Nov. 13, 2004
By Andre Bayard
After struggling for much of the season, quarterback Casey Paus finally got in a groove. He found a new favorite wide receiver in Craig Chambers. They were able to make some good plays today against California, even though Washington lost 42-12.
"I've been telling people that Craig's been there from the very beginning," says Paus, who connected with Chambers for a 77-yard touchdown in the third quarter. "He just needed a boost of confidence and now he's got it. If he continues to play the way he's been playing then we're going to be expecting a lot of big things out of him. "
Chambers, who red shirted last season, had the best game of his career. With eight catches, for 189 yards, he tallied the second most receiving yards by a freshman in Washington history. Although Chambers had a big day, it wasn't in the Huskies game plan to throw as much as they did.
"As a quarterback once you get your first big completion, you just have to keep rolling. Having that big play early (34-yard pass to Sonny Shackelford) really helps out, and you just have feed off that."
Head Coach Keith Gilbertson was very pleased with his offense this week, compared to the frustration that he had with them last weekend. "I was very proud of the way our guys competed, we just had some things happen to us. It's almost impossible to explain."
Overall, Gilbertson was very pleased with Chambers. "This is a guy, who decided he was tired of sitting on the sidelines, so he went out and got better. He worked harder in practice and got faster and more explosive. He went from the scout team to eight catches today for a big number."
Chambers even impressed California's head coach Jeff Tedford. "He had a very good day today. He's a very good receiver and did a very nice job of turning our guys around and running after the catch. And the quarterback put it right on him on those plays."
Chambers was also pleased with his performance despite the loss. "I had an alright game at Oregon and my Arizona game wasn't that great so a lot of people, I'm sure, were doubting still. I just wanted to come out here and prove again that I can do what I need to do to earn a spot on the team. I thought it was real important for me to have a coming out today."