Expert Q&A 2020 Washington Huskies Football

The Huskies have had some good luck over the past few seasons. Last year, they finished 8-5, tying for second in the PAC-12 North. And now, a big personnel change has given the reins to new HC Jimmy Lake. Can Lake keep the momentum of the Petersen-era going? Or will the new captain wreck ship? Washington expert Jack Follman has the answers.

Jack Follman is a writer for pac12.com and Pacific Takes, two sites devoted to all things PAC-12 sports.

Overall, how do you believe the offense will compare to the 2019 season?

It should be completely different for a few reasons. One. Washington loses a ton of experience including starters at QB, RB, TE, most of their leading receivers and both tackles and center. They also changed offensive coordinators to former Penn State OC John Donovan and new head coach Jimmy Lake has promised a more wide open offense than before similar to what LSU ran in 2019, which makes sense as Donovan mentored 2019 LSU Passing Game Coordinator Joe Brady when Brady was a Graduate Assistant at Penn State.

What do you expect from the QB position in 2020?

Growing pains, most likely. The Huskies start fresh at QB for the second-straight year after Georgia transfer Jacob Eason left early for the NFL and aren’t expected to bring in a transfer. There should be an intense competition with a very young quarterback stepping in who will have a lot to learn in a brand new offense.

How do you see the workload at RB being distributed?

Expect sophomore Richard Newton to get the bulk of the carries. He’s a 215-pound back who is great in short yardage and scored 12 total touchdowns in 2019 despite missing several game due to injury. They have a few other backs who all bring different skills to the table, like the very small senior Sean McGrew who is more of an outside runner and receiver and all-around talented redshirt freshman Cam Davis, who might challenge for the starting job if he can put it all together.

How does the offensive line compare to the 2019 group?

The line will be much younger after losing four year starters and All-Pac-12 stalwarts at left tackle and center along with a veteran starter at right tackle. The unit might get more talented though as the program has stepped up its recruiting on the line in recent seasons, loading up on highly-rated underclassmen. Junior three-year starter Jaxson Kirkland will also help, especially considering the line struggled mightily once he was injured late in 2019.

What do you think the distribution will be to the WR/TE’s?

It should be very spread out with production going to a lot of younger players. Junior Terrell Bynum emerged late as the likely most-consistent WR threat in 2019 while sophomore Puka Nakua looked like a game breaker as a true freshman before going down to injury mid-season. Like OL, WR is another position where the program stepped up their recruiting in recent seasons so they have a ton of talent young depth to take advantage of. Expect junior Cade Otton to be the go-to guy at tight end replacing star TE Hunter Bryant after receiving for more than 500 yards and catching five touchdowns in his first two seasons.

For our dynasty owners, who are some young players that stand out as future breakout performers?

I think people could be sleeping on sophomore QB Jacob Sirmon. He’s a former blue chip/Elite 11 guy who is 6’5 230 with a huge arm and solid mobility. He could be a star if he puts it all together. Hard to say a guy who scored 12 TDs in 2019 hasn’t broken out but sophomore RB Richard Newton should come out of the shadow of Salvon Ahmed and has shown the ability to punch it in on the goal line. Lastly, sophomore WR Puka Nakua was ready to break out in 2019, the blue chip recruit had 150 yards and a big TD in back-to-back games in October before getting hurt.

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