Huskies looking for answers during skid

SEATTLE (AP) As a head coach, Chris Petersen has never lost three straight games.

Then again, he's never faced the offensive struggles Washington is currently going through.

''You lose one game, you lose two games, it's hard. It is hard,'' Petersen said Monday. ''I think the important thing is to stay strong, stay positive and not let all the outside noise try to rattle any of our players. I'm really good at that because I don't pay attention to anything on social media, because if I did I would probably quit right now. I hope our players would be the same although I know that's the world they live in.''

Washington (5-3, 1-3 Pac-12) dropped its second straight over the weekend, losing to No. 15 Arizona State 24-10 on a night the Huskies used their third different starting quarterback this season and linebacker Shaq Thompson made the move - for one night at least - to running back.

Petersen said there wasn't anything statistically that should be taken away from the loss to the Sun Devils because of the conditions. The game was played in a wind and rain storm, with wind gusts of 61 mph recorded during the game.

But statistics from one night aside, the Huskies' offensive struggles go well beyond the loss to Arizona State. Washington ranks 102nd in the country in total offense and is 108th in passing offense.

Some of the problems were to be expected with a new staff taking over and an unsettled quarterback situation that's remained fluid throughout the season. Redshirt freshman Troy Williams made his first career start against Arizona State after Cyler Miles missed part of last week's preparations after suffering a concussion late in the Huskies' loss at Oregon.

Williams finished 18 of 26 for 139 yards and threw two interceptions. The conditions hampered Williams' ability to throw, but his decision-making and timing of throws also needed to improve, Petersen said.

Miles is expected to make the start on Saturday when Washington travels to Colorado.

''I haven't really felt like, `Hey, the offense has really come together or emerging,''' Petersen said. ''But I think the energy, I think the focus, I think how hard they play, we're really proud of that.''

The unknown is what the Huskies might do with Thompson. A star at linebacker with four defensive touchdowns already this season, Thompson was used solely as a running back against the Sun Devils because of injuries to Dwayne Washington and Lavon Coleman. Petersen said Monday that both Washington and Coleman are ''a little bit better.''

But in regards to Thompson, the move to running back - even if temporary - could be a boost to his NFL stock, Petersen said. Thompson has played safety and linebacker for the Huskies, but at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, what position he projects toward in the NFL is still in question.

''I think that this helps Shaq in his long-term future, because I'm not sure what he is. I know he's something really good,'' Petersen said. ''I'm not sure at the next level he is that linebacker. He might be a hybrid, a nickel, a safety. He could be a running back. He's got a lot of tape - we've got a lot of tape on him as a linebacker to assess that. Well, let's look at him at some other positions. I think it helps him.''

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.