Category Archives: UW Game Recaps

Huskies at the Quarter Pole

It’s hard to believe, but the Husky season is already at the quarter point.  Our Dawgs’ have the record we all expected them to have after 3 games, 2-1, even if they’ve taken a strange route to get there.

September started with a game against Eastern Washington where the Huskies were outplayed in almost every area of the game.  They got the win, but panic ensued around Husky nation and people were upset.  Next, Hawaii came in and the Dawgs came out on fire.  They jumped to a 21-0 lead and seemed like a team who could compete with the best of the best.  Then they let Hawaii back into it and held on for a victory.  The Huskies were 2-0 for the first time since 2007 but neither victory provided a ton of confidence in the team.

Yesterday, they went into one of the toughest places to play in the country.  They stood toe-to-toe with Nebraska in the first half, and by all accounts would have had the lead going into halftime if it weren’t for a terrible call.  Then, the third quarter started.  A three-and-out, a terrible call on a punt, a touchdown, a fumbled kick-off, a touchdown, a turnover on downs, and a touchdown later the Huskies were down by 24.

It was a terrible stretch to watch and, judging from post-game interviews, was even worse to play in.  Now that I’ve cooled off and watched the rest of the game, I’ve realized that those stretches are one of the many reasons why I love college football.  On any Saturday, a team can be totally swept up in the momentum of the game and anything can happen.  These players are taking calculus and history classes during the week and all of a sudden they’re dealing with poor officiating and bad bounces of the ball and they completely lose their composure.  That happened to us on Saturday and I’m not saying it’s acceptable, it’s not, but that’s college football and it’s part of the reason why it’s so exciting.

Anyway, the Huskies regained their composure and went on to battle back, fighting valiantly to the finish.  It wasn’t the outcome we had hoped for, but it was probably the best game the Huskies have played all season.

I’ll break down each position after the jump.  Continue reading

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Take a Deep Breath

Growing up in a home where sports were always on the forefront, I learned many lessons.  My dad, and brother to a lesser extent, taught me certain truths about game.  Dad passed down the thought that sports are as much mental as they are physical and a hate of zone defense.  One of the lessons he repeated the most was that you never know what is going to happen in the first game of the season.  The game is weird and often not vindictive of a team’s talent level or future record.  With this thought in mind, I would caution my fellow Dawg fans to take a deep breath instead of joining in the insanity that has ensued over Husky Nation.

Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not happy with the way the Huskies played on Saturday.  It was a pathetic display by the defense and the offensive line.  They were not the team we expected to see this season and if they hope to better last season than they will have to play better (I’ll pick apart what needs to improve after the jump).

But, over the last 2 days I’ve heard irrationality coming from the radio, blogosphere and everywhere else I could hear about the Huskies.  There have been calls for Nick Holt’s job, which is absolutely absurd.  There have been people underselling how well Eastern played, which is strange since everyone under the sun was talking about how the Huskies were in for a battle last week.  There have been players called out who shouldn’t have been.

UW Dawg Pound, which is a good Husky football blog that I follow regularly, said this on Saturday night:

Alameda Ta’amu played like a big fat pile of goo. He was dominated most of the evening by players who had no business being on the same playing field with him.”

This just simply isn’t true.  I was at the game and watch Ta’amu pretty closely.  No, he didn’t have a monster game but he was himself, clogging up the middle and getting free more than any other D-lineman.  This was with him being double-teamed the entire game.  UW Dawg Pound is a blog that I agree with in most things and a blog that I encourage Husky fans to ready, John Berkowitz is a good writer and has good insight on the Dawgs.  That’s why I picked this example, it’s the kind of blame game that’s going out all over this fan base.

So, should we be upset with the way the team played?  Sure, coach Sark sure was in his press conference today but don’t go blowing things out proportion.  A few players played poorly and the team didn’t play at full speed.  I’m sticking with my pre-season prediction and I imagine the other 3 Good Guys’ are doing the same.  Hey, we’re 1-0 and have the 6th longest winning streak in the nation!  I’m good with that.  Continue reading

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More Postgame thoughts on UW-OSU

This will be short and sweet, before we look ahead to this week and other Pac-10 teams.  Since bullet points are awesome, I’ll just write a few.

  • This team is frustrating.  To be honest, they remind me of the Husky basketball team last year.  They may not have as much potential to be great, like that team did, but they show flashes of greatness and then look like a different team.  This was the case with the offense on Saturday.  They jumped out to a 21-0 lead, scoring on the 3 of their first 4 possessions and then didn’t look near as good until overtime.  I have a few theories as to why this happened but none of them are proven.  Do the coaches over-think things and try to get too complicated rather than sticking with what works?  Do the players lose focus, causing the dumb penalties?  Is the line not good enough to sustain the success for long periods of time?  I don’t know.  But, if they ever put it completely together they could score 40 points a game.  It’s frustrating but, on the bright side, at least Casey Paus isn’t the quarterback.
  • Mason Foster is easily the first half MVP of this team.  He could make a run at Pac-10 defensive player of the year if the Huskies don’t fall completely out of contention.  That arm tackle he made on Katz in the 4th quarter was absolutely amazing.  If the Huskies go on a little run and make a bowl game, we can call that “The Tackle That Saved the Season.”  Mason is my favorite player on the team and is playing out of his mind right now.
  • The rest of the defense is growing up.  They are getting better, as we can see by the overall performance on Saturday, but they still suffer some growing pains, as we could see by the 21 straight points they gave up.  But, the defense, as a unit, won Saturday’s game for the Huskies.  When is the last time we can say that?
  • The crowd had a bigger impact on this game than any game in recent memory.  They caused a few false starts and a burnt time out.  But, bigger than that, they caused the Huskies defensive ends to get a head start.  Brock Huard pointed out on the broadcast that, with the crowd noise, the offensive tackles are very slow off the ball.  He said that it gives the defensive ends up to half of a second head start on the tackles.   This thought is both good and bad.  Good job on the crowd, they brought the noise even when things were a little bit frustrating.  The bad is on the thought that our defensive ends really have improved in the last week or two.  Yes, they have improved but, maybe it’s not quite as much as everyone has been pointing out since Saturday.  This week will be a better test of how far they have truly come.
  • The line changes were good.  Greg Christine got pushed around quite a bit, but he brings a great effort and gives leadership.  Ryan Tolar played his best game of the year, in my opinion.  He had some nice blocks while pulling.  Colin Porter is a big guy and played really well in his first collegiate start.  I’m looking forward to him playing more and more.  With Kohler practicing this week, it makes me wonder if we’ll see more changes.  I’d love to see Porter and Kohler out there together.  Two true freshmen are in our top five offensive lineman.  That may not be great news for the present, but it bodes well for the future.
  • Chris Polk is amazing.  I don’t know what else I can say about him.  I love that guy.
  • Locker and Kearse had bounce back games, which was pretty predictable.  Locker hung in the pocket and made some great throws.  This game really showed how far Jake has come in the last year and a half under Sark.  No, it wasn’t his most impressive game but the overtime session showed that he’s comfortable hanging in the pocket.  We couldn’t say that 2 years ago.  Some of the throws he made off his back foot last week were amazing.
  • Some penalties and calls were questionable.  I’ll leave it at that.
  • There is quite a bit of debate whether the last pass of the game was dropped or knocked away.  It may have been dropped but that was a really tough catch that people aren’t taking into account.  In any other situation, I feel that most people wouldn’t count on a player to make that catch.  Dennison got there right when the ball did and the throw was low and hard.  Yes, it was a catchable ball and a player needs to rise to the occasion in that moment, but don’t forget to credit Cort in making a great play.

That’s about it from me, thanks for reading.

Andrew

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When a Football Game Takes a Bigger Role

I’m completely exhausted.  My shoulders hurt, my ears are plugged, and my voice is hoarse.  Still.  Last Saturday night was intense and I’m still paying the price for it.  If you’ve been hiding a rock since last Saturday, the Huskies won a thrilling double-overtime game against Oregon State, 35-34.

I can’t do the game justice by retelling it.  Thrilling really is the best adjective I can think of and I don’t want to write that word over and over again.  I’ll put up a post with some observations from the game later.  But, ever since the game a bigger question has been on my mind.  Do I put too much into these games?

Now, my body hurting isn’t all from the Huskies game on Saturday.  I did have an intramural game earlier in the day that beat me up a little bit.  Still, when I was sitting on the couch with my brother on Sunday we were both remarking how we were physically and mentally tired.  Also, Dan got a little bit sick at the game and Joe punched a hole in his wall.

Yes, this game was a little more intense than most but Husky games affect my mood quite a bit.  With a loss, the weekend feels like a waste and the next week seems long.  But, with a win, I’m happy.  I’m more talkative, more outgoing, and generally a better version of myself.

After the game on Saturday, I was reading the free forums at Dawgman.com.  This very subject was being addressed in one forum and an overall consensus was that the outcome of Husky games affected fans throughout the week.  Is this too far?  Is it sad?

My mother would say it’s sad and that I shouldn’t care so much.  So would most girls in the world.  But, I have a different view.  It’s good to be passionate about certain things and the Huskies are one of the things I’ve decided to be passionate about.  It makes me upset when they don’t play well but the reward is doubled when they win.  I’m emotionally tied to the Huskies and am still drained from Saturday.  But, it was worth it.  Maybe my shoulders wouldn’t hurt as bad if I hadn’t picked up my brother twice (before they called the pass interference  and when we actually won) and my roommate once.  Maybe my voice wouldn’t be hoarse if I hadn’t yelled to the point where I got light-headed in the 4th quarter.  Maybe I shouldn’t have been so invested in one game.  Or, maybe I did it right because, once that two point conversion was dropped, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Andrew Long

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UW-ASU Postgame

Well, that was annoying.  Last night, the Huskies lost 24-14 to the Sun Devils of Arizona State.  It was a wet, rainy night that produced a somewhat sloppy game from the Dawgs.  The Huskies moved the ball, only one three and out, but had too many mistakes to ever keep the drive alive.  It was like the Arizona State 35 yard line had a stop sign on it.  One drive would stall because of a dropped pass, the next would be a holding penalty and so on throughout the night.  It was frustrating, especially considering the outbreak the offense had last week.

So, what went wrong with the offense?  Several factors came into play.  First off, we need to give Arizona State credit.  Their defense is solid and may have finally showed what people were raving about before the season began.  Their front 7 caused a lot of problems for the line and the secondary was quick to the ball all game long.  They were attacking and looked a step faster all game long.

Then there was the health issue.  Erik Kohler was out for the game with mono.  Devin Aguilar was out with a hip flexor injury.  Jake Locker was sick and at about 70% strength.  These are players that are vital to the offense.  With Aguilar out, Jordan Polk got more snaps than he had all season long.  He was okay, but Aguilar is so much better.  Why James Johnson or Cody Bruns didn’t get some of J. Polk’s snaps is a mystery to me.  Erik Kohler might be the second best offensive lineman the Huskies have.  That’s saying something about Kohler, a true freshman, but it’s saying more about the offensive line.  His backup, Greg Christine, gives great effort but just doesn’t have the talent to be an every down player.  He was called for 2 holding penalties last night and was bad in most aspects.  Sark said that Jake being sick affected how he called the game because he couldn’t catch his breath after running games.  I saw him on the bench after one drive and he looked gassed.  That was in the first half.  He didn’t look nearly as explosive as he usually does.  With these 3 not at the level they usually are, our offense is not near the weapon it was against USC.  These guys need to get healthy, and fast.

Still, the Dawgs were in the game and just couldn’t take advantage of any opportunities.  Jermaine Kearse had more drops.  Nate Fellner dropped an interception that he could have run back quite a ways.  In the first half, there were 3 or 4 “almost” fumbles by Arizona State that came on backwards passes or passes that were dropped.  If any of those close calls were ruled the other way they could have been defensive touchdowns.  Unfortunately, they didn’t and the Huskies lost a game they desperately needed to win.  The schedule doesn’t get any easier and a bowl becomes much less likely.  This weeks game against Oregon State becomes a must-win.  But, we can hope that offense that showed up for the USC game comes back.  If they do they can play with just about anyone.  For now, they’re nothing but an inconsistent football team.

More notes after the jump.  Continue reading

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A Few More Thoughts After Rewatching the Husky Game

Well, it took me 2 days but I finally made it through all of the USC game.  I can only wonder how many times I would watch it if it wasn’t a busy week.   Anyway, I came away with a few more thoughts that I’ll share before putting this game to rest and moving on to this week’s opponent,  Arizona State.

  • Let’s start with the worst part of the game, the rushing defense.  There’s no denying that they were terrible.  After watching it again, it was very clear that the problems weren’t because of a lack of schemes.  They tried just about everything.  They put at least 8 guys in the box every time.  I counted 10 guys in the box for several plays.  10 guys!  They also tried a 3-4 several times to be a little more athletic.  The problem was with what was happening on the field.  The defensive line was terrible.  Ta’amu played a decent game, but the rest of the defensive line was awful.  There were guys getting pushed back 5-10 yards every play.  Then, the linebackers seemed a bit timid.  They didn’t attack the runner for most of the game, they let the runner come to them.  By the time the runner got there, those linebackers were blocked.  I understand that they can’t completely sell out against the run because they have to watch for play-action, but their reaction time does need to be quicker.  Last but not least, the tackling was terrible.  It was just as bad as it was against Nebraska, if not worse.  I was on a mission to count the missed tackles but I lost track.  I lost track at the end of the first quarter.
  • One more negative thought on the defense before we move to brighter spots.   I think several players had the worst game of their career on Saturday.  Nate Fellner had one great pass break-up, but the rest of the game he struggled.  He was sucked into the wrong position and missed quite a few tackles.  Quinton Richardson missed an easy sack on Barkley because he forgot he had arms on the play.  He was taken out after that, I’ll be interested to see if he plays as much the rest of this season.  Where is Adam Long?  Cort Dennison looked a little rusty and slow after missing the Nebraska game.  Those players, along with the defensive line, were beaten up pretty well on Saturday.  Thank goodness we have Mason Foster.
  • With all that, give credit to the defense for not allowing a touchdown in the 4th quarter.  They buckled down and made some stops.  There’s no doubt they need to get better, but they made some plays that kept the Huskies in the game.

More thoughts after the jump. Continue reading

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UW vs. USC: Postgame

When we began the season, 2-2 was the record most people predicted after4 games, myself included.  A win against BYU and Syracuse and then a team that would probably be out-matched by the talent of Nebraska and USC.  That’s not exactly what happened, but it’s better this way.

After showing a serious amount of inconsistency the first 3 games, the Husky offense turned in a showing that all Dawg fans have been dreaming of since demolishing Cal last December.  Because of this, the Huskies won their first road game in 3 years and started Pac-10 play with a victory against powerhouse USC.

Since many people have covered this game, and did a better job than I could, I’m going to keep this short.  I’ll have more in-depth analysis once I watch this game again later tonight but for now, I’ll look at what this game means.  As several coaches and players said, this win was huge for a number of reasons.  Let’s take a look at those reasons.

  • Redemption: The Huskies were just 2 weeks removed from playing the worst game of the Sark era.  Being embarrassed at home, 56-21, caused many people to question whether the program was actually on the right track.  There were all kinds of criticism coming at the Huskies, and rightfully so.  The game-plan was bad, the team didn’t, and Jake Locker played the worst game of his career.  But, last night the Huskies came back and had the best game-plan (offensively, anyway) of the Sark era, showed more heart than I’ve seen in years, and had Locker play the best game we’ve seen yet.  People didn’t know if this team was built up too much, and they still have reasons to question that, but last night, the Huskies found redemption in the L.A. Coliseum.  And, for a week at least, that feels pretty good.
  • A Road Victory! As I mentioned earlier, the Huskies had not won a road game since 2007.  That was against a bad Stanford team.  You could argue that this is the most impressive Husky road victory, as far as quality of opponent, since their 2002 road victory at Oregon.  Now, the monkey is off the back.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that they’re going to go on and win the rest of their road games.  But, as we saw with this years Husky basketball, winning that first road game can do wonders for a teams psyche.  If nothing else, people won’t be able to say that, “They just don’t know how to win on the road.”  Which is a blessing in its’ own right.

More after the jump.  Continue reading

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