In his weekly press conference on Monday, UW head coach Jimmy Lake was asked about his offense regularly featuring a fullback — in this case, redshirt sophomore Jack Westover — in the 27-21 win over Oregon State.
“Yeah, isn’t that a pretty thing?” Lake said with a widening smile. “I love it.”
I’m not so sure Husky football fans everywhere agree.
After all, in a world of air-raids and hurry-ups and run-pass options, Washington’s offense last weekend looked downright primitive. The Huskies frequently huddled. They used shotgun sparingly. They employed multiple tight ends and jumbo sets. They ran the ball on 51 of 75 offensive plays, battering the Oregon State Beavers basically into oblivion.
Oh, and one other thing: it worked. They ran for 267 yards and did not commit a turnover. They struggled in the red zone, but still did enough to earn the win.
Lake has made it clear in recent months that his offense is willing to do whatever it takes to win games. And in these conditions — rainy, snowy, cold, miserable, with a massive offensive line and an inexperienced starting quarterback — a merciless, methodical, debatably “boring” approach might deliver those results.
“For an offense to be successful and to win a lot of football games, you have to run the football,” Lake said. “If you look at any team that’s won, whether it’s college or national championships or Super Bowls, their offenses are really good at running the football. That sets up everything.”
Now, with that said, Lake also insists his offense is “multifaceted” — even if it didn’t always appear that way last weekend.
“If we need to run the ball, we can run the ball,” he said. “If we think we need to pass the ball to put a little bit more pressure on our opponent, we’ll be able to pass the ball. If it’s a rainy, cold, wet night, like last Saturday night and we need to run it, let’s run it. If it’s snowing sideways and we need to run it, let’s run it. But hey, if we have the opportunity to go throw it around and spin it around a little bit, we’ll be able to do that too.
“That’s what I love about our offense and that’s what is very challenging for a defense, when you don’t know what you’re going to get from week to week. So this weekend you’re going to see a different type of offense.”
Maybe that will be the case. Maybe, at 5 p.m. on Saturday, redshirt freshman quarterback Dylan Morris will be allowed to unleash his full arsenal on Arizona. Maybe the Huskies will bludgeon the Wildcats with vertical passing plays.
But, for the sake of this exercise, let’s assume the offense we saw last weekend is indeed here to stay.
The question is, as a fan, how do you feel about that? Are you willing to accept ugly if ugly beats Oregon? And will recruits see the beauty in a predictably punishing approach?
If the Washington Huskies win, should it really matter how?
Whether via email or the comments section, I’d love to hear your answers.