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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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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SS&O’s Pac-12 Football Preview

Pinch yourself. Yep, this is real life. And football season is finally here…

Some say the Holiday season is the best part of the year. Others can’t wait for Summer to come and then never want to see it end. You may even call March the best month of the year, for obvious reasons (Madness anyone?). But I brush all of those opinions aside. Because you’re wrong, and it’s not even close. The best time of the year, bar none, is FOOTBALL SEASON. The roar of the crowd, cracking of helmets, and maybe even the sizzle of large amounts of meat on a grill. This and much more form to make an experience that is impossible to recreate, no matter how hard you try. So buckle up your chinstrap and get ready, because it’s about time we welcomed back the best thing since…well, nothing actually.

The Pac-12 conference was full of excitement and surprises last season, and I am sure we are in for much more of the same this year. We welcome back USC to postseason contention and Oregon is still full of thugs with a scum of the earth coach. And no, UCLA, we are not giving you credit for winning the South division last year.

The conference has also welcomed many new faces into the head coaching ranks, including the likes of Mike Leach at Washington State, Jim L. Mora at UCLA, Rich Rodriguez at Arizona, and Todd Graham at Arizona State. With their additions we are sure to see changes not only in style of play, but also in the standings. The biggest change could in fact be out on the Palouse, where Mike Leach already has everyone “swinging their swords.” I wonder when somebody will let him know this isn’t the show at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. But I digress, we unfortunately will not have much time to talk about pirates’ role in the Pac-12, but we will get to the new-look Cougars later in this article. (Edit: It’s not looking that great so far)

Let’s just make this easy and dive into the meat of the article right off the bat. Season Predictions. Feel free to disagree all you want about our preseason take on the conference, and I encourage you to let your opinion be known in the comments below, but after long consideration, this is what we came up with.

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Pac-12 North Preview: Oregon State

The Beavers took a step back last season after smelling but not seeing roses the two years prior. Once star receiver James Rodgers was lost for the season with a knee injury, the wheels began to fall off.  A double overtime loss in Seattle to the Huskies the following week did not help the cause either. A brutal defeat to the lowly Cougars and a finish to the season with losses at Stanford and to the Ducks in the annual Civil War sealed their fate. The offseason did not bring good news either. Standout running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who amassed 1184 yards and 14 touchdowns, left early for the draft.  On top of that, the always-dominant defensive tackle Stephen Paea graduated.  Because of these reasons and many more, I believe OSU will experience a similar year in 2011.

Oregon State Beavers

2010 Record: 5-7 (4-5)

The quarterback situation is already decided. Ryan Katz will be the starter and if the trend continues, he will see major growth. Derek Anderson, Matt Moore, Lyle Moevao, and Sean Canfield all experienced breakout seasons in their second year under center. Katz underwent off-season wrist surgery, but claims to be 100 percent at the start of fall practice.

The running backs are burdened with the task of filling the void left by the one and only (And I’m being serious. He could be the only one out there with this first name.) Jacquizz Rodgers. As usual, the Beaver’s backfield was a threat last season. I’m starting to think Mike Riley will only play running backs if they have dreads (Steven Jackson, Yvenson Bernard), but this year he will most likely buck the trend. Senior Ryan McCants will look to emerge from the Jacquizz shadow and put his name on the map in his final season. He has showed signs of potential in the past, racking up 363 yards as a freshman in a backup role. While McCants is a bruiser, sophomore Jovan Stevenson will be a big-play threat with his speed.  Continue reading