The Washington Huskies football team began their quest to participate in NCAA 2018 playoff Semifinals Wednesday morning at the teams practice field. The first day of practice of any sports team is always nostalgic and full of hope and optimism. Regardless of the level and the sport, middle school, high school Professional and of course College football everyone has a chance of winning their perspective Championship.
While no player or coach was running around the Huskies practice field yelling Championship there was a hint of optimism in a process that will be judged on September 1st.
That is when Washington will open the 2018 football season against Auburn at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Before the Huskies can look to the Auburn game, winning the Pac-12 North Division which Stanford won last year and the Pac-12 Championship game and hopefully a Semi-Final berth the Huskies will need to literally build from the ground up.
The Huskies are returning a core group of seniors that can propel them to a competitive run at the Pac-12 Title at the very least. Running back Myles Gaskin returns for his senior season after rushing for 1,380 his junior and needs just 51 yards to surpass Napolean Kauffman’s school record of 4,106 career rushings.
Quarterback Jake Browning is another returning senior who brings optimist to the Huskies. The 2017 Academic All-Pac 12 Second Team and All- Pac-12 Honorable Mention broke the UW career touchdown passed record when he finished with 78 TD passes in his Junior year. Offensive coordinator Bush Hamden will take over the offensive coordinator duties for the departed Jonathan Smith who is now the head coach at his alma mater, Oregon State.
On defense, the Huskies return nine of eleven starters. The two losses are Pac-12 Defense Player of the Year Vita Vea and Keishawn Bierria a three-year starter and vocal leader of the defense.
For Husky head coach Chris Petersen the key to winning, in the long run, is consistency which begins with the first day of practice.