BOULDER, Colo. — Bob Gregory said it was part of the plan.
In UW’s 35-30 loss to Arizona State last weekend, redshirt freshman quarterback Dylan Morris started — but true freshman Sam Huard provided sporadic relief.
Likewise, in the 20-17 loss to Colorado on Saturday, Morris again got the start — but graduate transfer Patrick O’Brien was granted a pair of second-quarter drives (both three-and-outs).
They were the Huskies’ only two three-and-outs in the game. And, in O’Brien and Huard’s five combined drives across the last eight quarters, UW has produced seven total points (which came in a nine-play Huard march that didn’t include any passes).
“That was the plan all week, to get a different quarterback in the game and give us a little spark,” said Gregory, UW’s interim head coach, on the motivation behind turning (momentarily) to O’Brien. “That was our plan last week with Sam (Huard). So we stuck with the plan.”
The plan has not paid dividends. And when asked if UW went away from O’Brien because of poor performance, or whether he was only intended to lead two drives, Gregory added: “Little bit of both. We felt like Dylan was playing good enough at the time, so we stuck with Dylan.”
Morris completed 33 of 52 passes (63.5%) for 387 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
With a bowl game out of reach, it’s possible Huard — who can play in one more game while still preserving his redshirt — could start against Washington State in the Apple Cup on Friday.
But is that — wait for it — part of the plan?
“We’ll see about next week,” Gregory said.
Polk makes it back
UW second-year freshman wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk recorded a 13-yard catch on the Huskies’ first offensive play of the season, but simultaneously suffered a significant chest injury.
After missing the next nine games, Polk — a 6-foot-2, 190-pounder who transferred from Texas Tech this offseason — participated on Saturday, recording a 55-yard touchdown catch to announce his return.
“The guy is a good football player and an awesome kid, and you saw what he could do,” Gregory said. “He got a touchdown pass, and we’ll continue to use him.”
Like Huard, Polk can play in next week’s Apple Cup while still maintaining redshirt status.
- Without standout junior Cade Otton, who missed Saturday’s game after suffering a leg injury against Arizona State, sophomore tight end Devin Culp recorded six catches for 83 yards — including longs of 33 and 28 yards. “It was great to see him (produce) when you’re down a body at that position with Cade,” Gregory said. “He can be a really good football player. I think he’s got a lot of potential.”
- With running back Sean McGrew missing a second consecutive game due to injury, redshirt freshman Cameron Davis earned a second consecutive start and compiled 12 carries for 29 yards and six catches for 58 more yards. “My confidence has gone up a lot (the last few weeks),” Davis said. “Just getting a lot of reps and stuff, I feel like that would do that for anybody. It’s a job that I feel like any of the backs in the room are ready for, but it’s a job that I can step up to the plate and get done.”
- On the injury front, Otton, McGrew, outside linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui and defensive lineman Faatui Tuitele all missed Saturday’s game. Gregory said he will provide an update on Otton’s injury next week. A UW spokesperson confirmed that Tupuola-Fetui’s injury is not related to his previously torn Achilles tendon.
- UW is now 3-5 in one-score games this season. When asked why Washington’s offense has struggled to finish games, Gregory said: “I don’t know if there’s one thing, if it’s a turnover or getting stuck on a drive or whatever it might be. We just have not been able to really get it cranking on offense. There’s no doubt. It’s pretty obvious. If we were better today on offense, we’d have a chance to win the game.”