The Pac 12 has long had a history of great quarterbacks, and that includes players like Washington State’s Gardner Minshew and Oregon’s Justin Herbert this season. The Washington defense has faced both of those quarterbacks, but they have yet to face anybody like Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Haskins leads the nation with 47 touchdown passes and is second in passing yards (4,580) to Minshew (4,779). At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, he is also a big, strong pocket presence who commands an Ohio State offense that has set records almost on a weekly basis.
Everything about Haskins makes him unique, and it also makes him the best quarterback this Washington team has seen.
“No, he’s definitely the best quarterback we’ve faced all year long,” said UW defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake. “Can really do it all. He can make all the throws. You see him coordinate the offense at the line of scrimmage. Strong arm. Athletic, big, hard to tackle.”
With a month to prepare, Lake and his Huskies defense have watched every snap that Haskins has taken this season. They try to find flaws, tendencies, and areas where they believe they can find an advantage.
Asked if he had seen growth in the first-year starter Haskins while watching all of that film, Lake had a very complimentary answer.
“You know, I didn’t,” he said. “Obviously we don’t play those guys. I mean, to me he looks like a three-year starter when I’m watching him. If you look at his numbers, the touchdowns he’s thrown, the yards he’s thrown for, the command of the offense, he does not look like a first-year starter to me at all.”
Lake has talked to his team about every issue that Haskins will pose, from eliminating the scrambles, to bringing him down in the backfield despite his ability to shrug off defenders. The ability to stretch the field with the pass is still problem number one for the Washington defense.
“We really we have to stop his arm,” Lake said. “That’s his strength, his arm. He’s thrown obviously for a ton of yards. I think it’s the second-ranked pass offense in the country. So his arm is what we’ve really got to be worried about.”
The Washington defense has allowed just nine touchdown passes this season, which is the fourth-lowest number in the nation. They have the No. 21 pass efficiency defense in the nation, but have faced just two of the top 40 passing offenses in the country.
Suffice it to say that there was nobody like Haskins on Washington’s schedule this season. There is somebody that comes to mind when Lake thinks about Haskins’ overall skill set, however.
“The guy who reminds me that I coached against in the National Football League would be Ben Roethlisberger,” he said. “Big, tall, strong, hard to tackle, can make all the throws. You see him checking plays at the line of scrimmage. He has a really good command of the offense.”
Everything the rest of the nation has seen is exactly what Jimmy Lake has seen.
“Big-time quarterback, top 10 pick,” he said. “An NFL team is going to want him starting on Monday.”