The Washington Huskies have experienced a pair of midyear shocks to their wide receiver depth in 2018. Quinten Pounds suffered his third season-ending knee injury of his career earlier in the season. More recently, Chico McClatcher has stepped away from football. Wide receivers coach Matt Lubick talked about the impact of losing players of their capacity.
“I think anytime you lose like you said a great player, but are importantly a good person, it’s something you don’t like to have happen,” Lubick explained. “But it’s part of football. Guys respond and I think our guys have – ‘hey, we can control what we can control and let’s go.’”
With midyear attrition to the receiving corps, opportunities for younger players like Terrell Bynum and Alex Cook have emerged. Lubuck discussed the challenges associated with finding roles for young players halfway through the year.
“It’s not hard. They are getting in more and more and more. We feel fortunate that we have some good players in the system a little bit longer than they have. Also, with our system we can play tight ends and move them different places that know the same wideout sets and along with running backs. We do feel like we have good depth there.”
A few Husky receivers have “flipped the switch” this year in terms of production, namely Aaron Fuller. Fuller has 43 receptions through eight games. For comparison, he caught 42 balls his first two years on campus. Now with younger players getting more opportunities in game, Lubick said that it’s a matter of time before they show what they are capable of as well.
“They’re darn close,” he said of youngsters like Bynum and Cook. “They do it in practice. Sometimes it’s just when your opportunity is called, you have to make it. We have confidence in those guys to make the play.”
The NCAA’s new rules regarding redshirt eligibility gives coaches around the country more flexibility with their approach to playing true freshmen. The Huskies hauled in a class of three four-star receivers last class with Marquis Spiker, Austin Osborne, and Trey Lowe. According to Lubick, the Huskies haven’t come to a conclusion on whether or not the true freshmen will make their college debuts this season.
“We talk about that every day. There is a possibility, we just haven’t come to a final decision.”
The Huskies are coming off of their worst offensive performance of the year. The Huskies only tallied 141 passing yards in a 12-10 loss to California. Lubick broke down his perspective on plays where quarterback Jake Browning is forced out of the pocket.
“It’s always a combination of things. I think sometimes the quarterback gets too much of the blame, but it’s a combination of things. It’s a combination of the defense might have taken away that particular play, it’s also a combination of protections. There’s a whole bunch of things that are involved in the play. It’s not one thing. I think he’s actually executed the scramble drill really well. We go back and chart our success when Jake has to move outside of the pocket, which is part of football. It’s been pretty good.”
Washington will look to rebound this weekend against a Stanford squad that has forfeited 30-plus points in four of their last five games.