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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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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Huskies Land Seven

June 29th, 2012 was a huge day. Not because I spoke with Husky greats Brock Huard and Mike Jensen at work, or the fact that the USA beat Australia in the World Cup of Softball. It was bigger (surprisingly) than both of those things. Combined. Why you might ask? It was a day that could go down as the beginning of the return to prominence for Washington Football. June 29th saw seven recruits…no that’s not a typo, SEVEN recruits decide to pledge themselves to the Purple and Gold recruiting class of 2013, all while attending the Rising Stars 7-on-7 camp put on by the UW coaches. I learned of the news when I was on my break during work and I strained to contain myself from making an absolute scene in the break room. I resorted to a quick, yet powerful, fist pump and dove into the details. Here’s what I uncovered.

Stringfellow heads the group of talented recruits to pick Washington.

Demorea Stringfellow – WR, Moreno Valley, CA

Probably the best out of the bunch talent-wise and name wise. I mean, he isn’t in the same echelon as Wonderful Teriffic Monds II, who is a linebacker for the powerful University of Buffalo Bulls, but he definitely brings the best name to Montlake in quite some time. But I digress, Stringfellow is another man child to add to an absolutely stacked group of wide receivers. The Huskies already picked up the #5 WR of the 2013 recruiting class in Darrell Daniels, and here they add the #11 WR. Airwolf (the new nickname I am giving the kid based on the 80’s TV series who’s main character shared the same name) is a handful for defensive backs, standing at 6’3″ tall and weighing roughly 205 lbs. He possesses a great combination of size, speed, and strength, which creates huge mismatch problems for defenses. Stringfellow looks to be the type of receiver that can stretch the field not necessarily with his speed, but with his playmaking ability in traffic and tall athletic frame which allows him to fight for jump balls. He still lacks a little in the speed and route running departments, but he has super soft hands and can snag almost anything that comes his way. Demorea had offers from Notre Dame, USC, Michigan, Florida, Ohio State, and Nebraska to name a few. Still a raw talent, but with time we could see him develop into something quite special for the Huskies.

Elijah Qualls – DT, Petaluma, CA

Qualls is a load, weighing in at 279 lbs and standing 6’2″ tall. He surprisingly plays both running back and defensive tackle for his high school team, but figures to be on the D-line come college ball. He is very quick off the line and uses his low pad level to gain leverage against offensive lineman. Also, he has shown the ability to penetrate effectively and get a nice push, even with his smaller size in comparison to your normal defensive lineman. Still lacks some polish when it comes to footwork and block shedding, but like Stringfellow, Qualls is still very raw. He actually is a more advanced RB technique-wise at this point in time, but it’s nothing that can’t be changed and improved in the future. One thing that plays into his favor is his high motor and intensity that his game brings to the table.

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UW Football Recruiting Update – 1/24

The recruiting process rolls on as we are only a week and a day away from Signing Day. The Dawgs have been quite active over the past week, attempting to play the part of the antagonist and steal recruits from various schools, specifically Cal. Here’s what happened since our last recruiting update:

  • Four star WR Jordan Payton (Oaks Christian HS, CA) took an official visit to UW this weekend and seemed to love what he saw on Montlake. His player host was Keith Price, so how could you go wrong. He was in attendance at the UW-Stanford basketball game at Hec Ed, accompanied by Sark and WRs coach Jimmie Dougherty to name a few. The Dawg Pack even helped by chanting his name during the second half. What was most encouraging though was what he said on his Twitter account: “Dawgs in the house”, “Let’s just say its a done deal now”, and the real eye opener, “I like the rain.” I would be very surprised if the Huskies don’t lock up his services at the end of this process, as most other recruiting analysts would agree. Look for him to make a decision sometime later this week, particularly during the Huskies in-home visit on Saturday.
  • The Zach Banner (Lakes HS, WA) saga continues as he took an official visit to USC this past weekend and claimed it to be the best one yet. At this point, his final three schools are Washington, USC, and Oklahoma. Banner will announce next monday and not on signing day as he had planned in order to ensure he doesn’t overshadow others who are also signing national letters of intent. On top of that, he also cancelled in-home visits with all three head coaches of the schools still involved. I tend to believe he’s leaning towards USC at the moment, but Sark is supposedly taking this recruitment into his own hands which is encouraging. Regardless, these are the kind of players that need to be locks for the Huskies. Sark was able to wrangle up the big in-state recruits last year, but this time around seems to not be the case.
  • Cedric Dozier (Lakes HS, WA), a teammate of Banner and another 4 star recruit, is still a commit to California, but is also considering WSU and UW. I would say at this point the Huskies are a long shot due to the fact they are recruiting him as a CB, whereas Dozier prefers Safety. He visited WSU over the past weekend and enjoyed the Pullman, but I don’t see it being enough to overcome the commitment he has to California. Continue reading

Pac-12 North Preview: Washington

Let me preface this article by saying that those of you that know me may question my objectivity in this preview. I am a diehard Husky fan and no doubt will present a biased view of how they will perform this year. I’m sure many of you have heard my tried and true tagline about me and Husky Football: I haven’t missed a home game since I was two years old. 16 years of Saturdays in the fall dedicated to Husky Football. As much as that might be an indictment on my ability to objectively look at this UW team, I think it helps. I have seen UW play absolutely horrendous football over the last few years, but I can tell you all that those days are done. Without further ado.

Steve Sarkisian leads the dawgs out of the tunnel for his third year as Head Coach at UW

Washington Huskies
2010 Record 7-6, (5-4), Beat Nebraska 19-7 in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

Offense

Jake Locker is gone. I have three UW Jake Locker jerseys that are now in retirement. What could possibly be worse than the hit my gameday wardrobe collection took? UW has to break in a new quarterback for the first time in four seasons. Looking to fill the enormous void left by the #8 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft is redshirt sophomore QB, Keith Price. Price beat out the starchild Nick Montana in Spring Practice and held the job all the way through Fall Camp. Price is a very athletic quarterback but his throwing ability is nothing to laugh at. At St. John Bosco High School in Compton, California, Price threw for more yards than fellow Trinity League QB Matt Barkley.

UW

Barkley was a Five-Star recruit coming out of high school and currently stars at USC. Price received limited game action last season in mop up duty against Syracuse, Stanford, and Arizona. But Price memorably came in to throw a key touchdown in a road win at USC. Price’s key performance came against Oregon where he started in place of Jake Locker. Price performed well against the eventual National Champion Runners-up, going 14-28 with 127 yards and a TD in hostile Autzen Stadium. I would expect better than those type of numbers in Price’s full games this year. He has an accurate arm, a multitude of weapons to throw to this season, and a potent running game to go with it.

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