is rolling right now, but there's got to be more out there. Again, full marks for the way Daniels, Sample, Will Dissly and David Ajamu have contributed to making the Washington offense tick. They've pulled their weight, and then some, when it comes to helping Jonathan Smith achieve offensive balance (252 yards passing and 229 yards running per game). 

GRADE: B+

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OFFENSIVE LINE

©M. Samek / SCOUT

While there were questions as to what the receivers might be able to do this fall, there were even more questions along Washington's offensive line. Would the young tackles take the next step forward in their development? Would UW's senior guards finally fulfill their immense promise? Would Coleman Shelton's transition to center be a smooth one? I think all of those questions have been answered in dramatic fashion. Trey Adams and Kaleb McGary have been rock-solid at their tackle spots. Adams, a true sophomore, definitely had a couple bumpy patches, but that's going to happen when you're on an island. And the number of times he's been responsible for a sack on the blind side can be counted on one hand. And Shelton, who has now started at every single position along the offensive line, has kept everything ticking along without a hiccup. His snaps have been consistent, and whenever there have been communication issues resulting in false starts he has cleaned up those issues without fail. But the real revelation has been with the guards. Jake Eldrenkamp has been playing at an All-Pac-12 First Team level, pulling and devouring pancakes with gusto. And before his injury, the same could be said for Shane Brostek. And when Andrew Kirkland was asked to go back to the right side of the offensive line to fill in at Oregon, I doubt the casual Washington fan would have even noticed Brostek was gone. That's a testament to Kirkland's preparation and Chris Strausser's ability to build quality depth. 

GRADE: A

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOTAL OFFENSE

USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Smith was a punching bag early on in his UW career as offensive coordinator. Fans hated it when he called a screen, and they pulled their hair out when Jeff Lindquist would come in for 'Wildcat' situations. Boy, have times changed. Smith can do no wrong now that the skill players have grown up and the offensive line is leading the way. Smith constantly talked about the ideas of 'banked turns' and 'groove calls' that would help the Huskies achieve their goal of offensive balance, and those things have been achieved so far through six games. They aren't piling up the yards, but they don't have to because they are incredibly efficient. They are averaging 9.7 yards per point scored. Compare that with the two top total offenses in the Pac-12 - Washington State, who is averaging over 12 yards per point scored, or California, who is averaging 12.5 yards per point scored. Everything starts with running the ball, and the Huskies have done that with flair so far in Pac-12 play, averaging 315 yards on the ground per game. Add an average of 225 passing yards, and there's enough there for defensive coordinators' hair to turn white. But here's where they have to pick their poison: through Pac-12 play the Huskies have scored 10 touchdowns on the ground and 11 through the air. So which one do you try and stop? 

Good luck. 

GRADE: A

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

null

Dawgman.com Top Stories