UW seeking new spark on offense

  • JOHN SLEEPER / Herald Writer
  • Monday, October 16, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

By JOHN SLEEPER

Herald Writer

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 update: King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office spokesman Dan Donahoe said he didn’t expect any announcement this week regarding the sexual assault investigation on UW tight end Jerramy Stevens.

    Stevens has been investigated since July for an incident involving a UW coed.

  • Rude awakening: The Huskies returned to Seattle at 4 a.m. Sunday following their victory against Arizona State. Tuiasosopo said he didn’t get to sleep until about 5 a.m., slept through a phone call from his brother, Zach, and awoke only when a pair of burly delivery men banged on the door to deliver a dryer at 11 a.m.

    “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.”

  • Injury report: Tailback Paul Arnold, who fumbled twice in five carries against Arizona State Saturday night, had assorted minor injuries that should have prevented him from playing, Neuheisel said.

    “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.

  • Short routes: Neuheisel said Monday that he had not yet spoken to cornerback Anthony Vontoure, whom he suspended for the Arizona State game for being late to a team meeting. Neuheisel said any further disciplinary action taken against Vontoure, if any, would be an internal matter … The UW game against Stanford a week from Saturday either will be carried by ABC at 12:30 p.m., or will be scheduled at 2 p.m. and not be televised. ABC will make that announcement next Monday … Cal cornerback LaShaun Ward is out indefinitely with a collapsed lung, which occurred during the Bears’ celebration after their 46-38 win over UCLA in triple overtime Saturday.
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