Washington running back Salvon Ahmed (26) runs against Penn State during the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 30, 2017 in Glendale, Ariz. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

Washington running back Salvon Ahmed (26) runs against Penn State during the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 30, 2017 in Glendale, Ariz. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

Huskies plan to get sophomore RB more involved

Salvon Ahmed, a shifty, big-play threat out of the backfield, had just seven carries against Auburn.

By Adam Jude

The Seattle Times

Before the Huskies’ fateful fumble against Auburn, the ball was supposed to end up in the hands of running back Salvon Ahmed. And who knows what might have happened if that option play had worked as designed?

UW offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan does know that he wants to get Ahmed more involved in the game plans, starting with Saturday’s 2 p.m. home opener against North Dakota.

“For sure,” Hamdan said about getting Ahmed more involved in the offense. “We can’t just think that he’ll share carries and get enough there. It’ll be a focus to get him the ball on the perimeter in space, for sure.”

Ahmed, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound sophomore, had seven carries for 40 yards in the Huskies’ 21-16 loss to Auburn. Star running back Myles Gaskin finished with 17 carries for 75 yards, setting UW’s all-time leading rusher in the process.

That will probably be the typical distribution of carries for much of the season — for every two carries Gaskin gets, Ahmed gets one — but, as Hamdan noted, the Huskies will try to be more crafty in how they use Ahmed throughout the field, be in the run, pass or return game.

Perhaps the Huskies’ most explosive offensive player, Ahmed is also a capable receiver, posting 13 catches as a true freshman last year.

Gaskin, for one, has been excited to see Ahmed more involved in the offensive plan.

“I don’t think anybody’s see (his potential) yet,” Gaskin said last month. “I’ve seen him do some things like, ‘Man, did you just do that?’ … He plays football at a thousand miles per hour.”

‘Nothing’ on Adams

Chris Petersen had no comment Thursday when asked for an update on injured left tackle Trey Adams.

“I’ve got nothing to say,” Petersen said.

Petersen expressed his frustration Monday that The Times reported Adams would be out for the majority of the season. Adams on Wednesday then posted an Instagram picture from a hospital bed at Harborview Medical Center.

Otton ‘like a veteran’

In his UW debut, redshirt freshman tight end Cade Otton didn’t have any targets, much less any receptions, but he was used regularly in the Huskies’ many multi-tight-end formations.

“He’s been great,” Petersen said Thursday. “It’s the first time he’s gotten real snaps and he held up like a veteran. I like his mentality. He’s real smart, conscientious and he brings real good toughness to the field.”

True freshman could see first action against ND

No true freshmen played for UW against Auburn. Petersen was asked if he has some true freshmen in mind to play against North Dakota. “Kind of. But it keeps changing,” he said. “We thought there was going to be a couple of guys in the first game and we kind of readjusted a little bit. And one or two of those guys have readjusted their thinking. It’s got to be a two-way street. These kid have to want to play. They see the bright lights come on and they’re like, ‘Whoa. Maybe it’s not quite time.’ Guys have to really feel like they want to do this.”

UW’s punting situation up in the air

Starter Joel Whitford exited the Auburn game in the first half after making the tackle following his first punt. Whitford had been dealing with a previously undisclosed injury before the season opener, Petersen said. Walk-on Race Porter took over for UW’s final two punts last Saturday. Auburn returned all three punts for a combined 42 yards, an atypical performance for the Huskies’ coverage teams.

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