Five keys to Washington’s season
The Huskies are hoping Keith Price stays happy and healthy all season and that their new faster paced no-huddle offense lifts the offense — and doesn’t put too much strain on the defense.
In Keith they trust
Senior QB Keith Price says he’s happy and healthy again, and he’s playing behind a line that looks healthy and happy again, too. Price has worked hard to build trust in his teammates, notably with receiver Kasen Williams, who will again be Price’s top target. A priority in camp has been to establish a deep passing threat, and Price believes he has the weapons to do that.
No-huddle, no problem?
With their shift to a no-huddle attack, the Huskies would like to run 12 more plays per game than they did a year ago — the goal is 82 plays — and they have indeed been pushing the tempo at an Oregonesque pace at times in training camp. How fast is too fast? The Huskies say they want to find out.
Can the UW defense keep up? Yes, the offense’s revved-up attack should benefit the defense because the defenders will see it every day in practice and, in theory, should become better conditioned to defend it. But the defense will almost certainly have to defend more plays on game day because of it. The defense, in theory, will have to rely more than ever on its depth.
Get in the zone
The Huskies ranked ninth in the Pac-12 at 24 points per game in 2012 — down from 33.4 ppg in 2011. A big reason: red-zone inefficiency. UW ranked 10th in the conference with a red-zone conversion rate of 75 percent (with 33 touchdowns and six made field goals in 52 trips inside the opponents’ 20). That rate has to improve, and it has been an emphasis in training camp.
Washington hasn’t returned a punt for a touchdown since 2003, and hasn’t had a kickoff returned for a TD since 2007. The Huskies, no doubt, want to ramp up the return game, and true freshman receiver John Ross looks like he could help.