By JOHN SLEEPER
SEATTLE – The ninth-ranked Washington Huskies are still looking for some spark in the offense.
While it’s difficult to complain about an offense that averages 395 yards and 27.5 points a game, UW coach Rick Neuheisel is concerned about six turnovers and a passing game with a long completion of 16 yards against Arizona State.
Neuheisel said the coaching staff will place special emphasis on holding onto the ball in practice this week.
As for the lack of big-play capability, all the Huskies can do is work on it. That will be a concern in Saturday’s home game against Cal, even though the Bears’ defense is last in the Pacific-10 Conference against the pass at 260.3 yards a game.
“The second half of our season will be a little bit more difficult in that any weaknesses we might have have been exposed,” Neuheisel said. “Any deficiencies in our play can and will cost us. We have to go about improving so that we don’t beat ourselves. If we can do that, I think we can line up with all the rest of our opponents. But we can’t be our own worst enemy.”
Much of the spotlight has been on an inconsistent receiving corps that has had trouble separating from one-on-one coverage and holding onto the ball.
Quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo’s numbers have been down from a year ago, and Neuheisel himself says Tuiasosopo has not gotten enough support. But Tuiasosopo places much blame on himself.
“I’m not perfect,” UW quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo said. “I’m going to make mistakes, just like they are. If they run a route slightly different than I expect, I should be good enough to adjust. I’m not going to chew them out. I’ve got to throw the ball and they have to catch it for it to work. We just need to keep working.”
Stevens has been investigated since July for an incident involving a UW coed.
“I wasn’t too excited about that,” Tuiasosopo said. “But I didn’t get too mad, because we’d been without a dryer for about two weeks.”
“I take responsibility for that,” Neuheisel said. “Paul probably shouldn’t have been in there.”
True Freshman Rich Alexis, who has had two back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, may start against Cal, depending on Arnold’s health.
The most serious injury to a frontline player is to linebacker Jafar Williams, who sprained an ankle and knee against ASU and also has had a lingering sore shoulder. He probably will sit out against the Bears, Neuheisel said, in favor of Anthony Kelly.
Fullback Pat Conniff, who tore a medial collateral ligament against Oregon State, may be ready as soon as Saturday. If not, the following Saturday against Stanford is a probability. Reserve tight end Kevin Ware, whose suffered a sprained ankle against Oregon, may be ready to play Saturday.
Talk to us
- You can tell us about news and ask us about our journalism by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 425-339-3428.
- If you have an opinion you wish to share for publication, send a letter to the editor to email@example.com or by regular mail to The Daily Herald, Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206.
- More contact information is here.