It goes by fast, that’s the lesson senior tight end Drew Sample wants to leave with Cade Otton. Sample has been with the program five years, but he’s now in the final days of his UW career.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Otton said during Rose Bowl media day on. Sunday. “He’s been enjoying this last experience and he’s been telling me to do the same.”
But while Sample’s UW career will end after the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, Otton’s is just beginning.
A redshirt freshman out of Tumwater High School, Otton made his Husky debut in the season opener against Auburn. He played in all 13 games this year, recording with 12 receptions for 158 yards and three touchdowns.
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“It’s been really surreal and such a great experience just to be able to play a little bit and help contribute to the team,” Otton said. “It’s been awesome.”
Said Sample: “For him, being a redshirt last year, really just getting some time in the program and learning the offense, I think it’s been huge for him this year. For him, first year playing, obviously there’s been leaps and bounds.”
During his first season playing college football, Otton said his technique has developed the most. Getting used to blocking bigger players and using his physicality has also been an adjustment.
Sample remembers what that transition is like.
“I think it just a little overwhelming,” Sample said. “They ask (tight ends) to do a lot of different things. When I first came in, the older guys tried to help me so I just tried to help the younger guys.
“I think that’s the biggest thing just understanding that yeah, there’s going to be a lot of stuff but if you really work at it and buy into it, you’ll eventually get it. I went through the same thing.”
Petersen, Meyer on expanded playoff
Washington head coach Chris Petersen once again expressed his support for an expanded College Football Playoff.
“I think most want it expanded,” he said. “I mean, I think that would be really cool for college football. There’s a lot of logistic to work out and politics to plow through without question. And that’s all hard.”
Petersen went on to discuss the possibilities for how expansion would work, including an eight-team playoff that would mean three extra games for the final two teams. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said his major concern with expansion is the health of the athletes playing in extra games.
“I’m not saying don’t do it,” he said. “I’m saying the student-athlete needs to be the number one conversation and then all the other stuff.”
One regular season game would likely have to be dropped to make the system work, Petersen said.
“But everything comes down to money,” Petersen said. “What are we kidding ourselves? Right? It’s what it comes down to. You play a big tournament like that, there’s going to be enough money for everybody to cut the pie the same way. Now maybe you get some of the matchups you want to see.”
Several UW seniors spent time on Sunday considering the future of UW’s program. Their class has totaled 39 wins, which ties the program record, but safety Jojo McIntosh said the Huskies will be just fine without them.
“The next guy is always ready,” McIntosh said. “We’ve got some freshmen right now that could play today if they wanted. We always got guys. (Defensive coordinator Jimmy) Lake does a good job recruiting good guys that are ready to play.”
Running back Myles Gaskin agreed, saying the “sky’s the limit” for the younger players on UW’s roster.
“I think they’re going to learn from our mistakes because we’ve fallen short in some instances,” he said. “We haven’t been perfect, nobody has been perfect, and I think they can make those little things that we’ve fallen short on that much better.”
As for getting UW to the next level, linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven said it starts with bringing national recruits into the program.
“You want to get the attention and show that you’re a team that can be reckoned with,” he said. “You don’t want to be, ‘Oh, they’re pretty good. You want people to be, ‘Oh, it’s Washington.’
“We have to win the big games, and I think the next couple years hopefully we’ll see them back in the playoffs and that kind of stuff. I don’t see any reason why that can’t happen.”