SEATTLE – The flat screens, in-ground ice baths and barber chair aren’t the only new things in renovated Husky Stadium.
One of the more noticeable changes this fall is Keith Price’s screaming.
“Let’s go! Let’s go!”
Hustling practice referees run up the sideline to spot the ball while Price is lording a few feet behind center with his message just barked out. Signs flash on the sideline. Price uses a quarter shoulder turn to take a peek at the call, then the snap is off in a snap.
Washington’s move to a full-time up-tempo offense this season is a result of personnel and philosophy change. It’s hoping the rapid snapping of the ball with brisk desperation finally vaults the football team past its repetitive 7-6 record.
Last year, Washington dabbled in an up-tempo approach. Against Stanford and its stern defense built around high-IQ lumberjacks, the Huskies tinkered with the pace of the game by using a faster offensive approach.
They went on to use it in other spots throughout the season, often seeing an effective result in a down offensive season.
This year, it’s a full shift into the football’s latest trend. The majority of the Pac-12 uses the manic approach. Texas A&M used it to upset Alabama last season, when the Aggies were one of just two teams to score more than 20 points against the national champions.
“If you look at us when we struggled last year, we were trying to match up,” offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto said. “When we started going fast pace, we eliminated the thinking, the guessing; then you just go.”
UW previously used constant motion for deception. This offense looks to the pace to force defensive misalignment and confusion. Price said he’s all for it and that the core formations Washington uses are similar to the past.
“It’s a little different, but it’s the same pro-style concepts,” Price said. “It’s just at a faster pace. It doesn’t really change anything for me. I still have to make the right reads and the right decisions.”