A quick note: The TNT had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Sarkisian last week. He, like many, is dissatisfied with 7-6 records and feels it’s time for more. We covered a lot of topics. You can read the story here.
On to the receivers:
Since tight ends are such an important part of the passing game for Washington, we’ll lop them in here.
Kasen Williams led the Huskies last season with 77 catches. Austin Seferian-Jenkins was second with 69. The next three receivers — Jaydon Mickens, DiAndre Campbell and Cody Bruns — combined to catch 49 passes. I’m no math major, but finding a third receiver seems to be an issue.
The awareness of that was reflected in the incoming recruiting class. Darrell Daniels, John Ross and Damore’ea Stringfellow are three freshmen wideouts expected to participate instantly. Head coach Steve Sarkisian will argue the trio is the best incoming group of receivers in the country.
Daniels is 6-4 and 220. Ross is 5-11, 180, and similar to Mickens: smaller build, high speed. Stringfellow is flat intriguing because of his frame. Sarkisian said at Pac-12 Media Day that Stringfellow now weighs 232 pounds (he’s 6-3) and looks like NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Whether he can be a longtime NFL receiver remains to be seen.
At the very least, Washington will be able to deploy more weapons this year, which will be important for quarterback Keith Price and the new up-tempo offensive approach.
“They’ve been doing a great job,” Price, who has been working with them over the summer, said. “They’re catching on to the system. I just have to keep them feeling good about themselves. They’re going to hit a wall during camp. Like, ‘Oh, man, I’m not getting material’ and I’m just going to keep loving them up.”
Mickens and Ross will be leaned on to give Washington some action over the top. The Huskies had zero 50-yard-plus pass plays last season, in part because of a shoddy offensive line and in part because Mickens wasn’t able to pull in deep balls — Cal comes to mind — when he was behind the safeties. Mickens did have a 47-yard reception, the longest of the year for Washington.
Hybrid back Kendyl Taylor is also in the mix here.
There will be plenty of opportunity for the receivers not named Seferian-Jenkins or Williams. With Washington running no-huddle throughout the season and adding some spread looks, the receiver rotation will be large and the “other” guys will often see single coverage. It’s merely a question if they can do anything against it.
If so, that will be another element that could help Price return to his 2011 numbers. That year, six players caught at least 28 passes and no one caught more than 47 (Jermaine Kearse). All six of those players caught four touchdown passes or more.
There was balance. Something missing last year.