Confused? Check out the advanced-stats glossary here.
1. A second first year
It's hard for a hire to make more sense than Washington hiring Boise State's Chris Petersen. Petersen produced incredible results at a smaller school 500 miles southeast of Seattle, unearthing diamonds in the rough and crafting teams with talent, chips on shoulders, and unexpected athleticism.
Aside from one season as Pitt's quarterbacks coach more than 20 years ago, Petersen's entire career has elapsed in the West. He is an extreme winner, he's local, and at Washington, he will have the chance to combine his research and development skills with the ability to land a few more four-star prospects. And he only recently turned 50. He checks every box.
Entering his second year, however, he's almost starting from scratch. So much of what he faces feels like what a new coach would face right after taking the job. Quarterback attrition? Check. Star players leaving early? Check. Quite a few transfers related to a culture change? Check.
He faces major rebuilding on both lines, his only quarterback with any experience completed 33 percent of his passes, and he has to replace five massive playmakers in the defensive front seven. Plus, one of his most dangerous skill position guys is out for the year with a knee injury, leaving the Huskies both without ability and without actual warm bodies in the receiving corps. This could be an awfully rough year at Husky Stadium.
Plus, there's the awkward case of diminishing returns. In his last two seasons at Boise, Petersen's team fell from fourth in the F/+ rankings in 2011, to 23rd in 2012, to 50th in 2013. His first Washington team, blessed with quite a few All-American and all-conference players and more four-star talent than he'd ever worked with, ranked 58th.
We've always viewed Petersen as a "Moneyball" type of coach, taking advantage of inefficiencies and focusing on aspects of recruiting that are overlooked by others. But inefficiencies cease and shift. And while coaches don't tend to lose their touch overnight (no matter how many times fans accuse them of doing so), it bears mentioning that it's been three years since Petersen was at the helm of a great team, and this season probably won't end that streak.
Long-term, it's still not hard to see this working out. Petersen's recruiting has been an entertaining mix of four-star locals and "Who's this guy?" According to Rivals, he signed five of the state's top 10 prospects for 2015 and landed the top player in Wyoming and the second-best from Idaho. He is mixing blue-chippers with rugged Boise types, and that could produce exciting results.
Plus, this retooling year could pay off. Washington will be starting either a freshman or a junior QB in 2015, someone who could lead the Huskies through at least 2016. The top returning running back is a sophomore. With John Ross injured, a few more freshmen and sophomores will get time in the corps, and then Ross will return for 2016-17. Quite a few freshmen or redshirt freshmen could end up in the rotation on the defensive line. And the top two returnees in the secondary are sophomores.
Washington might not be very good, but whatever level they produce, they will probably exceed it greatly in 2016, then perhaps in 2017. But after losing more games in 2014 (six) than he did from 2008-12 combined (five), Petersen is likely going to have to suffer through 2015.
2014 Schedule & Results
|Record: 8-6 | Adj. Record: 7-7 | Final F/+ Rk: 58|
|Date||Opponent||Opp. F/+ Rk||Score||W-L||Percentile
|29-Nov||at Washington State||77||31-13||W||84%||23.5||100%|
|2-Jan||vs. Oklahoma State||75||22-30||L||13%||-25.9||4%|
|Points Per Game||30.2||57||24.8||40|
2. One hell of a range
Linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha was a unanimous All-American, and lineman Danny Shelton and linebacker/jack of all trades Shaq Thompson were named to three All-American teams each. All three were first-team All-Pac-12, and Thompson was a special teams honoree as well.
Despite their presence, Washington ranked 56th in Def. S&P+. And despite a four-star quarterback with experience (Cyler Miles), an experienced line (194 career starts at the end of the year), and loads of former four-star recruits at the skill positions, the Huskies ranked a woeful 83rd in Off. S&P+.
The whole was far less than the sum of the parts.
The above percentile chart, however, shows us that sometimes full-season ratings get to the whole story. Washington was usually either much better or much worse than its overall ratings would suggest. There was no telling what kind of Washington team was going to show up.
- Average Percentile Performance (5 best games): 79% (~top 25 | avg. score: UW 38, Opp 13)
- Average Percentile Performance (5 worst games): 17% (~top 105 | avg. score: Opp 31, UW 20)
Now, any team's best performances are quite a bit better than its worst. Of course. But this range is absurd. It screams "young team!!!" but this year's team might be even younger.
Washington had the remarkable ability to stay close on the scoreboard while creating little hope of victory. From a Win Expectancy standpoint (this takes the key stats from a game and says "You could have expected to win this game X percent of the time"), Washington only had about a 2 percent chance of beating Stanford in a seven-point loss and a 4 percent chance of beating Oklahoma State in an eight-point loss.
On the flipside, the Huskies only had about a 40 percent chance of beating Hawaii but lucked out.
Teams that carry a slow tempo tend to keep games closer simply because of fewer plays and possessions. But Washington wanted to move quickly; the Huskies just weren't consistent enough to do it. And games remained close regardless. Odd.
|FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||40.3%||80||Succ. Rt. +||96.4||80|
|FIELD POSITION||Def. Avg. FP||29.3||60||Def. FP+||101.0||53|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Trip in 40||4.2||83||Redzone S&P+||88.5||101|
|Q1 Rk||57||1st Down Rk||65|
|Q2 Rk||103||2nd Down Rk||108|
|Q3 Rk||88||3rd Down Rk||63|
3. Raw stats vs. advanced stats
Opponent adjustments can change the story. A cursory glance at Washington's offense tells us that, when the Huskies had a strength, it came through the air. UW averaged 4.4 yards per carry in 2014 and topped 5.1 per carry in just three games (EWU, Colorado, Oregon State).
Meanwhile, the passing game had some delight: 73 percent completion rate and a 171.4 passer rating against Illinois, 70 percent and 155 against Georgia State, 76 percent and 189.1 against California, 79 percent and 195.9 against Oregon State.
Of course, of those four opponents, only one (Oregon State) ranked better than 70th in Passing S&P+, and two ranked 117th or worse. Against better defenses, the Huskies were horrific: 88.4 passer rating vs. Stanford, 98.8 vs. Arizona State, 107.3 vs. Oregon, 104.3 vs. UCLA.
Meanwhile, the rushing totals were dinged by sacks (which are counted as pass attempts in the S&P+ figures), and Washington faced more good run defenses than good pass defenses.
The result: a No. 68 ranking in Rushing S&P+ and No. 90 in Passing S&P+.
Last year's ratings don't matter much, considering what Washington lost. The Huskies return their top three running backs, plus leading receiver Jaydon Mickens and tight end Joshua Perkins. So there's some skill position talent. But they must replace 93 percent of last year's pass attempts and 77 percent of their career starts on the offensive line (and those responsible for 38 of the remaining 45 starts are coming back from injury).
Note: players in bold below are 2015 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.
|Jeff Lindquist||6'3, 244||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9051||10||30||162||1||0||33.3%||1||3.2%||4.7|
|K.J. Carta-Samuels||6'2, 219||RSFr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9109|
|Tony Rodriguez||6'3, 180||Jr.||NR||NR|
|Jake Browning||6'2, 205||Fr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9619|
|Lavon Coleman||TB||5'11, 222||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8769||138||565||1||4.1||3.3||35.5%||1||0|
|Dwayne Washington||TB||6'2, 221||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8254||132||697||9||5.3||7.4||31.8%||4||1|
|Deontae Cooper||TB||5'11, 202||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9209||63||285||0||4.5||3.6||38.1%||2||1|
|Jaydon Mickens||WR||5'11, 171||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9236||17||103||2||6.1||9.2||41.2%||2||0|
|Jeff Lindquist||QB||6'3, 244||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9051||15||79||2||5.3||2.7||60.0%||0||0|
|John Ross||WR||5'11, 194||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.9056||6||54||1||9.0||11.8||66.7%||0||0|
|Marvin Hall||WR||5'10, 187||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8354||5||17||0||3.4||2.3||40.0%||1||0|
|Jomon Dotson||TB||5'10, 174||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8513|
|Myles Gaskin||TB||5'9, 195||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8791|
4. Backs you can lean on
The status of the offensive line could dictate the success of the running game, but if the blocking is decent, I think the backs will be able to take advantage.
Lavon Coleman was reasonably efficient for a redshirt freshman, and he fumbled just once in 138 carries. Dwayne Washington fumbled a little too much but showed off serious potential explosiveness down the stretch: against Arizona, Oregon State, and Washington State, he rushed 49 times for 383 yards (7.8) and five scores. And while three ACL injuries seem to have slowed sixth-year senior Deontae Cooper, he was the most effective back when it came to moving forward -- 38 percent of his carries gained at least five yards.
This trio, plus either of two young change-of-pace backs (Jomon Dotson or Myles Gaskin), could carry a heavy load for a young quarterback.
Washington was a run-first enterprise, and that was with quarterback Miles (who has since retired because of chronic hip issues) and Troy Williams (who transferred). Either junior Jeff Lindquist (10-for-30 for 162 yards last year), redshirt freshman K.J. Carta Samuels, or true-freshman blue-chipper Jake Browning will probably start. (Tony Rodriguez, an unheralded JUCO transfer, committed in June and could play a role.) That probably means the Huskies will lean even more heavily on the run, if they can get away with it.
When the QB does have to pass, he at least has a couple of nice efficiency options. Mickens has never averaged more than 10.6 yards per catch in his career, but he caught three-quarters of the passes targeting him last year, and Perkins' catch rate was 74 percent. John Ross was the home run hitter, but sophomore Dante Pettis hinted at big-play ability, averaging 17.4 yards per catch over the last half of the season.
The tight end position should be a strength, too. Beyond Perkins, UW also boasts former four-star signee Darrell Daniels, and two young guys (David Ajamu, Drew Sample) who had some exciting moments this spring. You could see how coordinator Jonathan Smith might attempt to build an efficiency attack around the run game, Mickens, and the tight ends.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||Targets||Catches||Yards||Catch Rate||Target
|Jaydon Mickens||WR||5'11, 171||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9236||80||60||617||75.0%||21.0%||58.8%||7.7||-89||7.7||62.7|
|Joshua Perkins||TE||6'4, 226||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8485||34||25||315||73.5%||8.9%||70.6%||9.3||20||8.6||32.0|
|John Ross||WR||5'11, 194||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.9056||30||17||371||56.7%||7.9%||53.3%||12.4||160||12.3||37.7|
|Dante Pettis||WR||6'0, 183||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8453||29||17||259||58.6%||7.6%||72.4%||8.9||50||9.1||26.3|
|Dwayne Washington||TB||6'2, 221||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8254||23||15||91||65.2%||6.0%||30.4%||4.0||-90||3.4||9.3|
|Darrell Daniels||TE||6'4, 230||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9329||18||11||171||61.1%||4.7%||55.6%||9.5||37||9.7||17.4|
|Deontae Cooper||TB||5'11, 202||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9209||16||16||155||100.0%||4.2%||75.0%||9.7||-25||11.4||15.8|
|Brayden Lenius||WR||6'5, 217||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8377||13||7||56||53.8%||3.4%||46.2%||4.3||-32||4.8||5.7|
|Lavon Coleman||TB||5'11, 222||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8769||12||9||35||75.0%||3.1%||33.3%||2.9||-71||4.9||3.6|
|Marvin Hall||WR||5'10, 187||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8354||10||6||42||60.0%||2.6%||40.0%||4.2||-32||3.8||4.3|
|David Ajamu||TE||6'5, 251||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8279|
|Drew Sample||TE||6'4, 249||RSFr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.8244|
|Nic Little||WR||6'4, 210||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7889|
|Isaiah Renfro||WR||6'1, 185||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8898|
|Chico McClatcher||WR||5'8, 180||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8758|
|Andre Baccellia||WR||5'9, 165||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8504|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||Career Starts||Honors/Notes|
|Dexter Charles||LG||6'5, 312||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8585||31|
|Coleman Shelton||RT||6'4, 282||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.7000||7|
|Siosifa Tufunga||LG||6'3, 313||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8256||4|
|Shane Brostek||RG||6'4, 301||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||NR||3|
|Jake Eldrenkamp||LT||6'5, 298||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8404||0|
|Michael Kneip||LG||6'5, 302||Jr.||2 stars (5.3)||NR||0|
|Dane Crane||OL||6'3, 287||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8762||0|
|Andrew Kirkland||OL||6'4, 300||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8157||0|
|Kaleb McGary||OL||6'7, 292||RSFr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8969|
|Matt James||OL||6'4, 273||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8479|
|Henry Roberts||OL||6'6, 280||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.9049|
|Trey Adams||OL||6'8, 283||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8938|
|Jared Hilbers||OL||6'6, 279||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8438|
5. A rebuild up front, part 1
Of course, efficiency requires a line that isn't porous. The line ranked worse than 70th in both Adj. Line Yards and Adj. Sack Rate, and while young backs and quarterbacks had a role, that was still disappointing, considering the experience.
And now, five of eight players who started games last year are gone, including the three who started all 14 games. Assuming injured Dexter Charles is healthy, Washington does still have some experience, with two senior guards and a few juniors in the two-deep. [Update: It turns out Charles wasn't healthy. He has retired from football due to a lingering knee injury.] But while the backs are more experienced, it's hard to imagine the line stats improving much.
|FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||41.5%||70||Succ. Rt. +||100.9||59|
|FIELD POSITION||Off. Avg. FP||29.6||80||Off. FP+||100.0||65|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Trip in 40||3.8||22||Redzone S&P+||104.5||45|
|Q1 Rk||76||1st Down Rk||61|
|Q2 Rk||77||2nd Down Rk||29|
|Q3 Rk||27||3rd Down Rk||54|
6. Whole vs. sum of parts
It would be easy to spend a few hundred words talking about the quality of the players Washington lost. Linebackers Kikaha, Thompson, and John Timu combined for 29 tackles for loss, 20 sacks, three interceptions, 16 pass break-ups, seven forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and, because of Thompson, blocked kicks and rushing touchdowns, too. And that says nothing of the 32 tackles for loss linemen Shelton and Andrew Hudson generated or the havoc plays first-round cornerback Marcus Peters made before he was kicked off.
So yeah, that's a lot to lose. And considering Washington's defense was pretty mediocre WITH these players ... yikes.
If there's a bright side, it's that the balance between whole and sum of parts can change. And while this is small consolation, all of last year's second string is back, and there will be two Petersen recruiting classes in circulation. And despite last year's issues, coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski is a smart guy with good defenses on his record (Boise State ranked between second and 11th in Def. S&P+ each year between 2010-12).
This is a long way of saying I don't expect too significant a drop. The problem is, it would stretch the bounds of plausibility to suggest that improvement is on the way in 2015.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Joe Mathis||DE||6'2, 249||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9193||11||13.0||1.5%||2.0||2.0||0||0||0||0|
|Elijah Qualls||NG||6'1, 305||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9452||14||10.5||1.2%||2.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Taniela Tupou||DT||6'2, 293||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8766||14||10.0||1.2%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Jarett Finau||DE||6'3, 272||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8424||8||7.0||0.8%||1.0||1.0||0||0||0||0|
|Damion Turpin||DL||6'4, 275||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8658|
|Will Dissly||DL||6'4, 275||So.||NR||0.7826|
|Greg Gaines||NG||6'1, 306||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8550|
|Jaylen Johnson||DL||6'2, 266||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8525|
|Shane Bowman||DL||6'3, 267||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8210|
|Vita Vea||NG||6'5, 329||RSFr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8750|
|Benning Potoa'e||DE||6'3, 265||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9099|
|Jason Scrempos||DE||6'6, 252||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8578|
|Ricky McCoy||DL||6'3, 294||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8413|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Travis Feeney||LB||6'4, 223||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8191||14||51.5||6.1%||4.5||1.0||2||3||1||1|
|Cory Littleton||LB||6'3, 227||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8116||14||29.5||3.5%||3.5||1.0||0||2||1||0|
|Keishawn Bierria||LB||6'1, 223||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8600||14||28.0||3.3%||3.0||1.0||0||0||0||0|
|Scott Lawyer||LB||6'2, 230||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8181||10||18.0||2.1%||1.0||0.0||0||0||1||0|
|Azeem Victor||LB||6'3, 239||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8400||12||4.5||0.5%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Sean Constantine||LB||6'2, 228||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8777||5||2.0||0.2%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Psalm Wooching||BUCK||6'4, 228||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8378||8||2.0||0.2%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Connor O'Brien||LB||6'3, 234||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8650|
|DJ Beavers||LB||6'0, 202||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8696|
|Ben Burr-Kirven||LB||6'1, 202||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8569|
|Tevis Bartlett||LB||6'2, 218||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8482|
|Jusstis Warren||LB||6'2, 226||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8482|
7. A rebuild up front, part 2
Okay, so ignoring the players who are gone, what does Washington return in the front seven?
- Senior linebacker Travis Feeney, a steady contributor who has recorded 9.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and 11 passes defensed in the last two seasons.
- Junior end (and former four-star signee) Joe Mathis, who made two sacks among his 13 tackles.
- Sophomore nose (and former four-star signee) Elijah Qualls, who made two stops behind the line among his 10.5 tackles.
- Sophomore lineman Will Dissly, a totally unheralded recruit who was good enough to have his redshirt torn off and who brought extreme versatility in spring ball.
- Sophomore linebacker Keishawn Bierria, who was used aggressively in reserve duty and seems to have nice speed, and two other intriguing sophomores in Azeem Victor and former four-star Sean Constantine.
- Redshirt freshman road grader Greg Gaines, who fits the "angry bowling ball" persona that so many successful Boise State tackles carried and looked good this spring.
- Enormous redshirt freshman Vita Vea, who packs all the punch you could want from a 3-4 nose and also looked solid this spring.
- Two four-star true freshmen (end Benning Potoa'e and linebacker DJ Beavers), a large handful of mid- to high-three-star true freshmen at linebacker and redshirt freshmen up front.
The only thing scarier than losing a ton of known playmakers is having few options in replacing them. That's not a problem here.
We don't know that any of these players will be stars, but Feeney, Mathis, Dissley, Qualls, etc., appear loaded with potential and versatility. That could be key as Kwiatkowski attempts to fool offenses and bait quarterbacks into mistakes.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Budda Baker||S||5'10, 176||So.||4 stars (6.0)||0.9721||14||69.0||8.1%||2||1||1||6||2||0|
|Sidney Jones||CB||6'0, 177||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.7985||13||54.5||6.4%||2.5||0||2||5||1||0|
|Kevin King||S||6'3, 182||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8628||13||54.0||6.3%||0.5||0||1||3||1||0|
|John Ross||CB||5'11, 194||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.9056||13||14.0||1.6%||0||0||1||1||0||0|
|Trevor Walker||S||5'11, 182||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8528||8||12.0||1.4%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Brian Clay||S||6'1, 202||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.7000||14||11.0||1.3%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Naijiel Hale||CB||5'10, 182||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8904||14||9.5||1.1%||0||0||0||2||0||0|
|Brandon Beaver||S||6'0, 191||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8995||12||5.5||0.6%||0||0||0||2||0||0|
|Hayden Schuh||DB||6'0, 202||Jr.||NR||NR||8||5.0||0.6%||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Darren Gardenhire||CB||5'11, 181||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8568||12||5.0||0.6%||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|JoJo McIntosh||DB||6'0, 204||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8457|
|Ezekiel Turner||DB||6'2, 204||So.||NR||0.8549|
|Austin Joyner||CB||5'10, 192||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9074|
8. The secondary will probably be ready
Washington's pass defense was shakier than its run defense. Considering the role of youth (freshmen Budda Baker and Sidney Jones saw extensive playing time, as did six other freshmen and sophomores, seven if you include John Ross) and the turbulence surrounding Peters and his departure, that makes sense. But while the front seven is getting remodeled, the secondary returns everybody but Peters and Ross.
Former blue-chipper Budda Baker held his own as a true-freshman honey-badger type, and while Jones had none of the recruiting recognition that Baker had, he also held his own (after the EWU game, at least -- that was a bit of a disaster) with 2.5 tackles for loss and seven passes defensed. Plus, in reserve time, youngsters Naijiel Hale, Brandon Beaver, and Darren Gardenhire made some plays. [Update: Naijiel Hale was dismissed from the program in August.]
And while this might say something about Washington's quarterbacks, Gardenhire was a ball hawk all spring; both he and Jones had pick sixes in the spring game. (I'm mentioning spring ball more than normal, mainly because it's so hard to figure out much about this personnel otherwise.)
If Washington's defense holds steady or even improves, it will be because of versatility in the front seven and playmaking in the back. That's not an entirely unrealistic equation.
|Korey Durkee||6'4, 247||Sr.||63||42.1||5||15||19||54.0%|
|Tristan Vizcaino||6'2, 205||So.||70||60.4||17||2||24.3%|
|Cameron Van Winkle||5'10, 181||Jr.||13||56.2||2||0||15.4%|
|Cameron Van Winkle||5'10, 181||Jr.||47-49||15-16||93.8%||5-8||62.5%|
|John Ross||KR||5'11, 194||Jr.||38||24.7||2|
|Deontae Cooper||KR||5'11, 202||Sr.||5||8.4||0|
|Dante Pettis||PR||6'0, 183||So.||28||10.3||1|
|Jaydon Mickens||PR||5'11, 171||Sr.||3||4.7||0|
|Special Teams F/+||21|
|Field Goal Efficiency||37|
|Punt Return Efficiency||66|
|Kick Return Efficiency||9|
|Opponents' Field Goal Efficiency||100|
9. A strength, even without Ross
Losing Ross means losing an explosive receiver, a decent cornerback, an incredible kick returner, and a good punt returner, all in one. Ouch. But at least the Huskies have other special teams strengths to lean on in 2015; Cameron Van Winkle mixed steadiness (15-for-16 on field goals under 40 yards) and power (5-for-8 beyond 40), punter Korey Durkee mixed power (42.1 average) with height (15 fair catches, 19 downed inside the 20), and the coverage units were at least decent. The legs were reasons why some of Washington stayed close in some otherwise poor performances, and they're all back.
2015 Schedule & Projection Factors
|Date||Opponent||Proj. S&P+ Rk|
|4-Sep||at Boise State||27|
|14-Nov||at Arizona State||24|
|21-Nov||at Oregon State||70|
|Five-Year F/+ Rk||8.6% (46)|
|2- and 5-Year Recruiting Rk||34 / 26|
|2014 TO Margin / Adj. TO Margin*||12 / 0.4|
|2014 TO Luck/Game||+4.1|
|Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.)||8 (4, 4)|
|2014 Second-order wins (difference)||7.9 (0.1)|
10. Stock up on wins before October
Washington fans were awfully tired of "seven-win Steve" Sarkisian and weren't too regretful when he left for USC, even though he had taken the Huskies from 0-12 in 2008 to 9-4 that fall. With memories of Rick Neuheisel's and Don James' success still in the memory bank, Husky fans aren't regarded as the most patient of bases.
So it will be interesting to see what happens if Petersen's second team indeed regresses, a distinct possibility with so many playmakers out the door and so many unanswered questions.
The schedule will help to ease the pain. The slate features five teams projected worse than 50th, and four of them visit Seattle. Washington laid three relative eggs in a row at home last year, but if the Huskies generate the normal home field advantage, four wins right there. Plus, Arizona and Utah visit Husky Stadium; win one of those and beat Oregon State, and you're bowling.
There's not a lot of margin for error, and trips to Boise State, USC, Stanford, and Arizona State should ensure that any home slip-up could be very costly.
It really isn't hard to see Petersen getting his pieces arranged. It might happen as soon as 2016. But 2015 is a massive transition year, one in which a bowl game would be a nice accomplishment.