Washington QB plays on despite criticism
LOS ANGELES — Jake Browning invented a term for it in the spur of the moment on Thursday.
It was the Washington quarterback’s way of explaining the criticism that some Huskies fans have directed at the senior for his perceived shortcomings.
“Yeah, I think people are getting a little ‘Jake-lash,’ ” Browning said. “You play four years and all you hear about is me (as) Washington football. People are ready for the next thing. That sucks for them because I’m still here.”
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For one more game, he is. Browning will cap his career at the Rose Bowl against Ohio State.
Two years ago, Browning was one of college football’s breakout stars when he led Washington to the College Football Playoff as a true sophomore. Alabama controlled the Huskies 24-7 in a 2016 semifinal and Browning’s name has faded from the spotlight since then.
This year, he has been more solid than spectacular. Browning is completing 65 percent of his passes but has 10 interceptions to go with 16 touchdown passes.
Browning knows the criticism is out there, but he does his best to avoid it.
“I think you have to limit the avenues people can reach you,” he said. “If you’re all over social media and promoting yourself and all that, when you don’t do well, people will be all over you.
“You can say it doesn't affect you, and you’d be lying. I’m a pretty reasonable person and people say some unreasonable stuff, and then you want to rip into this guy that’s some random person you don’t even know. Takes energy away from getting ready for the next game.”
Browning is revered by those in the Washington program for his work ethic. He may not be able to sling it the way Dwayne Haskins Jr. does, but he will be as prepared as anyone can be.
“I've prided myself on doing things that other people aren’t willing to do preparation-wise,” Browning said.
Washington offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan said he is often asked how Browning has matured during his career.
“The reality is, the day he got to Washington we were like, ‘OK, this guy acts like a starting quarterback,’ ” Hamdan said. “I don't see him necessarily as a guy that has made this huge jump from a maturity standpoint. He kind of came in knowing what the position entailed — never too high, never too low. (He) put his teammates first, and I’ll always remember him for that.”
In a way, Browning resembles former Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, who was subject to the same type of criticism by some Buckeyes fans by the end of his four years as starter.
Hamdan said that Washington fans tend to forget that Browning help lift the program out of mediocrity.
“I’ve said this many times,” he said. “We are going to miss this guy in a big, big-time way. His professionalism, his consistency, his attitude have been second to none.
“I don’t know if there has been any sports figure in the Seattle area that has been through as much as him in four years. He was given every opportunity to kind of take another path, and he kept fighting through. (With a) great attitude, he did whatever it took to continue to put this team on his back and get us to where we’ve gotten.”