Grubb’s favorite game from the Cal game had stiff armament and a step forward

Ryan Grubb currently coaches the nation’s best passer and oversees college football’s best passing offense, but the play in California’s recent game that most impressed the offensive coordinator came from one of his running backs.

While it was still a pass reception, what Richard Newton did on his 36-yard touchdown play in the fourth quarter impressed the man in charge of the University of Washington offense at all levels.

A difficult grip. A few stuttering steps to get around the first defender. A healthy pair of stiff arms. An instinctive high kick to avoid being tackled.

“That was my favorite play of the game,” Grubb said. “After Sunday’s game, speaking on offense, it was the most exciting I’ve ever been.”

Always a detail man, Grubb pointed to Newton’s awareness while ending as the most impressive part of the play, the fact that he wasn’t automatically dragged from behind.

“If you really watch the game through two really good stiff arms and then if you watch at the end the defender comes in and tries to get behind him late and Rich immediately naturally gets his feet up waiting for the guy to try to slip him legs, Grubb said.

The Huskies continue to use five players during games in the running back role. These runners are in top form since the new staff took over.

“It’s a violent position,” Grubb said.

The 6-foot, 212-pound Newton, a junior from Lancaster, Calif., got off to a late start this season because he was still recovering from a knee injury sustained in last season’s UCLA game at Seattle which required surgery and a lot of rehabilitation.

Newton was the starter to start last season, but he had to prove himself to the new staff. This means he also had to accept the attack, which requires him to catch the ball and block whenever necessary rather than just running inside.

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“Rich is really trying to widen his game too, not just a guy between tackles, so he can adapt to this attack,” Grubb said. “I think he did a good job in that regard.”

Newton’s reception in the fourth quarter, where he floated to the right flat and opened wide for a Penix delivery, was a good indication of his progress.

“He never had bad hands or anything like that,” Grubb said. “He catches the ball quite naturally. I don’t know if he’s quite the road runner that Will Nixon is or something. But seeing a game like that, where is he in open space and doing a game, it’s pretty impressive.”

While it was Newton’s first touchdown of the season and 15th of his career, fellow running back Cameron Davis continued to find the end zone on a weekly basis.

Davis’ 6-yard rush in the third quarter of UW’s 28-21 win over the Golden Bears was his 10th of the season, which ranks him first in the Pac-12 and eighth nationally.

Grubb said the 6-foot, 208-pound sophomore from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., runs with confidence when he gets closer to the goal line now.

“I think at the start of the season he was stuttering in the hole and maybe guessed his reading,” the coach said. “I think he’s more definitive with the ball now.”

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