- Head Coach: Jimmy Lake (2nd Season)
- 2020 Record: 3-1 (3-1 in Pac-12)
- Last Meeting: 11/14/20 - Washington 27, Oregon State 21
- Key Returners: OL - Jaxson Kirkland, TE - Cade Otton, LB - Edefuan Ulofoshio
Most times when you discuss great football teams, the main positions of power are a stellar quarterback to lead the team, a great dynamic offense skill talent and a game-changing defensive play-maker who can flip the game at any second. For Washington however, they’ve chosen a different route to success, relying on building up a strong offensive line, a group of solid running backs and wide receivers and an experienced defense to place themselves in the preseason Top 25 picture conversation.
In just head coach Jimmy Lake’s second go-round (his first unabbreviated one), the Huskies will begin with questions in their quarterback room where last year’s starter Dylan Morris and five-star prospect Sam Huard will fight for the top spot on the depth chart, despite Morris seemingly having the job won after last year’s positive display. The two are both talented and fit the Huskies’ system and likely will have to keep a sharp eye on one another throughout the campaign.
However, they won’t do it without help. The offensive line of for Washington may be the top unit in the Pac-12, with big Jaxson Kirkland, a reigning All-Pac-12 selection at tackle and center Luke Watternberg, anchoring the group. They’ll be able to open holes easily for junior Richard Newton and the rest of a running back core who would be considered more than serviceable, but not electric.
As for Morris and Huard’s targets, it all starts with tight end Cade Otton, who at 6’ 5”, 240 pounds, might just be the best dual-threat tight end in all of college football. Otton can block with the best of them and catch the ball in traffic, but with a reworked receiving room, he’ll need to handle a bit more of the load come gameday, until the rest of the receivers room settles in.
And then there’s Washington’s defense.
Washington will return eight starters to a group that isn’t outrageous across the board, but has a lot of complimentary talents who can simply get the job done when needed. Linebacker Edefuan Olofoshio was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection who has already shown his ability to take over a defense, while his running mate in Jackson Sirmon isn’t far behind.
The Huskies aren’t perfect. They have answers to be had at cornerback behind returning starter Trent McDuffie and across the defensive secondary, where first-year coordinator Bob Gregory will need to hunker down on their resistance in the passing game. Yet, up-front, if guys like edge talent Ryan Bowman and defensive tackle Tuli Letuligasenoa can make things a bit more confrontational, the true colors of this much-heralded group should begin to show up.
Player To Watch
Cade Otton - Tight End
One of the best blocking tight ends in all of college football, Washington’s Cade Otton is also developing into a solid play-maker away from the line of scrimmage, who can use his 6’ 5”, 240-pound frame to get downfield and make plays. In 2020, Otton grabbed 18 catches for 258 yards and 3 scores in just four games of action, which included an 8 reception, 2 touchdown performance against Utah. More explosive than he’s given credit for, Otton might be a breakout star for the Huskies.
- Date: Saturday, October 2nd
- Time: TBD
- Location: Reser Stadium (Corvallis, Oregon)