University of Washington quarterback Jake Browning looks to pass at during a March 28 practice in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

University of Washington quarterback Jake Browning looks to pass at during a March 28 practice in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Perfectionist Browning ready to ‘elevate his game’

The UW quarterback is succeeding in spring camp by paying attention to details.

SEATTLE — It was meant more as an honest question than a comical response. University of Washington football coach Chris Petersen was asked Wednesday for his thoughts on how “Jake” was performing this spring now that he appears to be at his best.

The query wasn’t about quarterbacks Jacob Eason, Jake Haener or Jacob Sirmon.

“Oh. We got a lot of them,” Petersen said with a bit of humor.

Actually, the Jake in question was senior Jake Browning.

“Yeah, he’s doing a nice job. It’s a lot of little subtle things,” Petersen said. “He’s very much a perfectionist, so he comes to work every day really trying to elevate his game. I think he’s been sharp, and I think he’s got in some good work.”

Browning, in a sense, is the prism through how the Huskies are viewed. Throwing for 3,430 yards and 43 touchdowns while helping his team to a Pac-12 championship and going to the College Football Playoff as a sophomore tends to bring such expectations.

He wasn’t 100 percent last season. That’s what happens when a quarterback has offseason shoulder surgery. Browning didn’t produce the numbers one would expect from a reigning Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year. Then again, an argument can be made Browning chose to be smart instead of prolific. He threw for 2,719 yards and 19 touchdowns. But his strength was in throwing a career-low five interceptions while completing a personal-best 68.5 percent of his passes.

Move forward to spring, and Browning looks like the passer everyone was expecting to see after the 2016 season. His arm has power and on the first day, he overthrew his receivers by a good 5 yards. Browning’s control has been better. He’s thrown perfectly placed deep balls and has been one of UW’s stars during spring camp.

The deep balls make for nice practice report fodder, but Browning’s perspective is a bit more technical.

“Yeah, I feel good, but I’m not really thinking about too much,” Browning said. “I’m just throwing and keeping my feet underneath me. I don’t think it’s ever been an arm strength issue. It’s more that I’ve let my base get too wide and I don’t get any power from the ground, so I’m throwing (with) all arm. I’ve just worked on narrowing my base a little bit on some of the deeper stuff. I feel like it’s gone well.”

Petersen said he “always enjoys” watching Browning practice because the former four-star prospect takes the pursuit of perfection to heart.

Focusing small details is why the Browning-Petersen relationship has been one of the most successful in school history. Both pay attention to the tiniest nuance because they know ignoring it could lead to a glaring problem.

Browning said he wants to improve certain aspects like his pocket presence, but doesn’t want to deviate from the methods he learned as a 10-year-old.

“If he wasn’t (focused on small details), then he probably wouldn’t be our quarterback,” Petersen said. “I mean, it’s that simple. You’ve got too many guys that are focused around here. That’s never been Jake. He hasn’t flinched since the second he’s been here. He’s always prepared at a super-high level.

“That’s just how it is. … Those seniors know. They know how to do it.”

Senior tailback Myles Gaskin, a Lynnwood native, provided one of the most interesting perspectives anyone has given about Browning. Frankly, it might be the most sobering assessment of any one player or position group this spring.

The Huskies’ all-time leader in rushing touchdowns described Browning as “the head guy,” yet Gaskin noted he’s still showing up each day to practice because he knows what’s at stake.

Haener, a redshirt freshman, didn’t play last year but he’s taken a ton of reps this spring and has turned heads. Sirmon came in with the mantle of having a big arm and prototypical build at 6-foot-5 and 223 pounds. Yankoff has the arm, athleticism and physique to reinforce why he was one of the nation’s top 100 prospects as a high senior.

Eason, a Lake Stevens graduate, cannot compete until 2019 due to NCAA transfer rules, but he’s still a former five-star recruit who helped his team to eight victories as a true freshman in the Southeastern Conference.

“You see where it’s kind of like a competition because he’s setting the standard, and behind him there’s some good guys, too,” Gaskin said. “He’s obviously shown up every day to put the pressure on him, but they’re trying to put the pressure back on him. I think that’s what’s going to help each group grow. … That’s why I think it’s going to push our team over the edge to be great.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Seattle Seahawks offensive and defensive linemen jog up the field before the team's mock NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, in Seattle. (Jennifer Buchanan/The Seattle Times via AP)
Lock wins first big test in Seahawks’ QB competition

The 4th-year quarterback outplays veteran Geno Smith in Seattle’s mock game at Lumen Field.

Cory McKenna (top) tries to submit Miranda Granger during a UFC mixed martial arts match on Aug. 6, 2022, in Las Vegas. (Photo via ESPN MMA)
Glacier Peak grad Granger defeated in return to action

The Snohomish native loses by second-round submission to Cory McKenna in her first fight in nearly two years.

Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird sits on the bench during a WNBA basketball game against the Minnesota Lynx, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, in Seattle. Bird is retiring at the end of the 2022 season. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Bird at peace for what could be final game in Seattle

The basketball icon, who is retiring at the end of the season, will be celebrated in front of a record crowd on Sunday.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox battered, drop 4th straight game to Hops

Everett pitchers allow 18 hits in a 13-2 loss to Hillsboro.

Los Angeles Angels' David Fletcher, right, is congratulated by Jared Walsh after hitting a two-run home run off Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Chris Flexen during the sixth inning in the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, in Seattle. Walsh scored on the homer. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Mariners fall to Angels in Game 2, split doubleheader

Seattle welcomes Mitch Haniger back to the lineup, but can’t solve Angels starter Reid Detmers in a 7-1 loss.

Seattle Mariners' Ty France (23) celebrates at the plate with Jarred Kelenic after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Caean Couto)
Mariners edge Angels in Game 1 of doubleheader

Ty France homers to back a quality start from George Kirby in Seattle’s 2-1 win.

Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly stretches during NFL football practice Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
How Dissly, Seahawks agreed to most ‘shocking’ offseason deal

An inside look at the frantic hours that kept the young tight end away from his old QB, Russell Wilson, in Denver.

Washington ege Zion Tupuola-Fetui (58) and teammates take part in the NCAA college football team's practice in Seattle on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times via AP)
Fall returns to Husky Stadium as UW opens preseason camp

Under a slight mist, the Washington football team holds its first preseason practice under new head coach Kalen DeBoer.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox drop 3rd consecutive game to Hops

Everett allows six runs in the first inning and never recovers in a 9-4 defeat.

Most Read