By the time Washington begins its 3 p.m. game Saturday at California, 41 days will have passed since the last time the Huskies played on the road.
If that seems like a long time, well, it is.
No Power Five conference team goes longer without leaving campus this season, and only five such teams have an identical 41-day hiatus between games played away from home: Wake Forest, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
After beginning the season with an Aug. 30 game at Hawaii, the Huskies played four consecutive home games before a bye last week.
UW coach Chris Petersen said of the odd scheduling that “it is what it is,” noting that the Huskies have to play their share of road games one way or the other, just like everyone else, regardless of the timing.
“I think we like a routine,” Petersen said. “Now, we haven’t been on the road for so long (since) the one time to Hawaii, which is such a different animal in itself, that it’s hard to say we’re in any sort of routine. But we do like to be in a routine. We like to practice here and go look at the stadium, get to the hotel, rest up. So our routine starts over again (Friday).”
Washington has 14 players on its roster from Northern California, in addition to several more from other parts of the state. Sophomore receiver John Ross, for example, said his family is making the five-hour drive from Long Beach to Berkeley this weekend.
Petersen hopes the homecoming is a positive experience.
“I think that’s a good thing,” he said. “I think they want to play in front of their friends and family. They may see them a little bit Friday before the game over at the hotel, which is great. Hopefully that gives them peace of mind. Hopefully they play harder for their people. So I look at that as a positive.”
Williams still sore
Senior receiver Kasen Williams hasn’t said much about whether his recovery from last year’s leg injury is a factor in his slow start to the season.
But receivers coach Brent Pease can tell it’s still bothering him, at least a little.
Williams’ lack of production has been well-documented. He has caught six passes for 47 yards and a touchdown in five games. And while the overall struggles of the Huskies’ passing game are at least partially to blame, Pease said he thinks Williams is probably still a little sore from the broken leg he suffered Oct. 26 against Cal.
“Do I think it’s completely behind him? No, I don’t. I think he’s still battling through some soreness, recovery and stiffness,” Pease said. “But he’s playing with effort. He doesn’t say anything. I think it’s just something still there to overcome.”
Petersen said sophomore safety Kevin King, who missed UW’s Sept. 27 game against Stanford due to illness, practiced all week and is expected to play against California. ... Injured right tackle Ben Riva, who has been battling a knee injury since the start of the season and played only against Eastern Washington on Sept. 6, practiced the past two weeks, Petersen said. But it’s unclear whether he’ll start ahead of redshirt freshman Coleman Shelton at right tackle. “Coach ( Chris) Strausser makes those decisions, the position coach makes those,” Petersen said. “Coleman has been doing a really good job, and I think Ben’s making progress, so we’ll kind of see.”
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