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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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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2012 UW Football Preview

The last time I got the energy to write on SS&O, I promised to be back to my usual semi-frequent writing self. Since then, I have realized that I don’t have that in me. Not even a Felix Hernandez perfect game could get me to write. The King had arguably the best individual performance in Seattle sports history and I didn’t comment on it. I did instagram about it though (b_boyd619, I don’t take THAT many pictures of sunsets and I could use some more non-sorority girl followers). But the point is that I am not the writing machine I thought I could be when Stanton and I started this blog last year. The application to the UW Football Preview is coming soon folks, trust me. There is one thing that will infinitely motivate me though. Ever since I was probably about ten, my dad stopped buying a program for every Husky Football game, and so did most of the people in the vicinity of Section 32, Row X, seats 3 and 4. They had me. I am a wealth of Husky Football knowledge. People who want to know a little bit about the team to have enough to talk about at a tailgate ask me how the team is going to be this year. That is what I can do for you. Husky Football is the one thing that I will always have the time to write about. So here we go. Welcome to the 2012 Washington Huskies.

The above image is the lasting one for the 2011 UW Football campaign. Robert Griffin III and Terrence Ganaway ran away from the UW defense in the Alamo Bowl back in December. The Dawgs lost 67-56 that night, giving up 777 yards of total offense. Those numbers are disgusting, even for the biggest proponent of offensive football. Such was the case for most of last season. Nick Holt and co. gave up 51 points to Nebraska, 65 to Stanford, 34 to Oregon, 40 to USC, and 38 to Oregon State amidst several other lousy defensive performances. To make matters worse, the offense was absolutely dynamite at times last season. Keith Price set passing TD records, Chris Polk ran for almost 1,500 yards and highly touted freshmen Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins performed extremely well. The firing of defensive coordinator Nick Holt after the Alamo Bowl was in my opinion about a month too late, but absolutely requited. You can’t be paid to be a defensive coordinator if your defense actually looks uncoordinated. I’m telling you, there are way better defenses out there with much worse players than the Huskies do, so the finger points up.

In steps the Great White Hope, or hopes actually, the new UW assistant coaches. New defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, linebackers coach Peter Sirmon, new secondary coach Keith Heyward, and the gem of the group, D-Line coach and recruiting extraordinaire Tosh Lupoi. Lupoi’s impact won’t be seen on gameday necessarily, but his impact on the recruiting scene is absolutely incredible. The guy is cooler than Sean from Boy Meets World and 18 year old kids love it. I can’t say this with 100% certainty but he’s the reason we got Shaq Thompson. Who’s that?

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Husky Spring Game Recap

Exactly four months from today (May 1st) is when the Washington Huskies take to the gridiron at CenturyLink Field to face the Aztecs of San Diego State. Now, four months may seem like a long time, but they will come much quicker than you think. What will the 2012 Huskies look like this season? Well, we got a first glimpse at them on last Saturday, April 28th, at the annual UW Spring Game.

In what was quite a surprise, the Defense was the side that impressed, beating the offense 36-10. The scoring system was not what you would expect (3 pts for a defensive stop, etc.),  but that’s beside the point. The offense couldn’t get anything going against the new look defense.

In regards to the offense, there are several things I noticed. First was the play of the offensive line: awful. The Huskies lost senior left tackle, and captain, Senio Kelemete to the draft, right tackle Colin Porter to career ending shoulder injuries, and left guard Colin Tanigawa was out for this game due to a knee injury he sustained last season against Oregon State. Therefore, I’ll cut them some slack this time around, but things must improve. Due to the poor line play, the Huskies only rushed for 20 yards on 35 attempts for the game. Save yourself the time doing the math on that yards-per-carry, it’s just flat out terrible. Bishop Sankey led all ball carriers with 34 yards on 11 carries. Jesse Callier handled only 2 carries for 4 yards, but was limited due to injury earlier this spring. There seems to be a glaring need of power running for this group, so don’t be surprised if you see prized recruit Shaq Thompson get a carry here and there each game to mix up the tempo on offense.

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5 Keys to the Alamo Bowl

Being in college I am used to Keys referring to something entirely different than what I am about to talk about. Being in college has also limited my ability to post as often as I would have liked the last few weeks and for that I apologize. But the point here is that Sark and company have a rather large bowl game tonight (6PM ESPN) against Baylor and Heisman trophy-winning QB, Robert Griffin III. The Dawgs have their hands full no doubt, but I’ve watched Bill Krueger diagnose a winning formula on ROOT Sports telecasts with his keys to Mariner games enough times to come up with one for the Huskies. Here we go…

Bill Krueger: Singlehandedly keeping Just For Men in business

1. Execute on Offense
Anyone with an ounce of optimism about the Alamo Bowl will have told you that Baylor is one of the few teams in the nation with a defense that is actually worse than the one Nick Holt put together this season at Washington. And therefore, that UW would be able to score enough points to hang with Baylor’s potent offense. That is certainly true but in order for that to happen UW has to truly take advantage of Baylor’s porous defense. Keith Price has to orchestrate this offense at its highest level and not just expect a Baylor defense, that has had a month to prepare, to lay down and let Washington get the ball down-field.

2. Run, run, run
There is no stopping a team that can get 5 yards every time they hand the ball off. UW may be burning the midnight oil with Chris Polk as this could be the last time you see him sporting Purple and Gold with a big decision for the NFL Draft looming. We all know Polk is a monster deserving of a classic nickname (which never happened during his career, and anyone that tells you “Polkswagen” was a good one is a fraud). But if he can carve up this Baylor D and keep the ball out of RG3’s gloved hands, UW will be in business. If UW is shy to give him the 30 carries he can handle and should get in this game, it could be a different story. A sub key to this would be to hang in the ballgame early so that the running game isn’t abandoned in favor of a catch up pass attack.

Just feed the bid daw

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Alamo Bowl Preview

First of all, I enjoy posting this post-Apple Cup where UW smacked the Kewgs for their third straight Apple Cup victory. If I could make it through college without losing to the Cougars I would be satisfied, but then again that’s like being satisfied with Qdoba when you can go to Chipotle. Go Purple, Be Gold (which is a lame slogan, talk to Jackson Blake Seidl about that). I would also like to address the hiring of Mike Leach as Head Coach of WSU. Leach is a fantastic offensive mind who is also certifiably insane. He reminds me a lot of Don Vito from Viva La Bam. Craig James’ son incident aside, the guy is a damn good coach and scares me as head coach of Wazzu. He is perfect for the job and at least in the immediate future with Jeff Tuel and Marquess Wilson, and his Air Raid offense should be productive.

Good Luck, Weirdo

If you’re a UW fan, I’m not sure this is the bowl matchup you wanted to see. The Baylor Bears come in at 9-3 (6-3) fresh off of a win against Texas. Baylor is one of my favorite teams to watch play for their offense that can be characterized by one word: nasty. Meanwhile, UW’s defense can also be characterized by one word: terrible.

The good news is that while Baylor averages 43.5 points a game and 571 yards a game, they give up 35.7 points a game. Yes, believe it or not, they give up more points per game than Nick Holt and the Wonderboys that are UW’s defense. Baylor is undoubtedly able to be scored on (given up 30 or more points in 9 games) but they are a dynamic offense led by the probable Heisman winner, Robert Griffin III.

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UW Football Bye Week Report Card

The first five games for the UW football team warrant a variety of adjectives. After escaping embarrassment against Eastern the word was “scary”. After Hawaii torched UW’s secondary the word was “vulnerable”. If an FCS team and a WAC team could rip the secondary to shreds like an issue of Skyline High School’s “The Forum”, who knew what kind of damage could be done by some of the offenses lurking on UW’s schedule. No one felt comfortable heading into Lincoln, Nebraska as the Dawgs took on a top ten team in a notoriously raucous environment. Another embarrassing performance by the defense later and the Dawgs lost 51-38 and gave up more than 300 yards on the ground to the Cornhuskers. A report card at that juncture of the season would have been much more bleak than this one will be.

Alas, the Dawgs came home for some home cooking against Cal for their first Pac-12 test. The UW defense performed stunningly in the second half and closed the game by stopping Cal at the goal line to ice the game, winning 31-23 and moving to 3-1 heading into a tough road test against Utah.

Or so we thought.

The Huskies came into Salt Lake City against the Utes (who really don’t deserve to win until I know what the hell a “Ute” is) and took care of business. The pregame chatter heading into the game centered around Utah’s pro style offense led by prolific RB John White IV and dynamic QB Jordan Wynn. Well, White ended up with zero rushing yards in the second half and Wynn was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury. The UW defense simply was out to make plays from the very beginning. The first play of the game was a forced fumble on the kickoff picked up by Jamaal Kearse for a touchdown. That set the pace for what would be a long day for Utes’ fans as the team was held to a grand total of 17 rush yards and turned the ball over three times. Keith Price stole the show again with another 3 TD passes, which is Price’s fifth straight game with at least 3 TD’s through the air. Chris Polk absolutely battered Utah’s defense, going off for 189 yards to demoralize them in the second half. The Dawgs came out with a dominating 31-14 victory, only made so close by a Utah touchdown with 0:07 seconds left on the clock. Coach Steve Sarkisian called the game one of the biggest wins in his tenure at UW due to the dominating performance defensively and the commitment to running the ball on offense to finish games.

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