The defense excels, so
we're to think
Three long drives do not auger well for
Malamute, 27 April 2008
Ha! I'm not buying this
malarkey, all the smoke and mirrors. Hear me out, but first the obligatory stuff.
The Gold team beat the
Purple team, 10-7, at the University of Washington’s annual spring game
The Purple squad consisted of the first string offense and second team
defense, while the Gold was made up of the second team offense and first
Coach Tyrone Willingham
thought the two teams were evenly divided, and matched up well on paper.
Approximately 9,000 fans were in attendance on a warm, sunny spring day
at Husky Stadium. The only cheering of the day came when the Purple’s Jake
Locker connected with WR D’Andre Goodwin for an 11-yard TD pass in the
west end zone.
Otherwise, the cozy
warmth of the day and the redolence of spring put the aged stadium to sleep.
President Mark Emmert reportedly was seen in his work clothes,
hack-sawing away at
some exposed rebar, and the old "seaplane," with the folded up purple
wings, continued to snore by the side of the lake. ;-)
In last season’s spring
game, the Purple team, made up first string offensive and defensive
players, beat the Gold team, which consisted mostly of backups, 44-7.
Aside: I had the gut
feeling this team couldn't put last year's 51 total points on the board
no matter how the coaches had divvied up the players, which, to me, is
more on the offense than defense.
Other than the
surprisingly good performance by backup quarterback Ronnie Fouch and the
expected good performance of QB Jake Locker, the offenses looked
sluggish -- not being what you would expect to see from an offense in
Now, for the real story.
So, I’ve dispensed with
the obligatory who, what, when, where and why. I shall not be deceived
by the coaches. Here’s the
"how" of the
(1) This team is coming off a 4-9 season, surrendering 446.4 yards per
game, the worst in school history. (2) Defensive coordinator Kent Baer
was fired, and replaced by Ed Donatell. (3) Reportedly, the defense has
been ahead of the offense all spring. (4) On the radio broadcast, Donatell admitted he’d gotten
together with offensive coordinator Tim Lappano before the game. So,
My conspiracy theory:
Both Donatell and Lapanno cooked up a scheme for the game, by which the defense excels and the offense
shows potential, this being done by carefully arranging the lineups so
one guy offsets the other. Tyrone was in on the rigging of the lineups
by his own admission.
Aside: Tyrone is a gamer
-- we all know that -- and would be tough to beat in Kriegspiel, a variant of chess. If we were
to play Kriegspiel against the other, our shared conservatism would make
for a boring game to watch. One way to win: Limit pawn movement, and let the
other guy beat himself. But would Willingham be good in the end game,
say, after taking a one-piece lead and trading pieces thereafter?
Here’s what the
coaches are saying on the game: Our defense excelled; our offense was
handcuffed by limited play selection and by the fact the quarterbacks
couldn't run the ball since they were off limits to contact.
Here’s what I’m
on the game: The second-team defense seemed soft up the gut. Although the first-team defense played well,
the defense, as a whole, clearly feels the loss of five defense linemen from last
year’s team, with the theory of addition by subtraction going out the
window. Although showing potential, the offense seemed enervated by the
loss of five wide receivers from last year’s team and the graduation of RB Louis Rankin. In other words, there was too much youth and
inexperience on the field on both offense and defense.
line lacks bulk, and the three long drives by the Gold against the
second team defense do not auger well for the Dawgs come fall -- this,
the biggest downer of the game.
To wit: the Huskies lost seven
games last season, in games they had a chance to win in the second half.
In part, the games were lost because of a lack of depth on both the
offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
None of the heralded
freshmen running backs and receivers showed signs of being game
breakers. This was partly due to the format of the game, which limited
the punting and kickoffs to "no-contact," in the interest of avoiding
On the Gold's first
drive of the game, starting from the Purple 40, Fouch threw a beautiful
spiral to Charles Hawkins in the end zone, and he dropped the ball in
what could have been the play of the game.
The Purple rushed for
just 37 yards, the total yards being diminished by some sacks and
tackles for a loss.
Here’s what Willingham
For the most part,
Willingham said he was pleased with the game. He thought the second team
defense, however, gave up too many long drives. He also said there were
too many dropped passes, too many missed field goals (3 of them) and too many penalties
(10 of them).
He said the
quarterbacks were handcuffed by the limited play selection and by the fact
they wore yellow jerseys (off limits to contact).
Overall, he thought the
defense was much improved.
Willingham said he has
a solid group of runners.
He wasn’t surprised
with WR D’Andre Goodwin’s splendid performance because he’s had a
wonderful camp all spring.
Aside: Juan Garcia says
he got some bad news yesterday, saying the doctors don’t think his foot
will heal without surgery. That means he’ll likely miss next season if
he undergoes surgery. There seemed to be a contradiction at the end of
the interview that needs clarification.
Here's what my
observations are saying:
Ronnie Fouch appears to
be a mobile, most capable replacement for Jake Locker. He threw some nice
balls, and has the potential to throw the long ball better than Jake. He
quarterbacked the Gold team through much of the game and took over the
Purple team from Locker in the fourth quarter, with Taylor Bean
quarterbacking the Gold.
Locker was 13 of 17 for
159 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and a passing efficiency
rating of 161.69 -- which of course doesn't mean a thing, other than
being a nice stat to note. The tough defensive teams the Dawgs played last season played
havoc with Locker's disappointing PE on the year. (See "Two armed
Locker's splendid PE on
the game could be partly attributed to a soft defense, in light of the
referenced article and UW's pathetic defense last season. But people
have been saying he's been throwing more accurately all spring, and he
was on target yesterday. In last year's spring game, Locker posted a PE
of 106.15, which was close to the season's final number of 105.
Is the competition with
Fouch making Ferndale Jake a better passer? Answer: probably. Fouch is a
typical California quarterback, which is why so many teams in the nation
import California quarterbacks, as if they were bottles of the finest
vintage wines to be. (See Notre Dame, et al).
Locker’s long throws
were disappointing, although there were some good defensive plays made
receivers. One long throw was intercepted by Quinton Richardson, who, on
the runback, was tackled by a bulling Locker who ran through
Mason Foster to get to him.
Fouch was 16-33 for 154
yards and one touchdown, and an efficiency rating of 97.68. Some dropped
balls hurt Fouch’s rating. I thought he was given too much time to
throw by the second team defense.
Goodwin caught 7 passes
for 109 yards.
A pesky Willie Griffin led all rushers with
71 yards on 20 carries. Chris Polk, playing running back and
receiver, led the Purple with 20 yards on five carries
and had 25 yards on four receptions.
Chris Izbicki looked
good at tight end, making two nice catches.
Brandon Johnson (75%
ready to go), Chris Polk, Brandon Yakabowski and Willie Griffin all looked good
running the ball.
Here's what the
possessions in the game are saying:.
(The three long drives by the Gold do not auger well for the defense,
those drives being the real downer of the game).
-- Starting from its
own 30, the Purple worked the ball to the Gold 43, where Locker lost a
fumbled snap back the Purple 40. Highlight: Locker's 18-yard pass
completion to Alvin Logan.
-- From Purple 40, Gold
goes three and out. Rasp punts ball to Purple 11.
-- From Purple 11,
Purple works ball to Purple 48, from where Jarad Ballman punts to Gold
11. Highlight: Locker's 28-yard completion to Goodwin.
-- From Gold 11, Gold
drives to the Purple 22, aided by a penalty. Cory Rutkowski boots
39-yard field goal. Gold 3, Purple 0. (Drive 1).
Highlight: Fouch 17-yard pass to Charles Hawkins.
-- From Purple 30,
Purple drives to Gold 34, where Locker is intercepted by Richardson.
-- From Gold 10, Gold
goes three and out. Rasp punts to Purple.
-- From Gold 43, Purple
ends up on Gold 48 after 2 incomplete passes, a procedure call and a
End of first half, Gold
3, Purple 0
-- From Gold 30, Gold
drives to Purple 12, from where a 5-yard penalty moves the ball back to
the 17. Erik Folk misses a 34-yard field goal try wide left. (Drive 2).
-- From Purple 17,
Purple drives to Gold 11, from where Locker connects with Goodwin on a
TD pass. Ryan Perkins' PAT is good. Purple 7, Gold 3.
-- From Gold 30, Gold
drives to Purple 13, from where Fouch connects with Devin Aguilar on a
TD pass. Gold 10, Purple 7. (Drive 3)
-- From Purple 30, Locker tries a long
pass, which goes incomplete. Brandon Yakabowski runs for six yards, and Ronnie
Fouch takes over at quarterback for the Purple team. Fouch works the
ball to the Gold 33, from where a field goal attempt is blocked by
- From Gold 33. Taylor Bean assumes QB
role from Fouch for the Gold. After going 3 and out, Gold punts to
-- From Purple 48, Fouch and the Purple
go to the Gold 28. Perkins misses a 45-yard field goal wide right.
-- From Gold 28. Griffin runs to the
Gold 32, where the game ends, with Gold winning, 10-7.
the starting lineups, as listed on Molly Yanity’s
LT Mark Armelin
LG Scott Shugert
C Greg Christine
RG Morgan Rosborough
RT Skyler Fancher
TE Walt Winter
QB Ronnie Fouch
FB Luke Kravitz
TB Willie Griffin
WR Devin Aguilar
WR Charles Hawkins
DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim
DT De'Shon Matthews
DT Cameron Elisara
DE Darrion Jones
OLB Josh Gage
ILB Donald Butler
OLB Mason Foster
FS Nate Williams
SS Victor Aiyewa
CB Mesphin Forrester
CB Quinton Richardson
P Kiel Rasp
PK Erik Folk
SNP Brendan Lopez
LT Ben Ossai
LG Jordan White-Frisbee
C Matt Sedillo
RG Casey Bulyca
RT Cody Habben
TE Michael Gottlieb
QB Jake Locker
FB Paul Homer
TB Brandon Johnson
WR Chris Polk
WR D'Andre Goodwin
DE Kalani Aldrich
DT Nick Wood
DT Johnie Kirton
DE Tyrone Duncan
OLB Brandon Huppert
ILB Trenton Tuiasosopo
OLB E.J. Savannah
FS Tripper Johnson
SS Darin Harris
CB Byron Davenport
CB Matt Mosley
P Jared Ballman
PK Ryan Perkins
SNP Danny Morovick
Here's Bob Condotta's
post-spring depth chart: