To help prepare for this week’s game against the Huskies, we decided to review some game film from Washington’s first couple of matchups, specifically against Cal and Hawaii. The biggest shock was that Cal was able to sneak away with a win against UW thanks to a solid ground game and stout defense. The game had a delayed start until 10:30pm PST, so things were a little wacky from the start, but we still saw some interesting things that BYU could try to exploit this week.
Here are the top five things that we noticed.
Expect lots of formations and motion
True to Chris Petersen form, Washington’s offense will work lots of different motions and formations to identify and exploit holes in the defense. People always assume that Petersen’s hallmark is the set of trick-plays that he’ll use but in reality it’s the fact that his offense is disciplined and can find many different ways to beat you.
In the video below you’ll see UW quarterback does a good job selling the dive before pitching it to Andre Baccellia for the end around. Beyond the fake, what really makes this play work is the design where Washington is able to get multiple blockers in position to lead the way for Baccellia. Usually plays like this can look a little scattered and messy but UW executes perfectly and nearly gets a score.
Just wrapped my film study on Washington that will be going up on @VanquishTheFoe tomorrow.— Jake Welch (@BYUAllBlue) September 19, 2019
The players are different but this offense is still textbook Chris Petersen. Lots of formations and motions will be used to assess and exploit the defense, like on this end around. pic.twitter.com/upI75btvhj
Washington’s offense uses the ENTIRE field
Something else that Chris Petersen likes to do with his offense is spread the field from sideline to sideline to help his wide receivers make plays in space. A lot of teams like Washington will treat these wide throws and bubble screens like run plays, content to gain 4-7 yards per play but knowing that there is always the potential for a big gain. Unlike an inside run where 3-4 good blocks are needed to spring a run, on a bubble screen it only needs 1-2.
With this wide screen pass to Chico McClatcher, UW is able to get a few big bodies to the perimeter to help clear the way. But in the end its a nice hurdle by McClatcher that makes this a nice gain. BYU’s defensive backs will need to be ready to tackle in space so these short passes don’t turn into big gains.
Washington also does a great job of spreading the field and getting the ball to the perimeter. Look for UW to use a lot of these bubble screens like the one in this video.— Jake Welch (@BYUAllBlue) September 19, 2019
BYU’s defenseive backs will have another challenging week. They’ll need to wrap up and tackle well in space pic.twitter.com/bkPGkuYwuO
Jacob Eason can throw the long ball with ease
UW didn’t have a drop off when senior quarterback Jake Browning graduated, as they had Georgia transfer Jacob Eason waiting in the wings to fill his role. The Washington native returned home and has played pretty well in his first three games, throwing for seven touchdowns and only one interception. The most impressive part of his game is his ability to connect on deep routes with ease thanks to his cannon arm.
In the first clip below you’ll see that the offense does a good job setting up the Hawaii defense into thinking it’s a screen. Eason gives a nice pump fake to the flat before throwing it to the end zone to an open Puka Nakua. It’s a perfect play call and clean execution. If BYU wants to keep up they’ll need to 1) prevent big gains on the screen plays and 2) be ready for those deep shots. The second clip shows off just how lethal Eason can downfield be with a clean pocket. Austin Lee better be ready to play this week.
Once UW is able to work their screen game effectively, they move to the second level with some deep routes.— Jake Welch (@BYUAllBlue) September 19, 2019
Here Jacob Eason works the DBs with a subtle pump fake to the flat and throws a perfect pass to Puka Nacua for the score. Again, the DB’s discipline will be tested here. pic.twitter.com/W3R3mosWRL
BYU needs to get pressure on Eason
Just like they did this last week against USC’s Kedon Slovis, BYU will need to force Jacob Eason out of his comfort zone. In watching both games against Hawaii and Cal, it was clear that Eason did his best work when he was in the pocket and had a clean throwing lane. If the pocket collapses and he needs to throw on the run, he’s not as dangerous.
In this play Cal is able to get just enough pressure to force Jacob to lazily throw the ball off his back foot. The pass is a dangerous floater towards the sideline that really should have been picked off. It’s a subtle example but it shows how important it will be for BYU to get pressure with Lorenzo Fauatea, Khyris Tonga and the rest of the defensive front. Jacob isn’t a wild playmaker that will escape and run the ball for a big 30 yard gain so getting him on the run will be to BYU’s advantage.
So how do you disrupt this Washington offense? It’s vital to get Jacob Eason out of rhythm.— Jake Welch (@BYUAllBlue) September 19, 2019
With a clean pocket he can pick you apart with his strong arm. But if you watch this play, Cal is able to collapse the pocket just a little and get Eason to throw off his back foot. pic.twitter.com/cssKBuvknL
Run the rock = win the game
We talked a lot about Washington’s offense so far but we didn’t forget how BYU can attack their defense. When Cal beat the Huskies in that wild late-night affair, they were able to do so by working the ground game. The Golden Bears were able average 5 yards per carry on the ground and did so with sound blocking and hard running. Washington’s defense presents a bigger challenge that USC but if the Cougars execute like they did last week we should see another solid game from Ty’Son Williams and company.
On offense BYU will need to run the ball well. Cal was able to eek out a win in Seattle and they did it with defense and running the ball for 5 yards per carry.— Jake Welch (@BYUAllBlue) September 19, 2019
Here Cal RB Chris Brown Jr (no relation) gets a nice gain thanks to great blocks. BYU’s OL needs to thrive this week. pic.twitter.com/10BTJQWXsd