UW Football Season Recap: Part 1

As I sit here and watch the recording of the UW-Stanford game for quite possibly the 4th time, I think to myself 1) Thank God Josh Nunes was at QB for the Cardinal that game, 2) We probably threw 50% of our passes behind the line of scrimmage this year, and 3) This season may have not been what we really thought it was. What do I mean by that, you might ask? “We beat two top ten teams, one of which won the Rose Bowl!”

This season was a mixed bag, to say the very least. The elation of knocking off top-ten ranked Stanford and Oregon State, to the dejection of getting decimated by Arizona and blowing a 18-point lead in the Apple Cup. This is probably why I have found this article to be such a struggle to write. What route do I take? Was this season a success? Was it a failure? The sour taste that still lingers with the result of the final two games may make me lean towards the latter.

I think we can all agree that the season did not finish the way we had hoped for. What was easily the worst loss for Steve Sarkisian since joining the Huskies in 2009, to a heartbreaking two point thriller down in Vegas, it was a tough pill to swallow at the end. But what went wrong? Why couldn’t the Dawgs reach that benchmark eight win club? Especially against the lowly Cougars!

A lot of the blame can be attributed to the offense. Keith Price of 2011 was nowhere to be found this year. Honestly, I can’t even remember a single half where we saw that form out of #17. He struggled mightily all season, throwing 14 less touchdowns than a year ago and seeing his QB rating plummet from 161.9 to 122.4. He displayed close to zero confidence on the field, and gave the ball up in crucial situations, most of them being plays that left you scratching your head wondering what you had just witnessed. I will concede, the loss of Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar proved to be very significant to the effectiveness of Price this season, but good QBs are able to overcome those obstacles, especially when you have arguably the best tight end in the country and a wide receiver that can play with the best of them in this conference. We expected Keith to be the leader and playmaker that we saw him become a year ago and it never came to fruition. This is unquestionably the most glaring reason as to why they Huskies finished this season with a 7-6 record and recorded some pretty dismal losses on the way.

On a more positive note, surprisingly the running game didn’t really miss a beat. We all assumed it would be near to impossible to fill the hole that Chris Polk left after a magnificent career in the Purple and Gold, but Bishop Sankey filled those shoes quite nicely. Early season-ending injuries to Jesse Callier and Deontae Cooper squashed the “running back-by-committee” approach that the Huskies were planning to unveil. But Bish handled the added workload like a seasoned vet. Amassing 1,439 rushing yards (an amazing 5.0 ypc) to go along with 16 touchdowns behind a makeshift line, it was nothing short of incredible. He carried the offense multiple times this season and unquestionably gets my vote for offensive player of the year.

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The Seahawks Aren’t Great, Just Awesome

Seven years ago was the last time that Seattle got to see what a great team looks like. The Super Bowl XL team that rocked Qwest Field that year was a classically efficient West Coast offense team led by NFL MVP Shaun Alexander and his 28 touchdowns and a defense that was fine tuned to fundamental perfection. The 2005 team had a nearly perfect resume as they went 13-3, a perfect 10-0 at home, won the NFC West, and won the NFC Championship before losing* in the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mike Holmgren trying to give a side judge in Super Bowl XL a piece of his mind

Andy Reid Mike Holmgren trying to give a side judge in Super Bowl XL a piece of his mind

But they weren’t quite as fun as this year’s edition of the Hawks. The Seattle Seahawks are 9-5 heading into an absolutely riveting litmus test against the seemingly dominant San Francisco 49ers on primetime television. Although they are not quite comparable to their 2005 counterparts with a division crown seemingly out of reach and have a much less paved road to the Super Bowl in front of them, this team has assumed an identity that is thoroughly more exciting to witness than any Seahawks team I have ever seen.

Nothing about this team is perfect or as seemingly unflappable as the Super Bowl team, led by Hall of Fame coach Mike Holmgren, an all-time great left side of the offensive line with Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson, and Alexander’s season for the ages. That team was a football purist’s dream. But what exactly does a football purist look like? My caricature of such a man is a John Gruden type, sitting in front of a dark theater with a roll of tape being fed into a dusty projector, playing and rewinding relentlessly the delicate intricacies of the pulling guard setting the edge for a seven yard run on first down to set up a methodically executed post route on second and short, all the while wishing that Lynn Swann still played, if only for the grace that he brought to the football field. Football purist guy loved the 2005 Seahawks, and there is nothing wrong with that. But I love this year’s version better, for the same reason that I was listening to Good Charlotte instead of Coldplay in middle school.

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Instant Analysis: Kendrys Morales Trade

So the Mariners have finally made a move. No, It isn’t to the level of Josh Hamilton or Justin Upton, but it is a move. And it improves this team, something you can’t necessarily say about the moves we’ve made in the past. The Mariners dealt their number two starting pitcher Jason Vargas to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for 1B/DH Kendrys Morales. Let me give you a little background about our new addition and then why you should like this move.

Kendrys Morales

Age: 29

Position 1B/DH

Bats: Switch Hitter

Throws: Right

Last Season’s Stats

  • Avg: .273
  • At-Bats: 484
  • Runs: 61
  • Hits: 132
  • HRs: 22
  • RBIs: 73
  • On-Base %: .320
  • Slugging: .467
  • OPS: .787

Analysis:

I am a fan of this move for several reasons. First off, we all are aware of the historic struggles the Mariners have had with producing runs. Morales will bring some needed pop to the middle of the order. Now it won’t be a vast improvement, just so we’re all clear, but we are receiving a serviceable bat, all while saving about $4 million dollars by offloading Vargas’ $7.4 million that he is set to receive this season. Both players are in the final year of their contracts, but are arbitration eligible, simply meaning the M’s are in control of Morales once his contract expires with the chance of going to arbitration to settle on a contract if they wish to bring him back.

Secondly, I will admit, Vargas was a decent pitcher last season. Posting a 14-11 record with a 3.85 ERA on this team isn’t too bad. The only downside is he was significantly worse on the road, having a 4.78 ERA compared to a 2.74 ERA at home. Several things can account for this. First is Safeco Field, one of the best pitchers parks in baseball. But the walls are coming in this season. I don’t think Vargas would see the same success at home, especially because he is much more of a fly ball rather than ground ball pitcher. He also gives up the long ball more than most, so the walls coming in really wouldn’t help his cause. You could point to the fact that even though his ERA was 4.78 on the road, his record was a respectable 9-6. Then again, don’t you remember how well the Mariners hit on the road (at least for their standards)? That number may be a little skewed.

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2012 Husky Football Season Video

It’s that time of year again. The University of Washington Football Banquet was hosted Sunday evening at Hec Edmundson Pavillion and as they usually do, they showed a season review video. Every year the video staff does a great job with these so here is the 2012 edition for your viewing pleasure.

Just an update from our end. Finals week is here for Brandon and I, along with many of you readers, so we probably won’t have anything up early this week, but look for a possible UW Football recruiting update later on. And we might throw in a Seahawks article in there as well, taking a closer look at their push to the playoffs. But as for now, enjoy the sights and sounds of another unforgettable season for the Dawgs.

 

Mackey Malarkey

Remember the days of Little League. The days where sunflower seeds were our currency. The days where you were only cool if you wore high socks. The days where we spent as much time perfecting the bend of our cap as we did our ability on the field. But with all that, there was something that always bothered me: All Stars.

It wasn’t the fact that I should have made the team. I was the Chone Figgins of my league when it came to batting. I lived at the bottom of the order for years and never really saw any improvement. I made my bread in the field, though. Third base. Hot corner. Ever heard of it? But that is beside the point. Every year there would be an all star team compiled of the best players in the league, and for the most part this was true. But every year I could not help but notice that almost every coach’s son made the team. Even the ones that just flat out sucked. I was always bothered by this, and was happy to see that go as I left Little League in fifth grade and went on to bigger and better things (not really).

On Wednesday morning I woke up and heard some news; news that could not help but remind me of those tainted all star teams of Little League. How outside forces and not on-field production and skill affected the selection. This news I speak of is the 2012 Mackey Award, handed out each season in college football to the best TE in the country.

Let’s do a quick exercise. I am going to list three candidates’ stat lines, without divulging their names or team, and you decide for yourself who should have won:

Player A: 66 receptions, 837 yards, 6 touchdowns

Player B: 66 receptions, 791 yards, 6 touchdowns

Player C: 44 receptions, 624 yards, 4 touchdowns

I think we would all agree that Player A had the best year, with Player B a close second, and Player C a fair distance behind the two (Here’s where my Little League analogy begins to make sense, I promise).

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Where Have We Been?

Hey guys. You’ve probably wondered what the hell happened to us. We haven’t posted in three months. Husky football was just starting up, which is our Nirvana, and we just stopped. SS&O has become stagnant. And we’ve left you hanging.

There are several reasons why it happened, but mainly it was due to our availability and how much time we could contribute towards SS&O. If you aren’t aware, each of our normal articles usually take several hours to write, at best, and with school starting back up in September, we thought it may be more important to focus on that so we can do things with our lives once we graduate. Selfish, I know, but just the way it is.

But here’s the problem. I find myself tweeting, talking, and thinking about sports almost every hour of the day. Some may call it a sickness, and I won’t argue that with them. But I’ve realized I need an outlet to get my thoughts out there. I don’t care if not even a single person reads what I write, I just need a way to organize these thoughts I continuously have on a day-to-day basis. And I think Brandon would say something similar.

So, here’s the deal. We’re going to give this another go around. I can’t promise you that we won’t stop again, but at least for now we will be posting on here for all of you to read.

Thanks for your patience, commitment, and interest in reading our work, and we can’t wait to begin writing for you guys again!

P.S. I can’t stress to you guys enough that we welcome comments and discussion on our posts. Our goal is not only to provide entertaining and insightful articles, but to create dialogue amongst our readers (and ourselves!) on the topics we write about. Even post on our Facebook page if you have suggestions or just thoughts on what’s happening in sports. We live and breathe sports, so we are always open to conversation.

UW vs. SDSU Game Recap

Well the season is off and running and there is a lot to talk about so let’s get right to it!

The Huskies began the season with a win, beating the San Diego State Aztecs by the score of 21-12. Something I thought I wouldn’t say for quite some time, but the Husky defense looked much better than the high octane offense that us Dawg fans have grown accustomed to. But a win is a win, so we’re all smiles here at SS&O.

The Offense:

It was somewhat a mixed bag to take away from the game Saturday night. I think we can all agree that Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the real deal. I understand that he was extremely good as a freshman last season, but he is now the focal point of the offensive game plan, alongside Kasen Williams. ASJ hauled in nine receptions for a total of 91 yards. It took at least two defenders just to take him down. He will demand a load of respect from defenses from now on, and if they fail to notice his capabilities, he will punish them repeatedly.

Kasen also had a nice game, making six catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. On that scoring play I thought Sark was excellent with the play call, using Williams in the backfield and motioning him out into the flats to set up the screen. It was great how Kasen hid himself from the defense by crouching behind the Huskies O-line, making it hard for the Aztecs to adjust once he was put in motion. Williams did have a catch negated in the first half due to an offensive pass interference call (to the displeasure of the Husky faithful), but after watching the replay, the zebras got it right. He created clear separation from the defensive back by using both arms to push off.

The rushing attack for the Huskies wasn’t anything great, but it had its moments. The boys in purple suffered a setback when Jesse Callier went down with an apparent knee injury. It seemed as though he just got tripped up on his own after receiving a catch. He is scheduled to have an MRI and hopefully it won’t be anything that keeps him out for too long. In his stead, Bishop Sankey assumed the bulk of the rushing load, carrying 22 times for a total of 66 yards and a score. Erich Wilson II saw a few carries as well, breaking one of them for 17 yards. Still not really who you want as your number two back if we find Callier to be out for an extended period of time, but good for him as well as Willis Wilson for getting some meaningful carries in there.

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