Quietly, Kasen Williams placed his name in the University of Washington record book this season.
Williams’ 71 catches are the fifth-most in a single season in Washington history. He’s just three catches away from moving into third on the list, which is topped by the dynamic Reggie Williams, who caught 94 passes in 2002 and 89 more in 2003.
When informed he had reached fifth on the list, Williams paused and backtracked to take in what he had just been told: “I did?”
He did. Reasons for the ascension are primarily twofold. The departure of Jermaine Kearse — who caught 63 passes in his best season — and Devin Aguilar pushed Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins into primary roles. But Williams also went from lining up in fewer spots last season to having an expanded role this year.
Washington began using Williams in motion, on and off the line of scrimmage, plus in the slot. The Huskies fed him more and more as the season went along.
“To his credit, it never became too much for him,” wide receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty said.
Williams has also been able to absorb more during the game, not just when studying the playbook.
“He’s just very aware now,” Dougherty said. “Before, he was just worried about running the right route, not messing up, being in the right spot. Now, he’s opened up his eyes. “
Next for Williams is more deciphering and even deeper playbook knowledge. He also wants to evolve into more of a deep threat. Since Williams says he’s “not the fastest guy,” he feels that precise technique is crucial to getting loose for deep throws. That means he has to get the cornerback to zig when he zags.
“Giving him something to make him think … to keep him guessing,” Williams said. “If he knows what I’m doing, it’s going to be hard to beat him deep.”
Many of Williams’ catches came in the flat when Washington was able to isolate him with a cornerback. But he was not satisfied with his yardage once those throws were completed.
“It definitely feels like I could have done a lot more,” Williams said. “I was just talking about being better with yards after the catch. Seems like most of the time, I’m catching the ball and getting hit or running out of bounds. That’s going to be another emphasis … in this offseason.”
Which can only help his pursuit of Reggie Williams’ career receptions record. Kasen Williams has 107 career catches heading into the Las Vegas Bowl. Matching his sophomore season and making 142 catches over the next two years would put him at 249 receptions, more than Reggie Williams’ record 243, which came in three seasons.
That would be a place in the record book he’d know about.
ASSISTANT COACH DEPARTING
Assistant strength and conditioning coach Mike Anderson will leave the Huskies to join Idaho as its linebackers coach.
Anderson was a defensive graduate assistant for Washington in 2009-10 and has had his current job two seasons, during which time he was also a defensive assistant. He played linebacker and defensive end for the Vandals from 2002-05.Todd Dybas firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @Todd_Dybas