Smith expects tough test at Utah

A wet Washington Offensive Coordinator Jonathan Smith spoke to the media Wednesday about the Huskies' upcoming game at Utah, including their ability to create interceptions. UW practiced in rainy conditions, something Smith knows they'll see again at some point during the rest of their season.

On the decision to practice in the pouring rain instead of moving inside? “We want to be able to practice in it and get comfortable in it. We practice outside on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It was good. It was coming down pretty good but I thought we handled it well.”

Does rain help build character? “Again, it goes back to we’re going to play some games in the rain, at home especially late in the year. We have to be able to handle it. I actually think the guys enjoy it. Obviously the ball handling piece is always difficult. That’s why you need to be able to practice it and put our guys in those elements.”

Are you able to get done what you need to in the rain? “No. We got what we needed to get done. Like I said, I thought we threw it really well in the rain today and hopefully if we play a game in the rain we’ll still be able to throw it.”

On Utah’s ability to force turnovers? “It’s a coverage thing. They’re good at disguise. They create a lot of one on one match ups and they have some skill players back there who have been great at getting the ball. There’s no question. They’ve gained more turnovers than anybody in the country. We have to be really, really good with the ball. They’re a talented group and they’re a physical group. They’re a good defense.”

What do you make of a defense that has limited some opponents to very few points and allowed many points to others? “I think you look at the UCLA game; they threw it 70 times. You’re gong to give up some yards that way. They were down a couple players, some good players on defense, that didn’t play. I think that had an effect. I also look at the UCLA game. They tweaked some things offensively. You look at UCLA early in the year. They were getting in bigger personnel sets, running the ball. This game against Utah they spread the thing out and like I said threw it 70 times. I think that’s an outlier. These guys are good on defense, they stop the run, they play physical, they gain turnovers; they’re going to be a challenge.”

On the tight ends having few targets “I think it’s a little bit of the receivers for sure. The receivers are playing well; we’re getting those guys the ball. Those tight ends are doing a lot of good things. W’re asking them to do a lot of stuff in the run game and pass protection. They are running some routes. The ball just hasn’t gone their way as much. Again, there’s only one football. We’ve got some good receiver play, got some backs that can catch the ball. That just waters down the balls they’re catching.”


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