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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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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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: Stanford

“With the first pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Carolina Panthers select Andrew Luck, quarterback, Stanford.” Those words are what many expected to hear in late April, but to the delight of Cardinal nation, the Heisman runner-up decided to return to Palo Alto for his senior season.  On the contrary, heavily sought after head coach Jim Harbaugh darted across town to the 49ers. Step in David Shaw, Luck’s offensive coordinator for the past 3 years. Talk about inheriting quite the set of players. If it weren’t for Team Nike, Stanford would have instead been the team trying to contain Cam Newton last January. But as all great football teams are, Luck wasn’t the only player accountable for their triumphs on the gridiron. The Cardinal fielded an incredible offensive line, strong running attack, and a stingy defense.  Will they continue their winning ways this season or will they falter like Luck’s attempt at a “Paul Bunyan?”

Adam Morrison's jealousy is off the charts.

Stanford Cardinal

2010 Record: 12-1, (8-1)

If I haven’t made it clear enough already, I’ll say it again: Andrew Luck is a monster. After putting up 3,338 passing yards, 32 touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions, the senior amazingly looks to improve on those statistics. This is not out of his reach. Luck completed an incredible 70.7 percent of his passes over last season, but raised it to another level in the last 8 games posting a 75.9 percent completion rate.  Those numbers are comparable to the embarrassment I’d make of people with Pablo Sanchez in Backyard Baseball. If Luck is Pablo Sanchez, then junior running back Stepan Taylor is Keisha Phillips. A powerful downhill runner packaged with 4.5 speed, he compiled 1,137 yards and 15 touchdowns a year ago. Taylor is also a viable option in the passing game.
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