Steve Sarkisian’s offense puts a lot of demand on athletic linemen and wide receiver blocking to make its quick-hit screens effective. Basically, this season, these are isos for Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Those two need help to make things work. We’ll be taking a look at a couple different situations from this year and last year to illustrate how Seferian-Jenkins and Williams are used in these scenarios. Today, we’ll start with Williams on what we’ll call “Out, up and in” from Week 1 against San Diego State:
Washington breaks the huddle and Williams makes a rare appearance in the backfield next to Keith Price. San Diego State isn’t sure what to make of the pre-snap positioning.
Williams motions out of the backfield to be split wide next to Bishop Sankey. San Diego State sees Seferian-Jenkins looming on the other side and loads up to stop him, with several defenders staring him down.
As soon as Williams is settled, the ball is snapped and he cuts back inside a couple steps. The Aztecs are allowed through the line and several are worried about Seferian-Jenkins at the top of the play as Price targets Williams.
Though Erik Kohler whiffs on his block, Drew Schaefer comes from center to catch enough of his as Williams evades an arm tackle toward massive amounts of open space while the Aztecs try to recover.
Despite a couple mediocre blocks, Williams is too fast for a well-baited San Diego State defense to corral him. He’s in easily for an early 14-0 lead for the Huskies in the home opener.
So, that’s one way the Huskies use Williams. Here’s what Sarkisian said Monday about how they have done this year with these types of plays:
“We’ve gotten Kasen on the perimeter with some of that stuff. We’ve never been a huge screen team – we average probably about three or four screens a game…there’s other games we’ll call more and other games we won’t, but the effect that it has – when you have athletic linemen that can get downfield is a big advantage for us.
“As we’re going forward with the Shane Brostek’s, the Dexter Charles’, those types of guys that can get to the second level, I would imagine that can become part of our offense – to utilize what those guys do well. When you’re got young receivers where there’s so much concentration and attention to detail to line up and run the right route downfield – when you have an opportunity to get them involved in the game by getting them a bubble screen or a hitch screen to where they have the ball and they can run and can get tackled and get in the flow of the game…that’s another reason why we would do stuff like that, so it works both ways for us. It’s been fine so far, but we can be better at it because I think we have the personnel that can be pretty good at that type of stuff.”
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at Seferian-Jenkins in these situations.