Well, I guess it’s time one of us do this. We’ve had over 24 hours to digest a disappointing loss and now I am a little more rational than I was a night ago.
Let me start off by saying that this wasn’t the team we planned on seeing. This wasn’t the team that had taken a step above last year’s. Sure, there were some aspects of the team that improved (more on that later) but as a whole this wasn’t the team we expected to see. This was the Husky team that lost to Arizona State and UCLA on the road last year. That team wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t good either. We saw moments where the Huskies looked like a team that was about to take it to the next level but those moments didn’t last. Will the Huskies become that team? There is no reason to give up hope on that after the first game.
The game started off the way it was supposed to. The Dawgs were clearly the better team. They were faster. They had more weapons. They looked like they wanted it more. Then everything bounced BYU’s way. A couple of stupid penalties led to a field position switch and the good bounces for BYU became evident with every punt. Seriously, think about the game (assuming you watched it) and try to remember a bounce that went the Huskies way. It was unbelievable.
With that being said, you have to put yourself in position to get good bounces and credit BYU for doing that. The Cougars were better than any of the good guys thought and will go on to win 9 or 10 games this season. They were a very physical football team and extremely well coached.
Also, the Huskies did put themselves in a position to win the game. The defense made stops to get the offense the ball. The offense drove far enough to give us hope. Who knows? If the last pass of the game wasn’t tipped we could be talking about a comeback win that will start a season of magic. Instead, we’re stuck thinking, “Here we go again.”
It’s not all doom and gloom though. We’ll take a look at that after the jump.
Here’s what as I saw as positives (or at least things to reconsider) from the game:
- The defense wasn’t bad. In fact, when you stop and think about it, they were fairly good. They played well in the first half. The Cougars scored on a safety (not the defenses fault), a field goal (a result of bad field position from the safety), and a touchdown (again, field position although this ones not as much). They went through a bad 6 or 7 minute stretch in the third quarter. We all remember that too well. That was because of a blown assignment on a blitz. I’m all for an attacking defense and losing some plays on blitzes happens. The defense was constantly playing against a short field. Also, don’t forget the defense shut BYU out in the 4th quarter, giving them opportunities to win the game. They shut down the run (no runs over 18 yards or something like that) and did okay against the pass. If the defense plays close to this the Huskies will be in most games this year.
- Jesse Callier was pretty good. He had that huge carry on the draw play in the first quarter. He also had a couple of catches and looks like he’ll be the change of pace back that we’d been hoping for.
- The offensive line gave Jake time. Jake was able to make it through his progressions for most of the game. In fact, at times he looked a little uncomfortable once he made it through those progressions and didn’t have the pocket breaking down. Yes, the offensive line is concerning in short yardage situations and opening holes but they were good in pass protection.
- The safeties and linebackers were very solid. Nate Fellner seemed to be all over the place. Williams, Foster, and Dennison all did exactly what they were supposed to do, which is be good.
- No one got hurt. I know you’re thinking I’m stretching for things now but this is really good news. We don’t need guys getting hurt before Pac-10 play ever starts.
Here’s a few more thoughts about the game and then we’ll move on to a new week! A new week where the Huskies are at home and facing a team that isn’t near the quality of most on the schedule!
- Jake Locker was mediocre. Nothing more, nothing less. He didn’t make some of the throws that he should and didn’t make that final drive. He had his moments but this wasn’t the Jake that we saw at the end of last year. Don’t worry about him though, he’ll have better days.
- The special teams were atrocious. Some of that had to do with the bad bounces that I mentioned earlier, but most had to do with mental mistakes.
- That penalty on Jermaine Kearse for tripping was ridiculous. It was called while he was laying on the ground and the refs thought he was rolling around trying to trip people. Maybe he was but do you ever call a penalty on a guy who’s laying on the field? You shouldn’t.
- There were some bad play calls but I didn’t think the 4th down calls were that terrible. The line should be able to give us enough that we can pick up a yard. The play action pass that Sark called on 4th down was not too bad, it was just well defended. Then, the 4th down play at the end of the game was fine. It was the 3 plays leading up to that 4th down that was the problem. Running down the clock is smart. Running on 3rd and 6 when the game’s on the line isn’t. With that being said, having Jake run is something I’d go to if I was a coach too. I would have preferred a pass/run option in that situation.
- I expected more out of Ta’amu. Maybe he’ll show it or maybe he was built up too much during camp. We’ll see.
One last thing to consider before we move on. Season-openers are weird. Don’t forget how awful Oregon looked against Boise State last year in the opener. Or how bad USC’s defense looked against Hawaii on Thursday. This isn’t an excuse but me simply saying to not write a team off because of a close loss to a pretty good opponent. As Seattle fans, we’re inclined to give up at the first sign of trouble so we won’t become attached but don’t do that yet. Also, think about how bad Cougar fans are feeling. Man, they looked awful. On to Syracuse and the first win of the year!
We’ll be back with a look around the Pac-10 and possibly more tomorrow. Have a great Labor Day everybody!