University of Washington

Cal quarterback Chase Garbers ‘burned’ Huskies on scrambles last season

Chris Petersen speaks to the media ahead of Cal game

Washington head coach Chris Petersen speaks to the media for the final time ahead of Saturday's Pac-12 opener against Cal.
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Washington head coach Chris Petersen speaks to the media for the final time ahead of Saturday's Pac-12 opener against Cal.

If there is one thing defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake remembers about Cal quarterback Chase Garbers, it’s the amount of drives he extended with his feet during Washington’s 12-10 loss to the Golden Bears last season.

He hurt the Huskies with his scrambling ability several times in Cal’s victory. For the season, Garbers threw for 1,506 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and also rushed for 420 yards and two touchdowns on 98 attempts.

With UW leading 6-3 in the second quarter and Cal facing third-and-5 from the UW 41 yard line, Garbers rushed for 8 yards to pick up the first down before stepping out of bounds. Cal capitalized with a 35-yard field goal that trimmed the Huskies’ lead to 7-6.

It happened again on the Golden Bears’ next possession. On third-and-3 from UW’s 37-yard line, Garbers broke free for a gain of 13 yards. Cal ended up with a 41-yard field goal opportunity, but missed. Garbers also held onto the ball three times in the Golden Bears’ final offensive possession that ran out of the clock.

“He’s very efficient with the football,” Lake said. “He knows where he’s going with it. I think (Cal offensive coordinator) Beau Baldwin, who I have a lot of respect for, does a great job of coaching the quarterbacks. He makes them have clean, easy reads. (Garbers) is an athlete, too. He burned us last year I think four times on a third down scramble to keep the chains moving.”

Garbers trailed only Arizona State’s Manny Wilkins last season in rushing yards from a Pac-12 quarterback.

“You never like going against those athletic quarterbacks,” said UW head coach Chris Petersen. “We had one Week 1 and we have one Week 2. We don’t necessarily start with that but you can cover everything just right and then all of the sudden those guys hurt you when you take off.

“(Garbers is) really, really good at that. He’s a fast runner. He’s a physical player. That’s part of his game. This is probably year three for him in that system as well and that makes all the difference.”

Coaching staff additions

On Tuesday, Petersen announced two additions to the football staff: former UW linebacker John Timu and Cornelius Washington, who played at Georgia before spending five seasons in the NFL. Timu was a three-year starter for the Huskies.

Petersen said Thursday that Timu will serve as a program intern. Washington will help with recruiting.

“We’ve always known that he was going to be a coach,” Petersen said. “He made a decision that his playing days were over and it’s awesome to get him back here.”

Timu signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft. He remained with the Bears on-and-off until he was released for the final time in September 2018.

“Some guys have known for a long time (that they want to coach) but other guys are still figuring it out,” Petersen said. “I think … you got to really want to do this. This is an extreme lifestyle. I wanted to make sure that they know that. And then once they do that, you kind of like having guys around you that know your way

“And one thing that’s different about that, too, they know it from the players’ side. They don’t see the inner workings of what this thing all looks like so I think it’s an awesome perspective for them to come back and see what all the coaches were doing.”

Nick Harris update

Petersen offered little update on center Nick Harris. He’s still considered week-to-week.

Harris was injured in the first quarter of UW’s season-opening win over Eastern Washington. He was helped off the field before making a brief stop in the medical tent and then spending the rest of the game watching from the sideline without his helmet.

Harris was listed as the No. 1 center on the Huskies’ depth chart for Cal.

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Lauren Kirschman is the UW Huskies beat writer for The News Tribune. She previously covered the Pittsburgh Steelers for PennLive.com. A Pennsylvania native and a University of Pittsburgh graduate, she also covered college athletics for the Beaver County Times from 2012-2016.
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