Recapping Cal and Looking Ahead

On Saturday, the Huskies won a thrilling game against California 31-23.  You’ve all probably either watched the game or read the stories, so there’s not much point in me giving a blow-by-blow recap.  I will point out a few things that stuck out to me.

First of all, what a great birthday.  Saturday was my 21st and I got to spend it with my family and my girlfriend.  As far as I can remember, this was the first time my entire family had gone to a Husky game and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  To many guys, Saturdays are their day off to spend in front of the TV (or at a game) getting some time by themselves and drinking a few beers.  That’s all good and I don’t mind watching a game by myself now and then, but Saturdays in the fall are family affairs at Husky Stadium and I’m so incredibly thankful for that.

It was also a great birthday because the Huskies won.  As we’ve all grown somewhat accustomed to, they won in a nail-biter.  Our Dawgs have won 7 of their last 8 games and only 2 of those wins have been by double digits.  It sure would be nice to beat a time by a couple of touchdowns but, in a ploy to make more people buy season tickets because every game is nerve wracking, the Huskies have decided to make sure they win in the last second, if they win at all.  Matthew and I were talking about if they will ever win in a blow-out.  We decided that will happen in about 2017.

With that paragraph full of sarcasm out of me, it’s amazing how far this program has come in a short amount of time.  This would have been the kind of game the Huskies easily would have lost a few years ago.  A few years ago, this team would have been 1-3 after 4 games.  0-4 wouldn’t be out of the question right now.  Sark has done a phenomenal job and it says a ton about how far he’s taken us when we say that we expect more out of this team.  And we all should expect more because this team can be quite a bit better.

Some bullet holes on the game and what lies ahead after the jump.  

  • Quinton Richardson was terrible again.  The 90 yard touchdown pass given up on the first drive was his fault (even though his teammates won’t single him out to the media, which is good on them).  He was benched after that and was only playing in nickel situations until Greg Ducre got hurt.  Going into the season, I would have said Richardson was one of our top 4 defensive players but the last 2 weeks I think he’s been the worst player on the field.  UWDawgpound wondered how many yards Richardson gave up on his own and I would side with John in thinking that 150 of the yards given up on the defense were on him.  That is far from an exaggeration, in fact it might be generous.  I don’t know what happened but as of right now I think Richardson should be benched if Ducre is healthy.  Maybe Q will play better, but right now he’s one of the biggest reasons that Nick Holt is under fire.
  • On a brighter note, this offense is incredible.  Keith Price is playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.  Teams are going to stop loading the box sooner or later because of that and then Chris Polk and the offensive line will have a lot more success.  This might be the most dynamic offense I’ve seen in following the Huskies.  I’m trying to be realistic, but I really think it will be a disappointment if they don’t score over 30 points in every game.
  • Speaking of Chris Polk and the running game, Cal was very impressive up front on defense.  There wasn’t much room to run between the tackles and that’s because the Golden Bears have the strongest front 7 that the Huskies will see all season (Utah and USC fans, feel free to argue).  People are still keying on Polk and the running game but, again, that will change if Keith Price keeps doing what he’s doing.
  • After my bashing of Richardson, I should point out that Cal features the best receiving duo in the Pac-12 in Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones.  Those guys are really good and they showed that on Saturday.  Trufant played well but whoever was matched up on the other side was just too dominant against whatever player the Huskies put against them.
  • The defense did give up a lot of yards but they only gave up 3 points in the second half.  Yes, the last drive was frustrating and shouldn’t have happened but the key is that they stopped them.  All in all, points are the stat that matters and yards allowed will be forgotten by years end if the wins stack up.  If we’re getting nit-picky though, 90 yards were from one blown coverage (I went over that in the first bullet hole) and another 85 yards came on the final drive.  Between those two drives, the Huskies played good defense.  Let’s see 4 full quarters of this week defense!
  • News came out today that Hau’oli Jamora will be out for the rest of the season.  That is bad news for a team that is already lacking a pass rush.  Josh Shirley, Andrew Hudson and Talia Crichton will all play more from now on and Everette Thompson will now switch to end with Sione Potoa’e, Danny Shelton, and Lawrence Lagafuiana will get more time inside.  Jamora should be able to redshirt, thankfully.  Also, there’s a little hope in how the line played in the second half.  They didn’t play great but they played better and that’s good news.  We need them to be good this week.
  • Utah is a decent team and will be a very tough test on the road.  I don’t exactly know what to expect from them.  They’re a physical defense and have an offense that doesn’t scare me a ton but is fairly productive.  I think the line is a little high for the game, but it will definitely be a tough one on the road.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

Andrew

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