Offensive blunders, inconsistency proves costly for Huskies

UW NOTEBOOK: Slew of injuries makes difficult matchup at LSU even tougher

ryan.divish@thenewstribune.comSeptember 9, 2012 

BATON ROUGE, La. – Coming into the season, the idea of the Washington Huskies’ offense going seven consecutive quarters without scoring a touchdown seemed unlikely.

With Keith Price returning at quarterback, Austin Seferian-Jenkins at tight end and Kasen Williams at receiver, the offense seemed poised for success.

But after being shut down in a 41-3 loss to LSU, the Huskies’ offense has not scored a touchdown since the first quarter of opening win over San Diego State.

That’s seven quarters, myriad series and a slew of wasted opportunities. Even more disturbing is the disjointed way the offense is playing. Washington had 183 yards of total offense on 60 plays for an average of 3.1 yards per play.

“I think that’s crazy,” quarterback Keith Price said.

Coach Steve Sarkisian lamented the lack of identity for the offense.

“We were trying to find something that gets us going,” he said. “What are our bread and butter, who is our bread and butter, what are the type of plays we have to get our rhythm back and get going? Moving the ball and calling plays are easy when things are going good. It’s when it gets hard, then where do you find your yards? ... We have had a tough time of finding that the last two weeks.”

But a big reason that identity is absent is because the Huskies’ running attack is non-existent.

Sarkisian can’t rely on getting yards on the ground. The Husky offense had minus-11 yards rushing in the first half and finished with 26 yards on 24 attempts.

“We just had hard time on first-and-10 football,” Sarkisian said.

So much of Sarkisian’s offense is based on being balanced. The Huskies are far from it.

The issues are clear. The loss of Chris Polk is glaring and far more significant than the Huskies hoped because of the injury to Jesse Callier.

Another major issue has been the injuries and inconsistency to the offensive line.

The loss of Ben Riva to a broken forearm against San Diego State forced Washington to move Erik Kohler from right guard to right tackle and insert untested sophomore James Atoe at right guard. The line took another hit midway into the game when Kohler suffered another dislocated kneecap. He is likely out three to four weeks.

Mike Criste, who had played center until fall camp, replaced Kohler.

PRICE POUNDED

Price didn’t have his best game, completing 17 of 36 passes for 157 yards with an interception. But he left the game relatively healthy, which was a plus considering the punishment he endured.

Price was sacked four times, on top of other hits.

“We tried to protect Keith as best we could,” Sarkisian said.

The hardest hit might have been when linebacker Micah Eugene came through untouched on a blitz and leveled Price. “That’s a Day One protection and we have to get that fixed,” Sarkisian said.

EXTRA POINTS

Linebacker Travis Feeney sprained his shoulder, defensive end Talia Crichton suffered a concussion, wide receiver Jaydon Mickens was limited because of turf toe. ... The win gave LSU 39 consecutive non-conference wins, tying the record held by Kansas State from 1993-2003. It also extended LSU’s home winning streak to 19 games, the longest in the nation. ... True freshman defensive end Pio Vatuvei was in on a handful of offensive plays as a fullback. ... Thomas Tutogi led the UW defense with 12 tackles and Washington’s only tackle for a loss. True sophomore Danny Shelton had 10 tackles.

ryan.divish@thenewstribune.com 253-597-8483

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