The Ironies feeding spring
football at UW
RicHard Linde, 25 April 2010
The sky was woefully blue, as in the blue screen of
between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or
I think it was ironic
last season that although Jake Locker led the Pac-10 in total offense,
this coupled with TB Chris Polk's rushing for over 1000 yards, that the
Huskies finished seventh in the conference in total offense.
Furthermore, the eighth and ninth teams in the conference in total
offense, UCLA and Arizona State, respectively, both beat Washington.
That's because the Bruins and Sun Devils had better defenses than the
In the UCLA game,
although the Dawgs won the turnover battle, 1 against 5, outrushed the
Blue, 152 yards to 85, and committed fewer penalties, 4 against 6, their
defense yielded 455 yards, while UCLA limited the Dawgs to 387 yards.
UCLA QBs Kevin Prince (PE, 188.87) and Kevin Craft (PE, 176.11) combined
for a passing efficiency of 183.11. In contrast, Locker had a so-so
rating of 118.35. Washington's pass rush was woefully lacking, giving
Prince and Craft zillions of time to throw.
Which brings up another
irony. Although the Huskies improved on total defense last season when
compared with the 2008 team -- which went an ugly 0-12, as we all
remember -- last season's pass defense gave up more yards per game than
bunch, 240.7 to 211.2 yards.
Dawgs lost the ASU game when quarterback Danny Sullivan connected with
Chris McGaha on a 50-yard touchdown pass with 5 seconds left to give the
"Stun" Devils a 24-17 victory.
Although the Huskies'
defense kept the ASU offense in check for much of the game, the final
minute or so was decided by what turned out to be the skinny on the two
teams, the game being billed as a matchup between ASU's dominating
defense and UW's feckless one, with the offenses being fairly even.
This spring head coach
Steve Sarkisian has been experimenting with his offensive line, mixing
and matching players.
Bob Condotta of the
Seattle Times recently wrote, "Part of the mixing and matching is to
increase the physicality of the line, which was a particular emphasis on
Tuesday when the team had a full-padded practice. Asked how that
practice looked on film, Sarkisian said: 'I thought they tried to be
physical. I don't know if we necessarily knocked them off the ball and
did everything we wanted to, but I thought we tried to be physical. And
in turn it created some big plays for us, because when the defense
allowed it to be there, we were able to knock guys out of gaps to create
a couple of big plays. I think it's coming, but it's still definitely a
work in progress.'"
In the second quarter
against UCLA, down 14-10, the Huskies were goal-to-go on the Bruins' two
and had to settle for a field goal, the running game stopped twice after
a failed pass attempt.
Against Notre Dame, the
Huskies failed to score on three rushing attempts from Notre Dame's half
yard line. Although the Dawgs got a new set of downs when Notre Dame was called for roughing the snapper on the
ensuing field goal attempt, they
couldn't score on the next three plays either, with Locker finally being
stuffed for no gain from the 1.
Erik Folk kicked a 24-yard field goal to cap the 19-play drive and
Washington took a 27-22 lead with 3:04 left in the game. The Irish won
We won't know whether
Washington has ironed out its two ironies from last year -- on total
offense and pass defense -- until the Huskies play BYU in their first
game on September 4th. After all, the Huskies are just playing
themselves this spring.
In this vein, the Huskies
need to run the ball better than last season (seventh in the conference)
and play better pass defense (seventh in the conference).
On the micro level,
they need to improve their offensive line's push off the ball -- show
some physicality, as Sark said -- and improve their pass rush on
defense. Sounds simple, but it won't be, considering that the Huskies'
offensive and defensive lines are thin on personnel -- and, in the
latter case, on quality. Replacing Donald Butler and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim
off the front seven
will pose more than a challenge for defensive coordinator Nick Holt.
We fans all have our
hopes for this upcoming season; maybe a bowl is in the offing. Hyperbole
is running rampant this spring. But ...
The problem is that
although the Huskies are steadily improving, their chief competitors in
the conference are as well, namely, UCLA, ASU, Arizona, Stanford, and
Cal. Unfortunately, all of them have excellent head coaches -- maybe the
best five in the nation when taken as a group. With a promising smile, Sark
is still being fitted for braces.
For the Huskies to emerge
from the middle of the Pac-10 and contend with the three teams at the
top -- USC, Oregon and Oregon State -- the Huskies must first dominate
their five rivals in the second tier of the league. That's a fact, not
Coaching ironies at UW:
-- Although Gil
Dobie said he didn't condone Bill Grimm's cheating on the test, it's
ironic, when considering his boot-camp practice methods, that he offered
an excuse for his player, where in practice, most likely, the military
response -- "No excuse, sir" -- to a player's running amok was expected
Jim Owens took over a program on probation
for slush fund irregularities,
he is the only Rose Bowl winning coach at Washington who avoided
NCAA/conference infractions and sanctions during his tenure.
-- The much maligned, former Husky
Rick Neuheisel is the only head coach
currently coaching in the Pac-10 to have won a Rose Bowl game.
Chemical symbols (RicHard Linde):
I have six chemical symbols in my first
and last names: I Iodine, C Carbon, H Hydrogen, Ar Argon, Li Lithium and
Six chemical symbols appearing in the
Periodic Table are in the word Huskies : H Hydrogen, U Uranium, S Sulfur, K Potassium, I Iodine,
and Es Einsteinium.
would have thought that Washington fans would have reached their
breaking point in the 2008 season when their team went 0-12. Maybe
they have more Tungsten than other metals in their bodies.
Note that in terms of statistics
Tungsten is the hardest and strongest metal; this is because of the
amount of energy / pressure that is required to scratch and break it.
Fittingly, Tungsten's chemical symbol is "W."