Huskies Insider Blog

Huskies OC Jonathan Smith on criticism: ‘It’s part of the deal, and that’s what we signed up for’

Huskies offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith met with reporters for a few minutes after Wednesday’s practice. He addressed UW’s slow starts, gave a brief update on Jake Browning, evaluated K.J. Carta-Samuels’ play against Stanford, and was asked about the criticism he’s facing on social media (and elsewhere). Here’s what he said.

(Why have you guys been so much better in the third quarter?) “If I could pinpoint it, I’d like to try to do that stuff in the first quarter. We look at it, in the second half, for whatever reason we’ve been better. the thing is, we haven’t really changed our schemes in the third quarter. We’ve run some of the same stuff. I do think it’s a piece of guys settling in, feeling a little … I don’t know if it’s organized or whatnot, but there is something there. But the schemes haven’t been different in the third quarter.”

(On Arizona’s defense) “They’re quite a bit different than a lot of people we play. So the challenges there are identifying where I’m headed, especially o-line, tight ends, and then how we’re blocking things for the back. There’s some challenges there. they create some havoc because they come at different angles, so that’s been something we’ve been working on.”

(Can you tell they miss Scooby Wright?) “They miss him, because that guy’s a good player. Especially earlier in the year, going back to last year, some of that tape, the guy can play. Any time you have a player of that caliber (who) doesn’t play, you miss him.”

(What’s your take on the slow starts?) “I look at it, last week, on the first play of the game, we got a decent gain running the ball. Come back with Myles (Gaskin) again, get it to about third and an inch, and we can’t convert on third down. Third down’s a huge piece of that. I go even back to two weeks before (against) the Ducks. We actually converted a couple third downs, moved the ball, we got a third and two, about third and three, and we can’t convert it there. I think one, we’ve got to get the first first-down with some conversions. That’s a huge piece for what we’re going to do. And at the same time, we need to find a way to be a little bit more explosive early in the game, in regards to chipping away 10, 12-play drives. Right now, with our youth (that) we’ve got going, we’re just not able to convert. We need to create an explosive play where we’re not having to put a 10, 12-play drive together.”

(On possibility of going up-tempo more) “A little bit of that. We looked at it. At the same time, our approach is, we want to play a lot of players, so we’re not totally changing that. We are looking at times to go a little bit more tempo, but we’re not looking to change the whole thing we’re doing.”

(On K.J. Carta-Samuels’ game against Stanford) “Typical first start. I thought we definitely could have gotten him some more help in a lot of areas. I didn’t think he was overwhelmed by the moment. Would have liked him to have been a little more accurate on some throws, for sure.”

(Has Jake Browning been able to do much this week?) “A little bit more than he did last week. Still, I don’t know if he’ll be able to go or not, but he’s done a little bit more.”

(The offensive coordinator has always been a whipping boy for the public when things aren’t going well. Have you heard that criticism, and what’s your response to it?) “I had not heard a ton because I don’t listen to a lot of it. I can imagine it’s got to be out there. the one thing you like, is you like playing with a university that has a passionate fanbase. And that’s what we’ve got. We’ve got some frustrations and whatnot, so it’s understandable, but I have not followed it a ton.”

(Do you think there’s something about the offensive coordinator job that makes fans feel more justified in criticizing?) “I don’t know. I think it’s just where it is. Quarterback gets it, head coach gets it, offensive coordinator, and really, coordinator that side of the ball’s not playing awesome, They’re going to get it. It’s part of the deal, and that’s what we signed up for.”

(What is your evaluation of offensive strategy and playcalling so far?) “I think it comes down to the execution. We’ve got to get better. I’m not going to stand here and say it’s been outstanding, because it hasn’t been executed very well, so it’s got to get better.”