Despite dominant Week-1 win, Huskies want more out of run game

Sep 5, 2016, 3:49 PM
Myles Gaskin managed 57 yards on 15 carries in a modest effort by the Huskies' run game on Saturday...
Myles Gaskin managed 57 yards on 15 carries in a modest effort by the Huskies' run game on Saturday. (AP)

In 2015, the Washington Huskies were a relatively balanced team on offense, averaging 163.8 yards per game rushing and 239.2 yards per game through the air. In their Week 1 blowout win over Rutgers on Saturday, however, Jake Browning had a huge season debut by completing 18 of 27 passes for 287 yards, while the ground game totaled just 91 yards.

There’s plenty of reasons to think the victory over the Scarlet Knights was a sign of things to come this year from UW’s offense. Browning, owner of some of the most prestigious records in high school football, is expected to make a big leap in his sophomore year, and he’ll be lucky enough to throw to the dangerous John Ross all year, health permitting.

As successful as the passing game was for Washington in their opener, though, head coach Chris Petersen and staff aren’t planning on making Myles Gaskin and the rest of the running backs take a backseat this season.

“We’ve got some work to do there,” Petersen said Monday when asked about the run game’s Week-1 performance.

Petersen pointed out that Rutgers’ defense provided more opportunity for the Huskies to exploit their secondary through the air, but he’s still looking for more out of the backfield, which was led by Gaskin’s 57 yards on 15 carries Saturday.

“That’s the style of our offense. If people are going to load up and bring those safeties downhill and try and stop the run, then hopefully we can throw the ball a little bit over their heads. It’s a cat-and-mouse game. But I think we can run the ball better. I would hope so,” Petersen said.

Running the ball better will likely come with the Huskies’ young offensive line getting more experience playing together. Petersen was very complimentary of the group’s work in pass protection, which he noted was “as good as it looked overall since I’ve seen it,” and he added that the running backs performed well helping in that respect, as well. Run blocking and the runs themselves were a different story, however.

“We’ve got to do some things there for us to do what we want to do (in the run game),” he said.

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Despite dominant Week-1 win, Huskies want more out of run game