The biggest question surrounding the Husky football team concerns Jake Browning’s final season as University of Washington quarterback, his replacement, and future recruits.
What will the next two years look like for the Huskies?
By all means, this past season was more than a success for Jake Browning. He only threw 5 interceptions on the year, completed a career-best 68% of his throws, and found the end-zone 7 times on the ground. He was an efficiency monster.
However, compared to the year prior Browning left something out on the field. In the 2016 season, the Husky quarterback landed 43 touchdowns and averaged almost 9 yards per passing attempt. This year, Browning amassed just 19 touchdown throws.
So what’s needed for Browning to take the next step?
The first part of this answer is time. The offensive side of the ball held tight as some of the more potent offensive weapons were sidelined. Chico McClatcher, Quinten Pounds, and Hunter Bryant will make their returns next year after suffering season-ending injuries. The only benefit out of this situation, was the time that the replacements had on the field. The receiving corps in charge for catching Browning’s throws will be deep, and could make up for any loss that the offense had suffered on the receiving end this past year.
Secondly, the Bush Hamdan hire should reinvigorate a once explosive offense. For the 2016 season, Hamdan was the Huskies’ Wide Receivers/Pass Game Coordinator, joining the Atlanta Falcons for the 2017 season as the Quarterbacks Coach. Now, he’s being reupped as the Huskies new Offensive Coordinator.
He’s not the most decorated coordinator, which may signal that Petersen will be heavily involved with the offensive play-calling from game to game. Nonetheless, Hamdan shows a ton of promise. Only serious talent gets called up to the big leagues, and it should serve as testament to the capability he has as a coach.
This means we should expect the next year to be a big one for Browning, but what about after?
Prayers were answered this week when former Lake Stevens high school star Jacob Eason decided to come back to home. Per transfer rules, he’ll be required to sit out 2018, but he’ll compete for the starting quarterback position in 2019.
The kid is no slouch. At 6’5” and 235 pounds, Eason’s a bit bigger than Browning. Like Browning, he’s patient and isn’t afraid to tuck and run. Eason’s a former 5-star recruit, and has phenomenal vision from the pocket.
There’s a chance he fails and isn’t able to tie loose ends that led to his benching at the start of this season at Georgia. Granted he was injured, Eason beat out freshman Jake Fromm for the starting job before the season began. Fromm helped the Bulldogs beat Appalachian State and never relinquished the role. It’s tough to say why he never snapped the ball again at Georgia, but fans will be able to see what he’s about when he arrives in Seattle.
What does his competition look like so far? Coach Petersen and his staff were able to roundup a couple of 4-star recruits in Jacob Sirmon and Colson Yankoff. Both of these kids have big frames, and both were studs in high school.
The claim here is that the quarterback position at the University of Washington is going to be well taken care of under the Petersen regime. The battles that the aforementioned players will undergo in the upcoming years can present problems. One of these players could transfer, or the coaching staff could whiff on the wrong guy for the job.
I could be wrong too, expecting that Eason will come after Browning. But remember, many had thought that KJ Carta-Samuels would be the next big UW quarterback, but that project never panned out. He lost the job to true freshman Jake Browning.