Throw the ball more, says Huskies receiver Kasen Williams
UW, ranked last in Pac-12 in offense, plays No. 16 Stanford Saturday. Receiver Kasen Williams says he’s not OK with the production from the wideouts, himself included.
Seattle Times staff reporters
No. 16 Stanford @ Washington , 1 p.m., FOX
Kasen Williams has an idea on how to improve the Huskies’ inconsistent offense: Throw the ball.
“I wouldn’t be a competitor if I sat here and said I was OK with the production from the wideouts or my personal production, because I think it’s clear: Everybody knows I’m not playing as big a role as I used to,” said Williams, Washington’s senior receiver who ranks fourth in school history with 147 catches.
“The competitor in me is just wanting the ball.”
After an awful first half Saturday, the Huskies steamrolled Georgia State with a 45-point second-half burst to build a bit of momentum entering Pac-12 Conference play.
Those 45 points are the most UW has scored in the second half of a game, but offense will likely be at a premium Saturday when the Huskies (4-0) host No. 16 Stanford (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) at 1 p.m. at Husky Stadium. Fox will broadcast the game to a national TV audience.
Stanford, idle this past weekend, leads the nation in scoring defense (4.3 points per game), passing defense (66.0 yards per game) and total defense (204.3).
The Huskies counter with an offense ranked last in the Pac-12 with an average of 418.0 yards per game. UW is also tied for the national lead with a plus-eight turnover margin.
“Our whole thing is: Are we playing as well as we can?” first-year UW coach Chris Petersen said.
“And I think everybody in this room knows the answer to that, and I think that’s when it gets really frustrating.”
Williams scored the go-ahead touchdown in UW’s 17-13 upset of No. 8 Stanford two years ago on a 35-yard catch-and-run, and he finished that game with 10 catches for 129 yards.
Contrast that to this season: In four games, he has five catches for 33 yards and one touchdown.
“I’m not satisfied by any means. … You look at our last four games, nobody’s doing anything in our pass game except Jaydon (Mickens),” Williams said.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement.”
Williams said more confidence in, and with, sophomore Cyler Miles is part of what needs to improve in the passing game.
“But,” he added, “I think that (it’s) the play calls as well. I’m not hating on anybody because we’re winning every game and we’re putting up 45 points every game, so it’s hard to be mad over that. But, you know … we do run the ball a lot.”
The Huskies are second in the Pac-12 with a rushing average of 239.3 yards per game. Of their 303 plays, 204 have been runs.
Miles, in three starts this season, has completed 48 of his 71 passing attempts (68 percent) for 525 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.
UW has played Stanford, which has won the last two conference championships, as tough as anyone the past two seasons.
Last year at Stanford, the Huskies’ comeback bid was reversed when a late fourth-down pass from Keith Price to Kevin Smith, initially ruled a catch, was overturned after a review. The Cardinal won 31-28.
The Huskies’ 2012 upset of Stanford came on a Thursday night at CenturyLink Field. UW students poured onto the field in celebration afterward.
Exactly two years later, the Huskies will try to do it again.
“It’s going to be a showdown,” Williams said.
“It’s going to be a dogfight. It’s going to be just like the last two years.”