With the Huskies on a bye week, there isn’t a whole lot going on today, media-wise. Chris Petersen will appear on the Pac-12 coaches’ teleconference, and if he says anything of note, we’ll pass it along. In the meantime, have some links:
SEATTLE -- The Washington Huskies have a true freshman starting quarterback and three freshmen starting on the offensive line, so offensive struggles this season should not be a surprise. That’s just how it’s going to be sometimes.
But it’s when those youthful mistakes occur concurrently that the Huskies find themselves in particularly dire straits. Or find themselves gaining just 259 yards from scrimmage against a California defense not reputed for stellar performance.
Better days are surely ahead for freshman quarterback Jake Browning, and for UW’s ultrayoung, still-learning-their-assignments offensive line. In the interim, they’re going to be up against it — like in Saturday’s 30-24 loss to the Golden Bears, when a frustrating combination of poor pass protection and a skittish young quarterback yielded a mostly ineffective passing game.
Browning completed 17 of 28 passes for 152 yards with two interceptions, a lost fumble and five sacks that cost the Huskies a total of 40 yards. He spent much of the game scrambling, though Huskies coach Chris Petersen doesn’t place all of the blame for that on UW’s offensive line.
Sometimes, Browning simply needs to get rid of the ball, or step up in the pocket instead of trying to scramble backward or sideways. But that’s a difficult concept for a freshman to immediately grasp when the pass protection is, too often, inadequate. It can make for a jumpy quarterback, even on plays when the protection is at least good enough to allow for a proper throw downfield.
“I think it’s a hard dilemma for any quarterback,” Petersen said. “If he’s not feeling great about the protection and he’s been pressured a couple of times, (he thinks) ‘OK, I feel a little bit of pressure and then I’ve got to trust that it’s going to get picked up.’ That’s a very fine line, like, ‘Do I hang or do I get out of here?’ We’ve got to get better at that whole thing. We’ve got to protect him better, and he’s got to learn to trust it a little bit and get the ball out on time and those types of things.”
--- California defensive end Kyle Kragen was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week after sacking Browning 2.5 times and forcing a fumble.
--- USC defensive back Adoree Jackson is providing a spark for the Trojans on offense, too. The Huskies visit USC for a 6 p.m. game Thursday, Oct. 8.
--- Arizona is banged up: linebacker Scooby Wright will miss “several weeks” due to a foot sprain, and quarterback Anu Solomon is day-to-day with a concussion.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple