After rushing for more than 1,300 yards as a true freshman, Myles Gaskin says he's more fluent in UW's offense this spring.
The question has been repeated to Myles Gaskin over and over this offseason, and it probably will continue to be asked until he’s able to replicate some of the success from his breakthrough freshman season.
So was he surprised by his 1,302 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns last fall? He smiles and offers his stock answer.
“Not really,” the running back said Monday. He then proceeds to lavish the offensive line with praise and appreciation. “Nobody really gives them the credit they deserve. … They made everything possible for me.”
Named the Huskies’ most valuable offensive player, and to the Football Writers Association of America’s Freshman All-America team, Gaskin became the most accomplished freshman running back in program history. The analytics website Pro Football Focus also ranked him as the nation’s second-best running back (behind Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey) over the final month of the season.
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All of which, he says now, he more or less hoped to do coming out of O’Dea High School. So, no, he was not really surprised. He was just really good.
And what does he have planned for an encore this fall? Gaskin is not getting ahead of himself.
“Just getting older, I guess,” he said. “Just being able to know … coming into each game you’re like, ‘Oh, how does Stanford play? How does Oregon play?’ And having that kind of mindset now a little bit, knowing how they play … and being able to adjust to that and look at film and really know what I’m looking at. I think that’s a big adjustment for myself. I think I can make that move and take the next step in my game.”
Gaskin, listed at 5-feet-10, 193 pounds, hasn’t been asked to do much this spring. That’s fairly typical for an established running back. The emphasis for the offense has also been to improve a passing attack that has ranked among the least productive in the Pac-12 the past two seasons, so Gaskin’s reps have been limited.
Still, through 13 practices Gaskin says he can “definitely” sense better cohesiveness within the offense. No longer, he says, is he in a hurry to look over to the sideline between snaps so he can process the next play-call; he has a better grasp of what’s coming and what to anticipate.
“It’s more fluent,” he said. “I’m able to get the play once and know exactly what I’m doing. I like that comfort, because last year there was no talking between plays. … Now I have that comfort to talk with Jake (Browning) just in between plays like ‘What do you see?’ and just grow off that.”
There’s growing optimism about the Huskies’ chances of contending in the Pac-12 this fall, and while Gaskin acknowledges that the offense has “a lot of potential,” he’s toeing the company line when it comes to outside expectations.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I don’t want to put a label on it yet, but I am excited.”